The long summer break from school can prove expensive if keeping your children entertained involves lots of trips to tourist attractions, cafes and holiday clubs!
Even excursions to free places in the summer can still involve petrol, eating out and souvenirs, not to mention the hassle factor.
Ideally, the British weather will be kind and children can have lots of (free) fun in their own backyards and gardens. But how can you attract them away from electronic gadgets and from under your feet?
Build a Tray Garden
If you don’t have any old-fashioned tea trays, biscuit tin lids are handy for this. Task your children to create a mini garden of their own, with soil, grass, twig trees, “rock gardens” from stones, tiny flowers and even lolly stick swings and slides.
Regularly Feed the Birds
One way to keep children of all ages entertained in their own garden or backyard is to attract as many feathered visitors as possible.
One of the advantages of this fun activity for children this summer is it’s not weather dependent! Though the birds are outside, your kids can enjoy watching their antics from the house. In fact, it’s likely children can enjoy seeing far more birds if they are sitting quietly near to windows.
To get as many birds to visit as possible, buy peanuts for birds and various types of bird feeders. (Make sure the kids know these are bird peanuts and not a snack for them!) These are a good idea as nuts for birds are universally popular with a lot of different species. Armed with a checklist, website, book, paper and felt pens, your children can enjoy recording which types of birds they see and can keep a tally.
Buy good quality bird seed to be sure the project is a success, then let the young ones fill the feeders themselves and take responsibility for keeping them clean and stocked.
Do A Bug Hunt
Small children are fascinated by tiny wiggling or flying creatures! Give them a sheet with pictures and names, and set them off on a bug hunt in your yard or garden. (Ask them not to bring their “finds” in to show you, of course!)
If you have a larger garden or yard, and a few garden toys, you could create an obstacle course (keeping safety in mind) and set the children time challenges. It’s amazing how many times they will happily whizz around it, especially if you change the course, challenges and prizes daily.