A fun Summer which doesn’t break the bank – Guest Blog by Emma Beech
Days out over the summer are such fun if you are lucky enough get the opportunity to spend some time with your children. Often parents worry about the cost as the school summer holidays tend to be around six weeks or longer so it certainly starts to add up once you’ve enjoyed a few days out at some of the amazing places that we have on our doorstep here in York. If you are looking for some ideas for days out or activities with little/ big ones this summer which are either free or cost only a small amount of money then read on 🙂
Days Out Homestead park and Rowntrees park have huge play areas plus paths to cycle around or spaces to play football or just run around and feed the ducks. Local parks around York/ North Yorks are great such as Riccall. Another idea is to head to Skipwith common or Wheldrake woods as they are great for balance bikes/ scooters/ den building etc. Valley gardens in Harrogate or the one in Knaresborough have a paddling pool for free and play areas. East Park in Hull is similar too. Go strawberry/ fruit picking! Go for a bike ride somewhere you haven’t been before. Head over to the seaside to Fraisthorpe beach or maybe Filey for lots of space to run around with a ball. Cycle around the cycle paths in York from Murton to the hospital. Put a bike seat on your bike or trailer although a trailer isn’t as easy to manoeuvre through the barriers! Cycling from York to Selby and back for a day out is fun with older children and there’s plenty of areas to stop on the way and picnic or play. Allerthorpe country park is very cheap to get in and has a play area, animals, a walk, sand pit etc plus a cafe. York maze has a season pass which is a good price and you can go as often as you like. We used it sometimes for just the odd hour as there are so many different things to do. So worth the money. Check out the ‘Days Out‘ section here for more ideas.
Rainy Days – getting out If it’s wet weather then head to the outdoor play area at the designer outlet. The National rail museum is free and you can take your own picnic too. Make going shopping more fun for older ones say to ikea, give them challenges to find the most expensive item they can, order five different items in price from lowest to highest etc. Hire out books from the library. Over the summer most libraries do a reading competition to read a certain number of books. Children normally get a free pack and free certificate once completed. Free to join the library too. More ideas in the Rainy Days section here.
Days at Home You can do plenty of things at home that don’t cost much money. Here is a summer holiday list for you to work though…
Painting outside with just a brush and water (little ones love that).
Helping in the garden, collecting sticks, playing pooh sticks in a stream.
Invest in a sand pit or water tray that they can use outside daily.
Freeze items into Ice and let the child chip away at them using a spoon or watch over the day to see how they melt.
Chalk to draw on patio – Use chalk to draw a road and use scooters to ride on or toy cars to drive around.
Teddy bears picnic in the garden or at the park.
Treasure hunt around the garden.
Using old material cut up to do weaving on the garden fence or simply do it with paper and scissors, you can can use coloured paper or even newspaper or wallpaper.
Bug hunts (wilkinsons sell bug catchers for about £4)
Use bin bags (of a lighter colour) and write letters of the alphabet on using a marker pen. Put two bamboo canes inside it to make it stick into the soil then give your child a water gun. They have to spray a letter and say the sound or they could spell a word by spraying the letters in the correct order. You could adapt this for spellings a child is learning at school or new words etc or making sentences.
Draw a target on the floor using chalk and numbers or use hoops. Throw a beanbag into the target and add points against a friend.
Use a hoop to throw or roll a ball into from a certain point in the garden.
Make a fairy house in the garden.
Mix and make potion/perfume in the garden using things collected such as leaves and rainwater.
Sometimes creating an ‘outdoor box’ of resources with things such as clip boards and paper, chalk, magnifying glasses, large pegs, pencils, big sheets of material, sellotape etc in can be a great starting point to give them the opportunity to use their imagination and creativity outdoors.
Playdough that you’ve made is fun
Giving kids lots of different containers and kitchen utensils plus some water/ ice and the children should be happy for a while!
Builders tray from B&Q can be used for so many things such as keeping Lego/ duple, Ice cubes etc.
Make a story come alive with say five little ducks and make a scene using cut grass, pebbles, water etc for chin to retell the story.
Freeze water in balloons with a bit of food colouring and let them watch them melt or chip at them with little tools.
Attach drainpipe to a piece of wood to make a large marble/ ball/ water run.
Make some instruments using toilet rolls or empty bottles. Fill with rice etc and use sticks from garden to play.
Pop up tent filled with different toys or different games.
Leaf/ coin rubbing
Use the Internet to find out facts about where they live. Research and visit if needs be. Take photographs and make a fact file.
Create an ‘all about me’ bag/box. Collect items that make them who they are. Eg photos of family, tickets of favourite places they like to go to, favourite toy, drawing of best friend, picture of their house, draw a family tree.
Using an old roll of wallpaper draw around your child and let them use collage materials including old fabric to glue to decorate and put clothes on.
Write to your child from an elf/ fairy and leave letters sprinkled with glitter. Your child can write back to them telling them about their day or asking them questions.
Make a fruit salad together or encourage them to help you make a meal by helping chop veg etc.
Use rice/ flour/ pasta with a variety of cups/ pans and spoons to measure out and play with.
Make a den using old sheets and pegs.
These are just a few ideas that might keep some little ones entertained over the summer. All children are so different but hopefully there’s something there that you could try with your child. Have a lovely summer and enjoy that special time with your little ones that wake every morning with endless energy! Hopefully some of these ideas will help you survive the summer holidays 🙂
Special thanks to Emma for putting this blog together from York Mumbler. If you have something that you think would be useful or interesting to parents then please get in touch – I’d love to hear from you! Hello@yorkmumbler.com