23 things to do with the kids this Summer West Midlands
For summer 2019 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!
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. Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing
This year the 20th July is extra special! It marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to land and walk on the Moon! Celebrate by throwing your very own moon landing party. Let the kids get creative and make moon and space related decorations and snacks! 'Love to know' have some ideas on making your own space party food and you could try your hand at making balloon planet decorations, space shuttles, or rocket back packs.
A few local venues are also hosting some moon landing anniversary events:t:
- - Moon Landing Party - Think Thank Birmingham - 20th July
- - Destination Space The Moon - Think Tank Birmingham - 22nd July - 30th August
- - One Small Step - Lichfield Cathedral - 20th July - 25th September
- - Film Festival on the Moon! - Lichfield Cathedral - Mon - Wed in August
- - Explorer Dome: Space Show - Lichfield Cathedral - Saturday 3rd August and Monday 12th August
- - MoonFest: DIY Zoom-In Cinema - Midlands Arts Centre - 20th July
- - Space Junk Jet Packs - Midlands Arts Centre - 23rd July
2. 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 'Space', to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo mission.
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.
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.
If your kids love to build you might want to take them to one of these lego sessions:
- - Watt’s the Solution? LEGO Family Workshop - Think Tank Birmingham - Throughout the summer holidays
- - LEGO Club - Sutton Coldfield Library - 20th July
- - LEGO Drop In Session - Moor Pool Lower Hall - 11th August
- - LEGO & Duplo Club - Stirchley Library - 13th July
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:
- - Summer Fete - Blakesley Hall - 14th July
- - Family Fun Day - Museum of the Jewellery Quarter - Every Thursday in August
- - Bank Holiday Fun Day - Pype Hayes Golf Course - 25th August
- Various Family Fun Days - Lapworth Museum of Geology:
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:
- - Various Craft Events - Blakesley Hall - Every Tuesday and Thursday during the summer holidays
- - Kids Jewellery Workshop - Museum of the Jewellery Quarter - 25th July & 29th August
- - Various Craft Events - Sarehole Mill - 24th July, 31st July & 28th August
- - Various Craft Events - Weoley Castle - 2nd, 16th & 23rd August
- - Summer Smiles drop in art sessions - Midlands Arts Centre - Dates throughout the summer holidays
- - Summer Crafts - Kiss Me Cupcakes & Cakes - 3rd August
- - Various Craft Events - Kingsbury Water Park - Dates throughout the summer holidays
- - Various Craft Events - Ryton Pools Country Park - Dates throughout the summer holidays
9. Make a Mess with Mess Around Birmingham
With various locations around Birmingham and Redditch hosting 'Dinosaur Detectives' this summer, don't miss out on some messy fun! Providing multi sensory, messy play experiences for babies aged 6 months (or sitting unaided) to 5 years old. Sessions are special as everyone is welcome to join in including older siblings up to the age of 10, who can participate in the Big Kids Create and Make Corner at week end and school holiday sessions. Visit the website to find a session near you.
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:
- - Bio Blitz at Soho - Soho House - 28th August
- - Wild Craft Tuesdays - Sandwell Valley - Tuesdays
- - Explorer Thursday - Sandwell Valley - Thursdays
- - Guided Pond Dipping Sessions - Sandwell Valley - Saturdays
- - Sandwell Swans - Wildlife explorers 2018 - Sandwell Valley - 27th July & 31st August
- - Nature Play - Shenley Lane CA & Sports Centre - 25th & 26th July
- - Explorer Packs and Children's Trails - Botanical Gardens
- - Various Events - Parkridge Centre - Dates throughout the summer holidays
The National Trust are running a wide range of activities at local properties. We have put together a comprehensive list of events for all of the family to take part in - find out more in our
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 some fun events to quench your thirst for knowledge:
- - Medieval Open Day - Weoley Castle - 28th July
- - WW2 in the Castle - Tamworth Castle - 30th July - 1st August
- - Saxons at the Castle - Tamworth Castle - 6th - 8th August & 13th - 15th August
- - Get Hands On With History - Witley Court And Gardens - Throughout the summer holidays
- - Get Hands On With History - Kenilworth Castle - 20th July - 24th August
- - Historic Heroes - Black Country Living Museum - Throughout the summer holidays
- - Various Events - Warwick Castle - Throughout the summer holidays
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:
- - Watt 2019: Crazy Science - Soho House - 31st July
- - Summer Holiday Activities - British Motor Museum - Throughout the summer holidays
- - Various activies - Coventry Transport Museum - Dates throughout the summer holidays
- - Pop Bottle Rockets - Ryton Pools Country Park - 23rd July, 13th August or 29th August
- - Raring Rockets - Kingsbury Water Park - 13th August
- - Sphere Science - Lapworth Museum of Geology - 31st July
- - HORRIBLE Science - Lapworth Museum of Geology - 14th August
15. 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, you could even head over to Blakesley Hall and send your teddy on a teddy bear zip wire! The Parkridge Centre in Solihull is also holding teddy bear themed adventures on 24th July and Birmingham Botanical Gardens are hosting a teddy bears picnic on 28th August.
17. 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 theatre shows or story telling events:
- - Various Tall Tales - Aston Hall - Dates throughout the summer holidays
- - In The Night Garden Live - Birmingham Repertory Theatre - 31st July - 4th August
- - Mr Magnolia Outdoor Theatre - Martineau Gardens - 23rd July
- - Elmer The Patchwork Elephant - Midlands Art Centre - 28th August
- - Elmer The Patchwork Elephant - The Core Theatre - 23rd & 24th July
- - Alice in Wonderland -Birmingham Botanical Gardens - 25th July
- - Story Telling - Tamworth Castle - 23rd, 24th & 25th July
18. 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! Or head out to a local pirate event:
- - Pirate Blackbeard's Great Ruby Hunt - Ryton Pools Country Park - 16th August
- - All Aboard Pirates - Ryton Pools Country Park -27th August - 10:30 – 11:15, 11:15 – 12:00, 12:30 – 13:15, 13:15 – 14:00
- - Pirates! - Selly Manor - 12th - 31st August
- - Pirates and Mermaids - Birmingham Sea Life Centre - 15th June - 8th September
19. 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! Ryton Pools Country Park have a couple of campfire themed events if you'd prefer not to host your own fire:
20. 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 2019 - 27th & 28th July
- - Big Family Festival - 26th - 28th July
- - Black Country Festival - Various dates
- - Buffery Summer In The Park - 21st July
- - Birmingham Jazz Festival - 19th - 28th July
- - 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:
- - Magic of Thailand Festival - Leicester - 20th & 21st July
- - Camp Bestival - Lulworth Castle, Wareham - 25th - 28th July
- - Chilled In A Field Festival - East Sussex - 26th - 28th July
- - The Big Feastival - Alex James’ Farm, Kingham, Cotswolds - 23rd - 25th August
- - Big Jam Sandwich - Essex - 4th August
22. 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 your little one enjoys being in the kitchen they might enjoy attending these events:
Family Baking: Fairy Biscuit Baking Day - Sarehole Mill - 23rd August
Children's Cookery Courses - Becketts Farm - 26th July
23. 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 and Thomas Land
- - West Midland Safari Park
- - Warwick Castle
- - Ackers Adventure
- - LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre Birmingham
- - Alton Towers Theme Park and CBeebies Land
- - Tamworth Castle
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