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Summer Holidays....

(10 Posts)
sweetno64 Thu 04-Jul-13 11:20:29


I'm new here! I was hoping I could join you.... although I appreciate that with 4 children I am probably the lower end of a large family. OK so I have twin boys who are 6, DD who is 3 and another DD who is 16 months. Quite close in age and all pretty dependant on me still.

I admit I find it quite challanging - never feel like I quite do everything I am supposed to or give enough time to all 4 as well as running the house... evening meals/washing and so on which is why I have come hoping for a bit of insight into how everyone else gets on : - )

Anyway - the summer holidays are approaching and I am terrified. Last year was awful - most my friends have 2 children and I just cant keep up with their day trips etc so I spent most the holls by myself. What do you do to keep them all amused? Are there some good tricks that I am missing??

Looking forward to meeting you all.... as it were!

NAR4 Thu 04-Jul-13 13:07:29

When mine were little I used to do the following activities (not all in the same day though);

Building camps over the woods, in the garden, in the house
Clay model making
Cooking (good bribe for food shopping)
Cake/biscuit decorating
Playdough (recipes for homemade versions are online)
Mud pies
Soft play centre (only for odd treats, due to cost)
Sand and water play
Mini beast hunts (use magnifine glasses if you have them)
Trips to the library (they often have activities on during the summer)
Various art and crafts (look online for ideas)
See what is on at your local Childrens Centre too

I tried to have an activity planned for each day. The older children could help make a timetable with you for this.

My house used to end up being left until they had gone to bed, because supervising and entertaining was a full time job. I also used to do them packed lunches in the fridge, the night before, then I just had to grab it when it was lunch time and not leave them unsupervised to make it. Oh and 'cinema days' are great for when you are really knackered and have a ton of housework to catch up on. Everyone picks a film and there is popcorn to eat whilst mum rests/does housework. This might not work that well for a 16 month old though.

imip Thu 04-Jul-13 15:06:58

I'm have similar age gaps to you, op. 4dds 6, 5 (today!), 3 and 17 months. Last summer I nearly lost the plot! I think I have refined my approach to child management during holidays since then (not always successfully). The first two weeks we are camping in France and dh has leave. Then for the fourth week, the three eldest are in summer school at the nursery they used to go to. It's expensive, but that is the price of my mental health. That's basically three weeks left....

I prefer to be out of the house, basically to keep my sanity, interact its other adults and keep the house clean (ish). We are in central london, so lots of museums etc with holiday activities for the kids. I tend to ask a few people to come with me. So my kids have friends, stops them fighting between themselves and gives me adult company. It's hard work, especially when it involves the tube, but activities are usually free, house is clean and kids are happy.

Also, I do invite loads of kids over. I also invite the parents, for the company and to stop me focussing on the bad behaviour of any of the visitors. I find this all tiring but marginally better than being at home alone with fighting kids.

Finally, If the baby naps put a DVD on to keep on top of domestic stuff. It won't be perfect, but....

Lunch, picnics, keeps diningtableclean...

I'll come back with any others!

sweetkitty Sat 06-Jul-13 21:00:32

My age gaps are now 8, 7, 5 and 3 but I remember the early days well, feeling jealous of friends with one or two swanning off swimming/to the cinema/holidays etc.

We are a week into our holidays and do far its been ok, I try to get them out everyday, on Friday I took them all into Glasgow on my own for the first time no buggy, it was great actually.

It does get better, invite friends with DC over, get the craft stuff out and go to the park everyday to keep you sane.

TwoAndTwoEqualsChaos Mon 08-Jul-13 00:20:43

6, 4, 2 and 3 weeks .... For the first time last Summer, I brainstormed with the older children what we wanted to do. I never entirely said "no" but it did mean I could say straight away if something was unlikey to happen, due to cost, feasibility or whatever. We then drew-up a holiday plan, trying to have a "treat" every day (going to the Library, lunch in a supermarket cafe, a day with friends, visitng Grandparents, etc.). We also marked in stuff we had to do (buying school uniform, servicing car, packing for holidays). Their desires were, in the main, inexpensive and easy to achieve. They loved writing down their ideas and crossing off things when we did them (it was pinned on the wall). We actually did it when away on holiday, too, and it seems to work!

As to what we actually did: local Churches run various arts/crafts-based holiday clubs for £1 or so a day; a local Council runs Forest Schools on certain days for free; we did pay for two weeks' intensive swimming classes and a couple of days of a sports' camp (King's Camp, both of these, and they do have some subsidised places); various gatherings of friends in local parks (though dealing with 3 (now 4) when the others had one 5 year-old or, perhaps, two was shattering and really made me think about accepting, but things like that, a nightmare when I didn't drive, are easier now, I am pretty strict and I now have no compunction in leaving if I've had enough .....!!).

TwoAndTwoEqualsChaos Mon 08-Jul-13 00:30:08

We live in a city, and near several other local authorities, so I always check out what local libraries/museums/parks are offering, usually for free or a minimal cost. On a couple of occasions, a local Sure Start playgroup has compiled a list of available activities and run various trips/events themselves. We have a couple of annual memberships (last year we got a Sea Life Centre one on a special offer in time for two Birtbdays, and got good use out of that). For rainy days, I have "done" the charity shops in advance and have a supply of "new" jigsaws/cars/books/dolls' accessories. Ditto Amazon/Ebay/supermarkets for a new dvd or two (otherwise, these form the "treat" bag on holiday). I also keep an eye out for Summer Fairs/Craft Days, etc. that local Churches run: mine love a rummage through stalls, buying a cake and squash and a bounce on a bouncy castle. Simple pleasures, but done together.

ZingWidge Wed 10-Jul-13 12:55:10


I have just started another thread on this! I'm freaking out too, here for advice smile

sweetno64 Wed 31-Jul-13 19:36:35

I forgot I started this!! Not too bad so far although we live in rural south west and there are not as many things going on as you would think - and its geared up for holiday makers so usually quite expensive.... even nipping to the beach the parking is extortionate.

my boys are quite frustrated with being "kept behind" with the girls in tow we cant really do as much as they would like. I have invited a few people around but really I end up running around so much after all my 4 it still feels a bit pointless!!

mrsfarge Fri 02-Aug-13 08:34:08

Yes, I too have 4, DS 11, Dd6, ds4, and ds2. I also feel daunted by the holidays. It feels quite lonely. And am in rural devon! Basically it will be a summer if lots of walks, and hopefully the odd camping trip! Good luck

chloefresh Thu 29-Aug-13 16:14:05

If anybody is bored with the kids (even though it is now the end of the summer holiday!) mine enjoyed building these paper robots. You can download them from (it is Brian the robot from the television ads) and you can print out a pdf and cut around to build it. There is also a competition and if you take a picture of your creations you can win 500 pounds vouchers. Quite fun to keep them occupied for a few hours!

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