It’s the time of year which every child across the land looks forward to – the long summer holidays! Only Christmas rivals the delight of the school gates shutting for the next six weeks. Although summer is a fantastic way for families to spend quality time together, it is also a time that fills many a parent’s hearts with trepidation. Thoughts of “how will I cope?” spring to mind. There is also the inconvenience of work, most people in employment don’t have the luxury of taking six weeks off work unless you are a teacher!
The summer holiday gives everyone the chance to rest and recuperate. It is well documented that the pressure children are under at school is immense, they are tested at every opportunity, and the early mornings and after-school activities can take their toll, resulting in grumpiness and tiredness. Lazy mornings during the summer give children the opportunity to get their full allocation of sleep, how much sleep kids should get depends on their age, activity levels, and the child as an individual. There are guidelines according to age, but there are considerable variants. Children need varying amounts of sleep according to life stages. If they are entering a growth spurt, more sleep is necessary which is one of the reasons why teenagers appear to want to sleep 24/7!
Unlike older people, to relax children do need activity. It is good to be bored on occasions as long as there is lots of opportunity and stimulation around them. Being bored actually stimulates the creative nature of children.
Most people book a holiday during the summer holidays, which will break up the weeks, but you still have a few weeks to fill. The remainder of this article will look at ways of entertaining your children through the summer break.
Free activities in your local area
Often local towns and villages put on free festivals and activities during the summer holidays. Try to look for a program of events and book your days around them. Perhaps your town has a free puppet show at 2 pm in the market square, you could pack up a lunch to eat in your local park, followed by the show, ice cream on the way home and that’s one day ticked off the calendar!
Visit your local library and see what events they have over the summer. Often libraries have storytelling sessions followed by a craft session, visits by local authors, and summer read schemes.
Some country parks and stately homes are run by the council allowing free access in the summer. Privately owned visitor attractions also have a couple of days allowing free access.
Arts and crafts
Before the summer break starts, try to collect a stash of items that can be used for arts and crafts. Cardboard boxes, scraps of wool, silver foil, paper, pens, and paints can all inspire creations. Don’t forget plenty of glue and sticky tape!
Some art and crafts ideas could include creating homes for dolls, making pom creatures, painting and drawing. Your child will probably make their own plans as they have a tendency to have oodles of imagination.
Games and jigsaws
Remember all those games and jigsaws your child got for Christmas, only to be played with once? Summer is the ideal time to dust them down and get playing with them. Long lazy days mean that jigsaws are likely to be completed in time before bed and the extra-long game of Monopoly can be accommodated!
Games and jigsaws are perfect for rainy days.
Go to the beach
If you live fairly close to the beach – fantastic! If not get the train and make it part of the fun. Lakes are also lovely to visit in the summer. A trip to the beach can be as expensive or cheap as you like. Head to a more deserted spot, well away from the amusements to do some beachcombing and sculptures. Pack all your loose change and divide it between your children for a fun hour or two in the amusements – making it clear that once the money is spent it’s gone!
A packed lunch will make the trip more affordable and pack a big picnic rug to prevent sand in the sandwiches!
Try to create fabulous memories for your children’s summer holidays. If you try to get out of the house once a day, even for just a short walk the summer will be less likely to be filled with squabbles and grumpiness. Children are naturally inquisitive and they love to learn and experience new things.
Have fun and have a wonderful summer!