The summer holidays can be hard to fill, especially when the weather is unpredictable and your children need constant entertainment.
They can also be expensive, with pressure to pack every day with trips to theme parks, the farm, soft play or the cinema.
But having a fun summer that doesn’t break the bank actually isn’t as difficult as it sounds. And you don’t need to venture further than your own home, either.
Here are the 10 things that’ll entertain your child all summer:
Turn your child into a mini street artist by setting them up with some giant chalks and letting them use the drive, patio or pavement as their blank canvas.
We love the idea of drawing life-size dolls on the ground and letting your kids ‘dress’ them in their own clothes.
Or why not draw a street circuit so your child can practice their early cycling skills with a great value balance bike (£29.99) from Chad Valley? The first step towards
learning to ride a pedal bike
A big cardboard box
It’s no secret that children usually enjoy the box more than the toy that came inside it, so providing them with a big cardboard box will guarantee hours of fun.
Perfect for ‘camping out’ in the garden, using as an indoor den, or sheltering in for a picnic on a cooler day.
Check out Chad Valley’s Foldable Playhouse for a more durable version that still only takes minutes to set up.
Those long, foam cylinders have so many uses other than keeping your child afloat in the swimming pool, and make a great toy for indoor and outdoor play.
Try turning them into hoops, using duct tape, for a giant game of quoits, setting up targets in the garden, and letting your child aim at them with the noodle, javelin-style. Or cut them in half and use them as bats in a fun game of balloon tennis.
Floating Ball Fun Zone
This innovative airflow machine keeps balls suspended in the air as if by magic, fascinating your toddler.
And it charges via USB, so you don’t need to worry about providing an endless supply of batteries.
Colored bath sponges cost next to nothing from supermarkets and pound shops, and can be used in so many different ways.
We like the idea of chopping them up into blocks of different sizes and drawing on windows and doors to make houses for a play town. Or cut sponges into shapes to use as paint stamps.
And if it’s hot, dunk them in water and throw them at each other for sunny, garden fun.
A collection of Tupperware pots or similar plastic tubs or cups can provide hours of simple, summer fun for children of all ages.
Babies will enjoy banging them together; toddlers can use them to build towers, fill and empty with sand and water, and collect stones, bugs and flowers from the
garden; and older children can set up their own tea party or teddy bears’ picnic.
Possibly the most versatile craft item, pipe cleaners can be twisted into all manner of things. Make jewelry or finger puppets, or how about decorations to brighten up the trees in your garden?
Try giving your child a colander so they can stick pipe cleaners through the holes and make their own masterpiece.
Colored sticky tape
Too wet to play outdoors? Use colored tape to mark out roads for toy cars, a maze for your child to explore, or a hopscotch grid on your carpet so they can burn off
some energy without getting rained on.
For extra thrills and spills, set up Chad Valley’s Rapid Fire set (£14.99) alongside your homemade race circuit – launching the cars and watching them loop the loop
and fly past the finishing line will never get boring for your child.
Kids can’t resist the charms of glow sticks, and they’re cheap to buy from discount shops.
Hold an indoor disco with the curtains drawn, hide mini glow sticks in the garden for an after-dark treasure hunt, or throw a handful into the bathwater for fluorescent fun.