Who said the Summer Holidays have to be expensive and stressful?

The count down is on for primary school children .. three weeks and children everywhere looking to be entertained from early morning till late in the evening.   AAAHHHHH.   How do we entertain them everyday without loosing our sanity!   Not everything needs to cost a fortune during the Summer holidays.  You will be surprised at how many fun activities can be done at no cost at all, and are more fun for you and your children.

Visit a Museum – most are free.   The Museum in Galway has a treasure hunt leaflet for children and they have to find various things around the museum, this makes it more exciting.   You can look up on line before you go to get an idea of what’s in there so you can tell your children if they ask questions.   It’s a nice way for children to learn the history of where you live in a fun way.   Have a picnic outside afterwards if you don’t want the hassle of the coffee shop.   Also the Museum in Dublin is very enjoyable for older children from 6+.

Woods are fantastic places to go and have a whole lot of fun.  In Galway Barna Woods is just a fantastic place to play hide and seek, have a treasure hunt for various things that you have prepared in advance (you can run off treasure hunt ideas from the Internet).   It keeps their interest and also can be educational in a fun way.   Check out the different types of butterflies and find out which ones they are.   After the Woods head to Cappagh Park for the playground or make another trip to Cappagh Park for a fun day learning about map reading and compass reading.   We did this recently at Beavers and the children really enjoyed it.  One of the Dads printed a google map of Cappagh Park and we had to follow a trail.  This can be adapted for any Park in your area.  You don’t have to be an expert in map reading yourself just put North, South, East and West on the map and have them follow it.  Don’t forget its about fun.  Remember to bring a picnic!

Collect your stale bread and head off to feed the swans or ducks. In Galway you can feed the swans at Claddagh (be careful not to give the swans white or green mould bread there are guidelines printed down by Claddagh).   You can also walk along the Canals feeding the ducks.   Both Claddagh and the Canal have playgrounds to fall back on when the duck feeding gets boring.   The playground near the Cathedral can be used for the end of the Canal route so starting at the Canal opposite Monroe’s Tavern is best.   Watch out for other wild life as well and if you don’t know what bird appears take a picture and google it when you get home.

Arrange a “Make and Do Beach Project”.  Go to the beach and pick shells together.   When you get home put putty on a recycled jar and stick the shells to same.   You will have to let the putty dry over night.  Or alternatively collect lollipop sticks, make a box from these, cover with putty and decorate with shells.    Or use your imagination …

Go camping, if you cant make it to a camp site try the back garden!  Obviously suited for older children.   Have everything ready for them, sleeping bag, torch etc.  Maybe limit it until 12’00 o’clock or earlier at least it gives them a taste of camping.   You can go back outside in the morning and make breakfast (just an idea!).

Have a “Water Day”, you will really need to be chilled out on this day and not fuss when your children get wet – this is the idea!  Ensure you bring ample changes of clothes!   Let the children play around paddling pools on the beach using old squeezy bottles and let them squirt each other … just chill out and have fun!

Give your children a task .. give them a theme and get them to work together and come up with a play, story or dance routine around the theme.  Gets the imagination going!   Set a time limit which is realistic to let them come up with something and dress for it etc.  Leave out some clothes that you don’t mind them using for the performance. You can then have a movie hour later in the day when your children perform their play, or do their dance routine.  Close the curtains and use a disco light or candles to create a nice atmosphere.  Have the pop corn ready.  Most of all enjoy!

Have some friends over and host your very own sports day.  You can pick up cheap medals in a Euro Shop – with everyone getting a medal of course!   You can have skipping games, penalty shoot outs, hula hoop games …. Limitless possibilities .. again google it!

If possible why not let your child be “you” or “your partner” for a day or even half a day.   Done in a fun way of course and only if possible!   Perhaps your child’s father works in an office where it might be possible that the child could be brought in to do some pretend filing.   Let your child do Mummy jobs for the day (controlled of course!) have them decide what’s for lunch and let them do the washing up or any other job!  This could turn out quite fun for all … especially Mummy … imagine no washing up for one whole day – sounds good to me!

Join a library and do a book challenge where if you read several books you get a reward at the end of it.   Some libraries even have computers that children can use, make this educational and keep in touch with sums and things that can get forgotten during the summer holidays.   It won’t feel like school when they are in a different environment.  You can google different sites again for ideas.

Don’t forget Dad – Psychologists have shown that although the mother is the centre of many families it is the child’s relationship with their father that will model their adult sexual behaviour and confidence at relationship building.   Make sure Dad gets involved in some of the fun.

Down Memory Lane.   Get an old scrap book and let then stick in pictures of them as a baby along with anything else you have kept e.g. christening invitations, cards for their first birthday, bus tickets, plane tickets that they have been on .. absolutely anything.  This is something they can add to anytime.

Use a sticker chart starting at the beginning of the school holidays for a special treat at the end of the summer – older children love this.   Give them a sticker for helping out, not whining (!), giving Mummy five minutes of peace to make a phone call …. Whatever.

Most of all enjoy the holidays, take plenty of photos you will never get this time back  …

Until next time …

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