Six weeks is a ‘looong’ time. How do you fill it? Check out these Top 100 Summer holiday activities with kids which I have split into four sections:
Frugal Days In – for days when it’s raining and you are skint.
Rainy Days Out – for days when it’s raining and you are willing to spend some money.
Frugal Days Out – for days when the weather is behaving (i.e. not raining) and you want to keep costs down.
Summer Days Out – for days when the weather is still behaving and you don’t mind spending a bit of money.
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Chances are if you are reading this, it’s because the weather outside is looking gloomy and your plans for an idyllic summer’s day out have fallen by the wayside. This is when I normally go into panic mode as I realise that not only do I need to keep the kids occupied for an entire day but also I’m skint. Never fear as I have pulled together my Top 25 Activities for Frugal Rainy Days:
- Have an indoor picnic – roll out the picnic rug, make sandwiches and invite some teddy bears.
- Playdate – invite a friend over, have a pyjama party and they’ll soon forget about the rain.
- Have a disco – play some music, turn down the lights and make up a new dance routine.
- Put on a show – re-enact a favourite fairy tale complete with fancy dress and face paints.
- Read – a book on your own or listen to an Audible book. Or listen to CBeebies radio.
- Make up a song – change the words to your favourite tune and record it.
- Write a poem – about all the fun things you have done over summer.
- Write a story – turn it into a little book and draw a beautiful cover.
- Bake a cake/cookies/truffles – or my favourite, Peppermint Creams.
- Make lunch – choose some simple child-friendly recipes. For inspiration see these ideas at Kidspot.
- Finger painting – we are big fans of the Usborne finger painting range of books, which gets played with daily in our house.
- Make a den.
- Create a reading nook – using some sheets, bamboo sticks, pegs, cushions and fairy lights.
- Have a ‘themed’ day – choose a theme and then everything you do has to be related to the theme. For example, if you chose a ‘Beach’ theme perhaps you could have a hula hoop competition, draw on seashells, make a boat out of a cardboard box, make coconut and mango muffins, build a lego palm tree, etc.
- Make something out of a box – be it a car, a robot, a fort or a palace. Check out these great ideas from Buzzfeed.
- Learn to french knit – see this You Tube tutorial. This transparent, acrylic knitting dolly is perfect as you can see the progression of the knitted cord. Once made there are plenty of uses, from coasters, a scarf for a doll, penpot, hat, tea cosy, etc. Alternatively, make your own out of a toilet roll, strong tape and some lolly sticks. For some inspiration check out this great post entitled ‘Attack of the Knitting Nancys‘.
- Check out Pinterest for some fun craft activities – see my Pinterest board, Crafts with Kids, for ideas.
- Build a Lego city.
- Buy a kid’s magazine – they normally contain lots of stories, puzzles and arts and crafts.
- Learn to play the recorder – they only cost a fiver from Amazon and there are lots of You Tube tutorials.
- Go to the library.
- Visit a pet shop/rescue home – and try not to come home with a new pet.
- Community work – teach the kids about ‘giving back’ and help someone in the community. Wash a neighbour’s car, bake cookies for an elderly neighbour, etc.
- Make greeting cards – get drawing, cutting and sticking and stock up on home-made greetings cards.
- Embrace the rain – put on your all-in-one wet weather gear and get out there and jump in all the muddy puddles. Nothing a washing machine and some Vanish Gold can’t remedy.
After a few days of clouds and rain (also known as typical British weather) it might be time to throw money at the problem and get out of the house. So here are my Top 25 Activities for Rainy Days:
- Go to the theatre – check Ticketmaster for latest shows.
- Go to an indoor climbing centre – as we are London based, we are keen to try out this great new indoor climbing centre called Clip’n’Climb. Ages four and over.
- Go ice skating – ice skating rinks nationwide.
- Aqua Splash – basically an inflatable obstacle course in the water. Ages five and over. This one is at the London Aquatics Centre but there are others nationwide.
- Learn to skateboard – under the cover of the Westover flyover at this community-funded project in West London. Learn to skateboard for £5 held every Saturday and Sunday morning at BayCity6.
- Go indoor skiing or snowboarding – see the Telegraph’s top indoor snow centres.
- Go to Kidzania – explore a make believe city made for little people and indulge in some real-life role play activities. For children aged 4-14 years old.
- Go to Pizza Express – well loved by my children and me. Stickers, colouring pencils, puzzles, Dough Balls, pizza and ice cream. A good way to spend lunch during a miserable day.
- Back to school shopping – buy new school uniform, backpack, shoes, pencil case, pens and pencils. I used to love wandering around a stationery store as a little girl.
- Trip to the local toy shop – give the children a budget to buy one thing that will keep them busy.
- Trip to Hobbycraft – give the children a budget to buy one thing that will keep them busy.
- Soft play – if you can bear it!
- Pottery painting – paint a mug, bowl or piggy bank. Pottery cafés nationwide.
- Time Out – check out Time Out or Days Out With the Kids for things to do near you.
- Go for a kid’s afternoon tea – check out these great afternoon tea spots in London. Fun themed afternoon teas for adults and kids from Alice in Wonderland to Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Age limits apply.
- Go to a sporting event – football match, athletics, point-to-point.
- Go to the circus – see Ticketmaster for local circus events.
- Go and see My First Ballet – The English National Ballet put on child-friendly ballet shows with performances by youngsters. The shows are normally narrated fairy tales such as Cinderella. A magical day out for all aspiring ballerinas. Ages three and over.
- Go to a family rave – go dancing with your little ones with Big Fish Little Fish or Diddy Rascals.
- Baby Broadway – one for the younger ones. Take them to see Baby Broadway where classic musical tunes are belted out by professionals. Think Mary Poppins, Frozen and Grease. Guaranteed to get you and your little ones singing and dancing.
- Go to an aquarium – see local listings.
- Go to an art gallery – take pens and paper and try and copy some of the art work and frame it when you get home.
- Go to the cinema – see the latest movie, eat popcorn and ice cream.
- Go to the local museum – see local listings.
- Go to a trampoline park – a little bit controversial at the moment given the number of the accidents but trampoline parks often offer other (safer) activities such as laser maze, Ninja Warriors course, indoor caving and rock climbing. Or choose a quiet time to go but keep a close eye on your child.
Occasionally the weather does play ball and it’s much easier to find things to do. However, if you need some inspiration on how to keep costs down then check out the Top 25 Frugal Days Out:
- Hold a mini sports day in your garden/park – invite some friends over and create an obstacle course, have an egg and spoon race, slow bicycle race, and a wheelbarrow race.
- Go for a picnic – make some sandwiches, take a rug, some teddy bears and a frisbee for a fun summer’s day out. Find a nice spot by a stream or river so that you can also go for a paddle.
- Go blackberry picking.
- Skim stones at the local pond or lake.
- Play outdoor table tennis – lots of parks across the country now have table tennis tables. Hire or buy some bats and balls and learn a new sport.
- Paddling pool – splash about in the local paddling pool.
- Go for a bike ride.
- Go for a scooter ride.
- Go for a ramble in the forest – get muddy, climb trees, take an I-spy book and identify plants, trees and insects.
- Scavenger hunt.
- Treasure hunt.
- Go to the beach – build sandcastles, eat ice cream, swim, body board, search rock pools or go crabbing.
- Grow a sunflower.
- Go National Trust-ing – free if you are a member. See historic homes, explore forest, garden and grounds, climb trees, have fun in adventure playgrounds. See the National Trust website for local events.
- Photoshoot – Take a camera, go out and about and teach the kids how to take photographs.
- Go to the local museum – most museums are free these days.
- Go fossil hunting.
- Go out for an ice cream sundae.
- Dry some flower petals – pick some flowers from the garden, put them in a flower press and make some art work.
- Splash about in a stream/river – get wet, play Pooh-sticks, have a duck race and feed the ducks.
- Fly a kite.
- Pitch a tent in your garden and camp overnight – build a fire, sing songs around the campfire (even if it is still daylight when you put them to bed).
- Visit Grandma and Grandpa.
- Wash the car – or even better, offer to wash your neighbour’s cars for some pocket money.
- Go fishing – take a bucket/jam jar and a net to the nearest stream/river.
If you don’t mind spending more than a fiver then check out these Top 25 Summer Days out:
- Outdoor children’s theatre – there are some excellent outdoor children’s theatres travelling the country at the moment. Near us, in south London, Sixteenfeetproductions are currently running Alice in Wonderland. Check listings near you.
- Ride on an open top tourist bus – take in the sights of your nearest city.
- Learn to roller skate – hire skates and skate through the park. If you are London based, Slick Willies hires out adult and children’s roller skates near Hyde Park for as little as £10 per day.
- National Trust – take a peek around some historic homes, run in parks, adventure playgrounds. See the National Trust website for local events.
- Rock climbing – check listings near you.
- Go on a pony/donkey ride – either at the beach or a riding school.
- Explore a castle – see local listings.
- Go to a lavender farm – run through purple fields. Excellent photo opportunities.
- Do some gardening – go to the local garden centre, buy some plants and give them a little patch of the garden to tend.
- Go swimming.
- Go Ape!
- Play crazy golf – check listings near you.
- Learn a new sport – tennis, football, diving, etc. Check local sports centres for intensive holiday classes.
- Go to the zoo.
- Go fruit picking at the local Pick-Your-Own – make crumbles, fruit muffins, cakes or jam when you get home.
- Go to a family friendly festival.
- Go to a butterfly farm – see caterpillars break out of their cocoons.
- Hire a pedalo – take a leisurely ‘peddle’ across the local lake or pond.
- Hire a boat – at the local park or take public transport (a fun event in itself) to a park in a different area.
- Go to the nearest Forestry Commission woodland – for nature-based days out where you can hire bikes, swing through the trees with Go Ape and find Julia Donaldson themed adventure trails.
- Go to a bird sanctuary.
- Go to the nearest theme park or fair.
- Go geocaching.
- Go bowling.
- Go to local children’s farm.
Over to you
So there we are. I hope you found some inspiration in this Top 100 Summer Holiday activities with kids to keep you busy over the summer holidays. Let me know if you have any other ideas to add to this list. If I get lots of suggestions perhaps we can turn this into the Top 200 Summer Holiday Activities with kids to help the army of parents all faced with the same problem.