We asked our foster carers for tips on keeping children entertained over the summer holidays. Here are some of their favourites, including the best no-spend days and rainy-day activities
Gardening is a great way to get children out in the fresh air and many children love to be involved in the process of planting, watering and nurturing plants and flowers. If you choose insect-friendly varieties, they can also spend time bug spotting once the plants are in bloom. Check out these pages from the RHS about getting children interested in gardening.
Depending whereabouts you live, a trip to the beach can be a great way to while away warm summer days. Choose Blue Flag beaches which are rated highly for water cleanliness and safety. You can find your nearest one here.
If you’re looking for things to do in your local area, pop into your library or tourist information centre. They will have lots of great suggestions, such as child-friendly walking trails. Many places now combine walking with a treasure trail, which makes them a great way to get children to join in.
While the entry fee to some country houses can be pricey, often the grounds and gardens are inexpensive (and ideal for younger children). Some of them offer activities like nature trails or hedge mazes and you could take a picnic and make a day of it.
This one is a great idea for rainy days. Each child gets to choose what they want to make while you supervise (and assist with getting things in and out of the oven). End the day with a taste test where everyone gets to sample and vote on their favourites. It’s a good idea to have prizes for everyone so each participant is a winner.
For children who love to read, it can be a lot of fun to take part in one of the author trails in towns and cities around the UK. A particular popular one is The Potter Trail in Edinburgh where you can visit the place where JK Rowling sat and wrote her famous wizarding series. In Birmingham, there’s the Tolkein Trail. Or you may like to create your own, maybe visiting sites from favourite books or films?
Many children are inspired by finding out more about local history. Museums are a great way to spend a day as many of them offer free entry and they are full of interesting artefacts and information. Why not give each child a scrapbook so they can take photographs or draw pictures of their favourite objects and write about why they like them and what they’ve found out?
We love the idea of geocaching, which is the trend of following local maps to discover hidden treasure. Not only is it a great way to explore your local area and get the children out in the fresh air, but it’s also a huge amount of fun. You get to discover what treasures people have hidden away, and you can take your own to leave behind too. Find out more about geocaching here.
Shopping for food is something all of us have to do on a regular basis. But you can turn it into a fun activity by taking children along to a local farmer’s market or farm shop. As well as choosing fresh, locally-grown food, they can find out more about where their food comes from. Maybe you could round off your trip by heading home to cook some of your favourite dishes together.
Older children, in particular, might enjoy a trip to one of the many historic battlefield sites up and down the UK. It’s a great way to fire their imagination by getting them to research what went on there and why. Some sites hold re-enactments. Visit a tourist information centre for details.
As a foster carer with National Fostering Group you have access to a network of support, training and advice throughout the year. For more information about fostering with us, click here