Whether you're lucky enough to be hanging out with your children every day this summer or are planning on cramming in lots of fun outside of work hours, here are five ideas to get everyone off their screens for a while to make some happy memories together...
- Go for a bike ride The Sophie Allport team are based near Rutland water, a beautiful reservoir close to Oakham, and one of our favourite things to do on a warm summer’s day is hop on our bikes for a cycle around the shore. If you find yourself with a sunny day, why not pop the kids' bikes on the car (or hire some if you're short on wheels) and choose a destination to explore? The UK is filled with forests, fields and lakes to discover, and cycling is great exercise for all the family. Who knows, perhaps it could be a great opportunity to teach younger family members how to ride a bike too?!
- Explore a National Trust property If your family are a little less outdoorsy and like soaking up a bit of history instead, why not head to your nearest National Trust property? There are hundreds all over the country, and entrance fees are quite reasonable for families. As well the historic houses themselves, many properties also have gardens, farms, shops and play areas, and even offer opportunities for the kids to dress up in period clothing and learn about what life was like many years ago. We often visit Belton House over the summer (a local property for the Sophie Allport team), making the most of the adventure playground before buying an ice cream from the on-site café!
- Head to the beach Sophie Allport's favourite sandy spot is nestled in the Norfolk coastline, and she and her boys heartily recommend a family barbeque beside the sea! Pack your swim gear, cool bags, bring a disposable barbeque (after checking out the rules, of course) and let the kids and dogs run in and out of the waves all day before collapsing in a heap for beachside burgers. With a day of fresh, sea air and warm sunshine, you’re guaranteed not to hear a peep from the back seat!
- Do some baking A rainy day over the summer is almost guaranteed, so why not hide from the deluge outside by whipping up a batch of muffins in the kitchen? Kids love getting messy and baking is a great way of teaching them essential culinary skills for later in life, such as weighing, measuring, cutting, sifting and folding. The Sophie Allport team have lots of experience baking with little helpers, and recommend making something that doesn't require too much skill or finesse...jam tarts, fairy cakes and gingerbread men are easy to make and are forgiving if the ingredients are added a little haphazardly!
- Build a fort Let's face it…when the kids are off school, the house is going to look less than perfect! Rather than stressing about the mess, embrace it by building the most impressive fort your kids have ever laid eyes upon. Help them drag the furniture into position and let them loose in the laundry cupboard to help themselves to sheets, towels and blankets. Turn armchair caves into pirate coves, pillow walls into medieval fortresses and pretend the carpet is a pool of acid lava to be avoided at all costs... it makes a great distraction from the PlayStation, and you can even serve a picnic in the fort and use the space for afternoon naps later on.