Danny McCance 13 Jul 2017 05:14pm

How to occupy your kids this summer

Summer holidays are fast approaching and while it’s lovely to get more quality time with the kids, parents will tell you that the more plans and activities there are, the better. So, with a few weeks to fill between now and the start of the new school year here are some
Caption: Children, it seems, like sand. They can dig in it, they can put it in buckets, they can bury themselves or create fantastical sandcastles.

Take them to a real life sand pit

Children, it seems, like sand. They can dig in it, they can put it in buckets, they can bury themselves and others, and of course, create fantastical sandcastles. Being an island, there are plenty of options for beaches in Britain, however some are more child friendly than others. When looking for a good beach to take young kids to, a few things should spring to mind. The proximity to the car park is always worth noting, as some children may take umbrage to walking miles.

Also important is how protected the beach is; beaches in bays tend to provide calmer waters and some shelter from winds, making play more comfortable. Finally, check what activities a particular beach offers. While younger children can occupy themselves, older children may need more stimulation, so the ability to rent equipment such as kayaks, or even trying out something like kite surfing is worth investigating.

Go on a journey of discovery

Learning need not be limited just to school hours, and with over 60 science discovery centres throughout the UK, there is no reason to let the kids minds go without knowledge for long. The UK Association for Discovery and Science Centres combines organisations dedicated to science and engagement across the UK, engaging over two million children and adults in science each year. Collectively the science centres hire over 5,000 professionals from diverse backgrounds such as scientists, ecologists, performers, and filmmakers to help create and maintain an engaging and immersive discovery experience. See here for more information and centre locations.

Go for a bounce

With trampoline parks jumping up across the country, there is ample opportunity to find a venue for a day of high-flying activity. Oxygen Freejumping now has eight locations, including two in London, and offer a range of activities. The centres offer freejumping sessions where your kids can let lose on a network of 100 connected trampolines. The centres also offer a range of classes including a trampoline class and a freerunning academy, along with fitness classes. While the centre may be geared towards slightly older kids, they also offer a toddler session and the option to organise party events. See here for to find out more about locations and options.

A softer approach

If you want to keep the kids energised but are not too keen on heights then a soft play centre could be a good compromise. With bright colours and spongy sections to keep the kids occupied, as well as being safe, a soft play area is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. With a range of spots across the country 360 Play offers the usual soft play element with the addition of an outside play area for warmer days. It also includes 360 Street, an area designed to mimic real life and allow kids to engage in learning role play. See what 360 play offers here.

Get in the kitchen

For some parents cooking may come naturally, and therefore this culinary knowledge can be passed down through the generations. However, if you do not fit into this camp then maybe a kids' cookery class is the option. What better way to get the children out and learning than teaching them how to perfect their Mothers/Fathers' Day breakfast recipes? The Kids Cookery School in London, a registered charity that helps to support children with learning difficulties, runs open cookery workshops out of term time. Regular two and a half hour sessions should provide plenty of time for the kids to brush up on some key kitchen skills. See here for more information about KCS.

Go on a digventure

If your kids prefer shovelling dirt than sand or flour then Dig Camp could be the answer. DigVentures aims to involve kids with archaeology with a range of excavations. After orientation the kids can enjoy an artefact handling session and a live excavation, allowing them to participate alongside the professionals. A day runs from 10am – 4pm along with the mandatory 30-minute orientation beforehand. The DigVentures team even has an archaeology dog. See here to find out more.