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8 Low-Cost Summer Holiday Hacks for Kids

by The GreenJinn Team

July 26, 2018


1) Build a reading den (quick & easy)

Fight off the brain drain this summer. Building a reading den together with your child is a great way of protecting them from the hot afternoon sun (and lord knows we’re amidst a heatwave!) and demonstrating the importance of reading.

Here’s a quick and dirty garden canopy you can build
  1. Beg, steal or borrow a hoola hoop if you don’t have one already (I know there’s one lurking in the shed) and take down your shower curtain
  2. Use shower curtain hooks to attach the curtain to the hoop
  3. Hang it from a tree – you’ve got yourself a den
  4. Kit it out with a blanket and cushions for a cosy, hideaway vibe
How it helps your child’s development

‘Unlearning’ is real! Research has found that 1 in 3 kids get left behind in the classroom due to the lengthy summer holidays, so any reading your child does over the summer will keep these skills fresh.

2) Visit a national park

Get a change of scenery. The UK has a host of beautiful and free national parks. Whether your child is a keen cyclist, kayaker, nature lover or just likes to run around like a lunatic, park are a brilliant way of absorbing nature and helping them burn off steam. If you don’t live within driving distance, they make the ideal long weekend getaway. Here are our top picks (read our take on the best national park hikes too!):

  1. Lake District
  2. Cairngorms
  3. Dartmoor
  4. Snowdonia
  5. Brecon Beacons
How it helps your child’s development

Walking in the countryside for just 1 hour has been proven to increase brain performance by a fifth (Psychological Science journal).

3) Build a healthy snack station

Put an end to your little one pestering you for snacks throughout the day. If you want to catch a few hours in the sun to yourself, turn your fridge into a healthy snack station. Fill up weekly Tupperware boxes with snacks and store them in the fridge, ready-to-go.

Small tip: you might want to include a serviette. Here’s a few easy snack ideas:

  • Fruit – apple or orange slices, grapes
  • Veg + dip – carrot sticks or celery and hummus
  • Oaty energy bites – mix rolled oats, peanut butter and honey and mould into balls – refrigerate for 1 hour
  • Banana and peanut butter sandwiches – spread peanut butter between two banana slices
How it helps your child’s development

Healthy snacking has been shown to increase energy levels, prevent weight loss, improve concentration and even increase memory (Medline Plus, medical encyclopaedia) It’s a no brainer!

4) Visit an English Heritage site (kids go free)

If you become an English Heritage member (only £3.83 a month), you can take up to 6 kids for free at any site. English Heritage take care of 100s of historic buildings all over the country. Dover Castle in Kent and Stone Henge in Wiltshire are family favourites, but they’re scattered all across the country.

Get 20% off membership with code: PART16

How it helps your child’s development

Not only will your child become a general knowledge buff, they’ll have a day out appreciating historic sites in the country.

5) Have a fun time making homemade healthy ice lollies

Keep your child cool this summer with your own, homemade healthy ice lollies. Save yourself money and a trip to the supermarket, whilst teaching your children important culinary skills. We have some homemade ice lolly recipes of our own, but you can use any combination of fruit and juice. Getting them involved in the preparation is a great way to spend an afternoon. Plus, they might just grow to appreciate more healthy, homemade recipes.

If you’re feeling lazy, freshly squeezed juice makes an easy, yummy lolly too.

How it helps your child’s development

Satisfy your child’s sweet tooth without feeding them artificial sugar-laden lollies or ice cream. It’s the perfect ploy to get them eating their 5 fruit & veg a day.

6) Visit one of the UK’s 2,500 museums (most are free)

For a cheap, educational day out, head to one of the UK’s free museums. Not all museums will grab your child’s attention – some can be pretty yawn-some. We’ve handpicked a few of our favourites:

  • National Football Museum, Manchester – footy obsessed kids
  • Weston Park Museum, Sheffield – slightly younger kids
  • Royal Armouries, Leeds – ideal for the nerf gun fanatics
  • Science Museum, London – whole family especially future astronauts
Benefits to your child

Visiting museums have been proven to teach critical thinking, empathy, and other important skills.

7)  Experience theatrical culture at a West End show (kids go free)

This August you can take your child to a west end show for free, when accompanied by a paying adult. Being glued to the TV all day does nothing for your child’s development. And let’s be honest, most parents love the theatre too. Here’s some of our top picks the whole family will love:

  • Disney’s Aladdin
  • Disney’s The Lion King
  • Little Mermaid
  • Wicked
  • Mamma Mia!
How it helps your child’s development

Research has shown that attending theatre performances can both enhance social bonds and help children develop emotional intelligence.

8) Holiday brain training

It can take two whole months for a child’s brain to learn at pre-holiday speed again. It’s recommended that children spend 2-3 hours a week going over schoolwork over the holidays. That’s only 20 mins per day! Alternate between these two activities each morning:

Reading aloud

Reading aloud is one of the most valuable things a parent can do with their child. It helps build vital skills, introduces your child to new words and enables them to become more confident speakers.

Holiday diary

Encouraging them to get a few words on paper each day will keep your child’s writing skills fresh. It’s also an outlet for them to express themselves and be creative. Try going through it with them each week to see how they’re getting on, so you can see their improvement and suggest grammar and spelling changes.

How it helps your child’s development

By the end of Year 6, children who don’t use their skills over the summer can slide up to 3 grades behind.