Summer is finally here – and celebrating it together with the family is always special.
But how do you make sure you make the most of the season this year?
The answer: get creative!
To help, we've come up with ideas to help make it the best summer ever. These activities will not only ensure that you have a giggle together but beat that perennial bugbear – bored children!
1. Make a big summer bucket list
What: A list of summer must-dos to tick off with the family.
How to do it: Grab a piece of A3 paper and get every member of the family to scribble or doodle five things they want to do this summer on it. Put it up somewhere prominent, like the kitchen, and then tick off each one as you do it, with the date. You could even score each one out of 10.
2. Go wild with a nature spotting wall chart
What: A log of all the natural wonders you've seen this summer.
How to do it: Get another A3 piece of paper and divide it up into a grid. In each box put the name of an animal you hope to see like ladybirds, butterflies, heron, squirrel etc. Then tick them off as you seem them. You could even get the children do a drawing or take a photo of each.
3. Write the ultimate family diary
What: A diary of the summer, written by the whole family.
How to do it: Get a large notebook and label it with your family name and Summer 2014. Write the date of every day on each page, or half a page. Alternate with members of the family to write something down about their day – it could be simply a funny quote by someone, a lovely summer treat that they ate, or all about the day out you enjoyed. By the end you'll have a memento to cherish.
4. Make a family selfie album
What: An album of the family together – every day of the summer.
How to do it: Whatever you're doing this summer – whether you're at a theme park or just lounging about in the back garden - set yourself the challenge of taking a family selfie photo using your iPad, smartphone or just a camera with a timer. Take one every day and you'll end up with a great album of photos.
5. Cook the summer
What: Learn to make some delicious summer fare together.
How to do it: Summer is all about delicious food. Sit down together with some cookbooks and recipes from the net. Then make a list of all the new dishes you want to create. It could include salads and desserts, ideas for the BBQ or even just making ice lollies in the freezer. Each weekend from now until August take one, and make sure you learn to make it together.
6. Be game for summer fun
What: See how many different sports you can do together by the end of summer.
How to do it: Summer sees not only the World Cup but the Commonwealth Games being held in Glasgow too. Make a list of all the sports you'd like to try as a family. You could include football, beach cricket, volleyball, swimming, cycling. You could even check out your local rowing, sailing, archery or martial arts club.
7. Learn a new skill
What: Make it a summer to remember by mastering a new ability.
How to do it: Ask each member of the family what new skill they would like to learn by the end of the holiday. It could be something active like juggling, swimming, hula hooping or even inventing their own board game.
8. Make a family summer playlist
What: Make the ultimate summer playlist.
How to do it: Every summer most families spend hours in the car, either going on holiday, days out or visiting relatives. Get each member if the family to come up with 10 or 20 songs and tunes they really love. Then put each person's playlist together on your MP3 Player or burn a CD with some favourite tracks.
9. Travel the world in your own home
What: Go on holiday to a different destination every weekend.
How to do it: Can't afford a holiday or already missing the one you went on? Make it a holiday every weekend by getting a theme. One Saturday you could have a Caribbean theme with reggae music and dressing in beachwear, the next you could go Italian, with easy homemade pizza and ice cream.
10. Try something new
What: Make a list of all the things locally that you've never done and vow to do them all.
How to do it: Never seen the town museum, visited the local nature reserve or slept in a tent in the garden? Research all the things you have never done in your own area, stick it on the fridge and cross them off as you go.
11. Get competitive
What: Turn the summer into a family tournament.
How to do it: With so many sporting contests this summer make everything a competition. At home you can all go head to head trying to grow something in the garden, like sunflowers. In the car you can have an on-going game where each family member picks an animal, like pigs, sheep, cows, horses etc. Each time you spot some you get a set number of points.
12. Start a summer box of tricks
What: Create a box of family keepsakes to cherish forever.
How to do it: Get a large plastic container box from your local DIY store and label it Summer 2014. As the summer goes on make sure that everyone in the family places mementoes in it. They could be tickets to attractions, shells from the beach, kids' pictures inspired by their days out and more.