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What do you DO on holiday with young kids

(57 Posts)
Softywife Tue 14-May-13 11:54:15

What do you DO on holiday with young kids? Especially if you're on your own?

When I was single I thought of a holiday as exploring somewhere I'd never been to before. Maybe an interesting, historical city or perhaps a beautiful landscape. Plenty of walking, sightseeing and learning about the culture. Or trying a new activity. Not necessarily far-flung or expensive. But basically something active or different.

My DDs are 4 and 1 1/2 and in the summer we'll be revisiting a mediterranean town we go to each year (because my husband's extended family live there). It'll be lovely to see his relatives at the weekend but on the whole I'll be on my own whilst we're there, plus possibly the occasional afternoon with DH.

Before anyone points it out.... I know I'm lucky to get a holiday at all - a change of scene and some extra sunshine. And I realise that I have to change my expectations from pre-marriage/kids. I'm really after more constructive suggestions as to how to keep it interesting for all 3 of us.

I've seen the local sights many times now and we visited all the tourist spots in the country before we had kids. I'll obviously spend some time reading to them but, again, not all day, every day - we might as well be at home. DD1 is also into dancing, drawing and crafts. DD2 likes soft play and dolls. But I can't see how I can included any of that in our holiday. Any ideas?

I'll be hiring a car and there're beautiful views from the roads but parking's difficult away from the apartment. I'll be 20 mins' walk from a small, very busy, but sandy, beach and it's usually sunny and around 24-33 degrees. But I'm really not looking forward to sitting on a crowded beach all day, every day, making sand castles for a whole week....

Should I steel myself to a very boring long week or has anyone got any bright ideas for making it fun for the kids and myself? I could budget about £20 a day for entertainment.

What would you pack to keep them (and me) happy and what would you plan to get us all out of the apartment?

Thanks for reading all this and for any suggestions.

noramum Tue 14-May-13 12:15:53

I would arrange a new holiday destination next year.

DD is a single child and until she was 4 we always went proper sightseeing, plus the beach, plus playing in the villa with some games, did drawing or writing, watching a movie and reading tons of books.

Now we still do all of this but go somewhere where she also has other children as playmates. We found that it gives us all a break. We did farmstay holidays and she loves running around the farm and playing with other children while we sat on the balcony, had quite time to read or relax.

Does your DH's extended family has any children? At that age language barriers are not important. Otherwise you will have to bite the bullet and go sightseeing again with them. I found that doing this with young children give me lots of different views about displays in museums or stately homes.

Are there any waterparks or children facilities like petting farms, zoos, big playgrounds around? Think what you do with them at home and look for similar things around.

BiddyPop Tue 14-May-13 12:24:58

And I would bring some colouring pencils/crayons and lots of paper (free printable from the net and plain paper too) for art in the appartment (could get very creative in different environment).

Maybe bring or get some bottles of bubbles for fun in the sun (in park? or on beach) when it's not too warm. And get a couple of small water pistols to spray water when very warm. Bring a ball for the park in mornings or later afternoons.

Dolly picnic at the beach or park would be at least one fun afternoon.

Just a few ideas off the top of my head.

bakingaddict Tue 14-May-13 12:28:41

Why will you be on your own so much with the kids and only seeing DH for the occasional afternoon?

I'd insist on only staying a couple of nights with the extended family and moving on somewhere more interesting to you as a family.

instantfamily Tue 14-May-13 12:29:08

leave the kids with the family and do whatever you like to do? sit in a cafe? read a book?
invest in an ipad or a kindle to keep them and you occupied and lots of space for other toys in your suitcase.

Softywife Tue 14-May-13 12:30:23

Your holidays with DD sound wonderful!

Unfortunately the other children in the family are nearly adults, so at school all day and the area's not geared up for entertaining kids as per the UK. I can't work out what young kids do there at all.

Softywife Tue 14-May-13 12:31:03

That was for noramum. Wow, lots more responses, thanks

Softywife Tue 14-May-13 12:31:47

Great ideas BiddyPop.

instantfamily Tue 14-May-13 12:32:00

Also, going to places with small kids has given me a very different perspective on places. I know a lot of playgrounds in Tokyo about japanese culture now!

Or make friends with other people at the beach - kids happy and adults usually as well.

Softywife Tue 14-May-13 12:32:57

instantfamily, Lovely idea but not really an option.

Startail Tue 14-May-13 12:34:04

You swim, you swim some more and then you go to a water park.

Then you force them out of the pool to have dinner and wander round the bars in the evening, the older on runs up and down the sea front and the younger one sleeps in the push chair.

Repeat every year or two until DDs are at least 11 and 14.

This is absolutely fine with me, what parents do with children who are not fish I don't know.

Softywife Tue 14-May-13 12:34:38

Sorry, I'm being too slow here. That was in reply to your idea of leaving them with the family and doing my own thing.

instantfamily Tue 14-May-13 12:35:12

Will there be folkloristic events? or concerts? Street festivals? Involve your DHs family to find out about such things.

Where I go in southern Italy half of the events you only find out about by word of mouth.

Softywife Tue 14-May-13 12:35:30

Startail, Right, this'll be the year that DD2 learns to swim then smile. I like it, I have a goal rather than aimlessly playing with buckets of sand....

Softywife Tue 14-May-13 12:41:08

A good idea to ask about events instantfamily. I assumed there weren't any but maybe they don't need to advertise them.

Softywife Tue 14-May-13 12:43:10

Ooh, they do boat rides along the coast! That'll be good. Never done that before. Do you think a 1 1/2 yr old would be safe on a small boat?

secretscwirrels Tue 14-May-13 12:45:21

What Startail said.
Although the same still applies to my 15 and 17 year olds. Pool all day, every day apart from trips to the water park.

Softywife Tue 14-May-13 12:49:14

Doesn't it drive you mad though secretscwirrels and Startail. Especially if you used to do more adventurous or academic stuff?

Callisto Tue 14-May-13 12:50:38

DD needs to play imaginary games wherever we are, so I always ensure she has the 'kit' to do so. At the moment, she is playing with rope and sticks (she is a cowgirl showjumper atm), in the past it has been her dinosaurs, her playmobil, her farm animals etc. Added to that books, crafty stuff, etc. Could you get your older DD to do some sort of project over the holiday - wildlife or flowers or something? She could draw and describe them in a little book. Many press petals that sort of thing? Also, take some card with double sided sticky tape on it. Get your girls to stick stuff onto the card - pebbles, leaves, sand, shells, anything they spot really. DD still loves doing this on holiday and then doing show and tell or something when back at school.

Bramshott Tue 14-May-13 12:56:02

We have always trailed the DD's round castles & museums, followed by a long lunch (take colouring), then late afternoon trips to the beach when it's cooled down a bit.

That said, my sandcastles are epic - the DDs are rarely allowed to get a look in!

Softywife Tue 14-May-13 13:09:46

No water parks there unfortunately but the week's starting to sound better already.

Public pool teaching DD2 to swim
Local playground, ball-games, etc
Hottest afternoons indoors doing arts & crafts
Local wildlife project (great idea Callisto)
Beach for bubbles, dolly picnic & challenging Bramshott to the crown for bestest ever sandcastle, etc
Boat trip (if safe for littl'un)
Dinner out a few times

The key seems to be packing our own entertainment. What would you add to this list?

Paper, card, colouring books, crayons, pencils, scissors, double sided sticky tape, glue, books, ball, water pistols, dinosaurs, dolls.....

instantfamily Tue 14-May-13 13:14:08

bags for collecting stuff at the beach.

the more you take this year, the more you will have to take the following year.

Softywife Tue 14-May-13 13:22:09

As in we'll get too used to it?

Fluffy1234 Tue 14-May-13 13:28:36

Have you tried googling such and such city for kids or toddlers and see what suggestions and activities come up?
Another good indoor activity for avoiding the hot bit of the day is baking and also scrap book making with stuff you have collected on the beach etc.

Grammaticus Tue 14-May-13 13:31:05

A pot of blowing bubbles

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