I find it's easy to keep young children amused outdoors – usually some earth, something to dig with and water will happily see them making mud pies for quite a while.
But, let's face it, mud pies are not going to keep older children entertained. Neither will building fairy houses, playing in a paddling pool or "painting" with water.
If you don't want to see your older child bent over a small screen for the whole of the summer then you might have to bite the bullet and spend some money because it seems keeping them occupied isn't cheap. We've tested a couple of items that might do the trick.The Kettquad is a revolutionary new type of go-kart that can be taken off-road. It has four large air tyres with off-road tread, adjustable seat, parking brake and reverse gear.
It also looks pretty smart too. When my teenager saw it, he immediately had to have a go. Even I had a quick pootle up and down the pavement outside our house.
It is apparently for five to 12-year-olds but it was too big for my five-year-old to operate, her feet wouldn't reach the pedals.
However, my 14-year-old and his friends took it through it's paces off-road at a beauty spot with hills and dips and came back jubilant. They loved it and it seemed to stand up to being used by three boisterous teenagers.
The only downside is the price tag. It is currently for sale for £449 from Kettler (usual price £479) but from what we've seen this pedal-go kart would last for years so perhaps an investment piece. The only other downside is finding room in the garden to store it.
However, there is still the question of what to do with the children when it rains (as it is bound to do during their six week break). One idea, if you have room, could be an indoor table tennis table.
The Kettler Stockholm Indoor Table Tennis table is easy enough to assemble and comes complete with a net permanently in place, even when the table's folded (thank goodness, I had visions of this going missing).
This brought out the competitive side in all of us and, if you have the room, it's a wonderful piece of equipment to have. One end folds up, allowing solo practice and this is how it stays for most of the time in our house as space is tight, until someone wants a game.
I loved the table tennis table as it enticed the children away from the television and was something we could do together. Again, it isn't cheap (priced £249.99 at Table Tennis Tables) but I reckon the investment will be repaid many times over.
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