Skint Dad

School's out for summer

School’s out, so now what? With a good six weeks to fill, take a read of Skint Dad's ideas on what to do this summer holidays...

It can feel like an eternity for the kids before they start back at school in September.If you’ve already found yourself running out of ideas and the budget won’t stretch to a fancy day out every week, then keep on reading.

Get sporty

Get Sporty - take the kids to the park this school holiday

Heading to the park is great fun and kids would happily play on the slides, climbing frame, and swings for hours at a time but it's not always much fun for the parents. I do try and take a book or newspaper to pass the time but I am often interrupted with calls of, 'Dad! Watch me on this!', or 'Daddy, daddy, DADDY - have you seen how fast I can go!!'

To make a day out a bit more fun for the whole family, plan to do something while you’re there. Many larger parks offer free space to play tennis or basketball; or just take rackets and a ball. Our local park also has an outdoor table tennis and shot put.

You could even take chalks to make a hopscotch, a Frisbee or pick up a rounders set from a local sports shop or even a supermarket. Shops like Argos or Poundstretcher usually sell cheap sets. If you are on a very tight budget, how about trying to make your own kite and have a run around the park with it?

In the garden

Boy digging in garden

Getting outside is an easy way to kill time and keep the children entertained. If you’ve run out of ideas while they’re outside then how about trying a few structured plans, instead of the usual football or paddling pool.

How about asking your kids to dig to Australia?! It may sound daft (which they’ll love) but will keep them busy trying to dig as far down as they can. At the same time, you could use their efforts to get rid of a few weeds or even use the area to plant a few potatoes.

Why not allow them to stay up late and do a bit of stargazing? Or, if you’re looking up, do some plane watching. There are a number of free apps you can download to help figure out what constellations you’re looking at and even what model the plane is and where it’s going.

It may rain?

Children colouring

When Wimbledon and Glastonbury are over it usually means that the good weather follows. However, sometimes the Met Office do give the bad news that August will be wet.

If you’ve had plans to get outside as much as possible and a few days of being cooped up inside were not on the agenda, there are a few things you can do with little planning.

If you want to avoid the usual DVD fest or board game marathon how about seeing who can build the largest Lego tower, or make the biggest pizza base?

Even things like making their own word searches and testing them on each other can kill a bit of time when they start to go stir crazy. Use the internet to your advantage and either look for free colouring printables, or interactive games or even look at how to do your own magic tricks.

Prepare for September

Two children reading

I do sometimes worry that six weeks without study everyday will make my kids forget everything! There is no way that I could get them to have lessons each week, but there are a few things we do to try to keep their brains ticking over.

To keep their numeracy skills active, I ask my kids to help with counting out money we’ve saved since Christmas (which they help to spend over the summer). Although the bigger coins will go in the bank, the 2ps are great for the arcades at the seaside.

In the evening before bed we read bedtime stories, or my older daughter reads to herself. Although bedtime is slightly later in the holidays, I get them in bed 20 minutes earlier and they can spend the time reading and winding down after a day of fun.

Take a day trip

Family driving happily

Whether you are having a day out close to home or planning to get away a bit further afield, make sure you do a little planning first.

Turning up to an event without pre-booking will cost you more then you need to pay. Look for packs of cereal or even in newspapers to find two for one tickets that could save you loads of money on ticket prices at London attractions or theme parks.

If you are staying local, there will likely be loads of free events on. Check your local library as they usually put on different activities or workshops, local churches also put on kid friendly things to do and I find my town has lots of music events on towards the end of summer which are all free to attend.

Whatever you get up to - enjoy the summer!