Staycationing with the kids

 

The school holidays are nigh, if not already upon us. Six weeks can feel like a daunting amount of time to fill but with a few boredom-busting tricks up your sleeve and a host of family-friendly activities on your radar, the time will fly and hopefully fly tantrum-free.

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We know the feeling: after a couple of hours in the house, all the toys have been played with and the kids are restless. Fear not.

Make an indoor laser maze by stringing up streamers of various heights in the hallway and encourage kids to climb through without touching them. Create a race car track by sticking masking tape on your floors or fill a room with balloons for all sorts of throwing and catching fun. Try an ABC hunt and get kids to run around the house collecting objects starting with each letter (and then challenge them to put the objects back in the right places first).

Suggest kids re-enact their favourite children’s book (complete with costumes) and invite friends round to watch. Alternatively, build a den by draping a sheet around chairs and fill the inside with cushions and fairy lights.

Get creative by doing some baking. Try cutting apples in half and coring them, melting chocolate and peanut butter and drizzling on the top of the apple slices, with berries and sprinkles, so they resemble donuts. Make colourful ice cubes by freezing fruit juice and berries. For more creative fun, use plastic forks dipped in paint to press on paper to create colourful firework patterns or grab a few plastic toys and choose a sunny spot to draw their shadows.

Summer is the prime time to make use of the garden. Camp out overnight and have a bonfire, complete with marshmallows. Get kids’ to keep a nature diary, recording all the wildlife spotted and seeds they plant over the summer.

Get kids to put on an acrobatics display and encourage them to learn to cartwheel and roly-poly. When it’s sunny, string up balloons filled with water on the washing line and play piñata. Alternatively, run a plastic sheet down the slope of your garden, put the hose at the higher end and with a little soap, you’ve created the perfect water slide. Genius.

 

 

 

Away

There are plenty of activities going on this summer to make staycationing feel as special as vacationing. In the capital, be sure to head to Beasts of London at the Museum of London (museumoflondon.org.uk): an interactive exhibition telling the history of London through the animals that once lived there, voiced by celebrities from Kate Moss to Stephen Mangan. Also, don’t miss the Science Museum’s celebration of 50 years since Neil Armstrong walked on the moon (sciencemuseum.org.uk).

Head to the country’s longest and highest treetop walkway at the Enchanted Forest in Groombridge (groombridgeplace.com), Kent. There are workshops galore at the Roald Dahl Museum (roalddahl.com), Buckinghamshire, plus magical journeys await on Hampshire’s Watercress Line steam trains, including a trip on Thomas the Tank Engine (watercressline.co.uk). 

In the south west, take a journey back in time in Devon’s Victorian village (morwellham-quay.co.uk) or have a sleepover among the sharks at the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth (national-aquarium.co.uk). At Green Man festival in the Brecon Beacons, Wales, there are plenty of activities to keep little ones occupied (greenman.net) while you soak up the festival spirit.

Cadbury World, Birmingham (cadburyworld.co.uk), is a must along with the National Space Centre, Leicester, with its 42m rocket tower (spacecentre.co.uk). There are live action shows at Warwick Castle (warwick-castle.com), plus ample opportunities for learning and exploring at Imagine That!, Liverpool (imaginethat.org.uk).

Find fossils on the Dinosaur Coast in North Yorkshire and don’t miss the very family-friendly festival, Deer Shed (deershedfestival.com). Unleash their inner Tarzan at GoApe in locations throughout the UK, including Northwich, Cheshire (goape.co.uk).

In Scotland, head to Edinburgh Zoo to see life-sized animal sculptures constructed from over a million LEGO bricks (edinburghzoo.org.uk). There’s inflatables galore at the heated Stonehaven outdoor pool, Aberdeenshire (stonehavenopenairpool.co.uk).

Explore Belfast with the self-guided murder mystery trail (treasuretrails.co.uk/things-to-do/co-antrim/Belfast) and check out Titanic Belfast (titanicbelfast.com). Hitting the beach and renting a body board, at Portstewart  or  Portrush for example, should be on everyone’s summer bucket list. 

There you have it. Six weeks planned out, no problem.   

 

 
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