Summer Family Activities

Date: 25 Jun 2015

Summer Family Activities

Although we now have a variety of toys and gadgets that children (and adults!) love to play with, it’s still important to find activities to keep children physically active, engaged and stimulated. There are many activities out there that are fun for all the family – you just have to use your imagination and get creative.

Here are some ideas that you and your family can experience – you’ll be pleased to know that they’re all free or of minimal cost.

Cooking and baking

Cooking and baking with children is a perfect opportunity for great conversation, while also teaching language and reading skills; hand-eye coordination; and most of all, creating childhood memories of fun family time. Through fun in the kitchen, children also begin to develop mathematical skills including learning to weigh and measure and also become young scientists, as they mix different colours, add ingredients and see food transform from liquids to solids. There are plenty of dishes and exciting food that you can make in the kitchen with your little ones and while you’re doing it, you can also teach them about healthy food and the importance of a balanced diet. You can bake home-made bread (it tastes and smells delicious!) or cupcakes and puddings for all of the family - the options are endless.

Check out our recipes section for some scrumptious baking ideas that are perfect for kids:

It’s also fun to get your children involved in preparing and cooking the meal for the evening. They’ll feel a sense of pride seeing what they’ve produced and it will inspire them to eat the healthy food that they’ve cooked.

Make food fun by being creative with different shapes and colours – try turning your pizza dough pink and into a heart shape – it’s often the little things that children will enjoy.

Make the most of your community

Often, there are many events taking place in your local community that are suitable for all the family. Check in shop windows, the local paper or online for free events in your area you’ll be surprised at what’s on. There are also plenty of museums and galleries in cities that are free to enter – they are great days out for educating your children in a fun way and they often have events happening within the museum.

Here is a list of some museums across the UK that you may want to visit with your family:

• National History Museum – London: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/

• Science Museum – London: http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/

• Discovery Museum – Tyne and Wear: http://www.twmuseums.org.uk/discovery.html

• National Railway Museum Shildon – Shildon, Co Durham: http://www.nrm.org.uk/

• The Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences – Cambridge: http://www.sedgwickmuseum.org/

• House of Marbles – Devon: http://www.houseofmarbles.com/

• Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery – Plymouth: http://www.plymouth.gov.uk/museumpcmag.htm/

• Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery – Bristol: http://www.bristol.gov.uk/page/leisure-and-culture/bristol-museum-and-art-gallery

• Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery – Birmingham: http://www.bmag.org.uk/

• Coventry Transport Museum – Coventry: http://www.transport-museum.com/

• Museum of Science and Industry – Manchester: http://www.mosi.org.uk/

• World Museum Liverpool – Liverpool: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/wml/index.aspx

Visit your local library

This may sound a little unusual but libraries are full of activities! Many libraries have children’s areas where they can play, read books, listen to stories or practice their colouring and drawing. It’s a great way to spend a few hours and best of all – it’s completely free! Having a fun experience in a library will encourage children to read more; they may even want to go again. This activity is perfect for rainy days too.

Get active

Getting active doesn’t have to be a chore, it can be a great bonding session for the family and as we know, it’s important to keep our children fit and healthy from a young age. A simple ball game in the park along with a healthy picnic can make all the difference while a family game of rounders is always fun and really gets your energy and teamwork flowing. If you want something a bit more adventurous, why not take a bike ride around your local park or area. You and your children will have lots of fun and it will give them the chance to practice their bike riding skills as well as keeping fit. Try to check out the whole of the park - many parks come with history and there are often museums or old buildings that you can visit for free on the park grounds – they’re always worth a look around!

If it’s raining then why not go for a swim! There are many benefits to swimming with your child and it can be an exciting and enriching experience for everyone involved. Swimming teaches water safety and is great for their physical and mental health. It also promotes bonding and builds your child's strength and coordination, developing their natural learning skills.

Gardening

Children love to copy their parents and gardening is a great activity to encourage your child’s natural interest and curiosity, which is crucial to developing an appreciation of the world around them. For younger children, gardening activities can be centred on understanding different textures of natural materials and the impact of caring and nurturing. For older children, teaching them how to grow flowers and then letting them care for the flowers themselves is really valuable - your child will feel a sense of pride and they’ll gain knowledge on how to take care of things. You could also allow them to grow their own vegetable patch - it will inspire them to eat healthy fruit and veg if they have grown them.

Arts, crafts and board game

As the saying goes - there's no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing but sometimes, you may decide that a little time at home would be helpful. Arts, crafts and board games are excellent activities for when you're staying indoors. Collect random things from around the house such as cereal boxes, empty milk bottles, jars and toilet roll tubes and have a competition on who can make the best artistic creation or have a puppet show – you may even find that you can use the creations around the house. Board games can be fun too – they will teach your children how to concentrate, take it in turns and that it’s okay to not win all of the time.

Family activities don’t have to be expensive, you just need to use your imagination to create an activity that all of the family will love. Introducing your children to useful skills at a young age such as cooking, gardening, reading, writing and learning will prepare them for later on in their life. The more enjoyable you make the activities, the more they will want to do it.