Keeping Kids Entertained In The Summer Holidays
Well, the schools are closing up for the summer and this means kids with a lot of free time on their hands. Just planning who is going to be watching them when you’re not doing it yourself is going to be a significant task for you.
But keeping them entertained can seem a struggle. Thankfully, there are plenty of businesses and organizations set up to help you: after all the ‘problem’ of children out of school is something that happens to every parent annually!
The following tips should help you on your way to a summer with fewer tantrums and more smiling faces.
Leave them to their own devices
What do you mean this isn’t an answer! Organizing things for your kids to do will help keep their summer varied and will keep them from forming bad habits or simply getting bored.
But you shouldn’t force an activity on them every day from the start to the end of the summer holiday! Children shouldn’t have to look to their parents to organize fun, and many most certainly do not.
It’s fine to break a child’s chosen routine two or three times a week, but they’ll only resent your efforts if you constantly impose activities on them.
In fact, it may help to start the summer holiday off by letting them get bored. When you then start introducing outings and the like, they’ll probably leap at the chance to get out of the house.
Keeping kids entertained in a summer camp
American readers: bear with me on this one. Summer camp is a bit of a ‘well, duh’ option for some nations. But it’s actually quite uncommon for children to go to camp in certain countries, the United Kingdom being a prime example. This is a shame, as the US tradition basically gets things right: camp keeps your kids busy, keeps them out of your hair and teaches them life lessons and valuable people skills.
In the US, camps are themed around all kinds of relevant interests, but you’ll have to search long and hard for camps in the UK which offering anything beyond outdoor pursuits (which are ideal for most but not all).
Camp isn’t perfect by any means. A child who doesn’t enjoy camping may object for reasons more complex than being away from home. Some kids don’t thrive in this environment (and some do whilst picking up some bad habits away from your supervision).
Always ensure that your child goes camping with at least one friend, and the more the merrier! Also, consider camping yourself for a short holiday locally.
Virtually every attraction out there wants the family dollar, and you probably have some ideas about where to go and what to do. The main issue is negotiating what your kid will find fun, because nine times out of ten, they’ll hate the idea initially and have a lot of fun anyway. Contrary to what you’d think, kids generally find historical sites that connect with their school-work most interesting.
UK readers: Castles always work, but kids think they hate stately homes, because they’re taught virtually nothing about them. In practice, they’ll find exploring a place on a sunny day a lot of fun.
Try to sell a place on anything that gives it an air of mystery. Hedge mazes are big draw for most kids. Failing that, a good playground or the promise of a picnic (to a hungry stomach!) are definite winners. Swimming is another easy win, as is visiting friends and relatives (especially if they have children).
Keeping things interesting at home
With unlimited funds and unlimited time on your hands, you could give your child an incredible summer of opportunities. Thing is, I’m willing to bet you have neither of these things. By the time you’ve paid for and organized your family’s all inclusive maldives holidays, you’re probably looking for some low cost-alternatives.
Changing how you interact as a family during the holiday months is one of the cheapest ways to have fun. Have a family night every week where you all attend and enjoy a shared activity: a games night, a movie night, maybe even a book club!
A rolling games tournament where everyone tries to be the house champion for the summer can be a great way of encouraging family get togethers: play on a certain computer game, or try something more involved like Chess. Run several different tournaments on a house board, allow neighbours and visitors to join in and just see what happens!
You’ll want to encourage your kids to spend plenty of time outside with their friends and some kids will naturally gravitate towards this themselves. One great idea doing the rounds these days is to give your kids a cheap digital camera and encourage them to go out and use it.
Better still, give them a list of things to seek out when they’re snapping away and offer a prize for getting the complete list. With some creative thinking, you can keep them busy with this for most of the holiday!
Steph Wood the author of the “Keeping kids entertained in the summer holidays” is a blogger who remembers having lots of opportunities for summer fun in the past. She is currently writing on behalf of Tropical Sky, a UK-based operator who’re pushing holidays to Mauritius and other top destinations.