As we hit the middle of the school summer holidays, you’ll not be alone if you’re running out of ways to entertain the kids! Not to mention feeling the strain on your pocket.
But the summer can be a great time to enjoy all that’s on offer, for free, on your doorstep – in nature and with your community. We’ve got five simple ideas to help you do just that.
Ideal outdoor activities for the kids
1. Make giant bubbles
There's something so joyful and pleasing about blowing bubbles on a sunny day. Giant bubbles are even more fun and easy to make too! This is a lovely activity to do with children or groups of any age, using just a few ingredients that you might already have, or can buy cheaply. Don’t be put off by the xantham gum – the exact same quantity of cornstarch will work just as well - and you might already have some in the kitchen cupboard. Take a look at our simple instructions and How To video and get outside for some giant bubble fun in the sun!
2. Plant flowers in your street
Fancy brightening up where you live? Have you got a pair of old shoes or wellie boots? Then why not encourage the kids to get creative with nature right on your doorstep! Get them to help choose a spot that needs a little love, grab some peat-free compost and seeds and start growing your own flowers.
Choose something that grows upwards like a Petunia or a Marigold, or a Geranium or Verbana to drape down the side. If you want quick results, you could buy some plants cheaply at a supermarket or garden centre to pop in – and add some fun by painting or decorating the shoes or boots before planting.
If you really want to transform your street or area, invite the neighbours to join in and encourage them to get creative with their planting containers too. An old sink, teapot, painted food tins – the wackier the better! You might also find your neighbour’s have seeds or plants they can spare, so try asking around and posting something on Nextdoor, Facebook or WhatsApp before you head to the shops.
3. Organise a Play Street
Play is good for our minds and our bodies and it’s definitely not just for the kids. Getting both the kids and adults out for a Play Street session locally is a great way to get everyone to feel the benefits – and it’s a nice way to get to know each other better or build on connections made at The Big Lunch, too.
Our friends at Playing Out have lots of guidance and resources to help you close the road safely and organise things like signage. Then all you need to do is invite the neighbours and ask everyone to bring out games and toys for the children to enjoy. If you need a little inspiration, our Games Room is full of activity ideas to help break the ice and have fun, whatever your age!
Perfect for both sunny and rainy days!
4. Get Playful with Pip and Posy
If you’re looking for ways to entertain pre-school age children, the Pip and Posy Resource Pack is a great, free source of inspiration. Created for this years’ annual Playday, the pack includes six practical activity ideas with templates and instructions, so there’s plenty to keep you and little ones occupied.
Get crafting and make your own bunting, silly hats and bunny ears – or get cosy on a rainy day by building a den. There are also Treasure Hunt challenges to enjoy inside or outside, whatever the weather.
You could start or end your play session with an episode of the preschool series Pip and Posy on Channel 5’s Milkshake! or on demand on Sky Kids - or extend the fun by making a picnic to enjoy in the children’s home-made den!
5. Create natural suncatchers
Creating a nature suncatcher is a fun way to bring the outdoors inside, so you can explore and observe nature’s colours, shapes and details. Perfect for primary aged children, this is a nice activity to incorporate into your day, encouraging them to collect objects whilst out to play. If you have any woods nearby, they’re a great place to start scavenging - and to keep cool in the shade on a very hot day too! Gather leaves, flowers and feathers, follow our simple instructions and hang your children’s suncatchers in the window for all to see.
Whatever you’re up to this summer, we’d love to hear about it! Share your stories and pictures with us by email and on our social channels and if you fancy holding a Big Lunch, the resources in our free pack are undated, so you can come together whenever works best for you.