What to do in the School Holidays

So we're nearly half-way through. You've survived this long but need ideas to keep the little devils occupied. Here are a few suggestions.

The National Trust

Forget walking round big houses full of old stuff, there are plenty of massive outdoor spaces to run the kids around. Some even have playgrounds and, if the weather holds, you can take a picnic. The NT has launched an initiative to get children activ,e and doing the sort of things that we used to do before the H&S inquisition jumped in, called '50 Things to do before you're 11 3/4'. Annual membership of £72.75 might seem a bit of a heavy outlay but it soon pays for itself. All the details can be found at www.nationaltrust.org.uk.

Playdates

Great idea this one. It's a bit like a sports fixture. Sometimes the kids play at home, other times they play away. It means you have to play host but hoperfully they'll amuse each other. For the away fixtures you get some free time. Plus unlike a football match, everybody wins!

Camping

Kids love it. Bedtimes and normal routines go completely out of the window ans you get to cook sausages over a little burner in a field, which makes them taste suberb. Tents are cheap - I saw one that will sleep 2 in a motorway services for £20 last week - and for occasional in good weather you don't need to invest in 4 seasons sleeping bags; the duvets from the kids' beds will do. Many sites will have space for a night midweek and it only cost me £18 for a Saturday night recently.

Theme Parks

Yes they cost an arm and a leg but there are always offers. Kellogg's and KP have been offering free adult tickets for a host of parks for months, so if worth buying a box of corn flakes if you're going (that's good marketing for you).

Stay Inspired!

Cycling, tennis, swimming....just get them playing something. Alternatively a quick trip to the driving range might work. Many have handy shorter clubs.

Geocaching

There are over 2 million little boxes hidden in the world and some are likely to be near you. Just log onto www.geocaching.com grab your smartphone and go hunting. Observe the sibling rivalry as they try to find it first, which is amazing as they usually can't find their shoes.

English Heritage

Or Historic Scotland or Cadw depending on where you live. Plenty of castles for playing knights in. Many arrange activities over the holidays. See www.english-heritage.org.uk or www.historic-scotland.gov.uk or www.cadw.wales.gove.uk who recognise each others' memeberships.

Bumper Book of Summer

Sainsbury's has released what it describes as "Over 60 boredom-busting ideas for action-packed days" for 3-12 years olds costing £5. In that you might find something of use.

Supercamps

These people will look after your kids and keep them entertained for £40 per day. Plenty of venues around the country and they take child care vouchers. In the interests of trying out what we suggest we put 2 guinea pigs, sorry, boys, into a local one for a day and they came back happy and exhausted. So it worked for us.

And The Rest

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