It’s that time of year once again, and parents are faced with the daunting task of entertaining the kids for the next six weeks. Keeping children occupied for such a prolonged period is hard enough in itself, but doing it within a budget can often mean one of a) an unhappy, bored brood of children or, b) a heavily depleted bank balance. With that in mind, The Hut has come up with seven fool-proof ways to keep the kids entertained this summer without having to blow your budget.
A Trip to the Cinema
Who doesn’t hold fond memories of going to the cinema to watch the latest blockbuster kids’ movie when they were younger? Yes, the cinema may have been slightly less expensive back then, but this summer will see the release of some of the year’s finest children’s films—from The BFG to The Secrets Life of Pets and Ice Age: Collision Course—and parents can make the most of the great summer special offers for children and families. A humble trip to the cinema can also easily be transformed into a special day out, whether you take a stroll along the beach or around the park afterwards, head out for a family meal, or nab some of the free postcards from the cinema and write letters to friends and family when you return home.
The British summertime doesn’t quite guarantee six weeks of glorious sunshine, so prepare for those inevitably rainy summer days with some fun indoor DIY crafts. Whether you are making an animal-themed piggy bank from old pop bottles, a colourful wind chime using your old baked bean tins, or creating wacky new bow-tie designs using pasta and paints, spend the summer inspiring your little one to get creative with objects from everyday life. For more ideas of things to do on a rainy day, discover our recent post on that very subject.
Baking can be a fun, if sometimes mucky, summer activity for children, parents and grandparents. If you want to keep mess down to a minimum, The Hut recommends cupcake decorating as a creative, colourful and engrossing kitchen activity for bored gangs of children. From classic icing sugar to all your sprinkles and hundreds and thousands, cupcake decorating allows for plenty of family fun without any cake mixture incidents.
Underused and often undervalued, your local library offers an invaluable trove of resources to keep kids busy this summer. Offering a wealth of books, DVDs, audiobooks, CDs and more all for free, most libraries also host summer-long schemes encouraging children to read more, more widely, as well as to take up new hobbies with regular clubs. Find your local library here.
In a similar vein, museums can often be thought of as catering mainly towards adults. Instead, most museums regularly hold children-focused exhibitions alongside their main exhibitions and many of these exhibitions can be accessed at no cost—meaning free, engaging, educational summer days out for children and parents. What’s more, museums around the UK are hosting various schemes encouraging children to discover their local museums. In Cambridge, for example, a seasonal scheme called Summer at the Museums will involve everything from storytelling and play-based activities for younger children to hands-on challenges for all ages. Find out what’s going on at your local museum via your council website.
Transform the Garden
If you are fortunate enough to own one, encourage the kids to get out of the house and into the garden this summer. The garden presents a huge range of outdoor activities for parents and children, from picnics and planting to waterfights and sports games. One great way to absorb childrens’ attention is by transforming the garden into a fantasy land of fun. Whether you want to turn your garden into a mini festival with camping equipment, speakers and some refreshments, or into an at-home allotment by planting a variety of fruit and vegetables, you can be sure the little ones will be more than happy to get on board and allow their little imaginations to run riot.
Not everybody has a garden, but most of us do have access to a local park. Away from the climbing frames and goal posts, there are many summer activities that can be unlocked thanks to the local park. One fun activity that kids love and doesn’t cost a penny is the Big Butterfly Count; all you need to do is print off this handy identification chart, pick a comfortable sun-drenched spot and identify butterflies as they pass you by. You could even turn this into a competition with a prize for whoever identifies the most variety of butterflies or the highest number of butterflies. The Big Butterfly Count runs from 15th July until 7th August and you can find out more on the project’s official website.
Image property of iStock