Half term is almost here for my school age children and the long summer holidays are coming soon too, so it’s time to think how to keep the kids entertained. The fun factor about having time off from school is that it gives families the opportunity to spend some quality time together, such as having some fun days out with the kids.
Trips to the zoo, the beach, museums or days at the park, there is plenty to choose from to suit any budget. Going out as a family is all about having a good time and making special memories, so plan your day well to avoid any stress. Read these tips for a day out with the kids, and go have some fun!
Choose the right activity
For a fun day out, choose an activity or place that the whole family will enjoy. This can be tricky if like me you have young people, teenagers and older! It’s no good planning on visiting a stately home if you have younger children who might be bored by it. Save that for a trip with a friend. If you have active children, make sure there is something there for them to burn their energy on. Some stately homes have mazes or adventure playgrounds.
Look for Deals
If you want to visit an attraction that charges an entry fee, then you might be lucky enough to find some discount vouchers online. Keep a lookout in parenting magazines, the backs of cereal packets or tourist information booths for vouchers you could use too.
Looking for deals on days out can save you a decent amount of money, especially if you have a large family like me. If you are stuck for inspiration on where to go and what to see, this website shows reviews some of the top attractions around the country.
You want to make the most of your day out, so you don’t want to be wasting time in the morning doing things that could have already been done. Get everything ready the day before, so all you have to do is get up in the morning, get the kids ready and enjoy your day.
If you’re taking a picnic, make sandwiches and other foods the evening before and store in containers the fridge overnight. Make sure you have some small freezer blocks frozen ready to pop in the cool bag if the day is expected to be very warm. There are many ways you can plan a day out with kids
Think also what you will be eating when you get back home. After a busy day, you won’t feel like cooking a meal. Either prepare something that you could just warm up, eat cold from the fridge or if you can splash out (use some supermarket vouchers for a free or discounted meal?) dine out and come home well fed!
Prepare for the Weather
Check the weather forecast before you go for a day out, and make sure you are equipped. The great British summer time is notorious for having unpredictable weather, so make sure you have a sun hat and sunglasses as well as a waterproof jacket and an umbrella. Hopefully the sun will shine all day but it doesn't hurt to be prepared.
Snacks and Drinks
No day out with the kids is complete without a choice of snacks and drinks to keep them happy! You might end up stuck in traffic, and if your children are hungry, then it can lead to tense moods all around. Keep a box full of easy to eat snacks, such as boxes of dried fruit, crackers or biscuits, within handy reach.
Even if you don’t think you’ll need it, take a complete change of outfit for each child. Ice cream spilled all over a t-shirt, falling over in puddles, muddy trousers, and wet socks; expect them to get messy! Having a change of clothes will keep children warm and comfortable, and keep your car seats clean! We keep a couple of carrier bags in the car too in case of sudden sickness!
Also, take some different kinds of footwear. Sandals and flip-flops are fine for a beach, but if you have to walk down a steep path to get there, then trainers could be better. Wellington boots are useful if children are walking in wet mud, and can easily be hosed off when you get home.
Let children bring their own small bag of toys to keep them occupied while travelling. It could be that they bring a favourite teddy, drawing paper, and pens or crayons, or even a tablet with some games on. Check they don't need wifi to play!
A smaller bag, such as a bumbag or clip on wallet, is great for older kids who want to spend their own pocket money, and useful while out and about. There are various styles of bag out there available for all purposes. Do your research and shop now for funky bumbag designs that kids will love.
Keeping a mini first aid kit in your bag is essential for a happy day out with the kids. Make your own by taking a small plastic tub with a lid, and fill with a few plasters, cleansing wipes, a tube of antiseptic cream, arnica tablets for bumps, insect bite cream and a small bottle of children’s paracetamol and spoon or use the handy sachets. It is also a good idea to have a high factor sun cream in your bag, to apply frequently on sunny days.
Keep Safety in Mind
Keeping children safe on a day out is a priority. If you are going to a busy place where there will be lots of other people, talk to your children about it before you go.
Tell younger children why it is important they hold your hand. You could also dress your children in bright, eye-catching colours, so they are easy to spot. There are more ways to keep children safe on days out. Buy rubber wristbands supporting charities and use a permanent marker to put your mobile number on the inside so if lost someone can contact you if the children don't know your number.
You can even buy special kids phones with pre-designated numbers and lanyards so they don't lose them. Or maybe just a slip of paper with your contact details in their pocket might give you some peace of mind.
Although family days out can sometimes be stressful, remember why you are there in the first place. Don’t try to make plans too rigid and allow some flexibility, sometimes the best things happen on the spur of the moment.
Expect the children to squabble at times, and have a few tears and tantrums, but keeping relaxed is key to getting over it. Take lots of photos and enjoy yourself!
There nothing better than arriving home after a day out with happy, but tired, children! Where you go doesn’t really matter as long as you have lots to do, and the most important thing to get out of it is having quality time with each other. Days out with the kids are fun, and by following these few tips, you can make sure that everyone has a good time.