‘Tropic like it’s Hot’
We are now officially counting down to the Summer Holidays!
This school year has gone by incredibly quickly. I know we all say it every year, but they really do. This year has been quite a chaotic one for us as a family. With a major relocation and several school changes. In a way I don’t feel like enough schooling has been done, before it’s time to shut it all down for the Summer.
The half term breaks throughout the school years can go by in a flash. But the Summer holidays can be daunting. Especially for those of us that work full time and need to balance fun things to do as well as childcare on working days.
I have always been one of those parents that dreads the Summer holiday’s to be completely honest. Partly because I didn’t used to have a garden for the kids to enjoy, and also because it is so full on! Parenting can be exhausting at the best of times, but 6 full weeks of it can seem impossible.
Unless you have a plan!
During a chat once with a parent I expressed my dread of the upcoming Summer break and she very simply said, ‘All you need to do is have a plan.’ And since that day that is what I have done.
Last year I made a notebook of every local place to visit, events, fun days, parks, prices, bus times – the whole shebang. And in case of bad weather a list of all home activities we could do to fill our time. This year I have gone one step further – I have made an even bigger, even better compilation of information and put it all on a printable document to share with you.
Sharing is Caring
I mean – who wouldn’t want a printable plan to stick on the fridge for the days when our minds can’t function? There is literally so much going on in County Durham that it would be a shame to miss out.
Another concern when it comes to the school holidays is of course the costs of all of the wonderful days out. It would be amazing if we could all afford to take weekly trips to theme parks and spontaneous weekends away – but in reality, most of us can’t. And as we all know, if you want to go in the summer holidays it will cost more.
So, my main aim when researching and putting together the Summer Plan was to seek out as many FREE activities as priority. The document covers the entire school holiday and I have added at least 2 ideas of places to go for every single day. On top of that, I have made sure that at least ONE of them is FREE!
Laugh more, worry less
This planner covers everything from museums to fun days, theatre experiences to workshops and for all ages!
Each day also has one activity that you can do at home so that you can make the most of those chilled days too. Of course, no-one is expecting you to provide a day out for the family every day of the summer, but it gives you an idea for days that you might want to. And saves you having to research what’s happening locally – as I’ve done it all for you.
Kids love the simple things – running around outside, water fights and open spaces. But sometimes after several days/weeks of the same thing each day they can get clucky and crave an activity that will encourage them to use their minds. Luckily for us in the North East there is an abundance of exhibitions, museums and events within the area that the family can visit that are educational and thought provoking as well as fun.
The idea of this blog was to put together this planner with all the information you will need so you don’t have to go looking for it or miss out. I have kept it mostly within the County Durham and Darlington area, however a handful of ideas would involve a longer journey. There are lots of adventure parks and activity places on top of the ones I have listed – but they all charge much higher entrance fees and become an expensive day out, so I have chosen to leave them off the plan. Don’t worry if you can’t drive – most of these can be travelled to easily on local transport.
Kids love a bus journey or a train ride so why not make that a whole days fun?
You could help the kids to make a holiday journal by using a basic notebook.
They can spend an afternoon decorating it and then fill it in each evening before bed. Pick up a free leaflet from places you visit, a map or a photo and stick these in the journal for the kids to look back on. We used to do this on every holiday when we were young and my mum still has them tucked away.
For some of the days out further information is listed below.
Please feel free to follow me on Pinterest HERE – where I have prepared some boards for the summer, games or crafts for at home, recipes, parenting hacks and fun ideas. If you have one too then send me a message and I will share your ideas.
By helping each other out and sharing ideas we can all make it through till September with minimal grey hairs and maximum money still in our pockets.
Click the mega link below to download or print out your copy.
Top Tips –
- Raring2go! mag for County Durham and Darlington has money off vouchers inside.
- County Durham Summer Guide 2018 has been delivered and is full of loads more activities. These are all the Durham County Council events being held at local parks – a lot of them are FREE. Theatre and Cinema Info, events at local libraries, a school holiday guide and much much more. Keep hold of it when it arrives.
- Each local library to you will have a timetable of FREE activities available. Grab one while you can and book on quickly as they fill up fast.
- Keep an eye out for money off vouchers in newspapers and on packaging to save you money on big days out.
Look out for offers!
- Booking online in advance will always save you a few ££ extra.
- People will always assume that weekends are busier at adventure parks during the Summer. However – it is the opposite. Everyone avoids weekends for the same reason and goes on weekdays making the weekdays busier.
- Sign up for the local library Summer Reading Challenge. This years theme is Mischief Makers with Dennis the Menace, Gnasher and Friends. It’s FREE and there are certificates and medals available.
- Save ££ on days out by taking a picnic. Buy fruit for snacks and freeze until the day. This will cut down on wastage food and keep the food in the cool bag colder.
‘Collect moments not things’
Further Information on Planner events:
- The Great Exhibition of the North is at various locations and has many different events and exhibitions going on. Be sure to check online before going.
- Raby Castle Kids Tours are running every Saturday and Thursday. They will be with Mike the Footman at 10:30. Normal entry fee will apply. Arrive in time to buy tickets and then meet Mike at the Coach House.
- Raby Castle also offers a treasure trail around the grounds which you can collect at the pay booth. When walking around the Deer Park – please don’t let kids chase the deer as there are babies that cannot keep up and may end up separated from the mother. The woodland play area at Raby is FREE to use and is shaded.
Let’s get busy!
- The Deer Park guided walk at Raby Castle – price includes entry to the walled gardens, the deer park and a drink on arrival.
- Crook Hall and Gardens have events running all year, many of these are not listed. Every Monday throughout June & July at 9:45am they offer Yoga in the Gardens. All ages and abilities welcome. Normal entry fee applies.
- The Bowes Museum / BFG Exhibition offers 5 different activity opportunities. These vary day to day so be sure to check online the dates of the one you would like to attend. There will be Dream Catcher making, BFG ears and horn making, Dream Jars, Giant cut-and-stick sessions and 3D model making.