School’s out for Summer

July 26, 2022 Be My Bear

School’s out for the Summer – for oldies like me Alice Cooper’s anthem of 1972 brings back teenage memories of long hazy days on the beach, coconut oil and transistor radio to hand ! But forward wind to those early days as a young mum, juggling work and child care and I recall it wasn’t such a blast !

So as the schools break up for the seemingly endless Summer holidays, many parents I know are already pulling out their hair trying to find suitable activities for the kids while they attempt to deliver on that work/life balance we are all striving for. Add to that the cost of living crisis with money tight in many households and it’s even more important to find some activities for the kids which don’t cost the earth but still provide heaps of fun.

So here for you is Be My Bear’s guide to what to do this Summer to put a smile on everyone’s face !

Visit the park or the beach

It may be a regular destination but instead of just heading to the swings and slides or enjoying a swim, take a nature walk. Download a list of insects, amphibians, birds and small mammals you may potentially see in your local area and see how many you can actually spot. Collect leaves, grasses, sticks and stones to take home and use for craft activities. Draw faces on stones or coloured rainbows, make a basket with twigs, create a collage with leaves and grasses or press a few flowers.

Visit a free museum or gallery

If you are lucky enough to have access to city museums, you will find they are invariably free of charge, with just a donation request. Galleries and museums are a wonderful resource and inspiration for children. Take paper and coloured pencils and let them sketch their favourite exhibit, put together an easy quiz with questions on some of the more well known exhibits. Very often the museum or gallery will have a trail which they can follow with easy to digest info on some of the more popular artworks and sculptures.

Visit the library

Again it’s free, and with books to enjoy in the reading corner as well as computer access, it’s very easy to while away a couple of hours plus you can choose some favourite reads to take home and enjoy.

Have a cooking day

Try some new recipes with the kids. They will enjoy making biscuits with cookie cutter shapes and decorating cakes with icing and toppings but why not give them the opportunity to make lunch or dinner. They can choose the recipes they like the look of and put the meal together under your watchful eye. Why not get them to create their own table decorations using paper cut-outs or flowers from the garden so that it feels like a real celebration – and you may even be able to persuade them to wash up!

Pavement fun

Coloured chalks are cheap but can provide hours of activity. Mark out hopscotch, the snail game or other grids the kids can use to jump on, across or over. They can also use the chalks to create pavement pictures just like Bert in Mary Poppins – no mess, and no clearing up – the rain will do that for you eventually !

Rainy day camp

On days when there’s nothing for it but to stay indoors, give the kids some old sheets and blankets, and help them create tents using tables and chairs. Give them a picnic lunch which they can enjoy while they are “camping” and encourage them to bring their dolls and teddies under cover for a picnic too.

Outdoor picnic

On sunny Summer days, there’s lots of scope for a picnic in the park, by the sea, or in the countryside wherever you live. Get the children to help you make the sandwiches and drinks, take a bat and a ball, swimwear etc and savour the moment.

Start a garden

Many people did this during lockdown and it’s a great way of connecting with nature. Whether you have a small balcony or windowsill or a garden, grow some seeds, plant some perennials or failing that a tray garden using whatever you have found on your nature walks. Use some silver foil as a lake or river, moss for fields and hills, small stones as a beach and paper cut out trees and flowers which you can secure with blue tack or sticky tape.

Play board games

Re-visit those classic board games which, with the advent of the internet we have lost enthusiasm for. Some of the great classics, Snakes and Ladders, Monopoly, Trivial Pursuits, Cluedo or just simple card games can provide real family fun time.

So enjoy the Summer – there may be a few days where you need to let off steam but make sure you have plenty of “Happy Time” – they’re not kids for very long !

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