Summer holiday activity ideas


The school holidays are often met with a mixture of excitement and dread by parents. Here are some ideas for how to fill the time with activities both you and your children will enjoy, without breaking the bank.

Let them be bored

Here’s an idea: helping your children get used to boredom could be the best way to make the most of the summer holidays.

Psychologists have studied the many benefits of boredom in childhood. As the Child Mind Institute reports, “Kids often complain about being bored. But boredom can actually help them develop skills, creativity and self-esteem.”

Try resisting your instinct to “solve” boredom and entertain your child. You may find giving the gift of boredom and supporting independent play does wonders for their creativity.

Once your children become resourceful in filling their time, you can focus on making memories as a family.

Summer days out

Check out your local museums – a lot have special kids’ exhibitions and free activities during the summer holidays. You might want to save museums for the wet days!

Don’t be afraid of getting your hands dirty and trying arts and crafts at home. We love using Red Ted Art for inspiration, which features a special section of ideas for summer.

Libraries often have summer holiday programmes too, from ‘reading hours’ to special events for kids. “Our school broke up last week and so far I’ve taken my children along to two events (one dancing and one crafts) that were held at our library,” says one parent, Anna. Some libraries run reading challenges too, that you can do with even the youngest children to encourage reading.

The outdoors offers warm-weather entertainment for all ages. “We go to the woods a lot,” one parent shares. “I read a book, the boys climb trees and make dens. The baby pootles around and eats dirt.” Try suggesting your children create their very own obstacle course in the garden, using chairs, toys and brooms. They could even push toys around the course. You can time them and set challenges to try and beat their original time.

The National Trust have a list of ‘50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ which is full of exciting and free activities. How many can your child tick off in one summer?

If it rains, encourage the children to go out and play anyway. As they say in Scandinavia, 'there is no bad weather, only bad clothing'. Check out this blog for tips on fun things to do in the garden on a rainy day.

Getting together

If your school uses Classlist, you can set up a summer event for other families. It’s a quick and easy way of finding people to spend time with when you don’t know who is or isn’t away. Your event could be simply meeting in the park or visiting a pottery cafe. You may even enjoy getting to know someone better from your class who you haven’t spent time with before. 

At some schools, parents arrange weekly meetups over the summer. If there are new families joining the school who you see in your class on Classlist over the summer, inviting them along to something will really be appreciated, as they generally love to get to know other families before term starts.

When you really need a day off, arrange with another family to welcome their children over for a day to give them some time to themselves. Swap back the next week, so you get a day off, too! It’s easy to reach out to parents from your children’s class on Classlist.

This summer doesn’t have to be long, boring or stressful. With a bit of planning, you can make it fun and exciting without spending too much money. And you may even make some new friends!

Are you on Classlist yet?

Classlist's award-winning parent communications app is the safer alternative to public social networks. It's easy to set up! Be amongst more than 400,000 parents using Classlist in 30+ countries. Get started today!

Find your school