Ten ways to make more of family days out
The family day out: a source of bonding, or a recipe for exhaustion-induced tantrums? Whatever your stance, here's how to get every last ounce of fun out of your family time – crying toddlers and all.
1. Don't be afraid to go old school
“We're taking part in the reading challenge through our local library. We pick a book and I'll read it to my daughter when we're travelling in the car. It also serves as a good distraction if they start getting bored.”
2. On your bike
“We found a balance bike really useful when our toddler got too tired to walk. Get the right balance bike that's not too heavy and you can easily carry it up any hills, and my son coped well on reasonably bumpy ground. "
3. Become a swashbuckler
“Treasure hunts have always gone down a treat – we make a checklist of things to try to spot.”
4. Get posh nosh for less dosh
“We like to keep things cheap and cheerful and try to limit our costs to travel and one meal out. Take plenty of snacks so you don't run the risk of a hungry toddler.”
5. And plan ahead to trim costs
“The biggest tip that works for us is planning ahead – everything from discount vouchers to taking a picnic to avoid rip-off attraction prices. Ditto for parking.”
6. Don't fear the journey (too much)
“If you're going out for the day or doing an activity, include getting there as part of the fun. Even though the car is usually the easiest way of getting around, I try to walk or go on public transport when I can. My children have had a 'day out' to the shopping centre which involved a ride on a bus, tram and train. They loved it – and it took up half the day but hardly cost anything!”
7. Upgrade 'going for a walk' to 'geocaching'
“Geocaching is great for toddlers. It gets you out into the fresh air, exploring areas you may never have been to before. There are geocaches everywhere, so you can incorporate it into any day out.”
8. Sneak in some learning
“Car journeys or walks can be turned into an opportunity to practice counting for toddlers or times tables for older kids, and using a map to mark off different places visited gives the kids an idea of where they've travelled.”
9. Get hooked on scrapbooks
“When mine were younger they liked to collect souvenirs from days out in the holidays and stick them all in a scrapbook; tickets, photos, shells, postcards etc.”
10. Go retro and actually print your photos
“We try to remember to print any photos we take. Either the kids can help to create collages online, or we order the prints and they can put them in an album. It means they can relive all the fun they had.”