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Monday, August 10, 2009

Keeping the kids amused during the Summer holidays

Keeping the kids amused during the Summer holidays

The Summer holidays doesn't have to be one endless drain on the bank of mum and dad - here are a few top tips for keeping your kids entertained without paying theme park style prices every day. Don't forget your camera's - Fabulous Photo Gifts can take your photo's and create a range of quality hand printed gift ideas - from mugs and mousemats to placemats and coaster. Don't forget our very popular range of boxed and wooden jigsaw puzzles - great personalised present ideas for all the family (and friends).

Life's a beach.
Are you lucky enough to live near the coast? What could be simpler that packing a picnic, gathering up buckets and spades, a couple of old racquets, maybe a kite and heading for a cheap day on the beach.
Who knows, if they're good enough, maybe they'll get an ice-cream? Don't forget to cover up with sunscreen and hats.

At the Park.
Municipal parks make a great location for some outdoor fun that's free and good for you too. Aside from any play equipment on hand, make your own fun with bats or balls, and of course a picnic. If the weather's on your side, you can while away the hours long into the evenings.
Why not try inviting another family along? The kids will enjoy all playing together and the adults can relax and chat with some 'quality time'. Make sure everyone knows it's a bring your own picnic food affair. Some parks allow bar-b-ques - check it out before you carry all the gear with you though.

Your own back garden.
Who says you have to jump in the car or walk miles when there's a perfectly good outdoors right outside your own back door?
Paddling pools are cheap and offer plenty of fun - water pistol fights etc before everyone's exhausted and lies back on the grass for a break.
Encourage eating outside with picnic food, plug in a radio and add a little 'quiet' music to the day.
For older ones into camping, pop up tents are cheap and plentiful - why not suggest an impromptu camp in the back garden?
Again, it's a great opportunity to invite other friends over for the kids and for you.

The great outdoors.
Britain is blessed with it's fair share of National Parks and smaller nature reserves / outdoor centers. If you're near one, why not make use of it? Ring the changes by visiting different ones, organise larger gatherings amongst friends or groups i.e nursery/playgroups - there's usually plenty of space.
For the older ones, get back to nature. Encourage wildlife hunts and foraging - collecting leaves or drawing plants and wildlife spotted along the way.
You'll be amazed looking back how great the day really was.

But the Great British weather doesn't allow anyone outside during the school holidays I hear you cry. No fear - we have some indoor ideas too.

Shopping centers.
You don't have to spend loads everytime you go shopping. Check local press etc for free events being put on by the larger malls - puppet shows etc are often organised to attract and entertain shoppers. Try the park and ride for a change - kids love trying the bus out.

Whilst we're on the subject of buses, during holidays, there are often bargains to be had on public transport. Why not take a tour of your local city or town by bus instead of the car? Look out for family tickets, kids go free and all day explorer type tickets. Think of inviting childrens friends along to take full advantage of the extra free travel or get together with a friend to help you shepherd your little flock around.

Schools not out for Summer.
Although jaws may initially drop, many schools run holiday clubs and workshops - kids can try their hand at anything from RC cars to cooking. Some sessions may involve a charge but they're usually quite cheap as the school will have secured party booking discounts etc.

Let the kids invite some friends over - let them stay up late with a movie marathon, games playing tournament etc.
Lay on plenty of junk food and pop and let them get on with it. Works particularly well with older children who when the suggestion of a family outing to the park is made, usually look at you like you've gone stark raving mad.
Don't forget to arrange return visits with friends parents. A few sleepovers to look forward to and the 6 weeks will go awfully quickly.

Can't cook, won't cook?
Kids love getting creative in the kitchen. Pick a cheap recipe - cookies or cakes and let them loose with a minimum of supervision (best if an adult handles the oven bit!) and a few pence for eggs and flour. Splash out on a mini icing set to extend the fun or encourage something that the whole family can eat - pizza etc.

Check local listings as very often, cinemas will run extended kids club films right through the week. Ticket prices may be lower or you may find an adult gets in free with every child. Be wary of fizzy drink and popcorn prices turning the whole trip into an expensive one - shop for bottled drinks or large packets of sweets at the local supermarket before you go.

The best bit of advice is don't try to do it all on your own. Get other friends and their families involved and try to share the partying. That way you won't be stressing about having to everything and the kids will enjoy the change of scenery as well.

Don't forget to take your camera with you on outings and trips to the park. Not only will you have plenty of pictures to remember the holidays by, but they'll also prove very useful as presents for family members who weren't able to join in the fun or perhaps grandparents who only get to hear about your amazing days out.

Fabulous Photo Gifts can take your photo's and create a range of quality hand printed gift ideas - from mugs and mousemats to placemats and coaster. Don't forget our very popular range of boxed and wooden jigsaw puzzles - great personalised present ideas for all the family (and friends).

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