Summer holiday activities: 15 things to do with kids at home

By Ellie Reeves | 27th June 2023 | 7 min read

Budget-friendly activities to do with kids this summer

It’s that time of the year again. School's out for summer and your little ones have been let loose! This can be an expensive six weeks for a lot of families, but it doesn’t have to be. From fun craft projects to movie marathons, there are loads of ways you can keep your kids entertained without spending a small fortune. Check out this list of activities you can do with your children, without even needing to leave your home…

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1. Have a picnic - indoors or outdoors

A picnic is always a good idea. Lay down a blanket in your garden, or if you don’t have an outdoor space, a picnic in your living room will be just as fun! Stock up on sandwiches, crisps, fruit, and other snacks and enjoy an afternoon of grazing. If you need some inspiration, check out these picnic ideas.

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2. Gardening projects

Why not get outside and teach your littles ones the joys of gardening? Fill beds and containers with colourful bedding plants, make seed balls for bees, or you could get your children to help you care for your veggie patch and grow something new. Check out our easy vegetable growing guide for kids.

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3. Do some baking

Spend an afternoon baking delicious goodies with your children. There are so many easy-to-follow recipes you can do with kids, from fudgy brownies to savoury cheese scones. Biscuits or cupcakes are a great idea too, because then they can decorate them and really let their creativity shine! From cupcake cases to cookie cutters, we’ve got loads of bakeware to choose from.

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4. Give bird watching a go

Our gardens are home to a host of birds, from cheeky gulls to tweeting blue tits. Encourage your kids to give bird watching a try. They can quietly perch by a window with a pair of binoculars and keep an eye out. Why not create a checklist with the 10 most common garden birds in the UK? Then they can tick it off as and when they spot one!

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5. Show your little ones how to sew

Sewing is a fun and creative activity, plus it’s a useful skill to have in your adult life. We suggest teaching them how to sew with felt, as it doesn’t fray and it’s easy to cut. From felt pouches to finger puppets, your youngster’s imagination is the limit. And once they’re comfortable hand sewing, you could show them how to use a sewing machine to create something more complex!

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6. DIY science experiments

Children are naturally curious, so they’ll love trying out some DIY science experiments. You can use materials you already have around the home to conduct some experiments. Have a search online for some simple ideas. An easy experiment you could try is showing children how to increase the buoyancy of objects in water by adding salt. All you need is an egg, a cup, some water, and salt.

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7. Go camping in the garden - or the living room!

Camping in the garden is a fantastic way to get closer to nature, but still with access to all your home comforts. If you’ve never taken your children on a camping holiday before, sleeping in a tent in the garden is a good way to test out whether they’ll enjoy it or not. If the weather is bad, you can set up a tent in your living room instead. Or if you don’t have enough space for a tent – make a den using blankets and cushions!

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8. Set up a paddling pool in the garden

Paddling pools are ideal for lazy sunny days in the garden. A compact paddling pool can provide hours of entertainment for little ones, plus they're a safe and controlled environment for your children to cool off in after playing in the sunshine. Whether they're splashing about or playing with toys - inflatable paddling pools are an affordable and convenient alternative to larger swimming pools.

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9. Have a movie marathon

In need of some downtime? Why not have a relaxed movie day. You could set up an outdoor cinema in the garden with a sheet and projector, or just stay inside and chill on the sofa with some snacks. For a real movie theatre experience, use a popcorn maker. You could even print out some fake cinema tickets to really bring the experience to life!

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10. Arrange a games night

Spend an evening playing games and making memories. From card games like Uno or Rummy to board games like Monopoly or Scrabble, there are so many options to choose from. Games are a great way to teach your kids valuable lessons, like problem solving and social skills, plus it can boost their focus, and show them how to be a good loser and a gracious winner.

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11. Time for a scavenger hunt!

Encourage your kids to put their thinking hats on with a scavenger or treasure hunt. This exciting activity combines problem solving, teamwork and some friendly competition. You could give them a list with all the items they need to find, and once they’ve found everything, they receive a prize. Or you can give them a starting clue that leads them to a spot in the home or garden where there’s another clue, and so on – until they finally find a treasure waiting for them at the end.

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12. Have a pizza party

Give yourself a well-earned break and let your kids make their own dinner by setting up a pizza making station. Put out a selection of topping ingredients and let your kids create their very own perfect pizza. Once they’ve assembled their pizza, simply pop it in a pizza oven for a few minutes until cooked. An easy and delicious dinner that your kids will love.

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13. Outdoor painting station

Transform your garden into an artistic haven. Put out some easels, canvases, brushes, and acrylics in an array of vibrant colours. Whether they choose to paint landscapes, animals, or something totally abstract – encourage your young artist to express themselves in the form of art.

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14. Host a sports day

Invite family and friends over for a mini sports day in the garden. Decide on a few activities, create a leaderboard, and appoint a games master. There are so many different activities to choose from, you could do a sack race, an egg and spoon race, or a swingball tournament. A sports day is a great way to move your body and have fun in the process!

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15. Teach your kids to tie dye

Your kids will love this one! Jazz up plain T-shirts by tie-dying them with bold colours. Tie dying is a lot easier than it looks and it’s the perfect activity for a summer’s day. You’ll need a big bucket, plastic sheeting, protective face mask, zip lock bags, selection of fabric dyes, squeezy bottles, plain carrier bags, a plain T-shirt, and a little bit of patience! We suggest doing it in the garden, so you needn't worry about making a mess indoors.