If you are a grandparent you may find that you are expected to become a childminder during the long summer holidays and while we love having the little darlings, they have to be kept amused whatever the weather.
It is always lovely to take a trip to a theme or adventure park and spend the day frightening them and yourself by riding on the scariest rides and daring each other to spin high in the air on a roller coaster, or plunge into the water on a log flume. But days out like these can be very expensive with the high price of entry and all the extras of food and treats.
Here are a few ideas of how to enjoy days in and out together without it costing a fortune.
This can be one of the best outings ever if the weather is good. A bucket and spade, a fishing net and dry clothes to go home in can make this the perfect way to have fun together. As long as you have a good supply of food and drink and of course, sunblock. Dig a big hole and watch it fill with water, go crabbing, or just splash about in the shallows. Look for shells and pop the bubbles on the seaweed: life can be a beach.
To find some of the best beaches visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/beautiful-beaches-near-you
A walk in the woods
Things happen in woods. Fairies and elves may hide in the hollow trees, trees can be climbed and flowers picked. Look for signs of animals living under the ground or high in the foliage. If you do a bit of research first you can draw up a check list of what can be found and identified. Plot a path into the forest and image you are Hansel and Gretel, Robin Hood or a woodland fairy house.
For more ideas go to www.forestry.gov.uk/fairytales
Play in the park
Pack a picnic, grab a bat and ball and head for the park. When you have done the swings and slide (if there is one), organise a football game or Frisbee or any game that involves tiring them out while you keep score from the picnic rug. Let the children help you pack the picnic so that they know what they are going to be eating. This is all part of the fun, and a proper picnic basket or bag with everything packed neatly makes it more fun. If they are really little, suggest they take a soft toy and stage a teddy bears picnic. If you are really involved you can sing the song if you can remember it.
To find your nearest park visit www.goplacestoplay.org.uk
Stay at home
If it is raining, which it often seems to be during the summer school holidays, here are some ideas to keep them occupied indoors.
Put on a show
Get out the dressing up box and produce a summer spectacular. Let each child choose what they are going to perform or construct a play around a story they know well. Make sure they know that you are in charge and that they have an allocated time to entertain the audience or it can get out of hand. One the running order is fixed make a programme and tickets. If you have a very small audience, you can suggest that the show is filmed or videoed and can be shown to proud parents later.
Open the photo album
Children love to look at pictures especially of “daddy when he was your age”. Let them chose some of the photos and make a scrapbook or family trees and explain who are all the members of the family. Teach them about what like was like in the old days and don’t worry if the timelines get confused. As long as they can get an idea of what family life was like in the old days they will remember as they get older and will have a better sense of belonging.
Children should never be bored, but often it is hard work to keep them interested. Use the games you used to play as a child and you will have as much fun as they do.