You look forward to the weekends and then find your two longed-for days gobbled up by routine: mornings spent ferrying your children to back-to-back sports lessons or hours spent standing on the sideline at matches; afternoons dropping and collecting from parties or more activities.
Why not take the opportunity this bank holiday weekend to take a break your usual family routine and do something different? We’ve come up with some ideas to release you from the weekend rut and make your valuable time together more fun for the whole family. Why not give them a go?
1. Do the same but different
If you always go swimming on Saturday morning, take the family to a new (and hopefully more exciting) pool for a change. You can find different swimming pools at Poolfinder. If you always go for a walk in your local park, instead arrange to meet friends in an entirely new wood or nature reserve and play an energetic game. In the evening it’s all too easy to find yourselves sharing the same space but all on different screens, so make a change by cuddling up together to watch a new film on ONE screen with bowls of homemade popcorn.
2. Eat around the world
If you’re stuck in a cooking rut (and frankly, when you’re used to dishing up family meals, it’s hard not to be), do something different by involving the whole family in choosing and cooking a dish from a different country. You can go methodically from A (for example Australian Anzac biscuits, pavlova, meat pie or simple roast lamb) to Z (Zambian sweetcorn or ‘mealie’ bread and peanut stew) looking for a new idea or just pick a country with the cuisine that most appeals.
The kids can improve their geography and research skills by choosing meals and listing the ingredients before shopping locally or doing an online shop. Then it’s time to cook up a new taste sensation together. You never know, your bank holiday culinary adventure might become part of a firm favourite in the weekly meal repertoire.
3. Enjoy a nostalgia-fest
All children love hearing stories about their babyhood and early childhood and “when Mum and Dad were young”. Reintroduce your children to places that have a nostalgic pull for you, like your old home or school, or dig out all the old photo albums, videos and photo files and enjoy giggling together and remembering happy times.
4. Play games
You may remember that long-running TV series Why Don’t You (Just Switch Off Your Television Set And Go Out And Do Something Less Boring Instead)? The fact that you were watching a TV programme telling you not to watch it was always a bit confusing, but you get the gist. Decide on a screen-free time when you’re going to play cards, board games or get outdoors and introduce your children to some of the retro games you played as a child. There’s no better way to bond than a game played together, whether indoors or out, with gentle teasing and laughter.
5. Make a family wish-list - and start it!
Rather than you dictating how weekends are spent, get your children on board by showing them their ideas count too. Draw up a family wish list and try and do something from it. As a starting point, ask your kids:
- What’s your idea of a perfect day out?
- What have you always wanted to do?
- What do you wish we did more of in our family?
- What did you love doing (visiting, eating, seeing) and want to do again?
6. Go camping
Children love the adventure of camping. Borrow tents and mattresses or invest in all the gear for many future camping breaks. Aim for a campsite that doesn’t frown on making a fire and remember to pack marshmallows to toast (for some reason licking melted sugar off a stick is essential to the experience). If you can’t get away for a night, pitch a tent in your garden.
7. Visit a castle
Bring your children’s history lessons to life by taking a day trip to Warwick Castle - there’s plenty to do outdoors to make the most of the warmer weather. They’ll revel in the funniest and foulest stories brought to life by the UK’s first-ever Horrible Histories® maze - the aim isn’t to reach the centre, but to reorder the muddle that mischievous Rattus Rattus has made of time, and find their way out. Budding engineers will love seeing the largest working catapult in the world and the whole family can choose a side for the live jousting show.
Visit the Warwick Castle website to book tickets.
8. Make something together
It could be something ambitious and exciting like a tree house or water slide, or simply making decorations to liven up your kitchen. Time spent gathered round the table, cutting, colouring and sticking can be lovely family bonding time.
Whatever you choose to do as a family, make the most of the extra day and enjoy your weekend!