After a long winter, summer is almost here and it’s the perfect time to start planning some outdoor activities.
When kids come along, leaving the house can feel like a strategic, military operation. I always find that I end up flailing around the house for ages on a sunny weekend wondering what to do and by the time we get out, it feels like we’ve wasted precious sunshine!
This year, I’m determined not to let this happen! I’ve been very organised (pats myself on the back) and made a list of ideas for fun days out, along with a few notes on the side of what we’ll need to pack for each location. This will (hopefully) ensure we’re not running around like headless chickens or procrastinating for hours before leaving the house.
Join the National Trust
A family pass for the National Trust is a great gift (especially to yourselves!). You get access to hundreds of locations across the UK so wherever you live, you’re sure to be close to some National Trust gems. Even if you just get an individual pass, you’ll get free access in all the National Trust car parks. It’s also perfect if you’re on holiday in the UK, as there will always be things to do on your temporary doorstep.
There’s a wealth of picturesque, picnic friendly gardens, child friendly tea-rooms and historic treasures perfect for bringing history to life for your children. There’s usually always well maintained toilets and facilities too - especially handy when you have kids. Earmark all of the locations closest to you and next time the sun comes out, go enjoy some of the best indoor and outdoor sites in your county.
Indoor crafts doesn’t sound half as appealing as outdoor crafts, for obvious reasons! If you’ve got a small garden or patio, or any outdoor space, setting up some fun crafts is always a hit with the kids. Let them play with all the things you’d prefer they kept out of the house, like papier-mâché, PVA glue, giant chalk sticks and poster paint. Set it all up on a little table or on easels and let them entertain themselves as you sip on a nice cool orange juice (by this I mean a G&T).
A Day at the Coast
We’re lucky enough to have a beach on our doorstep, but I remember what it was like when we didn’t live anywhere near the sea. Getting there seemed like a huge mission and we had to pack everything but the kitchen sink! Living close to the beach and going more often made me realise that you actually don’t need that much to enjoy a day out by the coast.
Strong sun cream, one huge beach blanket, a couple of towels, snacks and water in a cool bag, a beach tent (for babies or small toddlers), a windbreak, swimming cossies for everyone and a change of clothes for the kids. Done! Keep these items (apart from snacks) all in one giant beach bag you can just chuck in the car when the mood and the weather takes you!
If it’s easier, check out your closest beaches that have toilets close by and cafes in case of rain. Or you could just all huddle in the tent till it passes! Don’t forget your National Trust pass for the car park if there is one!
Dessert in the Park
The idea of a picnic in the park sounds so nice, but can soon descend into a messy, crumb fueled hell coupled with cold food. Why not have your lunch at home and get everyone to the park for an ice cream instead?
If you’re determined to have your picnic and eat it, don’t complicate things. Just take a large blanket, some sun cream, a cool bag with water or juice, sandwiches for everyone and maybe, just maybe, some carrot sticks and a pot of hummus. If you don’t have time to make the food, stop at the shop on the way, leave one adult in the car with the kids and the other to do a supermarket sweep. You’ll be at the park in no time!
If you have children that are of toddler age, you’ll know they need entertaining throughout their waking hours. Finding activities to keep them amused will save you from having to lug their favourite bulky toys everywhere! Some ideas are:
- Building a sandcastle, a fort, sand animals or an open-top car
- Jumping over tiny waves
- Collecting shells
- Throwing or rolling balls, boules style (tennis balls are lighter and better for small children)
- Sand hopscotch
- Sand angels
- A beach treasure hunt (how many items can they collect in their bucket? Give them a task of things to find)
Park or Garden
- Making daisy chains
- Reading their favourite book aloud or acting it out
- Outdoor coloured chalk (if you’re in your own garden)
- Blowing party bubbles
- The guessing game, I spy
- Counting the dogs you see or giving them new names
- Throwing or rolling balls, boules style (tennis balls are lighter and better for small children but just watch out for friendly dogs who will want to get involved!)
What are your favourite activities for you and your family to do in summer, or where are the places you love going together? We’d love to hear your recommendations for fun days out so let us know on Instagram or Facebook.