For adults, the perfect summer holiday scenario is 6 relaxing, sun-filled weeks; spending quality time with our beloved children and making memories. The reality is that after a few days of lie-ins and allowing the kids to watch far too much telly, everyone gets a bit bored, you’re all annoying each other, the house is a tip and you’re wondering what the heck you can do with them that’s not going to cost an arm and a leg. And it’s probably pouring with rain. Sound familiar?
Kids Covered is here with a handy guide to summer holiday activities that will not only save your sanity, but also your bank balance.
Here are 10 FREE things you can do with the kids this summer:
If you want to off-set all the cartoon-watching with a bit of culture, a trip to the museum is a great day out. With over 170 free museums across the UK, there’s bound to be one that appeals to your kids. From the brilliant Big Pit National Coal Museum in South Wales, or London’s famous Natural History Museum to the fascinating Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford (kids will love the collection of gruesome, shrunken heads!), museums are a great boredom buster and the perfect place to go on a rainy day. Be wary of the gift shop though – this is where your free day out suddenly costs you 20 quid in slime, over-priced pencils and key-rings.
2: Free Walking Tours.
“Let’s go for a walk” will often be met with groans from the kids, but a walking tour – especially somewhere new – can be really interesting and exciting. If your kids are into Harry Potter for example, there’s a free tour in London which takes you to all the locations used in the films. Most major towns and cities, including Cambridge, Oxford, York, and Bath also offer free walking tours. Be aware though - although they’re advertised as free, you are encouraged to tip your guide.
3: Summer Reading Challenge.
This is a brilliant initiative and a great way to ensure some screen-free time this summer.
The Summer Reading Challenge is the UK’s biggest free reading for pleasure event for children. The aim is to encourage kids to read any six books of their choice from their local library during the summer holidays.
Children receive special rewards each time they finish a book and there’s a certificate for everyone who completes the Challenge. Inspired by the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, this year’s theme is Space Chase. Any child taking part in the Challenge will join The Rockets, a super space family, for a thrilling mission to track down books nabbed by mischievous aliens!
Who doesn’t love a treasure hunt?! Geocaching is a great way to turn your kids into explorers and your walks into adventures. It’s great fun for all the family and takes you to places you might never have thought of.
All you need to get started is a smart phone. Download the app and register for a free account then use the app to navigate to a geocache that’s nearby. When you find one, sign and date the logbook and put it back where you found it. You can then log your find online. Some geocaches have little toys or trinkets inside. You can take what’s inside, as long as you replace it with something of equal value - so go armed with pockets full of things like foreign coins, unopened glow sticks, new plastic farm animals, keyrings, costume jewellery, small compasses, toy cars etc.
There are millions of geocaches worldwide so the fun doesn’t have to stop when you’re on holiday!
5: Free Tennis Sessions.
Hundreds of venues across the country will be opening up their courts for free this summer as part of the Big Tennis Weekends. The sessions, aimed at the whole family, include Mini Tennis, Cardio tennis, free play and loads of other fun games to participate in.
Reserve your family’s free place at https://clubspark.lta.org.uk/OpenDays
6: Free Festivals.
If you want all the festival fun but not the hefty price tag that comes with it, there are lots of free events taking place this summer across the UK, like the Gravesham Riverside Festival with headline act Liberty X, the Feel Good Festival in Rochdale where The Coral will be headlining, Youth Beatz in Dumfries where Sigma and Professor Green will be taking to the stage and Festival Too in Kings Lynn which will see the likes of Marti Pellow and Five perform.
Check out your local council’s website to see if there are any free festivals taking place near you.
7: Free Junior Park Runs:
This is another great way to get the kids outdoors and doing some exercise this summer. Don your trainers and get involved in a junior parkrun, which is a series of 2k events for children aged between 4 and 14. They’re held in areas of open space around the country and are free, safe and easy to take part in. Why not get the kids to do a run a week for the whole 6 weeks holiday and see if they can beat their own PB each time?
8: Become a Nature Detective in the Woods
The Woodland Trust website is amazing. It’s got loads of free activity sheets and templates for some fun in the woods, including how to make Giant Nature Letters, a Nature Bracelet, a minibeast search and a leaf identifier. You can even search for activities based on your child’s age; ensuring older and younger children have something age-appropriate to keep them occupied.
9: Swim Safe Sessions
Created by Swim England and the RNLI, these free one-hour open water swim sessions are for children aged 7 to 14. They’re running in 36 open water locations in England and Wales throughout the summer. The programme, run by ASA-qualified swimming teachers, includes up to 30-minutes of open water swimming, along with advice on water safety from qualified lifeguards. For the full more details go to Swim Safe.
10: Plants and Picnics at Dobbie’s Garden Centre.
Throughout July, selected Dobbie’s Garden Centres across the country will be running Little Seedlings Holiday Club. Little ones will be able to join in some crafts and games and will get the chance to plant up some picnic favourites to take home. Although it’s a free event, advanced booking is required.
About the Kids Covered App:
Kids Covered is an award-winning app for those working in childcare which can completely transform your setting.
The app calculates funding and fees and allows parents to pay at the touch of a button - taking away all the paperwork and saving everyone time. Parents must pay fees in advance – if they don’t, they can’t book their child into a session. This means childminders and nurseries will never have to chase a late payment again. And there’s more – the app can also be used to record EYFS observations. Photos and videos can be uploaded in a matter of seconds, while daily diaries and notes regarding sleeping, eating and nappy-changes can also be jotted down with ease.
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