So the summer holidays are nearly here! With six or more weeks to fill up what do you do?! Here are the best, the hottest and the coolest things to do over the summer with the kids.
Our list includes top summer events, arts and crafts, places to go, games to play and things to do.
Make this your easiest summer yet!
Out and About in the Summer
What's on at the Cinema this Summer? Here are the Latest Kids Movies that are on the big screen right now.
How many of the National Trust's 50 things to do before you're 11¾ have you done? 50 things for the kids to do out of doors, plus The National Trust offer local family events including den building, pond dipping, bug hunts and tree climbing, and get some crossed off your list.
Jumping jellyfish! The Spongebob Musical is coming to London's Queen Elizabeth Hall from 26 July - 26 August 2023. In this stunning and innovative singing and dancing spectacle, watch as SpongeBob and his friends do their best to save the future of Bikini Bottom!
The Blackpool Tower Circus is now open for the 2023 season at one of the most iconic circus venues in the world. Meet legendary clowns Mooky and Mr Boo and be prepared to marvel at the sensational mix of adventurous and talented new acts from all over the world In a brand new show for 2023!
Get the bikes out and go for a ride. If you don't have bikes, many local forests or bike trails have bike hire facilities. Cycling is great exercise and you get to see the place where you are cycling much better than you can from the window of a car.
In Northern Ireland, the is having a WWT's Castle Espie has a whole host of kids activities over the summer including pond dipping, sketching, crafts and story time events
Kids Week In the West End runs from 1st to 31st August each year (Yes, yes, I know that's more than a week - but a month is so much better!) and offers free and discounted tickets for children to West End shows, theatre workshops and other special events. Tickets go very fast so book up as soon as possible. Tickets tend to be limited, so here our our picks for the best shows in the West End for families.
Just Walkin’ the Dog! Dog loveers must try one of the 10 Best Dog Walks In the UK. Have lots of fresh air and fun with your four-legged friends, it's great exercise. If you don't have a dog, ask a friend if you can go and walk with them.
Check out your local library. Most libraries run summer kids activitiy sessions including reading trails, competitions and storytelling sessions and a lot of them will probably be free. If not you can always borrow some books to read....
Dinosaur World Live is a roar-some interactive show for the whole family. Join fearless explorer Miranda and meet all your favourite dinosaurs, including the Triceratops, Giraffatitan, Segnosaurus and, of course, the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex! It's on at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park, London from 11th August - 3rd September 2023. ROOOOOOOOOOOAR!!
A-Maize-ing. Corn mazes are sprouting up all over the UK. A corn maze is a temporaty maze grown just for one summer. Visit your nearest one and help a local farmer - they are only available until harvest time!! To find out where the nearest maze to you crops up, visit maizemaze.org.uk.
Buxton Flowerpot Trail is a fun project which fills the Derbyshire town of Buxton with flowerpot people. Residents are encouraged to make their own using recycled materials where possible and you can buy a trail map to find all of them. The theme for 2023 is 'Gilbert & Sullivan', celebrating the return to Buxton of the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival.
Play Tennis for Free. Well almost - you have to bring your own racket and balls, but the Tennis For Free campaign has a list of free to use courts in the UK.
Go swimming. Many local swimming pools or leisure centres run school holiday fun session and intensive swimming courses, as well as regular swim sessions.
The National Museum Of Scotland in Edinburgh has an exciting event for children during August. Experts Radio Lab invites you to talk about whatever you are an expert on, whether it is experts on jumping, some on dinosaur fossils, some on making mud pies. Whatever it is, the mics are on, the interview chair is ready and you can go live!
Vist one of this summer's family friendly festivals for summer 2023. While the grow-ups listen to their favourite bands, the kids can try out anything from crafts and circus skills to giant inflatables, drama or watch child-friendly entrtainment including Dick & Dom, Mr Bloom and Justin Fletcher.
Be a tourist in your own town. Visit your local monuments and museums. If you live near a big tourist town take a tour bus and see your hometown from a new perspective.
Go Fly A Kite. Go to a local park or visit the Kite Society for a list of kite events. Remember kite safety - do not fly your kite too near to trees, phone masts or electricity pylons.
Get a taste of being on stage with inclusive theatre champions Chickenshed, who are running summer holiday performance workshops in London for kids of all ages. Create a story, learn songs and make up dances, all in time for a performance on the Friday afternoon!
Arts and Crafts
Why not try a tie-dye? Take those grotty old PE T-shirts and have something unique to wear on holiday this year. Clothes dye can be bought quite cheaply from your local hardware store or online.
Make a recycled collage. Use old magazines and junk mail to make a picture. The only other things that you need are glue and a bit of imagination.
Make some big art. Create your own version of Peter Blake’s iconic cover to The Beatles Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band which is celebrating it's 50th anniversary this year. Use photographs, colouring pictures and drawings of friends, family and your favourite cartoon characters. Stick them all on a huge piece of paper.
Get messy with some papier mache. You could make a piñata or use a plate, bowl or dish to create the shape. (Remember to cover it with petroleum jelly first or your work of art won’t come off!).
Make your own jigsaws by cutting out pictures from magazines, sticking them onto card and cutting them up.
The late summer Bank Holiday is the traditional time for the Notting Hill Carnival, so why not join in the carnival fun and Make Your Own Carnival Mask.
Keep a scrapbook of your summer holiday. Stick in photos, leaflets, tickets and other mementoes of your days out. Include a written description of what you did or make a drawing of what you saw.
What if it Rains?
Make an event out of the latest family movie releases on DVD or your favourite streaming service. Recreate that cinema experience - draw the curtains, get some popcorn and fizzy pop and snuggle up on the sofa for an afternoon’s viewing.
Have a sort out of all the unused and outgrown toys and clothes in the house. Take the ones that are in really good condition to the local charity shop and enjoy all that extra space.
Kids always love Wordsearches plus they are fun and educational too. There are new ones on eParenting all the time, and you can print them all off for free.
Make your own restaurant. Get the kids to create menus and table decorations for your evening meal. Remeber to use a tablecloth and napkins. If you’re brave you could let them serve the food.....
Have an Indoor Picnic. If the rain is pelting down, get out the picnic blanket, put it down in the front room and have lunch indoors. Great fun and you can collect all the crumbs up in the blanket afterwards. Picnic recipes from the BBC.
Have a dress-up day. Get out all the kids dressing up costumes, find some old clothes, bags and jewellery and try everything on. Make hats out of card or newspaper.
Have a treasure hunt by writing clues to find objects hidden around the house - or garden if the sun shines. You could hide tasty treats, pencils and colouring pictures or even hide their lunch!! Use picture clues for younger kids.
Get Outdoors This Summer
Ideas for the garden, local woodland, countryside town or the local park.
Be pavement artists for the day – well in your own garden anyway. Decorate the patio or stone steps with colourful chalks.
Find a corner of the garden and Make A Worm Bin with peelings, apple cores and old teabags. Kids will be fascinated by watching the peelings rot and the worms will love you.
Check the bottom of the garden for fairies. Take your camera and see what you find.
If the sun ever comes out and it's warm enough, we love this idea from Inner Child Fun to make your own Sponge Bombs then lob them around to cool off. Chance'd be fine thing.....
Have a sports day with all the old favourites – 3 legged race, egg and spoon, backwards race, balancing a bean bag on your head and a sack race.
More ideas for chilling out - have a cool Pool Party on a hot day. Get out the paddling pool, lay out sun loungers, towels or garden chairs and cool off with a dip! Wearing glitzy sunglasses is optional, suncream is compulsary!
Make paper lanterns to decorate the garden for a barbeque or party. They can be decorated with pencils, paints or glitter for maximum effect.
Have your own boat race. Make a paper boat, decorate it and race it with your friends in a paddling pool or in the bath..
Be really organised and get all your school uniform bought and properly named in good time. Maybe not the kids idea of a great afternoon out, but excellent for Mum's sanity!