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NOW CLOSED: Share your top ideas and tips for keeping the summer holidays fun filled on the cheap with Mu cheese - you could win an annual Merlin pass or a months supply of cheese

(136 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 02-Jul-12 08:16:00

We've been asked by Mu (the funky new Cheddar brand) to find out your top ideas/tips for keeping the summer holidays fun filled without breaking the bank. This could include arts and crafts, games, things to do at home, places to visit etc - we would love to know your favourite family activity.

Mu say "Mu believes in fuelling more family fun everyday; be this through our range of delicious, natural cheddars or through giving families the tools to make every day as enjoyable as it can be. The summer holidays are a perfect excuse to have fun with the family but sometimes it?s difficult to think of ideas to fill the whole holidays. Mu would like to create a free downloadable booklet which includes a list of activities that Mums can use for a bit of inspiration when needed"

This is where you come in! Please share your top tips on this thread.

The best ideas will feature in the Mu "Make everyday a Mu Fun day" free booklet which will be free to download from the Mu website and Facebook site from the 23rd of July

All entries will be put into a prize draw to win a family Merlin annual pass (worth over £400) which offers a family of four free entry into 28 top attractions including Alton Towers, Chessington and Sea Life Centre plus many more.

PLUS all entries chosen to feature in the booklet will win a months supply of Mu Cheddar. If your tip is used MN will be in touch for your address details.

Thanks and good luck

cosysocks Mon 02-Jul-12 08:21:15

Bubbles! Ds is six and this summer we are going to become bubble experts. Making own liquid and getting various bits together I.e hula hoops, making own bubble sticks. We will be experts by the end of summer.
in process of collecting loads of fab ideas on a summer fun board on pinterest.

OhNoMyFanjo Mon 02-Jul-12 08:24:02

Work smarter not harder, pick themes and depending on tge age you can even ask the kids for ideas what to do! Just work around the theme, history, food, language, colours, drawing/painting.

The local council will have stuff on so check out their website there will always be some free stuff.

Lightshines Mon 02-Jul-12 09:38:27

Jazz up ordinary activities - for watching a DVD together for example, make it a movie experience. The children can make tickets, pop popcorn at home, turn the lights off.
On a trip to the park make a treasure hunt - small prize for the child who can fit the most objects in a matchbox, find one thing beginning with each letter of the alphabet etc. Take magnifying glasses or binoculars and see the park differently! Combined with a picnic on a rug and an impromptu game of French cricket, most will be happy!
Make a scrapbook to tell the story of your summer holidays - stick in tickets, photos, wrappers, write in your memories and feelings. Wonderful to look back on.

AnnaMosity Mon 02-Jul-12 09:41:18

1.Warm sunny day
a hot patio
several todddlers or pre schoolers
a bucket of water
some brushes

tell toddlers to paint patio.
HOURS of sitting with a magazine interactive play

AnnaMosity Mon 02-Jul-12 09:42:27

make ice cubes

( you could be all arty and do food colouring and freese small animals things in them)
then say "here kids - play with the ice cubes"

cost - NADA

( can you tell i have done this for YEARS AND YEARS? ;)

LoveAndOtherIndoorSports Mon 02-Jul-12 10:06:05

At the beginning of the holidays make a calender with something to do on every day. Doesn't have to be anything big or special but little things like

Making playdo
Build a fort in the living room
Paint the fence (with watwr)
Watch a dvd
Go for a walk
Make cake
Go to the library
Dress up
Move the furniture around
Play in the bath
Make a collage
Clean the car
Do some sewing

Etc etc

Nothing you probably won:t be doing already but written down makes it look better. And gives you a plan.

And then at the end of the holidays when they moan they haven't done anything you can show them they have.

Helenagrace Mon 02-Jul-12 10:15:28

Place all your cheap and free ideas into a shoe box or an old handbag. Let the children take it in turns to pull one out. Somehow going to the park (again) or having a picnic (again) seems so much more interesting if they have no idea what's coming out of the box or bag.

I keep two lists of dry and wet day things we can do and add to them whenever I think of something. I can never think of anything to do when it's lashing it down with rain and I'm on the spot. The lists are really useful then.

GetKnitted Mon 02-Jul-12 10:22:00

I love week long adventures:

e.g. make glue on monday
first layer of papier mache on tuesday
second layer on wednesday
paint on thursday
enjoy on friday


look at maps on monday to choose a place to go
go on tuesday (take pictures)
review pictures on wednesday
make a collage book on thursday


HoneyDragonWearingLederhosen Mon 02-Jul-12 10:32:09

Simple but.

Arrange meet ups in your local park. You get to sit and chat with other grown ups whilst the dc's play in the park or kick a ball around.

Yucky days, we walk to the local library and choose DVDs then pick up pop corn at the shop. By the time we've walked home and had lunch everyones ready to chill for a slobby afternoon and if I'm lucky I can get some jobs done

Chuck them in the garden and promise them certain death for returning back inside for any other reason than toilet, mortal peril or actual injury grin

Bosgrove Mon 02-Jul-12 11:01:45

We live near a forest on the edge of London, so long walks with a picnic or a gruffalo hunt with friends, a cycle ride on the bridle path, making dens or climbing trees. My three love it.

Then when we get bored of the outside, a 25 minute train ride into London and we have all the museums to visit,we take a packed lunch to have in Hyde Park or Kensington Gardens so it only costs the train fare in.

Fillybuster Mon 02-Jul-12 11:09:58

Plan ahead!

I stock up on discounted bits and pieces (art stuff, interesting looking packs in the 99p store (badge making, modelling, make-your-own doll/windchime/whatever), knock-down xmas wrapping) throughout the year, and have a fantastic 'hidden craft cupboard' full of fun activities for rainy afternoons. Anything with plaster of paris is particularly good as you can make it one day and paint it another.

'Toy sorting' is another great wet-day activity. I challenge the dcs to sort through (and maybe get rid of) the toys stacked up under their beds. Of course they rediscover old favourites and, hey presto!, another day flies past smile

If it isn't raining I boot them out into the garden. Challenge them to make a den (cardboard and old throws and cushions make great props but aren't essential), or set up an assault course. Time who can do the fastest laps, or shout out instructions - run to the tree, roll on your tummies to the path! If you have enough children you can set them up in teams, get them to make badges etc and then run silly races.

In nice weather 'toy cleaning' is also pretty effective smile

Food related activity fills a lot of our time blush. Make-your-own ice lollies with fruit juice (and experiment with making multicoloured ones by freezing them in sections); bake bread (the premixed packets are great for dcs); bake cookies and decorate them; bake banana bread; make pita bread pizzas or fish cakes....

Send the dcs to the local park with a list of things to find: an interesting stone; an alien artefact; something magical; an unusual leaf - you can be as silly creative as you like - it keeps them occupied for hours.

And I keep a list of all the other free & cheap stuff in the area: we walk to the library at least every 2 weeks; there's loads of great museums and art galleries (ok, we live in London, so we're lucky); any local or city centre events like the South Bank Festival etc and there's always the local soft play or kids cinema or bowling events for a special treat smile

I normally find that the problem is not having enough time to do all the fun stuff together, rather than having to fill the days smile smile

SaliFourth Mon 02-Jul-12 11:46:09

Buy/borrow from the library a children/teenager's cookbook and get them to choose a recipe every week to get them learning to cook. Teach them that washing up is an integral part of the whole experience and is very grown up wink

if the older ones become moderately good at it, you get the odd night off from the kitchen

ShatnersBassoon Mon 02-Jul-12 11:50:22

If you usually drive, use public transport to make a day out seem more like a major event. Children love doing anything out of the ordinary, young children find large vehicles exciting and older children like to help plan the journey by checking timetables etc.

megabored Mon 02-Jul-12 12:01:43

Let the kids be kids. Don't worry about he mess. Let them explore. Go to the woods. Go to the park in the rain. Let them enjoy the puddles. Pitch a tent in the garden. For rainy days, lots of am craft activities. Follow the leads children bring. If they want to play shop, be the shopkeeper!!! Most of all, enjoy.

megabored Mon 02-Jul-12 12:04:00

filly I have recently started doom just that. Those 50p packet of squishy pom pom thing on the sale after Easter are occupying my dd for hrs! We count them, stick them on card, make puppets, roll
Them, give them funny names. Hrs of fun.

megabored Mon 02-Jul-12 12:04:34

Doom?!= doing!!! hmm

ChildrenAtHeart Mon 02-Jul-12 12:25:01

World Tour - at the beginning of the holidays choose 5 countries (could be by sticking a pin blindfold into a map or opening an atlas at random pages etc). Research the countries on the internet/library, visit travel agents etc in week one. Then for each week children can make a packing list, do a pretend or real pack, make tickets, build their transport & off you go. Can eat food from that country, re-enact a relevant festival or celebration, reproduce art work in countries style, make national costume, listen to appropriate music & stories etc

CMOTDibbler Mon 02-Jul-12 12:28:16

Check out forestry commission places - we were at one in the Forest of Dean yesterday, and for £3 parking, there was a huge playground, places to bbq and just run around, safe cycling/walking tracks, and an interactive sculpture trail. A really lovely full day that we had to drag the children away from.

bagelmonkey Mon 02-Jul-12 12:29:59

Find out if a local attraction has an annual pass. There are a few places near us that have annual passes at a reasonable price (eg equal to entry twice in one year) that have indoor and outdoor play areas, plus either museums/animals etc. We got an annual pass and just pop along for an hour or two to use the park/soft play/feed the ducks etc.

ICutMyFootOnOccamsRazor Mon 02-Jul-12 12:42:00

I bought an old set of small drawers from a junk shop and DS helped me paint them bright colours. LIke Filly, we use them to collect craft supplies throughout the year - either things that come into the pound shop or things like feathers, stones, shells, leaves etc that we find while we're out and about. DS calls them his 'Mr Maker Drawers' and he LOVES getting them out and making random things.

One day a week I clear my calendar (wahm) and let DS choose what we do - usually a walk in the forest, or pirates and a picnic in the garden, or a morning at the park - nothing we have to pay for! Scavenger hunts in the garden are also a huge hit.

mumnosbest Mon 02-Jul-12 12:47:58

Making obstacle courses in the garden, eg balance along the skipping rope, 10 jumps on the trampoline, in and out the swings, throw a ball into the plant pot, jump from hoop to hoop... The kids use my phone to time themselves.

Treasure hunts for ds wo can read or 'arrows' for dd who can't. We chalk arrows around the garden for her to follow. The kids then love washing the all away to play again.

Mini sports day with friends kids: beanbags, egg n spoon, hopping races etc.

Sandwich and cake baking followed by a picnic to eat them all

Bella2010star Mon 02-Jul-12 12:57:34

I think being organised is the best idea. First of all I get all the "what's on" magazines and look for inspiration for free fun days in the local area. These are usually in libraries or art galleries. I use websites to also search for activities that are going on then put them all in our diary. We mostly like doing craft activities though. Should anyone need inspiration for the holidays please look at my blog
There are loads of craft ideas and activities to explore!

CuppaTeaJanice Mon 02-Jul-12 13:02:06

You can't beat a good old welly walk! We dress up as pirates and sail our galleon (a mild-mannered Honda Jazz) across the seven seas to an undiscovered island (the woods at the top of the town) and starting at the mouth of the wild river (a tinkling stream about 4 inches deep) our brave crew of swashbuckling pirates invades the unknown lands.
We traverse the treacherous rapids, collecting precious treasure (pine cones, stones, feathers) and recording the terrain for future explorers (taking photos with our Fisher Price camera). Sometimes we come across an island native (dogwalker) and have to hide until the danger has passed, or a savage beast (a Yorkshire terrier last time iirc) so we stand our guard with our golden cutlasses (sticks) until it retreats in terror (not really, we aren't in the habit of scaring small dogs!). After a while we reach our nirvana, the promised land which generations of pirates before us have talked of but nobody has found. A magical silver waterfall (more of a dribbling ghyll really, but it is beautiful if you ignore the discarded carrier bags and visible pipework left by the water company), cascading into a pool filled with priceless jewels. We sit on it's banks, devouring our feast (sandwiches) before heading back to the coast, and our galleon, with joy in our hearts, treasure in our pockets and soggy socks on our feet!! grin

cocolepew Mon 02-Jul-12 13:04:56

Open the foor show them out and let them use their own imagination.

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