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2013 Summer holiday support thread

(33 Posts)
frizzcat Wed 26-Jun-13 22:25:56

Was thinking of starting in July?
If like me you are filled with anxiety at what you're going to do for 6wks and have no clubs lined up, then I thought we could have a drop in thread where no explanation is necessary and you can just update with woes and triumphs.

Also for any successful activities people could recommend places for days out or places to avoid etc etc.

I just wanted to see how many were interested, the more posters we get then the more useful tips we can get from around the country and of course support each other and laugh when we can only find solace in a magnum and chilled wine grin

DISCLAIMER: the OP does not accept responsibility for the crap weather and whilst the OP admits to feelings of grandeur, she willingly concedes that she is not in fact God ..... Although her dh does not need to be informed of this.

bananananacoconuts Thu 27-Jun-13 07:53:36

I am very interested! I can feel my stress levels rising as we loom towards the summer break with no plans!
I may need to offload daily!
Great idea for a thread, thank you!

bananananacoconuts Thu 27-Jun-13 07:54:35

Ps, if i am unharmed by september, i will worship you as my God!

bochead Thu 27-Jun-13 10:00:15

The Discover Centre in Stratford run a free club for children with disabilities every Saturday from 10-12. (Film making I think it is meant to be officially). In reality it's one of the few places DS feels accepted for who he is and is able to just relax and be a kid for a couple of hours. Staff are lovely, there's wheel chair access & a decent cafe etc.

I've also noticed that no one is considered "too" disabled physically or otherwise for staff to make a REAL effort to include them, AND they listen to suggestions for improvements seriously. imho this is actually very,very rare. Courses run in 5 week slots and the site is right next to Stratford High St DLR, which is lifted. Parents come from as far afield as Stanmore, Essex and S.London.

Well worth ringing them up about as truly inclusive activities are thin on the ground, especially for children with severe ASD or physical disabilities.

My only caveat is that you check for engineering works with TFL before setting out as the DLR's replacement bus service is utter pants! (We use an alternate route via the Jubilee line now after one bad experience).

bochead Thu 27-Jun-13 10:07:50

Surrey Quays has adults with disabilities working there all year round. As they've witnessed an dealt with a few 50 year old's having melt downs the prospect of a 10 year old doing likewise doesn't phase em wink. It's nice when the staff don't look at you with horror when your child plays up, and even nicer when they have the patience to properly answer their questions etc.

They have funding again this year for their summer activities. Last year DS adored the gardening club, and the felt making. It's a little out of the way BUT the cafe does good coffee and it's one of the few places where I can leave the staff to get on with it, while I relax iykwim. As a lone parent this is priceless to me.

My weekly cuppa with a good book for the 2 hours DS did gardening every week was my only respite last summer. Activities are either free or very low cost (£2.50 was the max I paid for an Art session I think), but the cafe is pricey (though delish! )so I do rec you take your own picnic.

There is a disabled toilet and ramps etc, but beware of the goats. Ring first to double check if mobility is an issue.

bochead Thu 27-Jun-13 10:08:27

sorry - 1st line should say

Surrey Quays City Farm.

Grey24 Thu 27-Jun-13 11:22:49

I am filled with dread and anxiety about the summer - my DD is 4, has ASD, and her school closes next Tuesday - 2nd July! - for the summer. Truly scary. No idea what to do with her. It's often very difficult for us to get even beyond the house and half-term weeks have been very challenging - so the prospect of 9 weeks makes me feel quite ill with fear. She is going to find the loss of her school routine v difficult and I feel quite incompetent as an 'entertainer'. So I will certainly be coming along to your thread whenever I get the chance.

TOWIELA Thu 27-Jun-13 11:31:37

bochead - Surrey Quays sounds fantastic. We are in North Essex but often drive down to Canary Wharf to park up and then head into London. It looks as though I might be able to get there on the DLR from Canary Wharf. DS has been asking about a gardening club so this might be the one for us.

We’ve been home eding for a year so we have got used to getting out and about investigating ‘things’. So here’s some of the places we have visited – all are outdoors but we’ve “done” some of them in howling wind and rain, and even snow. They are all based around the environments my DS can handle – ie his dx include ADHD, dyspraxia, and severe literacy problems but he loves being outside and to be able to run “free”

Weald and Downland Open Air Museum – West Sussex. Fantastic open air museum with ‘real’ buildings – all have been removed brick-by-brick from their original locations all over England and then painstakingly reconstructed in the museum. Very large plot with lots of open spaces for child to run around or investigate individual houses. Volunteers are fantastic and love telling visitors all about ‘their’ particular house. My ADHD/dyslexic child let a volunteer talk to him for half an hour about one house. DS didn’t wriggle, run away or do any of his normal “inattentive” habits and was transfixed by the stories of this one house.

Bosworth Field Heritage Park - Leicestershire. The battlefield where Richard III became infamous for being the last English King to die in battle in 1485. Huge (free) outdoor country park where you walk in the general area of the battlefield. There is a great (paying) walking-tour where the guides are fantastic and are very used to children so totally include them in/on the walk/talk. The Heritage Centre is one of the best I’ve come across (and DC and I have been to many many museums/heritage sites!) – you have to pay to go into the Centre but they’ll give you a discount if you have an English Heritage card.

Hadrian?s Wall – Northumberland. Large parts are free to walk alongside (but never “on”!) the wall. This is fantastic for a long walk to look at Roman building techniques and imagining life as a Roman soldier. In some places, there are very very tricky bits to climb to get near the wall so some parts are only suited to children who are very steady on their feet. My DS is dyspraxic and I was terrified he’d fall on one part, but he was determined to do it and was ‘chuffed’ with himself that he managed it with only a couple of tiny fallings over his feet! So it was actually great for his confidence. Nearby Hadrian’s Wall, the area is full of Roman forts, towns, and museums. Most are jointly owned by the National Trust or English Heritage so entry is free if you have membership card to either organisation. (I believe the National Trust do a reduced subscription rate for home ed children.)

Eden Project - Cornwall. The first thing I’d say about this venue is that the entry is extremely expensive because a day visit costs the same as a year’s membership. But if you live nearby or regularly holiday in Cornwall, then it is worth taking the year’s membership and becoming a frequent visitor. Lots of space to run around outside (if it’s not raining – it poured both times I’ve been!) If it is raining, then the two inside domes are fantastic – tropical rainforest in one and a Mediterranean setting in the other. Just one tip – the tropical rainforest dome is incredibly hot and humid. On both our visits, it has poured with rain and was freezing cold (despite one trip being June!). So we wore thick clothes/coats/wellies outside but then when we got to the domes, we changed into flip-flops and ditched the winter clothes in the cloakroom just by the rainforest dome. It meant we walked around in relative cool comfort, compared to other people who hadn’t realised about the heat so were almost passing out in their thick winter clothes in a tropical rainforest. Depending on when you go, there are often little exhibitions and displays going on inside each dome, so DS learnt about different spices and how they are grown/harvested in one display, and in another, learnt how chocolate is harvested and made (that was my favourite display!!).

In all of these, be prepared to take a little bit of pocket money for their fabulous shops. From the Eden Project, we bought a Venus Fly Trap plant, and have had great fun looking after it.

frizzcat Thu 27-Jun-13 11:57:28

Surrey Quays sounds good Boc - what ages do they take I have ds8 and dd2 - so trying to find something that both can do is a bloody struggle

I can also recommend Dymchurch beach for a day trip - not too busy the sandbanks means that the water is quite shallow. They also have the miniature steam railway operating near by

bochead Thu 27-Jun-13 12:42:16

I've taken DS (8) & 2 year old niece. DS does a formal activity while the 2 year old feeds the goats and eats ice cream with me at the farm if that helps any? The Discover centre Saturday club seems very tolerant of siblings too, and the environment "works" for all ages iyswim.

Some RDA groups have summer pony care sessions if you sign up.

The Gower Peninsula has oodles of fairly deserted beaches for those who need space away from it all (that'll me then, never mind the kids).

For older kids on the spectrum (10-14) there are musical composition workshops run by turtle arts at the national Portrait Gallery. These run from 29th july - 1st August from 11-3.30 pm and are free. Contact 0208 964 5060

Avoid the National Maritime Musuem/Greenwich park - too many crowds, exhibitions not fantastic, park still a building site post Olympics in some places. Town centre & market are a nightmare for crowds. You'll be disappointed if coming from outside London on a day trip in the school holidays.

frizzcat Thu 27-Jun-13 14:41:34

Shall I ask MNHQ to change the name of this thread? And make this the summer holiday thread? There's already so much info, it would be a shame to ditch this one?

frizzcat Thu 27-Jun-13 14:43:36

Banana - I'm having statues made up so you can commence worshipping come September

TOWIELA Thu 27-Jun-13 14:50:04

lol - yes probably a good idea to change the name and then we can start bumping it when the summer holidays begin.

frizzcat Thu 27-Jun-13 15:16:11

What shall we call it?
"Help me! It's the summer hols"
"Parents on the edge - summer hols thread"
"Shit it's the summer hols"
"Padded cell please, it's the summer hols"

Open to suggestions

autumnsmum Thu 27-Jun-13 16:00:17

Hello I'm seriously dreading holidays ! Ds seems to have developed a type of agoraphobia and dd2 has huge meltdowns whenever we have to leave the park etc One good place if you have a dc who loves trains is the miniature railway in ridgeway park in chingford. The park is flat and the train rides cost a pound a go ds loves it

Dededum Thu 27-Jun-13 16:05:54

FISH in Guildford is a summer holiday camp which can provide 1 to 1 support or 1 to 8 support. Probably the 1 to 1 support is already booked up. My friends severely aspergers son did it last year and was very positive. It is for teens 10-16 I think, not just for kids with special needs.

bookcase Thu 27-Jun-13 16:28:14

School holidays started here in Glasgow today! It's gonna be a loooong 7weeks!

frizzcat Thu 27-Jun-13 16:55:37

Ok if Scotland and NI have started their hols - then we'd better change the name.
I'm side-tracked by this name change because it means I don't have to think about the SUMMER HOLS!!

How do I get MNHQ to change do I need to report the thread??

frizzcat Fri 28-Jun-13 10:26:09

A shameless bump

frizzcat Sat 29-Jun-13 22:42:22

Here you go Dreamstosell

OliviaYouCannotBSeriousMumsnet (MNHQ) Sat 29-Jun-13 23:11:56


Shall I ask MNHQ to change the name of this thread? And make this the summer holiday thread? There's already so much info, it would be a shame to ditch this one?

Done for you

frizzcat Tue 09-Jul-13 14:02:20

Just bumping this one up again, as I know more dc are coming to the end of the summer term

Good luck everyone - let the mayhem begin hmm

popgoestheweezel Tue 09-Jul-13 14:24:52

Getting stressed myself with last day of term on Friday! I will need this support. Anybody got any ideas on how to get friends and family to help out too- I'm not the asking type, too independent for my own good! But I really do need the help!

imawigglyworm Tue 09-Jul-13 14:49:40

Im dreading the hols too I had 3 DS's 9,6 &4 Youngest 2 have SN. My 4 yr old has a couple of summer sessions at nursery before he goes to big school but otherwise I have nothing planned. They all like different things eg DS3 will NOT go anywhere near water/reluctant to go outside or anywhere new & DS1 is more a sat on the computer whenever he can boy. So im sure i'll be popping in to rant now and then.
Will add updates if I find anything fun to do during the hols

WildAndWoolly Tue 09-Jul-13 21:39:40

If anyone is in Wandsworth, the Lady Allen playground takes SN kids from 10-4, supported either 1:4 or (if pre-arranged) 1:1. It's lovely, and though we don't use it as much as we should, it can save our sanity in the holidays.

Huge tree house, slides, swings, climbing, enormous sandpit, bikes, soft play etc. Staff are nice and very welcoming to us and our 2 HFA/AS kids. I think it costs something like £2.50 a day, can't remember from last summer but will be using it this summer I'm sure.

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