Get outdoors, use nature as your playground
Sometimes in life, the simple things are the best. While the kids may be longing for an expensive, adrenaline packed, sugar fueled day out at the nearest theme park, sometimes just spending a bit of time outdoors can do wonders for everyone’s wellbeing.
Whether you join an organised activity through the likes of The Woodland Trust or The National Trust (both of which have great kids trails), or find outdoor activities from local providers so that the kids are entertained while you work, there are plenty of outdoor activities to choose from. Plus, if you are working from home, a lunchtime ramble in your local park or nature reserve could be as good for your productivity levels as it is for the kids.
If you can cope with the aftermath, crafting is a fantastic way to keep the kids entertained. Need to hop on a zoom meeting? Get the craft stuff out. Off work and enjoying spending time with the kids but in need of a quiet cuppa? Get the crafts out. Need something to stop the chorus of “Muuuuuuum, I’m bored”? You guessed it, get the crafts out.
YouTube is awash with great ideas, but you’ll also find that places like Hobbycraft offer a kids craft club, with videos that they can craft along to. The lovely folks over at ToucanBox make it even easier, by sending a kids craft kit directly through your letterbox, with everything your little artists need to get crafting. If the thought of picking glitter off your floor/sofa/kids for every more is too much, check out our list of providers to find an art class near you.
Make the most of your local museum
Many families take advantage of free or cheap entry to their local museum. During the holidays, lots of museums will be running free kids workshops and activities. Money saving expert Martin Lewis has a great list of free museums nationwide - check out his website to find a museum local to you. It’s also worth having a look at your local library, which may also run crafting, reading and storytelling activities.
Team up with other families for shared childcare
If there is one thing every parent can attest to about lockdown, its the fact that it made us creative about balancing childcare and work. Thankfully, those days are over (we hope!), but the things we’ve learned live on.
One of our lovely Pebbles told us about a fantastic arrangement she had with a friend. With children of similar ages, they took it in turns to arrange play dates, with one adult overseeing the children while the other worked. They would get together to share lunch, and then swtich duties. It worked wonders for them, and it could for you! If you’re struggling to fill their time, consider looking for an organised activity in your area to give you both a break!
Keep them active with kids sports clubs
With screen time a firm favourite activity for children the world over, and a lot of time to fill during the holidays, signing them up for a sports club can get kids off their screens and give them a great outlet for any pent-up energy. Whether they have a love for swimming, football, gymnastics or multisports, many term-time clubs offer extended provision over the school break - with either intensive sessions or full-day holiday clubs to keep them busy while you work.
Who ever said there is no such thing as a free (kids) meal?
With many families struggling to balance the cost of living increases recently, finding money for an entertainment budget can be a tough call. Thankfully, many of the food chains and brands we’ve come to know and love are stepping in to keep the kids fed and watered this summer. Here’s a quick rundown of all the ones we’ve heard about (we recommend you check before visiting, as we wouldn’t want to disappoint!)
Asda cafe: Kids eat free between 25th July and 4th September - with no adult spend required. All day, every day.
Morrisons cafe: Under 16s get a free meal whenever an adult spends £4.99 in the cafe - daily until 3pm.
Dunelm Pausa: Kids can choose a mini-main, two snacks and a drink for free when accompanied by an adult spending £4.
Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Cookhouse + Pub, Table Table: Two kids under 16 years old can eat breakfast for free with every adult breakfast purchased.
Hungry Horse: Two children can claim a complimentary breakfast each when accompanied by one paying adult. Available every day between 8am-12pm.
Sizzling Pubs: Kids’ eat for £1 with every adult meal purchased Monday to Friday, between 3-7pm.
Bella Italia: Kids eat for £1 when you buy one full-price adult meal between 4-6pm Monday-Thursday.
Cafe Rouge: Kids eat for £1 when you buy one full-price adult meal - every day except Saturdays.
The Real Greek: Free kids meal when you spend £10 on and adult meal.
YO! Sushi: Kids eat for free until Sept 1st, between 3pm-5.30pm.
Don’t panic, it's not too late to find great activities for kids!
As pop diva Kylie Minogue once wisely sang, “It's never too late, we've still got time”. And, in the case of kids' activities, never a truer word was spoken.
Though it is easy to assume that all the good activities will be pre-booked, the reality is that there are loads of providers out there who still have places, have opened up new ones, or are just hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
Chat to your kids, find out what they are interested in doing, and encourage them to break out of their comfort zone and try something new. Then hit up our activities search engine and get booking.