Old is the new new for simple summers

Maggie, volunteer mentor co-ordinatorWith August nearly upon us, our volunteer mentor co-ordinator Maggie takes a nostalgic look back to the heatwave of 1976 and suggests some simple activities from back in the day.

As someone wrinkly enough to remember the hot, hot summer of 1976, my holidays were all about Creamola Foam, squeezy bottle water fights, variety pack cereal and sleeping out in a makeshift tent slung over the washing line. These were things you only did in the long summer school holiday.

My mum had a no cooking rule in the summer holidays. Like Cher’s family in the 1990s movie Mermaids, we ate cold finger food morning, noon and night for six weeks. Parents now often feel under pressure to organise a whole series of day, and even evening, trips, sleepovers and activities. Takeaways and eating out can sound appealing but end up costing a fortune.

If you want to avoid a meltdown it’s best to ignore the FOMO* (unless it’s Creamola) and try not to worry what others are doing. Instead, think back to your own childhood. How did you pass the time with that granny or neighbour your parents dropped you off to when they were busy?

The simplest things often provide us with the longest lasting feel good memories. So if you have a positive memory from your own childhood summers, doubtless your child will equally love it. Old is the new new!

(*Not down with the kids? FOMO means Fear Of Missing Out.)

Six stress-busting activities (with or without the kids!)

Tip: if you don’t have a garden – head to the nearest park or beach. 

  • Castle/Fort building from boxes

Create a superhero headquarters or a pirate ship for little ones that prefer to walk the plank. 

  • Treasure hunt

Children and adults love a treasure hunt of any description!

  • Obstacle course

Kids + school holidays = loads of excess energy to be burned. Put that to good use by building an obstacle course. If it’s wet outside, build it inside. Make prizes or medals with the kids beforehand (but be aware too much competition usually ends in tears!)

  • Home camping

Set up camp in the back garden (or even inside if the weather is rubbish). All the fun of camping without the hassle of travel, shared bathrooms or cooking on a stove! Help them ‘pack’ for their camping trip by picking out cosy blankets, books to read and games to play. Pitch their tent and let them arrange how they would like it inside.

  • Write a story or a play with your kids

Put their great imaginations to good use by creating a story, poem or play together. It’s a fantastic way to harness their inventive minds. Get the kids to put their play or story on as a show for family or neighbours.

  • Let them host a home exhibition or have a street stall for charity

Kids love to display their most precious items or art work, or get them to put on a fashion show with upcycled/recycled outfits. Better still, set up a stall of their unwanted toys and books or homemade lemonade, lollies or crispie cakes to sell to passers by.  

Slip, slop, slap, seek, slide - sun protection adviceLooking after you

With all this hectic activity, it’s easy to forget about yourself. So make sure to take some time for you and don’t burn yourself out rushing from one timetabled activity to the next. Have a few movie days and carpet picnics.

Importantly if you are out and about, take a leaf out of the Aussie’s book and don’t forget that you and the kids need to ‘slip, slap, slop, seek, slide’!