Ideas for a fun-packed #SummerofPlay | Learning Resources UK

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A collaboration with Learning Resources & BritMums! Summer is here and we hope you’re ready for a #SummerofPlay! To get children outdoors, the government has dubbed summer 2021 as the Summer of Play

And to celebrate, we want all parents to know that they can enjoy a fun-packed summer as a family without the pressure of ‘teaching’ or home schooling. Active play and discovery are both amazing ways to boost learning. Plus, they provide huge benefits to mental health for all the family. 

If you need inspiration for summer family activities that encourage fun, active play and carefree discovery, we have just the thing. Check out these parent-approved amazing ideas for a fun-packed Summer of Play

Get inspired with ideas for a fun-packed Summer of Play

We recently ran a giveaway in collaboration with our friends at BritMums. They asked their Instagram followers to tell them how their family plans to spend a Summer of Play.

We loved reading everyone’s suggestions and with so many great ideas from everyone, it was hard to pick our favourites. But to help you and your children make the most of this year’s #SummerOfPlay, we’ve rounded up some of the best suggestions. Get ready for fun!

Exciting ideas to get kids moving

Take of advantage of warm weather and get your kids moving outside. In fact, studies show that kids are twice as active outside then they are indoors. 

Exercise makes us feel better too! This is because exercise releases endorphins into our bloodstream, which helps our brains create melatonin. Even better, melatonin helps to regulate a good night’s sleep. So, after all that fun and exercise, your little ones should sleep well. Here are some of the fab suggestions from parents to keep your family active this summer. 

First up is a suggestion from Ellie:

We love the variety of activities but just like this next suggestion, why not have a change of scenery at the beach? Although, we don’t recommend roller skating on sand if you want to get anywhere!

Cricket is fun, but not for everyone. And it seems Anna and her family prefer a few games of rounders instead:

Watch out Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka, Bridie and her mum are on a mission to hone their tennis skills this summer!

Next is something more unusual from mum, Emma:

We think a trapeze sounds wonderful. How about adding a competitive element into your sports and activities? Celebrate your very own Olympics and organise a family sporting event like Natalie’s family plans to do:

Friendly competition is a great way to encourage kids to play – especially when it’s kids vs adults.

Bugs, birds, beasts, oh my!

Whether you’re spotting wildlife in an urban city environment, or you have local woodland nearby, you’ll find critters everywhere. 

Though we think the addition of playing pretend from Judy is fantastic:

Another fun idea is to build a den and search for bugs like mum, Louise, and her daughter:

Did you know that in Japan bug hunting is a cultural summer pastime and a popular activity for children? 

It’s so popular in fact, that it became one of the main influences for the Pokémon games. One of the creators was inspired by his childhood memories of collecting as many different insects as possible.

Bring the indoors, outdoors

When the weather allows, why not bring your usual indoor activities outdoors. These next two suggestions involve watching films:

Grab the popcorn, a warm blanket and snuggle up together on a warm summer evening. It sounds like Fiona and her kids will be doing the same amidst lots of other fun activities:

Though you can play this game anywhere, we love the idea of playing hide-and-seek outdoors. Why not take it outside? Get the whole family involved like mum, Rachel:

Speaking of outside…

Enjoy glorious gardens and play in the park

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden or there’s a park nearby, make the most of it this summer. It sounds like Maria plans on doing just that, she also had some fun ideas for rainy days too:

It seems Jo and her family also plan on spending most of their time outside in the garden. We can’t say we blame them:

Eating your lunch outside or having a picnic is another great way to enjoy your garden or local park. But what about this next suggestion from Betsy?

Vicky and her family are also including treasure hunts as part of their outdoor play this summer: 

Treasure hunts have become a popular activity to encourage exploration. 

But if you want to take your treasure hunts to the next level, why not try geocaching

Geocaching uses GPS technology and your mobile phone to search for nearby caches or treasure locations. The ‘treasure’ is hidden at certain coordinates all over the world. So, you can take part in a treasure hunt even if you’re on holiday somewhere!

Play with your food

We love this next idea from Diane, a lot:

Planting and growing vegetables is a great way to help kids learn all about plant science. Not to mention, it also teaches empathy, how to care for living things and promotes social emotional learning (SEL).

While it’s not quite seed season, there are still lots of plants that are easy to grow during summer months. We recommend tomatoes, spring onions and cress. 

If you want to give growing fruits and vegetables a try, why not take a look at our handy guide!

Little ones love to eat what they’ve grown too. Why not have a picnic with what you’ve grown? Or combine a picnic with a fun activity like mini golf:

Though, we’re not sure that’s what mum Emma quite had in mind!

Get crafty

Whether you get messy with paints or colouring pens, take a leaf out of this mum’s book and bring the art supplies outside:

If you have a patio, you could also grab some chalk and let your children’s imaginations run wild. We also love this next suggestion from Christina, especially the part about the flags of the world:

We think incorporating learning into your child’s play is fantastic idea. If you want to learn more about different countries around the world, check out our Coding Critters World Adventures series.

Explore close to home

While we can’t travel abroad as much as we’d like to this Summer, many families plan on holidaying in the UK. A staycation is a wonderful way to show your little ones how diverse the UK can be. Jodie and her little ones are just one of the families who plan on exploring this summer:

With so many places to explore, it can be hard to choose where to go! Why not create a bucket list of places to visit and tick them off like Tasha and her family?

We’d love to join this family for a campervan adventure:

Or how about climbing ‘mountains’ in Wales this summer like this person’s grandchild:

Fun fact: Snowdon is the highest mountain in Wales at 1085 metres above sea level!

Sounds like Rebecca’s youngest would enjoy mountain climbing: 

Unsurprisingly, it seems like many families are keen to make up for lost time this summer. That’s exactly what Lindsey and her little one’s plan to do. We like the sound of their outdoor adventures: 

Stay cool this summer

Remember it’s important to keep cool this summer too! So, slather on the sun cream, get the swimwear ready and let the water play begin. Water activities are a great way to enjoy a Summer of Play. It sounds like Gina and her grandkids will be splashing their way through summer:

A tried-and-tested summer classic is next with this suggestion from Sarah:

Though for the ultimate summer cooldown activity, you can’t beat a water fight. And it sounds like this cul-de-sac is where it’s at this summer!

Have fun with nature

Taking a walk surrounded by nature is a relaxing pastime for adults. But it can be fun-packed and full of wonder for your little ones too. Even if you live in a built-up urban area, you’ll be surprised what wildlife and flowers you can find.

You can even collect leaves or small stones to use in your next arts and crafts session. If you live in countryside or somewhere in the suburbs, visit local nature reserves and wooded areas. Discover woodlands and explore public footpaths like this next parent suggests:

Some of you, like Lucy and her family, are fortunate enough to live near National Trust sites. Check out their website to see what nature spots are nearby: 

This next parent plans to spend lots of time outdoors this summer, including encouraging their child to inspect changes in nature. This is a great activity for children of all abilities. Why not take some inspiration and do the same? 

How does this next idea sound?

We love stargazing. In the summer months, the sky is usually clearer too. 

Check out our Beginners Guide to Stargazing to learn the basics. Or help your little ones keep a log of the phases of the moon each night before they go to bed.

We think all these suggestions are amazing and love that so many parents took the time to respond. We hope you’re feeling inspired for an unforgettable Summer of Play. But whatever you decide to do this summer, enjoy learning and playing together.

Learning Resources has even more fun ideas for outdoor play. Shop our Outdoor Play toys and read our blog for tips and advice including, The Importance of Outdoor Exploration and 5 Ways to Explore The World Without Leaving Your Back Garden

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