I’ve always approached the school holidays as a somewhat precious time. The idea of 6weeks to structure our own play, build, craft and go outside at our leisure. No term time regime and formal homework.. Just summer days of whatever our imaginations can muster. Of course this year with my salary forfeited to play nurse maid to our new family member. Our days out and activities have took a thriftier turn than years before but with only days left before alarm clocks are set, uniform ironed and lunches packed .. This summer may have been our loveliest yet..
So what do you do when you have 4 kids and a purse string tighter than Kim Kardashians waist belt? I’m glad you asked 😜
1. Library Book challenge: this summer the kids signed up to read 6 books in 6 weeks. Which has ment every week we have made Monday mornings ‘library time’. We’ve walked ourselves to the library and spent hours getting lost in book shelves and the kids have really enjoyed mastering the self service checkout machine.. Who knew it would become added value to our trip!
2. Reading time: Well obviously with books to read, we’ve come up with some imaginitive places to fit our reading in! Our books have come with us to the park to be enjoyed under a shady tree. We’ve picnicked on grass verges whilst sneaking in a chapter of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. We’ve even built reading dens out of bed sheets in the living room, in fact we’ve gone out of our way to read in the most unusual way possible!
3. DIY puppet theatre: An old box with a window cut out, home drawn characters stuck on sticks .. The kids loved the freedom to direct their stories even if the 10 month old was intent on heckling from the front row! 🙈
4: Forest walks! Living so close to a woodland has been great fun, we’ve walked miles through trees, met new bugs and ant hills, collected leaves and blackberries (only the latter we ate!). We’ve even found trolls dens and fairy gardens.. and we suspect a bear lives there too but none of us dare look for him!
5: Park Olympics: The park has been our very best friend this summer, a stomping ground of socialisation with other kids. The enthusiasm and first question on each of their lips each morning has always been ‘Are we going to the park today?’ .. We’ve even held our own Olympic events, Slide gliding.. creative ways to descend a slide, my personal fav is the backwards snail 👌🏼😝. Cross country.. Laps around the park. Swing jump.. Bravest dismount from a moving swing (cue wincing eyes from parents). and lastly the monkey bar hang.. An intensive category of who can hold on the longest, by this point in the games we had at least 6 kids joined in!
6: Penny jar treat: I’m not a fan of buying kids toys every time we go out, inevitably we end up with a hoard of bric-a-brac and board kids .. But that said, we took our penny jar (you know the jar that all year odd pennies and bits of fluff accumulate in) down to a coin sorting machine and used our winnings (an entire £11.50!) to buy an icecream, Delish!
7: Bread baking! There are 3 stages to bread.. Thankfully with 3 kids we each had a part to play. One measured and mixed the ingredients, one kneaded and punched the living day lights out of the dough, and one shaped and baked our loaves before eating!
8: Recycle play: My Achilles heel at adulting is remembering to put the recycle boxes out for the bin men.. Luckily an overflowing hoard of boxes and cartons makes for a bounty of material for the kids to dive in and get creative.. 2 rolls of cello tape later and we had a living room full of robots and vet hospitals and even the little one got a homemade rice shaker to play with! .. The greatest part is clean up is easy, let’s put it all back in the recycling box! 🙈
9: Sharks! This summer lots of questions were asked about sharks, unfortunately my knowledge of sharks is rather less inspiring and so we went online and found loads of videos on shark life, sea adventures and more!
10: Free play. I stand by this as the most important, no structure, no input just opportunities to play as they see fit. In the garden and they decide they want a bucket of water .. Sure! Next it’s bottles of water and sticks and pans and all I do is try to help conjur items they ask for as I let them submerse themselves in no adults allowed play.
I hope if nothing else this summer they’ve enjoyed themselves as much as I have. That whilst hardly any money was spent, memories were made in the hundreds.
Viva la summer!