So as the end of the summer holidays is edging closer, and my mind is thinking about new routines, uniform, kids clubs, nursery and returning to baby groups. I thought I would reflect on how successful we were at achieving our original bucket and spade activity wish list for the summer. I feel it’s really good to reflect on how things/activities worked for the family, and then we can learn or be inspired for the next holidays or following year. I started writing my reflections down about Christmas last year and so I feel it is important for us to revaluate what works for us every so often, especially with my baby brain!
Bury the kids in the sand – (obviously with their heads out of the sand and not in a sinister way!)
We attempted to do this on a beach day in West Witterting but the wind was up and sand was just blowing in the kids faces, so a fancy sand burial was Kiboshed!
Rock pooling – take our fishing nets out the garage and find a rocky coastline. My best memories were spent picking up crabs and shells in Torquay.
As we didn’t stay near the coast this holiday we didn’t get to go rock pooling, so a definite priority for next years holiday!
River swim/ paddle – I used to love paddling in the river and building dams in my younger years. Dougie loves to wild swim so this will be on our list to do on a warmer day, might even go old-skool and take a truck inner tube along!
This we have achieved in bucket loads! Our children stripped down with Dougie at every wild swimming opportunity this holiday. We have written a post on wild swimming in the U.K. and posted various wild swimming photos on Instagram and YouTube. They have swam in various points of the River Wey, the sea, and the Lake District. They were so disappointed to find the River Cherwell in Oxfordshire too high and dangerous for a dip.
Stargazing – We’re hoping to get out and camp as much as possible. We don’t usually let our kids stay up too late as we pay too much for it the next day, but a later night to wait for it to be dark just once will be fun for them and we will make sure we have an easy day the next day!
We have been out late enough to see the stars once or twice but not really as a planned stargazing activity, and as we were not camping it didn’t feature like it would have if we were.
Try climbing a different tree everyday – not a hard challenge for my kids, they love to climb!
I think it safe to say our children have climbed their way around Surrey, Berkshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire, Oxfordshire and Cumbria. Daddy has joined them on and off of course!
Pinterest craft fails – let them find a Craft on Pinterest that they fancy and watch the arguments and tears flow, anything for at least 30 minutes peace before the craft fail happens! I also save up some Birthday and Christmas craft kits to bring out in the summer holidays.
We attempted a few crafts in the first few rainy days of the holidays. We made cardboard spinners, ice cream paper cones, swords and even the dreaded slime goo! At the end of this post I will leave links to our Craft videos. We haven’t done that much as we’ve been too active outdoors!
Family water fight- I’m always too busy to join in on a lot of fun in term time so I’m going to make sure that I have more fun with them.
Water pistols bought – and the battle commenced! Cheap, easy fun for everyone, and the kids loved racing around the garden squirting each other and making various makeshift shields or barricades for cover.
Geocache somewhere unusual – we are going to unlock the premium app of geocache and so whilst out and about camping we can find some unusual geocache locations. Please see previous post ref geocaching with kids!
Didn’t manage this one, we’ve been too busy!
Visit a National Trust/English Heritage site- I love visiting old historical buildings and watching the kids play in the grounds. Always a good spot for some beautiful family / Instagram snaps. We don’t have any NT sites around here so we’re hoping to incorporate this into our holiday.
We haven’t visited a NT house as we’ve found that they’re just a bit too pricey for a day out when we’re not members. Where we next relocate if we have NT areas nearby then we will sign up to be members. We did explore the village of Ripley in N.Yorkshire, taking part in a pig scarecrow event around the castle. We didn’t pay to go into the castle but enjoyed the surrounding area and the famous ice cream!
Ice cream sundae factory- Let the kids make their own ice cream sundaes with toppings. Then make sure they can burn a sugar high off in the garden afterwards. Also when we’re out and about to buy the whole family ice cream is so costly, we tend to buy a box from the shop and share, or doing sundaes at home will tick the 🍦 box!
We have had a lot of ice cream! When visiting my brother’s house he twice did an ice cream factory for the kids and we were lucky enough as I said to have the world famous Ripley Ice cream!
Home cinema – Taking our tribe to the cinema is costly unless its the kids-am showings. So we plan on a rainy day to download a film, get together on the sofa and make some popcorn with our new popcorn machine.
A few rainy mornings or afternoons have been a perfect opportunity to slow the pace down and have a home cinema. Sometimes a little more screen time won’t harm once in a while, and it gives me time to either relax or catch up on jobs.
Baking – Daisy and Teddy love to bake and having them all home will mean that lots of snacks will be needed, so I can do an activity with them that has a purpose. Also as Finlay is 11 I’m trying to encourage him to learn some kitchen skills! He’s currently very reluctant!
I haven’t managed to bake as much as I would like this summer, mainly as we were away for a few weeks, so shop bought cake was just easier. Daisy and I baked Florence’s 1st Birthday cake together, and it was her introduction to the yummy world of chocolate! I have taken time to try and bake and cook by myself in the hope that I get some much needed moments of peace!
Lego builds – fidget spinner creations and duplo night lights, we will use the Lego site and their video tutorials to inspire us!
The kids have been happy to make their own usual creations and so we will save the tutorials for a rainy day.
Museum and castle visit – We are hoping to find an interesting castle and / or museum to visit. There’s always lots of events on at these historical attractions and so it’s great to tick the educational and fun box together! I remember some of my best days out as a child were when a relative would take me to a museum and we would spend time doing the quizzes or trails.
We visited Windsor Castle and that was a great day out. There is a kids activity area as you enter, where they can cut out and decorate their own sword, shield & helmet, or take it away in a goody bag to do later. The state rooms and armoury collection is fascinating, with lots of suits of armour and old weapons, as is the huge royal doll house. The kids also loved watching the real live Guardsman in the sentry box! A great bit of British history & well worth a visit.
Junk modelling – chuck a load of cardboard boxes, tubes and yoghurt pots out on the table with masking tape and let Teddy our preschooler create! I’m sure the bigger ones will probably join in!
We didn’t get around to doing this and so this one will be saved for a wet weather day in the cooler months.
Pick your own- we would love to be able to find a pick your own fruit field as we are lacking in these fields up in the N.West so would love to do this on our travels. In Germany we would stop and pick pumpkins, flowers and fruit, it’s great for the kids to learn where food comes from.
We had a pretty perfect day out at Garsons farm in Esher, Surrey. We took a picnic and picked scrumptious apples, sweetcorn, carrots, berries and onions. The kids really enjoyed it and so did we, we have even made a video about our day out.
We have managed to catch up with most of our family and extended family, even our Australian and New Zealand cousins whilst we’ve been on holiday. We have only had time to catch up with a couple of friends but we needed some days where it was just the 6 of us. Highlights have been going into London, Richmond Park, and the beach. I have also enjoyed moments at home sorting through clothes, toys and General de-cluttering. It’s been very lovely to have 4 weeks off and spend time as a family of 6, and have Dougie at home more. That said, maybe if I have survived the dentist, school shoe shopping, uniform sorting and hairdresser appointments I may well be rooting for September!
Pick your own video
Wild swimming with kids-
Previous blog post on our summer plans!
Previous blog post on wild swimming https://teamsteinblog.com/2017/08/17/wild-swimming/