Things to do with this kids this summer

Bored? Here’s our fun-packed list of ideas for the school summer holidays to get the whole family inspired by gardening, home and the great outdoors

When the long summer holidays begin, keeping small children occupied (and keeping yourself and household sane) can seem like an impossible task as the six week break stretches in front of you.

But with a little creative thinking, the summer school break doesn't have to be a chore. We've put together a few fun ideas for keeping your children happy and your home organised during the holidays.

Create a creative corner

children's activity room with toys

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Children love being creative, so give them the space to let their imagination run wild. Designate a space for painting and drawing with a desk or table and have plenty of coloured frames to display masterpieces on the wall.

Organise a carry-all beach bag

children's canvas bag with activity items on beach

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Scarboro)

A large canvas bag is the ideal way to transport and store beach mats, balls and buckets and spades, ready for impromptu trips to the seaside. The UK has some splendid beaches, from Pelistry Bay in the Isles of Scilly to Watergate Bay in Newquay.

Add comfort with floor cushions

outdoor wooden flooring with grey chair, outdoor cushions and floor mat

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Scarboro)

There is nothing better than breathing in the fresh summer air. Invest in outdoor cushions and make the most of the sun while it lasts. Add comfort to a playroom or summerhouse with bright box cushions and store games in a low-level shelving unit, where little hands can reach them.

Encourage tidy habits with a shoe basket

kids wooden shoe rack with wall stickers

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dan Duchars)

Keep the outdoors out by providing a basket by the back door or in a boot room for sandy and muddy shoes. Make the space fun with quirky wall stickers and decoupage furniture.

Provide the perfect playroom

garden camping activity with tent

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

A garden room or summerhouse is ideal as a games room. Turn it into a den with comfortable chairs, bright curtains and a table tennis table. A children's playhouse is a fabulous way to keep little ones entertained, encouraging them to create their own adventures in the garden. Whether it's your child’s secret den, fairytale castle or log cabin, it's great way for children to enjoy imaginative playtime outside – ensuring hours of fun without having to leave home.

Get gardening

wooden table with gardening tools on it

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Scarboro)

Gardening can be great fun with a set of child-sized tools - and if they get bored of digging in the dirt, a set of quoits or boules helps while away the time. Give your child his or her own miniature herb garden to take care off. There is nothing more satisfying than snipping off some homegrown mint leaves or picking a sprig of thyme to add some fresh garden flavours to a roast chicken or summer salad.

Build a playhouse

kids homemade fort with furniture

(Image credit: Future PLC/Charlotte King)

The child in all of us remembers the thrill of a homemade fort made of bed sheets and furniture, or perhaps a hideout in the woods crafted out of sticks and stones. Whether it's a rough-and-ready cowboy shack or a pretty Wendy house, a playhouse is essential - they're great for keeping kids entertained during garden parties.

Use handy storage

kids storage area with table for writing and storing

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Brittain)

A dedicated spot to change shoes or hang coats and towels will help keep the place tidy. And if you want to encourage kids to put their toys away? Then make storage look appealing and fun with novelty shelving in dolls’ house or dinosaur designs, or go for pretty painted shelves.

Go retro with croquet

garden activities with games

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Scott)

Rediscover your inner child and take to the lawn for traditional British games! Now the weather is warmer we all know getting your children into the garden and away from the TV is good for their little minds and bodies. As well as the obvious garden toys like climbing frames, trampolines and sandpits there are also many imaginative garden games you can play together that will delight and engage your children so you can enjoy some outdoor family time together.

Colour in

caravan for kids colouring

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you're looking for a fun and easy children's party idea, then the colour-in caravan could be just what you’re after. The caravan is small enough to be parked easily in most driveways, gardens and parks. It can be hired for the day or, for those who want the ultimate colour-in caravan sleep over experience, there’s a two-day weekend package. It comes with all the pens and products supplied. For more information, visit Eggnogg (opens in new tab).

Explore the UK

beach activity with basket with items and sheets, towels for relaxing

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Scarboro)

There’s loads of free stuff to do around the UK, whether it’s broadening your horizons at the Eden Project in Cornwall, having a sea adventure at Oceanarium in Bournemouth, or admiring nature at the University of Bristol Gardens. Go to visitengland.com (opens in new tab), visitscotland.com (opens in new tab), discovernorthernireland.com (opens in new tab) and visitwales.com (opens in new tab) for more inspiration.

Encourage adventure

outdoor off-white tent with beds and bicycle

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Bevan)

Set free your child's wild side with National Trust’s '50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾’ activities (find the list at nationaltrust.org.uk/50-things-to-do (opens in new tab)). Explore the outdoors, learn new skills and try something different this summer. From learning to ride a horse and building a raft to swimming in the sea! Check off activites as you go, using the free 50 things app (App Store or GooglePlay).

Have a wander

coffee table in woodland near canal

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Bolton)

Fun activities don't always have to cost the Earth. The UK’s canals and rivers are awash with life. Walk by the water, admire the wildlife,  feed the ducks, and watch the boats. Find free, local guides at canalrivertrust.org.uk (opens in new tab)

Which activities do you have planned for the school summer holidays?

Jennifer Ebert