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Because family life matters

Free things to do this summer with your children

The summer holidays are upon us and many of you may be thinking, “What on earth can I do with my children that won’t cost an arm and a leg?”

We have put together a list of free things to do with your children and another list of online resources that you can visit to find out more about free/cheap days out in the UK. We hope that you find them helpful.

Making memories together as a family is so important and children remember these times that you have spent with them well into adulthood. Rob Parsons, founder of Care for the Family, says that when he asks parents to tell him what made the memories of their family life sweet, sooner or later they’d start a sentence with, “We always…”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful,  in the years ahead, for your children to reminisce about the days when they made a tent out of sheets in the lounge and camped out with you, or had sand castle competitions at the beach?

Here are just a few ideas for things you may wish to try this summer:

Nature lovers

Looking at the pond life
  • Go to the park
  • Sit outside and look at the stars. Take snacks, drinks and blankets
  • Walks in the forest or on the beach
  • Take a walk in the woods
  • Plant seeds from something you’ve eaten, such as apples or watermelons
  • Take your dog to a dog park or find out about local dog agility classes
  • Pick berries together and make a pie
  • Pick wild flowers and press them in wax paper
  • Go birdwatching
  • Collect leaves and try to identify them online

Never sitting still

oung English Boy Dressed in Suit Wearing Jetpack
  • Go for a bike ride together
  • Play hopscotch
  • Have a water balloon fight
  • Jump on a trampoline together
  • Play tennis: lots of parks now run free tennis sessions
  • Have a sandcastle competition at the beach
  • Kick a football in the garden or park
  • Help your child practice a sport he or she enjoys
  • Go to a free event for kids’ at your local leisure centre
  • Go fishing
  • Visit your local leisure centre: they often have free day activities
  • Visit your local leisure centre pool: many have free family swims sessions
  • Exercise together
  • Have a picnic outside or on the living room floor
  • Watch your child playing a sport, or take him or her to see a friend’s game
  • Visit a skate park together

Learn and grow

Father and daughter using tablet
  • Conduct cool science experiments together (see http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/experiments.html for ideas)
  • Rearrange their bedroom furniture or redecorate it (a lick of paint goes a long way)
  • Teach your child how to cook their favourite meal
  • Teach your child how to play a new game such as chess
  • Style your child’s hair and let them style yours. Teach them how to braid
  • Share stories about when you were a child
  • Visit the library
  • Visit a free public museum or art gallery
  • Volunteer together
  • Bake a cake together
  • Teach your child how to ride a bike
  • Let your child teach you about something he or she knows or does well
  • Make up a silly song together
  • Teach one another some new dance moves
  • Make a meal together and invite friends around
  • Visit a nursing home and interview residents about what your town was like when they were young
  • Teach your child a song you sang when you were a child

Crafty kids

Fun activities for 3 years old
  • Make breakfast together, such as pancakes in different shapes and sizes
  • Draw on the pavement or fences with chunky chalks
  • Make your own treasure map
  • Make a family tree
  • Make your own memory game
  • Scrapbook together
  • Help your child send an email to a grandparent, aunt, or uncle
  • Write encouraging letters to each other and leave them around the house
  • Draw caricatures of each other
  • Write a story together
  • Make homemade play-doh (http://theimaginationtree.com/2012/04/best-ever-no-cook-play-dough-recipe.html)
  • Make necklaces out of coloured pasta shapes and string
  • Make swords out of rolled up newspaper, and have a pretend sword fight
  • Build something out of recycled items such as toilet paper rolls and plastic bottles
  • Make a slideshow of your favourite digital photographs
  • Make bookmarks
  • Create memory boxes together to put your child’s favourite pictures, artwork, and mementos

Just for fun

Water Fight!
  • Camp in the back garden: roast some marshmallows whilst drinking hot chocolate around a fire pit (or make a tent out of sheets and put it up in the lounge if it’s raining outside)
  • Watch a movie together with popcorn in your front room
  • Take turns reading to each other in new places such as at the beach or by a pond
  • Make ice cream sundaes or smoothies together
  • Wash your car together whilst dancing to your favourite songs
  • Paint your nails together, or have a spa night with facials and foot spas
  • Look through old photo albums together
  • Watch your child’s favourite TV show or movie together with popcorn
  • Play a video game together
  • Do a puzzle
  • Play a board game
  • Pull out a box of toys they haven’t played with for a while
  • Build lego towers together
  • Play shops, restaurant or ice cream stand together
  • Have a tea party
  • Play I Spy
  • Race matchbox cars
  • Make life-size drawings of each other on the back of some old wrapping paper sheets

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