Cheap and Easy things to do in the Summer Holidays

August 2, 2021


Oh the summer holidays - love them or loathe them, we all have to experience them. Here are a few ways to (hopefully) make your time at home with children a little easier, without breaking the bank.

Sensory bags 

I love these, and they are so simple to make! Just grab a ziplock sandwich bag, some duct tape or gorilla tape and then fill with water, hair gel, slime and add in anything you like! Make sure to squeeze out the excess air and to avoid any spillages tape all four sides of the sandwich bag at the end. Add glitter, toys, beads…it’s also great to make it with your little one and you can decide what goes in it together. I really like water with a little blue food colouring, some sharks and fish toys inside to make it under the sea themed! These sensory bags are great for fine motor skills as they encourage poking, squeezing and hand manipulation, as well as promoting conversation and language skills when sharing and exploring these bags with you, a sibling, or a friend. These are also great to use during tummy time, and if your child (like mine currently) puts everything in their mouth, these can be taped to a window. Just make sure an adult is there to supervise when these are being played with.

Sensory Bag

Pen & Paper

This one sounds simple, but is always a winner. What I like to do is to get a big A1 size pad -these are available at Hobbycraft, The Works etc - and tear off four sheets and stick to the floor with masking tape - (always use masking tape as this won’t ruin flooring! Or it can be done outside). Then, sit your child in the middle and give them pens, pencils, paints, anything you’re comfortable with them using! It gives a child the freedom to use a huge range of motion and develop both their fine and gross motor skills at the same time. It encourages imagination and creativity, along with independent play and independent thinking. If a child is older you can always draw shapes, faces, phonics on the paper beforehand.


Again, another tried and true idea but one children will always love. I’ve found, instead of baking cakes, baking bread is a fab one to do with children as you can buy the kit bags still for ease, but it’s much easier to add in your own flavours and extra ingredients than to a cake. It’s quite fun to go shopping with little ones, or make a list with them, and decide what you want to flavour your bread with, or add to it, to make it exciting. Peppers, olives, sweetcorn, chocolate, anything goes! It’s also a great way to encourage children to eat something they might not normally try if they’ve chosen it and helped make and cook it with you. 

Pasta Fun

Pasta is a fab and cheap resource for activities! It can be used to make pasta jewellery, just grab . some penne and some string and get threading! Threading is a brilliant way to help children develop fine motor skills and hand eye co-ordination. You can also add stick on gems, glitter etc. Pasta can also be dyed - divide a bag of pasta in to five bowls, add each portion of pasta to a sandwich bag with some poster paint or some food dye (if you’re using food dye also add in one teaspoon of white wine vinegar to avoid hand staining!) and then empty on to a baking tray or baking sheet and leave overnight to dry. A great activity to do here is sorting, just mix your dyed pasta in to a bowl, and let your child sort and order the pasta by colour! If you have a pair of chopsticks lying around even better, as using these instead of their hands really promotes those 

fine motor skills and hand eye co-ordination again. 

Phonic Pegs

Another activity you could create at home is phonic pegs - all you’ll need are a packet of wooden pegs, some card paper and a pen. Cut the card paper into long rectangles and on each one write a word your child will know/is learning. For example; date, late, made, safe. then, on the pegs write down all of the letters that appear in the words. Your child can then peg each letter on to the corresponding card paper word! A fun activity encouraging phonics and spelling. 

Other ideas for the holidays

  • Writing to a pen pal (could be a friend, a grandparent), but is something lovely a child can spend time writing and receiving post is always exciting!
  • A home movie afternoon with popcorn and snacks - your child could also make tickets for everyone beforehand, a movie poster, and write up or give you a movie review after the film has finished! 
  • Garden rubbings - if you have a garden, or enjoy walks, take a crayon and paper with you next time and take rubbings of the trees, pavements, leaves…anything you see! Just hold the paper against the object and rub the entire side of the crayon on the paper. 
  • It’s also worth checking out your local parks/heritage sites too as they often have free events running over school holidays, or fun stuff to do with kids. For example, in a forest near me they have a Gruffalo trail they have created, which is free for kids’ to do, they just need to grab a map from the gift shop 
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