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Everyday Amazing: How to make the most of the places you visit regularly

Stephanie Withers

04 August 2017

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5 minutes
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With the summer holidays in full swing, you might be worrying about what to do next with your restless brood. Rain or shine, it’s easy to overlook what’s right on your doorstep. Sometimes the simplest outings can be just as much fun as a big day out, not to mention lighter on the purse. We’ve come up with a few ways to make your everyday places a tad more exciting to help keep the family happy. Have a read below!

How to make the most of everyday places, like your local park

The park

Vary up the toys/entertainment ideas - We like to alternate between 3 nearby parks and bring different toys each time to help keep things interesting. This can be anything from sandpit toys to bubbles, colourful chalk to balls and trucks. A great tip we’ve found is to keep an eye out for summer activities on the back of smoothie cartons or cereal boxes, as there are often some fun cut outs to try, one of our favourites being nature crowns! Finally, bringing along a scooter or bike never fails to get the kids up for a park trip!

Bring chalk to the park and let your kids create fun pavement drawings

Nature Hunt Forest School Style - Take inspiration from Forest Schools and get off the beaten track to explore the wonders of nature. Why not bring some detective essentials, such as a microscope, basket, binoculars and a jotter to note down their discoveries.  Larger parks are perfect for this, however even small ones have plenty to discover. Things like leaves and pine cones are great for collecting and taking back home to incorporate into some arts and crafts. The Woodland Trust also has a number of free outdoor activity sheets available to download to help inspire some ideas!

Turn your trip to the park into a scavenger hunt game

Picnic - After the kids have burnt off some energy, the easiest way to settle any inevitable ‘hangry’ moments is to have some lunch essentials with you. This also helps the outing feel more like a day out! Take advantage of the appeal of a pick and mix lunch, which is great for making use of some leftovers in the fridge. On that note, don’t miss our post on some tasty picnic snacks and Penny’s simple picnic hacks!

A trip into town

Transport - Trips into town aren’t always the most entertaining for tots, so occasionally we like to vary up the mode of transport we take to help make the excursion more interesting. Depending on where you live this can be with a detour on the train, tram or bus - basically anything out of routine tends to make things more exciting!

There's loads to explore with the kids in your local town

Keep up to date with town & library events - Don’t forget to sign up to your local library/shopping centre’s newsletter or follow them on FB so that you can stay in the loop with what family events are happening in town throughout the summer. There’s often an array of activities to get involved with, such as themed days, bouncy castles, face painting, story telling and treasure hunts that are worth making note of so you don’t miss them.

Rooftop Gardens & Child-Friendly Cafes - Most towns now have a child-friendly cafe, which is the perfect place to stop by and let the kids play with some new toys. Plus give mum a well-earned caffeine fix! Alternatively bringing along a colouring book or a kids magazine to your local Starbucks can also buy you a few minutes R&R between running errands. Rooftop Gardens are growing more and more popular across the UK, which are brilliant for letting kids have a little run around and play before heading home.

Try and find a rooftop garden for an alternative to your usual playground visit

Supermarket games & scavenger hunt

Find the food - Something our toddlers love to do is to help me draw up a Supermarket Scavenger Hunt! You don’t have to draw every item, instead simply choose a few easy things for them to find. I tend to think of a couple items per aisle to help keep them interested! Suddenly the supermarket is a whole new adventure. P.S. If you sign up to the Day Out With The Kids email newsletter below, you'll receive your very own 'Little Explorer's Quest' to help explore - it's definitely worth a try!

This visual shopping list is a great way to keep kids entertained during the weekly shop

Young Kids Shopping Games - If you don’t have time to make a scavenger hunt there are other shopping games you can play with young kids whilst hurrying down the aisles - such as ‘I Spy’ or helping Mum spot the red tags showing the offers & counting up how many you can all get. Some supermarkets also have children’s trolleys that they can push themselves.

Play Shops At Self Checkout - So… this requires some patience and you might not want to repeat it too often, but the self-checkout is another handy spot to let the kids help you scan and pack the bags. Young kids love to be helpful and are often more interested in daily outings they can feel included in.

Garden Centre

Start a project that you can keep adding to (e.g fairy garden, veg patch) - You really can’t beat a trip to the Garden Centre for an easy afternoon out. There’s always plenty to see and different things to do/try each time you visit. Giving the kids a garden project is great for the holidays, such as a veg patch or a Ben & Holly inspired ‘miniature fairy garden’ that you can take your time growing and decorating!

There are lots of ways to keep kids entertained during a trip to the garden centre

Look into kids gardening classes - Many local garden centres have kids classes on throughout the year to embrace the seasons. Once again make sure you’re signed up to their newsletter and pick up any relevant leaflets, as these classes are often free and are great for teaching your kids a whole host of handy gardening skills.

Try enrolling kids into a gardening course to embrace the seasons

Visit the pets corner - On rainy days sometimes a simple trip to the Pets Corner is enough to raise a smile. Many garden centres have bunnies, hamsters and birds to look at. The aquarium section is also another magical spot, especially if there’s a Nemo & Dory!

Kids will love looking at the fish you can find at garden centres

How do you make the most of the places you visit regularly? Let us know in a comment below, or put these tips to the test by visiting your local park!

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Stephanie Withers

04 August 2017

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Stephanie Withers is a blogger, freelance writer, compulsive coffee drinker and mother to two wildlings, Finlay and Parker. Stephanie is one of our much loved Trusted Explorers, which means all content has been written exclusively for dayoutwiththekids.co.uk in exchange for a contribution to their family piggy bank. All posts are first hand, honest and based on real experiences.

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