The summer holidays have ended and the new school term has begun… “Sighs with relief!” I have spent the last six weeks entertaining my five-year-old daughter and most of her friends. It was challenging and exhausting to say the least. Keeping children stimulated and amused for such a long length of time is not only time consuming, it can also be very expensive.
I came up with an entertainment plan, much like the previous year. I organised “FREE” days out as well as paid days out to cut the cost. This is where I had to be very imaginative! See below for the list of free day entertainment and paid day entertainment.
FREE (no cost to parent!)
1. Blackberry picking in the park complete with picnic. All the kids took their scooters too and we made a whole afternoon of it… I baked several apple and blackberry pies as a result of this afternoon in the weeks that followed, also involving the kids with the baking.
2. This summer I introduced the kids to great games from my own childhood, British Bull Dog. and Kick The Can. They absolutely loved it, again I took them to the park at the back of our street, we spent whole afternoons playing these games and at the finish, we shared a picnic. By the end of summer, I had lost a stone in weight, which I was most pleased with!
3. I arranged several play dates for my daughter and her friends at my house! This was very hectic… They all got together and acted out plays that the oldest child directed. I have to say they were so good and very talented… This was one of their favourite activities.
4. Baking sessions, another great activity that they all got involved with, from the cracking of the eggs to the mixing of the ingredients!
5. The new city library: This was a fantastic day out, not only is it a brand new state of the art library, it has an amphitheatre inside too, which you can see free children’s shows. There is also a giant story corner where you can take your child to listen to a story in a fun environment; this often entails a child or two being called on stage to help the story reader act out a part!
All the above activities were cost free and very entertaining; it kept them all active and away from the television… These were repeated many times over the six weeks holidays.
Paid day trips (Can be quite expensive)
1. West Midlands Safari Park, a great day out for the kids, will take up a whole day. However, be prepared to pay at least £50.00 for a family ticket. The good news is they give you a free return ticket! Therefore, it is worth the cost. If you take your own picnic and drinks this will also keep the cost down.
2. The Worcestershire Maze, this was a fabulous day out, it is a giant maze constructed of corn, and the cornfield has been designed in the form of a giant complicated maze. It is also a working field and the corn is harvested each year without damage from the maze activity. Ticket prices cost around £20 per family and include a BBQ lunch too!
3. A five-day trip to Blackpool pleasure beach: This was a much-needed break for my family. Great hotel bargains can be found if you shop around and search the net! We found a great last minute deal, hotel all inclusive of meals, with a family room plus sea view for five days at the bargain price of £250, a complete bargain in my humble opinion.
4. Theatre: tickets are cheap, at around £3 per person. As we live close to the city centre, we have access to many great local theatres that put on great performances during the holidays. We visited our local theatre a couple of times where my daughter was entertained immensely.
5. Cadburys World: This was quite expensive and everything there was very expensive too I thought, tickets were around £50 for a family ticket. It was a good day out and one you should take your kids on at least once!
6. The cinema: This can be cheap or expensive depending on the time of day you go. During the holidays, they have half price ticket deals at certain times of the day. We took our daughter and her friend to see, The Nut Job, and Toy Story Three!
7. StarCity entertainment village Birmingham. We live quite close to this place so it was somewhere we took our daughter to on a few occasions over the holidays. They have cinema, bowling, mini golf, amusements, child art centre and so much more… Again, this can be as cheap or expensive as you make it.
We also had the odd quiet day at home where I caught up with myself and my daughter chilled out at home playing with her toys and reading her books.
So, these were just some of things I did to entertain my daughter and her friends during the holidays. No one can afford to pay for expensive day trips every single day, so it is a good idea to think back to your own childhood and recall some of the things you used to do that was cost free… That is exactly what I did. My biggest surprise was that none of the kids had ever heard of British Bull Dog or Kick the can! However, they have now and I think they will be playing those games for many years to come.