Summer can be a great time to see new things and introduce your foster child to new activities. With so many school-free days to fill, it pays to have a few potential activities and day trips planned.
Scheduling a few trips in advance will not only give all of the family something to look forward to, but it can also help ensure that everyone gets to have some input, allow you to ensure things run smoothly, and to stretch out your budget too.
Here are our top tips for successful days out with your foster children this summer…
Things to do, places to see
Planning a few free, almost-free or added value trips will help you to pack more in – remember you don’t necessarily need to go far for things to feel like an adventure. If you have children of different ages to entertain, it can be difficult to cater to their different needs and interests. This can be tackled in two ways; firstly by planning a couple of different days out where the main event on each outing appeals more to a certain age group, so every child has ‘their’ day. Secondly, you can try and factor something for everyone into each day.
Many museums and galleries offer free entry and during summer months will run extra entertainment for children. Combine a trip to an exhibition with a picnic in a park and you have a low-cost day that is both indoors and out, and allows children to expend a little energy too!
It’s also worth checking out the English Heritage website – up to six children can enjoy free entry to their 400 sites when accompanied by one adult member, and annual membership starts at just £41 per year. Trips to many of these sites can be combined with a visit to the seaside too, which ticks the boxes for every age group.
As we’re not always guaranteed great weather here in the UK, it is worth noting that many cinemas and theatres offer reduced rates during the daytime. For further inspiration, try looking at your local free newspaper or area website to see what events are running locally. Often organisers can’t afford to advertise things very widely so local press is a good source of information for happenings that could otherwise go under the radar.
Tips for planning your day trips
You don’t need to stick rigidly to a schedule for things to go smoothly but a little time management goes a long way. Make sure you’ve double-checked opening times, factored in potential transport delays and accounted for (several) toilet breaks too; it’s always a disappointment to arrive at an attraction only to find it’s closed or you don’t have much time to explore. Save time on the day by prepping snacks, drinks and picnics the night before.
It’s natural to be anxious about safety and security on days out, for peace of mind, be prepared by talking through potential dangers with children. Chat about not talking to strangers or wandering off, arrange a meeting point in case you are separated for any reason, and ensure kids are armed with your mobile phone number in their pocket in case of emergencies. Pack a mini first aid kid in case of scrapes and falls. And as we’re in Britain, it’s best to plan for sun and rain when it comes to getting dressed – you may even want to pack an extra set of clothes.
Finally, when you’re out on the day remember to enjoy yourselves! Make travelling part of the fun, and bring books, magazines and travel games (plus snacks) to make long journeys pass quicker.
You may find things don’t quite go in the order you expect as children can become distracted or you might find something else of interest to do along the way, but just go with the flow. And when the time to leave is getting close, start a countdown so that everyone can adjust to the idea of the day ending and perhaps focus on something nice you’ll do together when you get back home.
Do you have any top tips for planning the ultimate day out or any activities you’d recommend? We’d love to hear about them. And if you need any further advice on taking your foster child on day trips, you can always give us a call on 0845 200 4040.