I do get very jealous seeing all the blog posts and tweets about people being on summer holidays. Although N’s at nursery school, he’s also at day nursery, so his days are upped during the summer holidays once nursery school has broken up. N and I have a week off work and nursery at the end of August so we will hopefully get some days away somewhere (probably a road trip to see friends). In the meantime summer is the same as every week…working/nursery, with weekends the time to make the best of the summer.
Now swimming lessons are finished, we have lots of free weekends, as well as evenings to enjoy the summer, especially if the weather stays as nice as it is at the moment. The OH doesn’t understand why I like to get off the farm and take N out and about all the time but I think it’s so crucial, even at this age that he gets to experience lots of things.
My mum always used to take my brother and I to London each school holiday to investigate somewhere new and have a walk around, and I’d like to do the same as N gets older. I love the fact that I’ve been to so many places in the UK even though we didn’t have a foreign holiday until we were a lot older, and I’d hate for N to grow up and never have been outside the county.
So we go on lots of day trips, visit lots of friends, and just generally experience new things before N gets old enough to start wanting to go to specific places and turn his nose up at others.
What makes a great summer for us (other than sun)? And what are my tips for making the best of them?
1. Visiting friends
Because many of my friends live further away (and to be honest, I class people over 30 minutes in that group as once everyone has children and works, life gets so much harder to arrange meet ups), we use summer holidays to try and catch up. We’ve been on road trips the last couple of years, visiting friends and family.
It’s great for me to see people other than work colleagues, and gives N a chance to meet some of the people who really care about us and love seeing us. Road trips are hard work as it’s a lot of driving for me, and then trying to coordinate days when friends aren’t working, but is a good way to see lots of different places in one hit.
- talk to the children about your itinerary
- get them to mark on a map where you’re going and where you’ve been
- take plenty of food for the journey.
2. The seaside
Living in the middle of the country, it’s not easy to get to the beach. On our road trips we usually get over to Cleethorpes for a brief visit, but last year met a friend in Oxford at the beach there. Yes, they really do set up a beach in Oxford. N loved it, and he does mention going on holiday and the beach again. While we’re never going to get a family holiday in the summer thanks to farming, hopefully we’ll get to the beach at some point this summer so N (and I) can get our fix.
- Paddling in the sea
- Flying kites if windy
- Chips (and scraps) eaten out of paper on the sea front
- Fairground rides
While your children might turn their noses up to old fashioned activities normally, when on holiday anything goes, so reminisce with them about the ‘olden days’ of your youth.
Summer to me means Pimms (for the adults), BBQ (when we get the chance), relaxed dining outside, picnics and ice cream or lollies. I do feel for N as unless he grows out of his lactose intolerance he’ll never be able to experience a whippy 99 cone from the ice cream van, but he does love ice lollies so it’s not all bad. N is partial to a picnic, so we’ll be doing lots of these – whether just at our local park, or further afield near the river at Stratford.
We’re also planning on checking out the Big Feastival as it’s only round the corner from us. Food, plus music and family fun, what more could we want?
I always take snacks with us, if not a picnic, so the BN biscuits we get sent to try, would definitely be a treat to include in our snack bag. N loved the raspberry flavour, choosing to open that pack first, but neither lasted very long. They’re quite large, so the perfect size to act as ‘dessert’ after sandwiches.
- Don’t worry too much about only providing healthy foods. Picnics and holidays are a chance to treat yourself.
- Mini versions of foods go down well. Opt for an ‘everybody dig in’ style picnic, or pack little lunchboxes, bento style, for the children.
- Take at least one bag for any rubbish – finding a bin on the way home means less to transport home again.
As I wrote last week, our paddling pool is a bit of a struggle, but this summer there’s a few places where I’m planning to take N, on his own or meeting up with friends.
The outdoor pool in town has to be one of them. I’ve been swimming there during work lunchtimes, and it really is bliss swimming under a beautiful blue sky. There’s a children’s splashzone, so N will love it.
Stratford upon Avon has a great park by the river with a paddling pool, as has St Nicholas’ Park in Warwick that I’ve been meaning to take him to, again with a paddling pool and fountain area.
- It doesn’t have to be amazing blue skies and hot to go to an outdoor pool. If the sky’s a bit cloudy, but it’s warm, then do go. Our outdoor pool stays open unless it’s a thunderstorm. Often we’ve turned up at lunchtime when the sky’s looked grey, but come out of the changing rooms to beautiful blue skies. It’ll be less busy, and can still be bliss to swim in.
Maybe I shouldn’t have shared that tip!
5. Time on the farm
Obviously it’s a great time of year for children who’re interested in farming. It’s not a great family time as all the men are out working long hours, but N and I will spend lots of time pottering around on the farm, looking at the pigs, checking out the ducks and trying out the quad bike for size.
But in summer, it’s all about the combine harvesters, and N loves having a go on one. So it’ll be a case of being on the phone and checking how far away they’re working, and whether someone’s got the combine there. I’ll have to drive N over so he can have a chance to sit on it while they do some harvesting. We don’t have a combine ourself so it’s a bit of discussion with whoever’s working nearby that we know so N can have a ride. It’ll make his summer.
- If you’ve got a tractor loving child, keep a watch out in the fields for combines and balers. Great road trip activity, but also why not look out for places to stop and watch them – public footpaths, hills. As long as you don’t block gateways, you might be able to find a good view.
Back up plans
Our back up plans in case of rain involve inviting friends round to play, and breaking out the craft stash. Ideas I’ve got ready to go include making bookmarks, painting rock bugs, and making alphabet plastic bottle tops. N’s not that big on crafting, but once we’ve been through all the puzzles and dvds, sometimes he’s happy to get out something different. Although much of the time, I can just provide him with lots of different magazines and his scissors to chop up the paper. Bliss for a 3 year old (not so much for the mum who has to find all the dropped bits of paper afterwards).
What plans do you have for the summer?
This post is an entry for 42 Days of Summer Linky Challenge sponsored by McVitie’s BN. Learn more at the BN website