School’s almost out for summer and quality time with the kiddos is right around the corner – but how to fill six whole weeks without breaking the bank? Unless a lottery win is in the near future, my kids will have to rethink their grand summer plans and compromise on a few activities closer to home. Cheap doesn’t have to mean boring though, and with a bit of creative thinking, you can plan a summer break to be proud of! Here are some quick, easy and cheap summer holiday ideas around Harrogate & Knaresborough to make memories and save pennies!
Have breakfast on the Stray or in the Valley Gardens. Pack up an easy breakfast – we usually grab some croissants, yoghurt tubes and fruit – and beat the playground crowds. The kids will love having breakfast outdoors and there won’t be a queue for the swings! If you’re feeling brave then make it extra fun by letting them go in their jammies. If it’s warm enough pack their swim stuff & a towel as all the paddling pools in our district are now open until September (find out more about the council paddling pools here)
Make popcorn – we love this easy popcorn recipe from My Fussy Eater. You just need a brown paper bag, popcorn kernels and a few minutes. For the “old fashioned” version, just heat up a tablespoon of oil in a pan, add the kernels (and a lid!) and leave them until the popping slows down (usually about 2-3 minutes) you can then add your favourite topping.
Lick ice lollies – in the bath or paddling pool! It’s a great way to cool down and you don’t have to worry about them getting sticky!
Decorate bikes – gather some craft supplies like stickers and streamers then let the kids transform their rides into the brightest bikes on the block. They’ll love showing off their new creations and burn off energy riding them around later.
Have an “unbirthday party”at home – A whole summer off school is reason enough for a party! Go the whole hog with balloons, party games, streamers, a pinata and a cake. You don’t have to worry about cards and presents, or inviting people if you don’t want, just spend the day partying with the kids!
Embrace face painting: You can get lots of cheap kits in the shops, some come with stencils and accessories too. Experience has taught me this is best done outside and NOT anywhere with a light-coloured carpet!
Make invisible ink with the juice of half a lemon and a few drops of water.
Invent a code and write each other letters to crack. Even better, combine it with a treasure hunt around the house and get the kids to decipher the code as they search for clues.
Hold a Neighbourhood or friends Sports Day – gather the local parents and kids together and hold a good old fashioned sports day – or night – in someone’s garden, or somewhere else that’s safe (on the stray or in one of the parks) . Think egg and spoon races, sack races, wheelbarrows, all the oldies and goodies. Don’t forget a parents v’s kids game of rounders!
Try geocaching: we love Geochaching at Harrogate Mumbler! Geocaches are treasures hidden by other players; usually little plastic containers with a few trinkets inside. You download an app, get GPS information for the geocaches you want to find, then start hunting. There’s usually a logbook inside and you can take one of the knickknacks home, leaving one of your own behind for the next people to find. There is a detailed (paid for) app however the free version is plenty good enough for you to try it out to see if you like it.
Backyard camping – skip the drive to the campsite, shower blocks and shared loos and pitch the tent in the back garden. They can play camping all day, and even sleep in it at night if they’re feeling brave. If you haven’t got a tent but want to try it out, drape a large sheet over a climbing frame or swing set and the kids can still play in it.
Write a story together – you could write a line each, either by saying it out loud or by writing something and folding it over, then passing the paper on. We also like to write sentences onto pieces of paper, put them into a bowl then pull them out to create a wild and wacky tale.
Visit the pet shop – Pets at Home often run school holiday workshops where you can hold the animals and learn all about them (we did one over Easter and loved it) but just visiting to look at the animals is always a hit.
Buy a pack of chalk (big chunky sticks if you can) and make giant snakes and ladders, hopscotch, or draw huge pictures on the path, patio or a back street (if you have one)
Sign up for the library reading challenge – it keeps their hand in reading over summer, and they can collect a prize at the end. This summer the North Yorkshire Libraries summer reading challenge is: BLAST OFF! SPACE CHASE and is for all 0-11 year olds.
Make nature faces: use what you have in the garden or go on a walk to collect flowers, twigs etc then make fabulous faces with your finds.
Have a water fight. This one never gets old and kids particularly love it when they get to soak you!
Make banana bites: chop up a banana, spread it out on baking paper then stick it in the freezer for a few hours for a deliciously icy, sweet and healthy treat!
Toast Smores over a campfire – An American treat! For an easy Smore, toast a marshmallow over the flames then stick it between two chocolate digestives. Delicious!
Turn the garden into a science lab: take the mess outside and conduct some cool and easy experiments. There are some good ones here.
Make a marble run with sticky tape, toilet rolls and cardboard
Don’t forget we’ve updated the Harrogate Mumbler School Holidays Activity Sheet for 2019 and that too has loads of great free ideas on it (as well as paid ones) Download a copy for yourself here & pin it to your fridge. Colour the shapes in when you’ve done them.