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How to prepare for the school summer holidays

Parent guide to preparing and surviving the summer school holidays

The summer holidays in South Wales are days away and that means you will have six weeks to entertain your children, so I wanted to give you a helping hand to prepare.

1. Stock up on batteries and replace all the batteries in toys that need them. or even better replace any single use batteries with rechargeable.

2. Charge your camera, clear your memory card and have it all ready to go so you can look back on photos of the lovely memories you have made.

3. Before setting off on your days out in the car, get your car check over. The list can feel endless, but checking the oil, water, tyre pressure etc can save hours and money waiting for your car to be back up and running again. And pop in a few sick, rubbish bags and changes of clothes too!

4. Spend rainy days sorting through the felt tips, crayons and pencils, or even better get the children to do this as a fun doodle game, and restock if required. A ream of paper is a useful thing and all children love to make paper chains decorations which feature their art work!

5. Create a list of “Things to do in the summer holidays”, the kids love joining in with their suggestions and note down the cost and if it’s a dry or rainy day activity. You can then manage their expectations about what you can and can’t do.

6. Check if sun suits and swimming costumes fit.

7. A bike MOT is a must, pump up everyone’s bikes and check for punctures.

8. Dust off the paddling pool, check if it is in full working order or replace it and maybe consider a watergun or two and some pool toys!

9. Local cinemas often run kids clubs and cheap seat days, get these booked into your diary, they are also a good rainy day trip out.

10. Get your local bus and train timetable so you can skip the car for the day.

11. Get those all-important appointments booked in before everything gets booked up, like haircuts and dental appointments.

12. Libraries are perfect for a rainy day and free fun, and most run free workshops. Make sure your kids have library cards, you know the library open times and sign up for their reading challenge.

13. Have a toy sort out day, discard the broken toys, and pass on outgrown toys to charity shops or friends and family. Children will play longer with toys if they are not overwhelmed with mountains of toys that are too young for them to play with, broken, mismatched bits first.

14. DVD swap with a few friends ahead of the holidays, means you have a new movies for everyone and you wont know the movies already watched word for word!

15. Check out local groups for fun family days or events are on locally over the summer, also check out local parks and museums for free events.

16. Get your calendar out and book in playdates. People go away and book up activities fast, so doing this early really helps planning. And don’t forget to get school friend’s parents phone numbers before they break up for summer so you can arrange play dates.

17. How about buy your teacher a present or write them a thank you card? Here is a great thank you teacher idea.

18. Stock up on craft supplies, check your recycling bin, old egg boxes and card board for craft projects on rainy days is perfect.

19. Rotate some of the toys, Kids forget what they have so swapping them around gives their toy box a new lease of life and lots more hours of play. If you haven’t already separated toys into boxes, I can recommend the Ikea Kallax system and the boxes, to separate toys into groups for ease to rotate toys. A toy carousel system helps when thinking about what toys the kids haven’t played with for a while and so you can bring those out.

20. Make a “I am bored” lucky dip box, with a big mix or ideas to keep them busy

21. Do an online search for free events at local parks and museums.

22. With the kids off over summer, the house is going to need extra time spent on it, so make sure the house is clean, the fridge is stocked (with wine) & the laundry basket is empty.

23. Buy the kids a scrap book or even better make one out of scrap paper, and encourage them to collect things, take photos and draw pictures to record their Summer. It’s a wonderful project to take into School on the first term back for Show and Tell. For older children a daily diary is fun to do too and to encourage them to keep writing!

24. Who doesn’t like a picnic? Water bottles, delicious sandwiches, pastas and all your favourite snacks and treats. And it’s great for the kids to get outside and run off some energy!

25. Make time to relax is a must, the final weeks of the summer term is very busy with all the additional activities school throw at them. It’s hard to keep up with it all, and even the children end up feeling exhausted. So fitting in some downtime when I can, everyone needs a bit of space in the mayhem of the summer term. We just hang out in the garden together, eat simple food, or have a movie day on the sofa.

26. Emergency fun day box, that includes things like a couple of new DVDs, games, books, sticker packs and activity books, picking whatever is on offer so I don’t spend too much. This has saved me so many times, especially when the weather is rubbish, and lets honest here, it rains a lot in Wales! Pick something out of the box does help to cheer everyone up.

27: Plan a few special days… this can be a train ride to the seaside, a trip to the city, a day at the splash park, or maybe a weekend trip at grandmas. The secret to not going stir crazy in the school summer holidays is to have a mix of experiences, free time and play dates all prepared.

My biggest take home is to enjoy making memories, this time we can never get back.

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