How to Survive the Summer Holiday

Family paddling in the sea at the beach.
For many parents, the 6 week summer holiday seems daunting. So many parents feel the pressure to make the most of every single second of their time with their child and to be constantly busy and spending a fortune on days out. I can assure you that there simply isn’t the need and I’m sure that your child is just happy to be on holiday from school and enjoy a break and an opportunity to play with their toys, their family and their friends. When I was a teacher, I liked to have a couple of busy days immediately after breaking up to burn off the end of term adrenalin and excitement but once that was done I had to just chill out. I was exhausted and many of your children will be too.

Don’t Fill Every Moment

Despite the self imposed pressure you may feel, you really don’t need to fill every moment of your child’s six week holiday with activity. Your child needs to rest, relax, unwind and recover from a tough school year. They need a good break to prepare them for the next one so that they are ready to learn. Now, depending on your child’s age, chilling in the garden with a book may not be on their agenda but the location is a good place to start. Giving your child time to relax with some days at home each week just playing with their toys, doing some arts and crafts and playing in the garden will be perfect for helping your child recover. Remember they don’t have much time to just play during a school week so this will be a novelty for them to enjoy.


Let Your Child Be Bored

This works nicely with the point I have made above. Once the novelty of free play has worn off and the structure and routine of school is suddenly missed boredom can be the best thing for your child as it can lead to inspiration, development of their imagination and creative play.


However, if your child tends to lay around whinging when bored rather than self inspiring, you may have to help them out a bit by giving them a selection of materials and asking them to create something with them. You can play on their interests or encourage them to try something new. Some suggestions are listed below:
  • Give them some ingredients and ask them what they can bake (supervised/with age appropriate support).
  • Provide your child with a mixture of Lego bricks to create a new model from their imagination.
  • Set up some sports equipment and encourage them to create an obstacle course or a fitness routine. They could time everyone in your family and you could have a prize for the quickest time of the week.
  • Give your child some random items and ask them to create a treasure hunt and draw a map for a family member to use to find the items.
  • Write some words for your child to include in a story (try to make them linked to a genre eg. an adventure story).
  • Set the art supplies out of the table with some art books from the library and let them be creative for a morning.
  • Give your child a local map and ask them to plan a route for a family walk/bike ride.


Find the Freebies

Hopefully there are lots of free activities happening in your local area to keep your children happy. If you receive a copy of Primary Times there may be ideas in there. If not ask around, check online and find your local Families Online Facebook group to see what they suggest.


Picnic and Games – We live near the beach so with the weather as glorious as it is at the moment this is a great way to keep children happy for free (or maybe the cost of an ice cream). Pack a picnic, a ball and meet up with friends to spend a day having lots of fun. If you don’t live near the beach then a river, woodland or even your local park is a great place to head to for some outdoor free fun.


Splash Park – If the temperatures do head into the low 30’s, as is forecast for next week, then the cooling waters at the local splash park or paddling pool will be a welcome break from the heat for children and adults alike. If you don’t have one nearby then set up your own in the garden with a paddling pool, water slide and sprinkler (if you aren’t in a hosepipe ban area).


Libraries – When the sun gets a bit too much, check out your local library for free activities over the summer. Our local libraries offer everything from storytime for younger children to Lego club, arts and craft activities to spy club. They offer lots of fun for a range of ages and interests and it is all free.


Outdoor Fun – When you have had enough of falling over each other inside head outside for a change of scenery. Go for a walk or a bike ride, build dens or go pond dipping, head to the seaside for a spot of crabbing or shell collecting, go on a scavenger hunt or have a go at geo-caching.


Hobbycraft – If you have a store near you then check out their summer craft programme which is free. Our nearest Hobbycraft is offering everything from slime making to painting your own ceramics – all for free!



If you have membership for a local attraction then try to make the most of the money you have spent and visit once a week or so over the summer holidays. You could meet up with friends who also have a pass so your children have some buddies to play with and you can have a chat. Take a picnic and make a day of it. If you don’t have a membership this may be the time to invest in one. We have membership of a local country park which keeps us busy but there are so many options around – zoos, farm parks, leisure centres, theme parks, the National Trust. There is something for everyone.


Summer Holiday Activities

Give your child the opportunity to learn something new, make new friends and improve their confidence and independence by signing them up to a summer club (ideally with their input so they will enjoy themselves). I hasten to add that this doesn’t suit all children and would have been my idea of misery as a very shy child who loved to sit at home or on the beach reading a book. If, however, your child would relish the opportunity then have a look around at what is on offer. There seems to be a great range out there in our local area from languages to sports to arts. This idea may suit particularly well if you have to work and you have limited or no childcare support.


Summer Holiday Days Out and About

Of course the summer holidays are also the perfect time to spend some money and go on some family day trips in between days at home and meeting up with friends. There are so many places to visit that the list really is endless.   There are some great offers about and if you travel by train to London you can get 2 4 1 on attractions. If money is a little tight then there are lots of summer fairs, carnivals and events on that are minimal cost and many museums are free or low cost too. You could visit the Bournemouth Air Show at the end of the summer which is completely free and lots of fun.


Whatever you get up to over the summer holiday I hope that you enjoy yourselves and don’t forget, on the days when you want to pull your hair out take a deep breath and raid the chocolate cupboard/open the wine! Let me know your summer plans in the comments below.

Worrying about 6 weeks to entertain your children? Read my how to Survive the Summer Holidays Guide.

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  1. Love this, fantastic ideas. We do lots of play dates, park trips and arts and crafts at home, as well as movie afternoons and football in the garden x

  2. I’ve always been a firm believer in not over-scheduling your child’s time. Giving them time to be ‘bored’ also gives them the opportunity to daydream and find ways to entertain themselves.

  3. Great tips, these! We’ve got 7.5 weeks of summer holiday this year here in Scotland, and we’re loving it. We have down days and adventure days, rainy days and beach days. A good mix. 🙂

  4. Great article. You are right about finding the freebies, as the costs of a school holiday season can really add up x

  5. Brilliant ideas, I like letting my kids have free play and being bored. Mine enjoy being able to chill out, it also helps them enjoy the days when we do stuff together.

  6. I have to work a fair amount of the holidays although we are away at the beginning and at the end. With a sprinkling of days out in between. Good tips it really does g have to cost a fortune xx

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