Category Archives: Love Your Local

40 Ideas, Tips and Tricks for a Great Summer Holiday


40 Ideas, Tips and Tricks for a Great

The summer holidays are just around the corner and like many of us you are faced with trying to keep your child entertained for 6 whole weeks. While older children can often entertain themselves the younger ones are not always that easy to please.

We have some great ideas, tips and tricks to get you through the holidays with a smile of your face.

Keeping Them Entertained

Have a plan of action for each week. Possible days out, play dates, activities etc  Mum in The Madhouse has some great free printable planners on the blog. Perfect for working parents that need to plan childcare through the holidays as well.

Free-summer-holiday-planner-

Don’t make plans. Make a daily decision on what you are going to do. Wing it and see where you end up.

The worst sentence ever muttered by a child is “I’m bored”, it can drive you insane. Be prepared and get a bored jar ready before the holidays start. All you need to do is fill a jar or box with activities for them to do like read a book, crafts, watch a film, go for a walk, tidy your room, make a den etc When they tell you they are bored get them to choose an activity to do.

Get them to make a summer bucket list and list all the things they would like to do in the summer holidays and then choose one each day.

Start a summer scrap/happy book.  Have your child write, draw, glue on pictures of their summer adventures. A great rainy day activity.

Go on a park crawl. Make a list of all the parks in your area and visit them all. You could either do it in one day or spread it across the 6 weeks.

Go on lots and lots of picnics.

Have a sports day. Invite their friends over and have a sports day in the garden.

Arrange some playdates.  Take turns with friends to host a play date, the kids can play and you can site, drink coffee and have adult conversation.

Set up different play stations in your garden. You could have sand & water, a shop, kitchen, balls & hula hoops, trikes & scooters, crafts, reading corner etc that way they can flit between each station and not get bored.

Bake cakes! Who doesn’t like cakes? If baking isn’t your thing but plain fairy cakes or biscuits and let your children decorate them.

Make your own ice lollies. Make them in the morning and they should be ready by lunch time. Experiment with frozen smoothies or fresh juice lollies.

These Strawberry and Banana Smoothie lollies by A Mummy Too look great.

a2-lollies

Psst mums here are ones just for you, Cucumber Gin & Tonic Popsicles by Port and Fin.

CucumberGT3

All the crafts. If in doubt get the craft box out and let them get messy. Perfect for those too hot to play in the garden days.  You could set a theme for the summer and make items for an art show at the end of the holidays.

Build a den. In the garden, in the woods or in your living room.

Invent your own games.

Put on a show. Invite family and friends over for a show, get the children to sing, dance, tell jokes or do magic tricks.

Go to the seaside, eat doughnuts, build sandcastles and play to 2p machines.

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Go to the Zoo.

Go swimming.

Go to a theme park.

Visit a museum.

Go on a train ride. Choose a destination and have an adventure.

Go the cinema.

Have a home cinema afternoon. Make popcorn, snuggle up and chill out.
Go to the theatre. Check out your local theatre for children shows.
 

Top Tips and Money Saving Ideas

Have a garden box/trug/bag ready to go.  Fill it with wipes, sun lotion, towel, hats, tablecloth etc and have it by the back door. All you need to do it grab drinks and snacks to throw in and off you go into the garden. It saves you running around looking for everything you need and you can just get outside and have fun. It’s especially good if you have very young children that you don’t want to leave on their own while you keep going back indoors for things.

Have a car bag ready to go. Similar to above we have a bag in the back of the car with wipes, nappies, sun lotions, sun hats, a towel, first aid kit and bucket and spades. It means we only have to grab a few things before go out for the day.
Make sun care a part of your daily routine. We out on sun lotion every morning before we get dressed so we are protected before we leave the house.

When going on a picnic, pack everyone their own pack lunch rather than one big bag of food. That way you will have leftovers which go floppy by the time you get home.

Take your own food on days out. It can cost quite a bit to eat out at theme parks etc

Take your own drink when you go out. Costs of drinks can add up.

If you are out and fancy an ice-cream, visit the local supermarket and buy a multi pack it will be much cheaper.
Check for any offers and voucher codes before you go out for family meals.  Try sites like my voucher codes, voucher codes and Money Saving Expert.

Book online and in advance at theme parks, zoos farms etc they often have a good online discount.

Use your supermarket points. Tesco and Nectar points can often be used for money off tickets.

Find free events. There are loads out there you just have to look for them. Many museums have free entry as well. Have a little search and see what you can find.

Take part in the Summer Reading Challenge at your local library.  It’s free, fun and gives you a regular day out during the holidays.

Sign up for the 10 minute Shake Up from Change For Life. It’s full of activities, stickers and a free wrist timer.

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Watch films for free by setting up a trial with Netfilx, NowTV or Amazon Prime just remember to set a reminder to cancel if you don’t want to carry on.

Ditch the car and stay local for the summer. You’ll get fit and save money on petrol.

 
What are your top tips for a great summer?

Follow Wendy’s board Summer 2015 on Pinterest.

20 Things to Do This Summer Holidays


20 Things To Do This Summer (1)

The summer holidays are upon us and it’s sometimes hard to know what to do with then children.  Don’t worry we have some brilliant ideas for you to do this summer holidays.

Days Out

If you want to get out and about this summer there are plenty of events going on throughout the country.

Mini-beastastic: 24th July

Old Winchester Hill National Nature Reserve, Hayden Lane, near Warnford, Hampshire, SO32 3LF

Can you jump like a grasshopper, run like a beetle, flutter like a butterfly, dance like a bee, hunt like a dragonfly? Come for our mini-beastastic activity session, play some marvellous mini-beast games, uncover some mini-beast mysteries – about dancing bees & farming ants!

Open Air Performance of Jungle Book: 6th August

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Join Mowgli on his wonderful adventures with the loveable and wise Baloo the Bear, the powerful panther Bagheera, not to mention mischievous monkeys and the terrifying tiger Shere Khan! A guaranteed summer hit for all the family.

Hungry Bug Play Day and Picnic: 6th August

Weoley Castle

As part of National Play Day we are hosting a hungry bug play day!  Have a go at our butterfly hunt, make yourself a caterpillar hat, and enjoy our bug-themed play area.  Why not bring along a picnic to enjoy in the castle grounds – because all us bugs get hungry after a good play!

Strawberry Fields Festival:   8th-10th August

Cattows Farm, Heather, Leicestershire LE67 2RF

WOW! 2014 – and now entering our FIFTH year, Strawberry Fields Festival is widely regarded as one of the fastest growing and most exciting independent festivals in the UK.

Little Monsters Bash: 9th August

Stanmer Park, Brighton

LMB logo landscape

Little Monsters Bash is a fun festival for mini festival goers aged between 0-10 years old and their families. The event is being held at the glorious grounds of Stanmer Park in Brighton, East Sussex on Saturday 9th August 2014. Enjoy the main stage hosting a variety of celebrity live acts and shows or visit one of our many specific Monster zones which have their own entertainment schedule and activities which are free for visitors to participate in. Families who attend get to enjoy a fantastic fun day out, where children get to enjoy interactive learning and play as well as having fun!

Hobbit Adventure:  12th August

Brockholes, Samlesbury, Preston

This Hobbit themed adventure is guaranteed to excite and entertain the whole family whether they are seven or 77!

Summer Exhibition Family Workshop:  13th August

Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD

A visit to the Summer Exhibition is the perfect way to introduce your children to art, bringing together some of the most exciting work being created right now. From sculptures and paintings to drawings, prints and photography – prepare to be inspired! Book now to take part in a fun interactive tour of the galleries, led by our engaging artist-educators, followed by an art making session inspired by the works on display in the Summer Exhibition.

Blenheim Palace Sportive and Family Cycle Day: 17th August

Blenheim Castle

Blenheim Palace Sportive and Family Cycle Day

Enjoy this once a year exclusive family opportunity to cycle around the picturesque Parkland of Blenheim Palace, a World Heritage site. Bring your bicycles (and helmets) and cycle around the spectacular Lake and over the Grand Bridge, take in the scenery and fresh air, stop for a picnic and make it a day to remember.

New Forest Fairy Festival :  16th-17th August

Burley Park, Burley, Hampshire

Come and join us for a friendly uplifting fun weekend. Enjoy the magik in the enchanting home of the New Forest Fairies.

Live acoustic music, Folk bands, Morris dancers, story telling, belling dancing, Platform Mediumship, lots of activities and workshops will heighten our senses with love and joy. Let your spirit run wild and free!

Dress in your finest fairy and elf costumes and be sprinkled with Magik Fairy Dust!

Children’s Week:   18th – 23rd August

Paignton Green

Five day fun for all the family returns to Paignton Green

There’ll be fun and entertainment for all the family as Torbay Children’s Week returns to Paignton Green.

23rd August – Family Fun Day from 11am. Fireworks display at 9pm!

Closer to Home

If you want to stay closer to home then make the most of your local facilities.

Summer Reading Challenge

This year’s summer reading challenge is Mythical Maze .

The Summer Reading Challenge takes place every year during the summer holidays. You can sign up at your local library, then read six library books of your choice, collecting stickers and other rewards along the way – all FREE.

National Trusts 50 Things To Do Before You’re 11 ¾

Why not set your family a challenge to do at least one of the 50 things this summer. Many of them can be done in your garden or Local Park. You can register online and track your progress

Go Swimming

There is no better way to cool down then taking a swim.  Check your local authority site to see if they have any free swimming offers on this summer.

Go Camping In Your Back Yard

Pitch your tent in your garden and have camping adventure. Sing songs, tell stories and toast marshmallows on a fire (or BBQ).

Go On a Picnic

Pack a picnic and spend the day at your Local Park or forest. If you don’t fancy going too far then have it in your garden or even on your living room floor if the weather is wet.

At Home

Let’s face it you don’t want to be out all the time. We all love a lazy day at home especially when the weather is looking grim.

Get Baking

There is nothing better than baking (and eating) cakes. Try out fairy cake recipe or for something more savoury give our cheese scones a go.

Get Crafty

Get the glue and paint out and let your little ones get creative. Make your own play dough or make a flower bookmark.

Family Film Time

Pop some popcorn, snuggle on the sofa at watch a film. Bored of the films you have? Why not have a film swap with friends! You can hire films from your local library.

Sign up for a free month’s trial with one of the film streaming companies and watch as many films as you like.

NOWTV – Free one month for Sky Movies get all the live movies plus movies on demand

Netflix – Free one month trail

Amazon Prime Instant Video  – Free one month trail

Fun & Games

Get the board games out and have fun. If the weather is nice play them in the garden. Charity shops are a good place to pick up cheap games or have a games swap with friends.

Give our animal pairs game a go. Just print, cut out and play.

Free Printable Game-

Whatever you do this Summer have an amazing time!

Walk to School Week & a Free Printable Nature Trail


Walk to school week

 

Next week see’s the start of Walk to School Week. Here at Kids One Stop Shop we want to help encourage you to leave your car at home and get walking.

Here are some tips on how to make Walk to School Week easy and fun.

  • If you are walking instead of taking the car you will have to leave earlier so make sure you plan for the earlier start time.

  • Check the weather the night before to see if you need wellies or your sun hats

  • Make sure have a drink, walking can be thirsty work.

  • Go with friends to make it fun. Encourage other parents to join in and go together.

  • Why not technically walking if your child is not too keen why not let them take their scooter.

  • Play games on the way like eye spy it will make the time pass quicker.

  • Turn your walk into a nature trail with our free printable below. Go on the hunt for bugs, flowers and other interesting things.

Download here.Mini

Have a Great Autumn Half Term on a Budget


Have a Great Autumn Half Term

Half term is upon which means two things:

1)      Keeping the kids entertained

2)      Doing that without breaking the bank

Here at Kids One Stop Shop we think you can lots of fun and spend very little, here are some of our ideas:

Halloween Party

Having a Halloween Party can be a cheap way of entertaining the children this half term and there are ways of doing it on a budget:

  • Make the most of free downloads there are loads on the internet; we found Halloween masks and decorations.

  • Make your own spooky playlist on Spotify, sign up for free trial and dance the day away.

  • Get guests to bring one item of food each to save on the food costs.

  • Pumpkin carving is fun and relatively cheap, depending on how many children are at the party buy a few pumpkins. Get the children to scoop the insides out (save for pumpkin soup or pie) and then cut out your pumpkin face. You may want to help the children with this depending on their age. You can get them to design then first or use a template. Sainsbury’s have some free pumpkin templates online.

  • Don’t worry about party bags they are an added cost you don’t need.

Get Out and About

It can be tempting to stay at home wrapped up warm but after a few days your children will have cabin fever. Wrap up warm, take a flask of hot chocolate and have an autumn adventure. Find your local forest/woods or even your local park.

Here are some things you can do:

  • The Woodlands Trust Nature Detectives have some great free resources including this Halloween Play Pack which packed full of fun things to do outside.

  • Collect leaves, twigs etc and then come home and make an autumn collage.

Of course if it’s raining you can either get your wellies on or embrace it or checkout our wet weather activities.

Love Your Library

Don’t forget about the humble local library, they often run activities during the holidays.

If not then why not get out some longer books like Roald Dahl or Enid Blyton and spend the holiday reading them together. You could read a few chapters each day and then creative activities around what you have read.

You don’t have to get story books out, why not visit the craft or recipe section to see if you can get an inspiration for projects.

You can also rent DVD’s from libraries perfect for an afternoon on the sofa.

If you don’t fancy a trek out or the weather is terrible check to see if your library rents ebooks, you can do this online.

We hope this has given you some ideas on how to spend the half term holiday.

International Walk to School Month


October is International Walk to School Month, it’s the time to ditch the car and get your walking shoes on!

Not only will you be saving on fuel but you will increase you and your child’s physical activity. It’s also gives you a great chance to teach your child road safety.

Here are some tips to make your walk to school and back a pleasant one:

  • Make sure you leave with plenty of time and plan your route
  • Take a drink walking can be thirsty work
  • Be prepared for bad weather, pop on your wellies if it looks like rain and take rain coats
  • Make sure you have everything before you leave
  • Make it fun play i-spy or make of list of things to spot on the way
  • Team up with other parents and go as a group

You don’t have to do the whole month try a week or one day a week, it will make a big difference.

Ways to Save Money This Summer


The summer holidays can be an expensive time with days out and activities to keep the children occupied.

Here are some ideas on how to save money this summer:

Stay local

Make the most of your local area; you’ll be surprised how many free things there are for you to do.

  • Visit your local library or park take a picnic and make a day of it.
  • Do you have a local museum? They are often free to visit.
  • Search on Google or local websites for events
  • Checkout local listings on netmums they are full of places to go and do in your area

Look for Discounts

Theme parks and days out can be expensive so make the most of discount vouchers and online deals.

Here are some of the offers we found online.

Theme Parks

Legoland – Save 25% when you purchase at least 7 days in advance online

Drayton Manor – Save when you purchase tickets online. Adult tickets £20 instead of £36 and Children’s £12 instead of £25

Alton Towers – Save up to 40% online plus free early ride time and no booking fee when booked 7 days in advance

Camelot Theme Park – Save up to 28% when you book online

Chessington – Save up to 40% when you book online at least 7 days in advanced

Eating Out

Chiquito – Children eat free, download voucher from their site.

ASK – Children eat free, download voucher.

La Tasca – Children eat free Monday – Friday

Travel

If you travel by train then invest in a Family and Friends railcard. You save a 1/3rd on adult fares and up to 68% off children’s fares.

Visit your local train company’s website they often have special offers including discounts on attractions.

Travel by coach as this can often be a much cheaper option though they make take a bit longer to get to your destination.

Take a Pack Lunch

You can save a fortune by taking your own food on days out including drinks. Its quickly adds up when you have hungry mouths to feed. Save the pennies for a treat like an ice-cream.

Set a Budget

Set yourself a budget for your day out and stick to it.  Take out the cash you need and leave the cards at home. You don’t need a lot of money to have fun.

Whatever you do in the summer holidays have fun!

Checkout our local listings on Kids One Stop Shop

 

50 Things to Do Before you are 11 ¾ from the National Trust


The National Trust have launched 50 Things to Do Before you are 11 ¾ to encourage families to get out and about and off the sofa!

You and your child register online and then they have their own 50 things explorer that motivates them to explore the great outdoors.

As they do each activity they earn badges, which are split into 5 categories: Adventurer, Explorer, Discoverer, Ranger and Tracker. As they earn each badge they will also get rewards.

Each activity comes with tips and the best place to have the adventure. There is also a parent’s area.

Activities include hunt for bugs, build a den and make a grass trumpet.

It’s free to join so sign up today!

The National Trust also have a free weekend 21st and 22nd April to kick start your 50 things, you can get full details on their site.

Love Your Local… Park


Whatever the weather your local park is a great source or fun and exercise.  Me and my daughter spend a lot of time at the park, we are really lucky to have a great local park. We have a duck pond, café, wooded paths plus a fab playground.

In the summer we spend hours there, now the weather is colder we still go but just not for so long.

Here are some things you can do even though it’s cold:

  • Have a winter picnic. Take a flask of soup, sandwiches and wrap up warm

  • Go a nature walk. See what you can find you’ll be surprised in the bad weather

  • Feed the ducks they need the food this time of year

  • Go for a bike ride or scooter that will warm you up

  • Play! That’s what the playground is for

  • Take some hot chocolate in a flask to keep you warm

  • If it’s windy then fly a kite

  • Go puddle jumping. Embrace the rain and have some fun

Do you make the most of your local parks?

Love Your Local….Library


One of my biggest luxuries is buying brand new books. If I am in the mood I can read a book in one day which can be an expensive habit. Joining my local library was the best thing I ever did, you’ll be surprised what services they have to offer:

  • Obviously you can take books out for free. I take a mixture of novels and practical books like recipe and craft books.
  • Free children’s events such a story or rhyme time.
  • Bookstart Bear Club – Some libraries have the Bookstart Bear Club which run story time but also have a passport for your children to collect stamps in. Each time they collect 6 they get a certificate.
  • Free internet. You can often book sessions to use their computers.
  • DVD hire. Its often cheaper to hire from the library then from other places. My local library charges 50p a week for children’s films.
  • Online renewal, which I love as I sometimes late, returning books.

My daughter has caught my love for the library and we can spend an hour reading and choosing books. Educational and free what more do you need.

Visit direct.gov for details of your local services

Image: ponsuwan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net