Make the most of the summer holidays

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The summer holidays are finally upon us and there’s plenty of fun to be had.

It can be easy to spend a fortune keeping the kids busy, so here are my top ten budget-friendly ideas:

1. Cooking & baking

Cooking is a great activity for children, so include your kids in the daily preparation of meals whenever you can. Baking is brilliant fun too, and it also creates something for a mid-morning or afternoon treat, so look up some simple recipes to do with the kids. They can also decorate biscuits or cupcakes after they’ve made them, too.

2. Build a fairy / fantasy garden

You can create all sorts of miniature gardens with your children and they will get hours of fun playing with them. Use items that you already have in your garden (like pots) or find containers from your recycling that you can decorate. Build your garden using rocks, leaves and twigs to bring everything together. You can decorate it all with paint and glitter, and use lolly sticks to make mini fences etc. The opportunities are endless, and once your kids get started, their imaginations will go wild.

3. Photography - make a summer board

If you have a simple digital camera, or even the camera on your phone, let your children use it (or their own if they have one) to take a photo to represent each day of their summer holiday. Print a batch out each week and add them to a photo board to make a pictorial collage of their summer holiday.

4. Play dates with friends

Your children are bound to miss their friends through the summer holidays, so make plans for them to meet up. Invite their friends over for play dates and they’ll probably keep themselves busy for a couple of hours, which takes the pressure off you for a bit. If that seems too much, then meet up in a local park for a runabout instead.

5. Picnics

Whether in your garden or a local park, by a river or in the woods, there are loads of lovely places to enjoy eating outdoors together in the warm summer weather. Get the kids involved in making the picnic too, as that creates an extra activity for them.

6. Go for a nature walk

Head out to some local woodlands for a nature ramble. Take a magnifying glass and see how many mini-beasts your children can find. They could also collect different types of leaves or flowers that they find on the walk and bring them home to make a collage, or add them to a miniature fairy garden.

7. Make an obstacle course

If you have the garden space, use simple items to create an obstacle course for your children to race around. You could do this in the park, too.

8. Go to the library and read books together

Adding in some reading time to each day of the summer is a great way to give your kids some down time. Take trips to the library to get new books each week. You could even have a mini book club using different themes every week.

9. Water play

Simple water play is not to be underestimated, and the summer gives you extra chances for your children to splash about while the sun is shining. Get a paddling pool out for them to play in, or simply fill up buckets of water, and find some pots and toys for your children to play with. Children love watering the garden too, so let them be in charge of taking care of your vegetables or plants by making sure they get enough water in warm weather.

10. Arts and crafts

It’s worth investing in some simple craft items like glue, paint, paper and scissors, so that they’re on hand for rainy days. Craft activities are also great on sunny days, as you can do some really messy play outside.

Jo Murricane is a freelance writer and blogger, based in Leeds. Read all about her food and lifestyle investigations on her blog, jo-blogs.co.uk.