Here are 40 ideas for keeping the kids entertained during the summer holidays

Wednesday, 22nd July 2020, 5:08 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd July 2020, 1:10 pm
We now have more freedoms to enjoy, with parks, playgrounds, zoos, museums and cinemas reopening (Shutterstock)

As lockdown is eased across the UK, we now have more freedoms to enjoy, with parks, playgrounds, zoos, museums and cinemas reopening just in time for the summer holidays.

If you are struggling for new and exciting ideas to keep you and your children entertained during their time off school, here are some ideas.

Go to the Zoo

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Zoos reopened in Scotland on 29 June and in England on 15 June, giving you and your family the go-ahead to enjoy a day out with your child’s favourite animals during the holidays.

Take a ferry ride to somewhere new

Since 10 July 2020, people have been able to enter France or the Netherlands from England or Scotland without needing to self-isolate for 14 days afterwards. 

So why not jump on a direct ferry to Rotterdam from Hull, Newcastle to Amsterdam, Calais from Dover, or to Kirkwall in the Orkney Isles from Aberdeen, for a fun family day out.

Make a summer holiday scrapbook 

Grab any tickets used from fun days out, seashells from beach trips, postcards from foreign holidays, photographs (and whatever else you wish) and put them in a scrapbook together to remember all of the fabulous summer memories you make this summer.

Enjoy the ‘Eat out to help out’ scheme 

The government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme opens on 3 August, and gives diners a 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink (up to a maximum of £10 discount per diner and no minimum spend). 

The offer is available every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 3 and 31 August at participating establishments.

Visit a Museum 

Museums are another great way to pass the time, but also educate your children on the important events of the past. Remember to make sure to check your museum of choice is now open before making your visit. 

Play outdoor sports as a family 

Playing outdoor sports is a great way to bond as a family. Try team based sports such as cricket, rounders or volleyball.

Go trampolining 

Trampoline parks are the place to go to make sure your kid gets plenty of exercise this summer. 

With leisure centres opening soon, a bit of trampolining will be sure to put a spring in your child’s step.

Visit a farm or petting zoo

Enjoy the countryside with a visit to a farm, and see the ins and outs of farm life. Petting zoos are also a great option if you child loves animals. 

Play tennis

This sport is perfect for social distancing, but is also perfect for entertaining your child for hours on end, while helping them learn a new skill. 

Pot plant project

Give your child a pot plant to care for during the summer holidays to teach them how to be responsible. They’re sure to feel accomplished when they see their plant blooming.  

Cook dinner together

Now that the evening commute is a distant memory for many, why not use this extra time to teach your child this very necessary life skill?

Go on a bike ride

Explore your local area by bike or go to a popular beauty spot and enjoy the view as you glide on through. 

Go blackberry picking 

This is a traditional late summer activity, with the first blackberries appearing in August in the UK. Once you have collected a bunch, try using them in a desert later in the day as a reward.

Bird watching 

During lockdown, birdlife thrived as the world temporarily quieted, and more people began to notice the beauty of birdsong. So why not take this new appreciation further by trying to spot the birdlife in your nearby natural areas?

Finger painting 

British summer time doesn't always guarantee good weather. So on rainy days, try letting  your child express their creative side with this messy but fun way to paint - put down a plastic sheet or newspapers and let them get stuck in.

Go for a hike

Depending on the age of your children, you can always enjoy a family hike. In England Scafell Pike and Place Fell in the Lake District are great options, while in Scotland, walking up Ben A’an and The Pentland Hills will surely be a great day out. 

Play mini golf

In Scotland and England crazy golf is back on the table, - with hygiene and social distancing measures in place, of course. So you can now take your kids to test out their putting skills for a fun family day out. 

Try gardening together

If you have a garden, you'll no doubt have spent a lot of time here during lockdown. Now that the weather is getting warmer, why not make this crucial space look as beautiful as possible, with added flowers and plants. Kids love getting messy, so this muddy task will certainly brighten their day.

Go to the cinema

Cinemas reopened in Scotland on 15 July while in England they have been open since 4 July. So why not use this time to take your children to see the films they were so excited about pre lockdown? After months of closures, there will surely be enough films to last the whole summer. Disney’s live action remake of Mulan is set to come out on 21st August 2020 while Peter Rabbit 2 is set to be released on 7 August. 

Learn an instrument 

The summer holidays are a good time for your child to discover new hobbies and interests they don't usually have time for. So if you child has ever expressed an interest in music, why not encourage them to get lost in discovering this possible new passion? 

Visit a castle 

Explore the history of the UK with a trip to a castle or two. This will not only entertain your kids, but may also see them becoming top of their class in history.

Decorate their bedrooms

The summer holidays mark the end of the year for you child. So before they start their new year at school, let them adopt the mantra “out with the old in with the new” and let them update their bedrooms to more accurately reflect their developing personalities. 

Visit the seaside

Dip your toes into the sea and build a sandcastle together to make some traditional summer holiday memories. 

Enjoy the beauty of the National Trust 

National Trust is home to most of the UK’s best beauty spots. Whether you visit a beach, go for a coastal walk or visit a country estate, this will certainly be a day filled with beauty. 

Go fossil hunting 

In Scotland, you are bound to find Jurassic fossils to add to your collection, in the boulder beds at Helmsdale, whereas in England, Lyme Regis is the best place for fossil hunting.

Have a treasure hunt 

Treasure hunts don’t have to be limited to Easter. Set up a treasure hunt in your garden or local park with chocolate, sweets or simple counters to be found behind trees, benches, and flower pots.

Bake a cake 

This is a great way to teach your child the basics of baking and is sure to go down a treat on a rainy day.

Go swimming 

In Scotland outdoor swimming has been allowed since May 29, while over in England outdoor lidos reopened on 11 July, and indoor pools in leisure centres will finally reopen on 25 July. What better way is there to enjoy the sun and this new found freedom?

Plastic bottle rockets 

If your child has been missing their science lessons at school, this experiment will not only help keep them entertained during the holiday but it can also ensure they stay interested in the subject before they return to the classroom in September.

Play football 

Play the good game in a local park, or alternatively you can buy a cheap goal net online to take the fun into your own back garden.

Have a BBQ

Now that social distancing rules have eased, family BBQ’s are back on the menu (so long as only 8 people from two other households attend).

Stage a historical re-enactment

This is a great activity for kids with lots of energy and a dramatic streak. Use kitchen pots and pans as armour, to make the experience even more fun.

Make Ice lollies 

Use an ice lolly mould and some fruit juice to create some scrumptious ice lollies to enjoy when the sun shines.

Cloud watching 

See what fun shapes and objects you can make out in the clouds as you relax beneath them.

Pottery making and painting

Go to your nearest pottery making studio and make or paint new pieces of crockery for the kitchen as a family. You can also buy sets online and teach yourself so pottery making has never been easier. 

Play with lego

Set your child with the task of making different structures, such as a castle, a bridge or a car, to see if they have a bright future as an engineer or an architect.  

Have a sleepover with friends

You are now allowed up to eight people from two other households to stay overnight in your home at any one time in Scotland meaning your child can once again enjoy sleepovers with their friends.

Have a picnic

When the sun shines, having a picnic really is one of life’s greatest simple pleasures. Grab a basket, fill it with your favourite snacks and head out into the country. 

Try rollerblading

If you don’t own any rollerblades, they can easily be bought online, so there is nothing stopping you or your family from trying out this new activity. Take them to your local park, ideally where the land is flat and make sure to wear elbow and knee pads for protection. 

Play dress up

Head to your local charity shops to find creative fabrics and accessories to make perfect outfits for your child’s favourite characters.