Family Fun during the Summer Holidays

Time is so precious when you are a parent or grandparent as children grow and develop so fast.

You want to enjoy every minute with them but thinking of ways to keep them occupied can be daunting.

You don’t have to spend lots of money on expensive toys, with just a few materials and some imagination you can all have an incredibly rewarding time together both at home and in the great outdoors. Try some of these ideas during the summer holidays – all taken from the 2011 Dairy Diary, available online now!

All ages

Visit your council office or library, read the paper for details on local events and places to go. Pick up leaflets at places you visit – they sometimes have discount vouchers. Many local amenities are free or really inexpensive: Art galleries and/or museums often have scheduled events and workshops for children; Your local library may offer reading groups or music time; National Trust and English Heritage properties are free if you are members. They offer quiz trails, dressing-up, craft activities and special events; The park is perfect for ball games, the playground and picnics; Local leisure centres will offer swimming and lots of others sporting activities for all ages.

Under 5

  • Create a very simple treasure hunt at home with one word cards to follow, such as table, chair, toybox etc.
  • Food packets and tubes can be used for lots of activities: your child can sort them into different shapes and sizes; they can stick them together to build objects; they can paint them in different colours.
  • Make a themed collage (by colour or season or transport, for example) with pictures cut from magazines. If they are very young, cut the pictures out yourself.

5-12 year-olds

  • Make a calendar or clock. Decorate a paper plate then paint on numbers and secure cardboard hands with a paper fastener. To create a calendar, choose month-appropriate pictures from a magazine and stick onto 12 sheets of card or paper. Print out dates from the computer or write them down. Hole-punch each sheet and secure together with string. Both these craft projects will encourage your child to learn about time, days and months.
  • Use food packets and boxes for lots of activities: Your child can create their own shop (using scales to weigh things, stickers to price things and change to learn about money and counting); they can make a money box and learn how to save; they can paint windows, doors, flowers etc. on boxes to create a model village.
  • To make an impressive mosaic picture, draw a large, simple design (such as flowers) on a piece of paper, cut small squares from coloured paper or magazines and use one colour to fill each section of the design.

For all these activities, stay with your child to ensure they are safe. Pay particular attention to choking hazards with very young children. If you are doing any craft activities it’s a good idea to wear aprons and cover surfaces with newspaper.


Teenagers are much more independent and less likely to want to take part in structured activities. They may still enjoy crafts (card making, drawing, painting, sculpture), cooking, or reading but it is important to treat them as young adults when suggesting these ideas. Out-of-home activities may be more successful, such as ball games, swimming, skating and visiting local attractions.

Win a set of fun cookie cutters

You are still in with a chance of winning a fabulous children’s baking set. Visit to win.

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