Summer is on its way and with it the long stretch of summer holidays and the twin challenges of entertaining bored kids and getting them outdoors! Check out the ideas below that may help to distract them from the ubiquitous world of Play-stations and such other infernal time wasters.
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Get them out on nature walks, whether it’s in a local park or further afield. Encourage them to look at it as a field trip. Explore the different types of trees, bushes and flowers and buy them a book to help to learn what each one is. If you’re heading further afield, take a picnic hamper or even head out for a day at the seaside. Older children might be reluctant at first but they’ll soon come round. They’ll learn something completely new too – all about fresh air!
Kids of all ages love theme parks. The lure of traditional funfair rides, helter-skelters, mini-golf circuits and boating lakes never fails to raise a smile. Throw in the adrenalin thrill of the roller coasters and you’re guaranteed fun for all the family. For a variation on a theme try a safari park. Keep your eyes open for offers and discounts for theme parks as most do offer them and free return visits too. As a cultural alternative, lots of galleries and museums offer free entry all year round.
Star in Your Own Movie
Young people are becoming more inventive and creative, particularly with access to websites like YouTube. Encourage your teenagers to write their own script and put together a short film or documentary. How about ‘a day in the life’ theme or a tour of their local haunts to create a short promotional film for their home town or village? At the very least they’ll have fun and you really will be able to see what they’ve been up to.
Make a Scrapbook
Both younger children and teenagers will love the creativity of creating a scrapbook. Reminisce over old photos and create a montage of great memories, such as birthday parties and holidays. Send them out on a photography day to capture new experiences. A great way of holding their attention is to create a family tree through the generations; learning about Great Grandpa Joe and his adventures in the early twentieth century will fascinate everyone.
Learn something new
Not all kids love adventure holidays and boisterous activities. Some are much more comfortable in quieter occupations. Whether it’s cookery lessons, language skills or learning to play the guitar, the summer holidays are a great time to step out of your comfort zone and do something different. You may discover a budding rock star in your midst.
You’ll normally find plenty of summer programs offering young people the chance to learn a new sport. Choose from football, tennis, horse-riding or more adventurous sports such as abseiling, rock climbing or trekking. If they excel in a particular discipline you may find them keen to take it up as a more regular hobby. If your budget stretches to it, pack them off on a holiday at one of the specialized summer camps. They’ll be living it up in somewhere like the French Alps and you’ll be able to relax.
If adventure camps either in the UK or overseas are beyond your budget, then a fun alternative is camping out in the back garden with a group of friends. To really create the atmosphere, try it for a whole weekend, English summer permitting of course!
Teenagers who support various causes on social media sites like Facebook may benefit from volunteering to help these issues close to their heart. A sponsored swim or walk for example is an easy way of raising funds and getting some exercise in the process.
The summer holidays can be a daunting prospect for parents but a little creative thinking opens up a whole raft of ideas to keep young people occupied and off their computer games. And that has to be a good thing!
Author: Kate Smedley seeks out ideas for summer programs to get through the school holidays.