One of the pleasures of family life is a big family day out – helping your children discover new places and experiences, and getting to see the world newly through their reactions and excitement. Planning a great day out, one that you’ll reminisce about together when they’re grown up, is difficult so today we’re here to help with some fresh ideas for some cheap, fun days out for the family.
Hunt and Clues
The scavenger hunt is an age old activity, whether the scale is a single back garden or a whole city. Modern scavenger hunts have evolved though, and make for a special family day out – without too much planning required from you.
Buying a scavenger hunt from one of the new companies doesn’t just get a list of things to find and put in a matchbox. Modern scavenger hunts are structured as narratives, with the things you find on your route helping you solve clues and answer questions, leading to grand finale. It makes for a great family activity, and helps your kids discover a bit of history through a lighthearted story and puzzles they can help to solve.
Bringing History to Life
For a more memorable family day out, ditch the old stand by of worthy and improving museums and find places where history comes to life. Children are far more likely to engage with history when they can see it, touch it, climb it and engage with it on their own terms.
Somewhere like West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village recreates the environment of more than a thousand years ago – initially as an archeological experiment to test theories about how the Anglo-Saxons built their homes and lived together, and now as a living museum for the public. It’s a great place for kids to explore, with regular interactive activities to help bring the palace to life.
You could also look for prehistoric monuments – either large stone circles like the ones at Avebury or Stonehenge, or barrows like Wayland’s Smithy. It makes a good focus for a walk, and speculating about what life may have been around these places thousands of years ago is a great way to engage your kids’ imaginations in the world of history.
Don’t feel the pressure to fill every weekend or day of the summer holidays with planned, structured activities. There’s an increasingly persuasive body of work suggesting that unstructured time – what we might call boredom – is actually vital for your children’s personal development as they grow up.
Letting them find their own entertainment, find ways to fill that time for themselves helps them build important resources of independence and inner life. And not structuring every moment lets you relax, and allows for truly memorable events to develop spontaneously!