Whether it’s making a simple biscuit or a full-on multi-tiered opera cake, baking is one of every kid’s top things to do in the school holidays, so clear the counter in the kitchen and break out the flour and eggs. There are thousands of simple cake and biscuit recipes online, most of which require your kids to roll up their sleeves and get messy – just get them to choose what they want to bake and set them off. With some gentle guidance (and a few warnings about touching the oven) you’ll have them creating their own showstoppers before you can say ‘Hollywood Handshake’.
How to make the most of school summer holidays
The school summer holiday is one of the greatest times of the year for any child, but that initial excitement can quickly turn to boredom if there’s nothing to do and nowhere to go. Read our guide and you’ll never be short of things to do in the school holidays.
UK theme parks have become more affordable in recent years thanks to the proliferation of two-for-one vouchers, and the summer holidays is the perfect time to treat the family to a day of thrilling experiences and white-knuckle rides. But remember that Britain’s list of theme parks is longer than the big three – Alton Towers, Thorpe Park and Drayton Manor. Try some of the smaller parks such as Paultons Park in Hampshire, Gulliver’s World in Warrington or Crealy Adventure Park in Devon.
If your kids love their sports, there are a large number of dedicated sports camps up and down the country that not only give your child the opportunity to play their favourite sport for entire days or weeks, but get professional coaching that build their technical and tactical skills while allowing them to have fun. The best camps will have coaches accredited by their sport’s governing body and have up-to-date DBS checks, so make sure that the company has all the right credentials before you contact them.
Picnics are a fine British institution and a top school holiday idea, so carry on the tradition by packing a hamper and finding a shady spot for some alfresco dining. Ask your kids what they would like to pack and get them to help make the sandwiches and cakes to get them involved in the entire process, and consider inviting one or two other families to make it a real occasion. And if you do all this during National Picnic Week in June then all the better.
Britain has some of the world’s most beautiful forests, most of them open and available to the general public. So take advantage by gathering the family for a woodland walk, where your kids can run around creating their own adventures and building dens, while you can enjoy a peaceful walk through ancient woodland untouched for centuries.
If going on a woodland walk has kindled your love for the outdoors, take it a couple of steps further and make camping one of your things to do in the school holidays. The great joy of camping is that, with hundreds of camp sites across the country, you have the freedom to explore some of the UK’s most stunning countryside for just a few pounds per night. What’s more, your kids will love the sense of adventure and the excitement of sleeping under canvas – without a gadget in sight.
Summer is peak time for festivals and many are keen to attract families, with dedicated kid spaces, workshops and live shows to keep them entertained for the entire weekend. Among the best festivals for families are Camp Bestival in Dorset, which features plenty of music, crafts and a kids’ disco, and The Big Feastival in the Cotswolds, which is run by Blur’s Alex James and provides a hearty mix of music, food and vintage funfair rides.
With the kids off school for six weeks there’s plenty of time to visit those places you’ve always wanted to go to but never had the time. Perhaps there’s a stately home, a seaside town or a local museum that’s been on your must-see list for years, or an activity you’ve always wanted to do. Well the school holidays is the time to do it, and since your enthusiasm will rub off on your kids, chances are that they will learn to love it too.
After all that exertion, you’ll need a relaxing break, so remember to book a week or two away with the family on an all-inclusive holiday. Whether you spend the time sitting by the pool or taking part in some of the many activities and sports available, every member of the family will have a fantastic time, especially as you’ll all be together. After the summer you’ve had, you deserve it!
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