The school holidays run from Monday 24th July to Friday 1st September – a six-week period over the summer totalling 40 days. It’s a great time to come together as a family and spend some quality time together, but it can also leave parents and caregivers panicking about how to keep the kids entertained for that long!
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 40 fun activities that you can do for free, or at minimal cost, one for each day of the summer holidays. We’ve not included the weekends before and after the six-week holiday, but you can always use those to get prepared for going back to school…
Without further ado, let’s dive in!
1. Climb a tree
Nothing says childhood fun like climbing trees! It’s a great physical and mental exercise, and if there aren’t any suitable ones in your garden, keep an eye out at your local park or on walks.
2. Take a selfie with an animal
Who can take a selfie with the most exotic animal? Set up a WhatsApp group to run a tournament with friends and family all summer, and the best effort wins! And be careful, don’t pick up anything that could bite!
3. Camping in the garden
Mix things up and set up a mini campsite at home, where you can sleep under the stars. It’s all the fun of camping, plus you know there’s a toilet and shower nearby…
4. Berry picking
From strawberry picking at your local farm to foraging for blackberries in the hedgerows, this is an activity that’s sure to go down a treat. Just remember to leave any you’re not sure are safe to eat.
5. Build a den
Whether it’s made from bed sheets and sofa cushions, built on your lawn at home, or out in the woods with sticks and leaves, this is good, old-fashioned fun.
6. Have a bug hunt
Who can find the biggest bug? What about the most colourful? With so many possibilities, you can hunt for as long as you like!
7. Fly a kite
In windy weather, kite-flying is the perfect activity. You could even try and make your own and see who’s flies the best.
8. Make a hedgehog house
Turn your garden into a safe haven for wildlife by making a special spot for hedgehogs, reusing old garden materials like broken flowerpots and leaves.
9. Bake cakes for the neighbours
Simple treats such as cookies, brownies or cupcakes are always good fun, and you can spread the joy by sharing them with neighbours and friends once you’re done, or even selling them to raise money for a local charity!
10. Put on a show
If you need a moment of peace and quiet, why not task the younger ones to come up with a play or performance. They can rehearse together, and then at the end of the day, reveal the fruits of their labour.
11. Make ice lollies
Using some simple ice lolly moulds and juice, smoothies, yogurt, or squash, you can make refreshing ice lollies to enjoy on a hot day. You will find reusable lolly moulds in places like Morrisons, Wilko or any other kitchenware shop, saving you a fortune on shop-bought lollies this summer.
12. Try a treasure hunt
You can make this as simple or complicated as you like, or even encourage you kids to make their own. You can hide items around the house, or even write cryptic clues for a bigger challenge.
13. Write letters
With mobile phones nowadays, the art of letter writing has been left behind. Why not write letters to friends and family, or even have a pen pal?
14. Random acts of kindness
Whether washing a neighbour’s car, putting food out for the birds, or lending a hand where it’s needed, there are plenty of ways to spread positivity this summer!
Geocaching, is where you seek ‘treasure’ based on GPS coordinates using a mobile phone – either on the website or app. Follow the GPS to the location for an adventure, and don’t forget to place a little keepsake for the next geocacher.
16. Build a fairy hotel
Using moss, grass, leaves, and sticks, you can build a home fit for Thumbelina in the garden. Maybe you’ll even spot a fairy or two…
17. Make pizzas
Who doesn’t love pizza? Making the dough is fairly simple with household ingredients. You can each choose your favourite toppings and enjoy a personalised home-baked pizza. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just fun!
18. Enjoy a picnic in the park
No summer is complete without a classic picnic. Head down to your local park with a basket of treats, such as boiled eggs and sandwiches, and a blanket in-hand. And don’t forget to take your sunscreen!
19. Go fossil hunting
Fossils are all around us on the coastline. Why not explore amongst the cliffs and pebbles to see what prehistoric secrets you can discover?
20. Grow plants and herbs
Some simple gardening is an activity that can run all summer long. You can even repot supermarket herbs or spring onions or germinate seeds at home on a wet paper towel, before planting. Make sure you enjoy the fruits of your labour – mint leaves can make a very refreshing summer mint tea!
21. Interview an older relative
This is a great way to help your kids learn more about history, through someone near and dear to you. You could even set them a challenge to find the answers to parts of your family history, like important anniversaries!
22. Join a reading challenge
Many local libraries run a reading challenge over the summer, for free. With incentives on offer and a range of genres on-hand, this is a fantastic way to develop reading skills.
23. Collect and paint rocks
Gather a selection of interesting-looking rocks, get creative with some paint or pens, and some creative stickers, and let your imagination run wild!
24. Chalk it up!
A bit of chalk on the pavement or patio can turn into many games – hopscotch, number games, activity trails, or simply drawing pictures. And, when the Great British summer inevitably brings a spot of rain, you can start all over again.
25. Write a song
Why not flex your musical talents, and write a song? You could even host an at-home concert to show off your new melodies.
26. Press flowers
Pick a few of your favourite flowers and turn them into beautiful preserved pressed flowers to use in crafts or decorations. Simply place the flowers between paper and leave under a heavy book for a few days for best results.
27. Make windchimes
Another simple craft that you can do with basic items. Use sticks of varying shape, size and length, plus some string, twine or wool to hold it all together and you can make a nature-themed windchime for your garden.
28. Run an obstacle course
Use items from around the house and/or garden to create a crazy obstacle course and race each other round. Make sure you walk the route first to avoid tripping over anything!
29. Learn to skip stones
Maybe you’re an expert already and can pass on your skills, or perhaps you can all practise together. From finding the perfect skipping stone to competing to see who can get the highest number of skips, you’d be surprised just how much time you can spend learning this skill.
30. Have a backwards day
Mix things up and have a day where you do everything backwards; wear your clothes back to front, eat your pudding for breakfast and breakfast for dinner. The more ambitious could even try and speak backwards, which is harder than you think!
31. Play boardgames
There are so many games you can play with a simple pack of cards, but you could also try some of your favourite boardgames too. For the more creative, why not create your own game, or even your own version of snakes and ladders – all you need is card, pencils, dice and some imagination.
32. Make slime
A few years ago, the slime craze was huge, so there’s plenty of recipes online! Our favourite mixture doesn’t include any borax, and can be made with items you have at home, or can easily find in shops.
33. Go on a forest walk
If you’re in need of a change of scenery, head out to your nearest woodland or forest and explore. You could even tick off a few of the other activities on this list such as building a house out of trees and sticks.
34. Organise a game of rounders
If you’ve got a big enough garden, or a nearby field, why not organise a game of rounders with your friends, family, or neighbours? Everyone can get involved, racing round the bases and cheering on their team to win.
35. Play with salt dough
This is a really fun and easy craft that uses cupboard staples. You can shape the dough into all sorts of exciting things, bake it to set the shape and paint it afterwards. Just remember, despite the name, salt dough isn’t edible!
36. Make a walking rainbow
A fun science experiment where you watch colours transform in front of your eyes! All you need is some kitchen roll, food colouring and glasses to get going.
37. Play with bubbles
For younger kids especially, bubbles are a simple but super fun activity. You can use bubble mix, or easily make a mix at home, with six parts water to one part washing up liquid. Plus, you can make your own bubble blower with a water bottle, rubber band and washcloth. Simply cut the very bottom off the water bottle, cover with the washcloth and secure with the rubber band. When you dip the bottom of the bottle in your solution and blow from the top, you’ll get awesome bubbles!
38. Make fruit kebabs
A healthy but yummy treat on a hot summer’s day. And, if you’ve got a fussy eater, making the kebabs together might help expand their palette
39. Play dress-up
Costumes can be costly, but dressing up doesn’t have to be. Raid your wardrobes, swap clothes and play around with accessories to create your characters and play pretend for an afternoon.
40. Have a beach day
Head out to your nearest coastline and enjoy the seaside for a day. You can have all sorts of fun, splashing about in the water, enjoying a picnic, making sandcastles or playing games.
BONUS! 41. Take part in our Summer of Fun
Don’t miss our fun school break up giveaway – PLUS 6 weeks of prizes!
This year, we are going all out to celebrate a big Summer of Fun, starting with a splash from 17th July. We believe everyone should have an enjoyable summer this year, without worrying about the cost-of-living so will be bringing a little sunshine in the way of prizes and giveaways, plus plenty of helpful tips on days out and free meals for kids.