Have the holidays arrived already? With the UK nearly as hot as the Med, it feels like all we’ll need is a paddling pool and a few Magnums to keep the kids entertained this summer. Still, as there’s only so much fun you can have with a super-soaker, I’ve compiled a handy list of things to do that importantly both parents and kids will enjoy.
1. Eat out with kids at a separate table
This seems a bit mean but it does actually work to everyone’s favour if the kids are old enough. Organise friends and their kids to meet you for a lunch or dinner at a child-friendly restaurant (or picnic if funds are tight). Install the adults and the children at different tables. Kids get to stuff themselves with pizza and lark about (or study their phones) while parents can have a grown-up conversation without too many interruptions.
2. Clean the car
Get swimming costumes or old clothes on and blast the dust off the motor with a hose-pipe or two (or bucket if you want to save water). See who gets the wettest. Everyone gets to cool down while the car gets a scrub too. Kids also learn a life skill and perhaps could earn a pound or two as well.
3. Find a lido
Open-air swimming in pools or ponds/lakes is something a bit different. There’s a load of lidos in London, see Timeout here, while across the country there's natural ponds (Hampstead Heath, Frensham in Surrey for example) for fresh water dipping. Check your local area for rivers or lakes that offer similar facilities but beware rogue algae which is closing some sites. Keep one eye on the kids while they splash about and the other on your favourite glossy mag and soak up the rays.
4. Go to a show
Kids under 16 can go to selected performances of London shows for free with a full-price paying adult during August. Some have already sold out but Wicked, Bat Out Of Hell, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and The Tiger Who Came To Tea are still up for grabs. Check online here.
5. Visit a stately home with a big garden
It’s usually much cheaper just to go in the garden rather than also in the main house. Bring a picnic and friends, sit under the trees and let the kids scamper around while you catch up with your mates. You could take it in turns to look at the historical stuff if you wanted or browse the gift shop in peace while the other(s) babysit.
For more ideas in your local area, check out free listings magazine Family Grapevine. It will tell you what's on and there are discount vouchers for local attractions too. Pick up a copy in your local library, at school or in leisure centres, or see the latest edition for your area online here.
Finally, take a look at *Kids Pass*. This phone app gives you discounts on restaurants, theme parks and other attractions. It's currently just £1 for a 30-day membership, which, despite being an affiliate link, I do think is quite a good deal.
Share your ideas for summer holiday fun at our SMM forum.