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What to Do in the School Holidays With Kids

Updated on August 6, 2019
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Christine, wife, mother, homemaker for over 40 years, has an NVQ3 in Childcare & Education, a diploma in Naturopathic Nutrition and a TEFL.


Fun School Holiday Activities For The Whole Family!

Welcome to a fun and affordable resource of holiday activities! Every parent knows the challenge of what to do in the school holidays or summer vacation, to keep kids happy and occupied. If you don't, there are likely to be fights and squabbles as the most spoken phrase becomes, "I am bored." This parenting site is aimed at helping you to slide through the Summer with ideas for the holidays, ranging from making music to local events and resources that encourage them to get creative with healthy activities that involve things to do as a family as well as things to do with friends. Knowing what to do in the holidays means that at the beginning of each day you can wake up with expectancy and even excitement, rather than dread, knowing that you all have some meaningful and fun thing to do that will fill your summer vacation with sun and laughter. We all know that kids who are bored are more likely to get into trouble, so let me inspire you with these affordable holiday activities, with a FREE printable list below.

First School Holiday Activity- Visit Your Local Library - It's a fun thing to do

This is great to do right at the beginning of the school break, as you can spend time looking for books that you might be able to refer to later for some of your activities. For instance, look out for books on insects, birds or vegetation that you could refer to if you go out into the country or cookery books that contain easy recipes to try out in your kitchen at home. Here you might also find information about local activities, so get your creative juices going and tap into the information on hand. If you have young children, you might be able to join a story-reading time beforehand. Give them time to browse and even have a quiet few moments reading, whilst in a quiet environment that inspires you to read, without all the distractions of home.

Berry Picking- School Holiday Activities In The Countryside

Healthy Activities During Summer Vacation-

This can be one of those things to do as a family during the school break. Go out into the countrside in the Summertime and get away from everything, put on your old clothes, give everyone a container and get picking all those lovely juicy berries. Make sure that you know which ones are safe to eat. Blackberries are always a favorite! Make sure you take plenty of water and a picnic to enjoy being in the countryside and see who can collect the most (in their containers!)

Once home you can have fun making delicious jam or puddings, whatever gets your taste buds going. Watch their faces of delight as you proudly announce that the children picked and made the jam as you hand a jar over to an elderly neighbour!

Berry Picking


Send Them On A Scavenger Hunt

Healthy activities like this get them outdoors in the fresh air

Give each child a list of required items to find and send them off in pairs within given boundaries. Depending upon the area they will be searching, these could include: a sea shell, a dandelion flower, daisy, seaweed, a heart-shaped pebble, a snail, a train/bus ticket, a lolly stick, a piece of sheep's wool, an acorn, a shop's till receipt. A small prize could be given to the first ones returning with the correct items.

The number and difficulty of the items for this scavenger hunt will depend upon their age.

I am bored what can I do?

Go Food Shopping- Educational Holiday Activities

Yes- good parenting means getting them involved

Get them to help plan a picnic for the next outing, ensuring it is a healthy, balanced meal and then to find and help pack the items. Ignite their interest in food and healthy eating by showing them the delights of the huge array of different fruits and vegetables from all over the world.

Reward everyone afterwards with a drink in a local cafe.

Shopping with the kids?


A Creative School Holiday Activity- Playdough

Encourage them to create something that depicts what they've been doing recently or get ideas from a library book. Enjoy the feeling of touching, kneading and rolling in your hands, enhancing the sense of touch and developing fine motor skills.

This tried and tested playdough recipe has kept my children and their friends happy for many hours. It is really quick and easy to make and lasts for a long time. Save for a rainy day.

A Playdough Recipe


Cook Time

Total Time: just a few minutes


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt (cheap salt will do)
  • 4 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 tablespoons salad oil
  • food colouring


  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over a medium heat until soft, lumpy and ball bound- it happens quickly! Take off the heat and knead for a few minutes until smooth. Store in airtight container. This will not dry hard because of the oil in it.
Cast your vote for Creative Holiday Activities- A Playdough Recipe

Participate In Local Events

and make your own postcards

Look in your local paper for events taking place in your area during the school break, such as carnivals, circuses, fetes, concerts and displays and look out for special offers and vouchers. When you visit these local events remember to take some good photos. When you get home you could stick your photos onto card, write your own greeting and send to your family and friends. You could also stick these and other pictures in a scrapbook, especially if you go to a new place. Even if you don't , your own local pictures nicely displayed, will make you feel that you have!


Top Parenting Tip!

No Time To Visit Local Events? You deserve a holiday too! Explain that you are only going to have time to take them out if they help you with the housework first. Don't be tempted to go until everything is done. Keep other distractions out of bounds and get everyone to work together.

Bake some cookies

Get them to bake cookies or cakes to share with their family or friends.
Get them to bake cookies or cakes to share with their family or friends. | Source

Sort Out Unwanted Toys- Holiday Activities With Business Sense

For a garage sale

Get them to sort out all their unwanted items from their rooms and arrange them on a table in the garage or front garden to sell. They could bake some cookies to add to the sale and use the money for the next outing. Alternatively, they could research a charity that they would like to support and give the proceeds to that. They would need to busy themselves beforehand with cleaning up their rooms (never a bad thing!!), making posters, labels and maybe serving refreshments, depending on the number of helpers.

A Charity To Support


Bike Riding- Free Holiday Activities

Get them to plan the route by studying a map beforehand, prepare a picnic and give their bikes a service (do they know how to repair a puncture?) This provides a great opportunity to teach them these skills if they don't already know them and will put less of the strain on you. You will be amazed at how many miles you can go and how much you will see on the way (if you can keep up with them).

What kids don't enjoy riding their bikes?


Use Nature To Create Some Original Artwork - Get everyone to create their own picture and give the best one pride of place in the home

Whether it's leaves, stones, shells or flowers, many unique creations can be made after a walk in the countryside collecting them. Flowers and leaves can be pressed and glued to paper to create unique cards and pictures. Stones can be painted and displayed...let your imaginations flow. This is something that could occupy them even if it is a rainy day during summer vacation. Put on the wellies and raincoats and go out and collect some fresh, natural items to turn into works of art. Go home, make yourself a well earned drink, get out the glue and paint and get to work.

Stone Painting

A visit to the beach was followed by stone painting.
A visit to the beach was followed by stone painting. | Source

Make Music

Making music has many other benefits apart from keeping away boredom!

Make your own musical instruments by filling empty yoghurt pots with dried beans or peas or making drums with an empty container covered with sturdy material over the opening to bang on. Put on your favourite music and play along. Or you could start them on learning a new instrument, whilst they have plenty of time to practice during the long summer vacation!

Learn To Play Drums


Parenting Tip

Never discourage your children from practicing an instrument. Give them boundaries, such as only playing during certain (sociable) hours and keeping the door closed, but give them lots of praise and encouragement and be prepared to have your home filled with music, that can only get better when undeterred!

Junk Modelling

Yet another way to be creative for practically no cost is to build models using old yoghurt pots, cardboard roll inserts, egg boxes, plastic trays, wool oddments etc. Add a supply of glue and paints and be amazed at what they will create: robots, space ships, houses, boats....will keep them amused for ages. Just remember to start collecting them some weeks before.

Dressing Up Holiday Activities- Let Them Show Off!

Ladies and gentlemen, may we present-

Save your old clothes for costumes. Get them to spend some time planning and practising a show, including arranging the stage. They could invite their family and friends but charge an entry fee ,which could go either towards their next outing or a charity of their choice. Refreshments could be served in the intermission and invites made and sent out a week or so before.

Dramatic holiday activities


Make Your Own Cards And Gifts - Get creative for special occasions

Stock up on your supply of special cards and gifts by getting them to make their own during the school break. Whether for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries or other occasions they will be all the more special if you make your own cards and gifts. Sit them around the table and have a supply of plain, coloured card, glue, coloured pens, sequins, shells, ribbon, material and whatever else you have sitting in your cupboards.

Rescue An Animal And Get A Pet

Some holiday activities are an investment

Get them to research (at the library or on the internet) the right pet for them. When they have decided, get them to write down 7 reasons why this is the right pet. You then make an agreement that they will play their part (to be decided first) in caring for the animal. If they contribute to the cost, they are more likely to appreciate it. Visit your local animal rescue centre and talk about why the animal had to be rescued and how it should have been looked after. Once you get a pet home, let them spend some time during the school break in learning how to care for it and choosing a name.

Guinea Pigs- Sam And Patch

Read about how these guinea pigs became a part of our family.
Read about how these guinea pigs became a part of our family. | Source

Cook Time

Total Time: As long as it takes

Serves: A happy school break

Your List Of Holiday Activites - What to do in the holidays-

  • Visit Your Local Library
  • Go berry picking in the countryside
  • Explore Local Attractions
  • Send them on a scavenger hunt
  • Enjoy Bike Riding
  • Go food shopping
  • Get Creative With This Playdough Recipe
  • Participate in local events
  • Sort Out Unwanted Toys
  • Use nature to produce some original artwork
  • Get Crafty Making Music
  • Junk Modelling
  • Let Them Show Off Their Acting And Dancing Skills
  • Make your own cards and gifts
  • Rescue An Animal And Get A Pet


  1. Print out and stick this list of holiday activities on your fridge or wall. Tick off each item when it has been accomplished. Have fun!

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