25 things to do with the kids this Summer West Midlands
For summer 2021 we have decided to give you more than just a list of what's on locally! What we are aiming to do is inspire you and add a bit of variety to the long summer school holidays. Without always having to spend a fortune! With so many of us isolating in our houses with our children over the last few school holidays, new ideas are always well received!
We are all mums here at Quick Find and we know only too well that although it can be easy enough to find events to get you out and about, they usually charge you an arm and a leg to get in, and that's before you've even started! So we have put our heads together and shared ideas to come up with our best summer activities blog yet! Challenge yourself to work your way through our checklist of things to do across the West Midlands over the school holidays!
1. Take part in your local Library 'Summer Reading Challenge'
The Summer Reading Challenge encourages children aged 4 to 11 to read six books during the long summer holiday. There is a different theme each year and this year's theme is 'Wild World Heroes', arriving online and in your local library this summer. Pack your bags, we're headed for Wilderville!
Children can read whatever they like - fact books, joke books, picture books, audio books - just as long as they are borrowed from the library. Children receive special rewards each time they finish a book and there's a certificate for everyone who completes the Challenge. Pop along to your local Library for more information or visit the website.
2. Walk the dog somewhere new
Walking somewhere new is more fun for you and your four legged friend - make an adventure of it,, you will see, and smell new things and wake up your
senses . Here's a list of great dog walking areas in the West Midlands:
- Clent Hills, Romsley, Worcestershire
- Burbury Brickworks and Blackberry Way, Shire Country Park, south Birmingham
- Lickey Hills Country Park, Rednal
- Barr Beacon, Walsall
- Cannon Hill Park, Moseley
- Cannock Chase, Staffordshire
- Canal paths are always interesting, usually loads of wildlife to see and you can watch the boats through the locks. You might even find a canal side cafe to have a well earned rest and an ice cream.
3. Go for a summer walk and picnic
Here in the West Midlands we are spoilt for choice for parks and country walks. Find the perfect setting for you family walk over on our 'Walks across West Midland' blog, with a list of over 20 beautiful outdoor spaces, you'll be sure to find somewhere that will keep everyone happy!
4. Build together
Take some time out to build something with the kids, you'll be surprised how much you enjoy it (and how much they will love it too)! As adults we usually have so many jobs to do we often forget to set some time aside to just play
with the kids.
Try this LEGO challenge calendar it is totally awesome, because it gives kids inspiration for creative building without telling them exactly what to build!
It has inspired lots of fun LEGO play in our home.
5. Go swimming
Didn't you just love it when you went swimming as a child!? Swimming will not only wear them out so you'll get a quiet evening when they are zonked but it will keep them entertained for ages! There are plenty places to swim in the West Midlands. Want to try somewhere new? This list of swimming pools in the West Midlands from Days Out With The Kids should help! If the weather allows, you could even try one of these outdoor pools in the West Midlands!
6. Enjoy a day of family fun!
If you're feeling energetic and creative then why not plan a family fun day for you and the kids in your own home and garden! Keep it close with immediate family or let the kids invite a friend or two. Plan ahead and include games, a lucky dip, raffles, and activities, and don't forget some fun day treats like hot dogs and burgers or a pick 'n' mix stand!
Or, let someone else do the hard work and turn up to one of these local family fun days:
- Lichfield Festival 2021 - Thursday 8th July – Sunday 18th July 2021
- Shrewsbury Folk Festival 2021 - 27 - 30 August
- Treasure Hunt Birmingham - 1 Mar 2021 - 1 Jan 2022
- TILT Festival - 12 July 2021 - 23 July 2021
- Summer in Southside - 12July - 13July2021
- Brindley Place Film Festival 15 July 2021 - 21 July 2021
7. Hunt for treasure
Plan a scavenger / treasure hunt! Think up age appropriate riddles and clues and have the kids work their way through the clues until they reach their treasure! The treasure can be whatever you think they will love, like a new toy / game, tickets to a day out somewhere for another day, or keep it simple with a small stash of sweet or goodies!
8. Get Crafty
There's no better way to entertain the children for a while without having to break the bank, and this one usually works for all ages! The summer holidays can be expensive so get creative with the recycling and create some junk model crafts, alternatively your local supermarket or Hobbycraft usually sell some great craft activity packs at bargain prices! Take a look here for some inspiration.
Don't want to get your house all sticky? So many places have crafting activities over the summer holidays! Take a look at these:
- Cafe Craft Bearwood - Monday to Friday 09:00 - 17:00, Saturday 09:00 - 18:00, Sunday 10:00 - 16:00
- Bilston Craft Gallery - Thursday to Saturday 12:00 - 16:00
- The Kandy Factory Burton on Trent, Staffordshire - Open daily in School Holidays.
- Various Craft Events - Kingsbury Water Park - Dates throughout the summer holidays
- Various Craft Events - Ryton Pools Country Park - Dates throughout the summer holidays
- Summer Smiles drop in art sessions - Midlands Arts Centre - Dates throughout the summer holidays
Messy play helps children to understand how things feel, such as textures and temperatures. They also learn about body awareness and personal boundaries or spacial awareness. Children can develop many great pre-writing skills with messy play through pouring, scooping, and grasping while perfecting eye-hand coordination skills.
10. Help the community
We can all give something back to the community, even kids. What's more, its a great way to teach them about your community and develop respect for their home and the people around them. Here are our ideas for how you can give back to their community:
- - Go litter picking. You could go big and organise a small event with a group of people or there are sometimes official organised events already happening if you ask around locally. Or keep it simple and collect a small handful of things, every little helps! Of course just be careful with young children about what they pick up!
- - Help a neighbour with some gardening or chores
- - Donate some unwanted toys or outgrown clothes to charity, or books to a local charity run childcare or hospital/doctors surgery
- - Make some bird feeders to attract wildlife
- - Participate in a local charity event
- - Hold a car wash, garage sale or bake sale to raise money for charity
- - Do something kind for a random community member
11. Get closer to nature
We all want to get the kids outdoors more these days but if your kids are looking for more than just a ramble we've found some local outdoor activities for them to get stuck into:
- Join the Nature Tots at Parkridge, Solihull
- Sandwell Valley Country Park
- Explorer Packs and Children’s Trails - Botanical Gardens - From Brilliant Butterflies to Magical Plants explore throughout the summer.
- Try a new nature activity at one of Warwickshires Country Parks
12. Visit a National Trust property
The National Trust properties are always a good day out, they offer amazing historical buildings and beautiful gardens, some with great playgrounds.
13. Make your own mini golf
Local adventure golf trips are always lots of fun but sometimes they can be quite costly! So if you're trying to save some pennies, try making your own mini golf! Get the kids involved with creating the courses and they will be occupied for hours! You can go as simple or as extravagant as you have the energy for..
14. Brush up on some history
For the budding historians out there we’ve found some local museums and castles holding various fun events to quench your thirst for knowledge throughout the summer:
- Weoley Castle
- Tamworth Castle
- Witley Court And Gardens
- Kenilworth Castle
- Black Country Living Museum
- Warwick Castle
15. Find a Geocache
Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game and if you haven't tried it yet we highly recommend giving it a go!! Download the Geocaching app and have a look for geocaches near you. Grab a cache'n'dash on a journey or take a few hours out and complete a geocache trail.
Remember if you are taking the kids - find a kid-friendly trail, this makes sure its not too difficult for them and also means there's a possibility of finding some 'geo-toys' - a name our kids came up with for the little toys or bits n bobs that you find in some geocache containers - take some small toys along with you to swap! And keep in mind if the trail says its about an hour long walk, if you have kids with you this can really mean 2 or 3 hours! We've fell into that trap ourselves - luckily we had plenty of snacks to keep us going though!
Whether you want to stay home and turn the house into your own mini science lab or head out for a science themed day out, there are plenty of options to inspire you! Kix have plenty of ideas for at home experiments, but remember to plan ahead and get any parts or ingredients you might need prepared beforehand. Kix list of Kids Tech activities.
If you'd rather get out for a science themed day, there are some local science events on including:
- Motor themed online family activities - British Motor Museum - Throughout the summer holidays
- Various engineer themed activies - Coventry Transport Museum - Dates throughout the summer holidays
- Various online and live family activities - Thinktank - Throughout the summer holidays
17. Visit a family member
As simple as this sounds, we often forget to visit relatives. So why not take some time to visit a relative you haven't seen for a while. Older, retired relatives usually especially love something to brighten up their day!
Dedicate a day to your kids favourite cuddle toys! Let their imaginations run wild and hold teddy bear tea party or a teddy bear disco, go down to the woods for a teddy bears picnic.
19. A day of entertainment
Either set up a home cinema experience to hide away from a rainy summers day (don't forget the popcorn!) or hold your own puppet shows (if you don't know where to start try reenacting some story books). You could even make the puppets for an extra theatre craft activity!
Alternatively, pop along to one of these outdoor cinema evenings...don’t forget your popcorn!!:
- Dirty Dancing - War Memorial Park • Coventry - Sat, Aug 7, 19:45
- The Greatest Showman - Wolverhampton Racecourse • Wolverhampton - Sat, Jul 31, 19:00
- Grease - Moseley Cricket Club • Shirley - Wed, Aug 11, 19:00
- Frozen 2 - Wolverhampton Racecourse • Wolverhampton - Sun, Aug 1, 19:00
- Lion King - Warwick Racecourse • Warwick - Thu, Aug 19, 19:00
- The Goonies - Stafford Rangers Football Club • Stafford - Thu, Jul 29, 20:00
20. Be a pirate for a day
Dress up as pirates and link this in with number 7 for a pirate themed treasure hunt! You can design your own treasure maps and make eye patches and pirate hats or go all out and make a pirate outfit!
21. Sing around a campfire and toast marshmallows
Create a back garden campfire and set up an evening of camping fun, you could even go all out and actually camp in the back garden afterwards! Toast marshmallows, sing together and tell stories with no electronic devices allowed!
22. Have a water fight
Kids love water fights!! Make sure you pick a warm day (we do have them occasionally!). Even better, join in the fun! If you haven't got any water pistols then you can have just as much fun with a big bucket of water equipped with sponges, cups or recycled squeezy / spray bottles! Try out some of these home made ideas for water fun: 8 Best DIY Water-Play Ideas, How to Make a Water Gun with a Water Bottle, 12 Water Play Activities For Kids, The Best Homemade Water Toys and Games For Kids
Fancy a festival day out? We've found some local family friendly festivals that look like they are worth a try:
- - Solihull Summer Fest 2021 -24th & 25th July
- - Big Family Festival - 27th - 29th August
- - Black Country Festival -4th – 15th October
- - Buffery Summer In The Park - set to return Summer 2021 - dates to be confirmed
- - Birmingham Jazz Festival - August
- - Warwick Folk Festival - 25th - 28th July
- Favourite Family Festivals a bit further out for those that don't mind travelling or would like to have the full camping experience:
- - Camp Bestival - Lulworth Castle, Wareham - 29th July to 1st August
- - The Big Feastival - Alex James’ Farm, Kingham, Cotswolds - 27th - 29th August
24. Hold a family bake off or Masterchef!
Kids are never too young to start learning how to cook! Spruce up the cooking for a Bake Off or Masterchef competition! Find some inspiration here.
If you have your little one has a birthday in the summer - why not book a children's cookery party at Becketts Farm.
25. Splash out for one day
Low cost activities are amazing in the summer holidays because lets face it, who can afford to spend a fortune everyday for 8 weeks? That said, if you can put some money aside for a special day out the there are some great places to spend a fun filled day! Look up your local rock climbing or trampoline parks or for a full day of fun visit one of these local attractions (most have extra activities happening throughout the summer holidays too):
- - National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham
- - Cadbury World
- - Dudley Zoological Gardens
- - Thinktank Birmingham Science Museum
- - Dudley Castle
- - The Bear Grylls Adventure
- - Drayton Manor Theme Park
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