As lockdown begins to lift in time for the official summer holidays, our desire to get out of the house is stronger than ever. But with continued worries about the spread of Covid-19, the potential for a ‘second wave’, and tight household budgets due to economic woes, there are a lot of factors at play when considered where to go and what to do for a summer day out.
The government’s guidelines when it comes to social distancing are changing regularly to keep up with the development of the pandemic. For families, there are some key things to be aware of which will affect what you do this summer.
It’s important that your days out are outside as much as possible; this way, you can spend time with other people without some of the challenges of social distancing. If you want to spend time indoors, you can only have a group of people from up to two households. When you do spend time together indoors, you should maintain a two-metre social distance, wash your hands regularly and avoid sharing plates, cutlery or equipment of any kind.
It’s a legal requirement for you to wear a face covering in shops and on public transport, and from the 8th August, you’ll also need to wear a face covering pretty much anywhere indoors. This includes cinemas, museums, aquariums, galleries, libraries or any indoor entertainment area like an arcade – all the sort of places that would be great for a summer day out!
With that in mind, here are some of our ideas for cheap, safe summer days out that are less about restrictions and more about fun, adventure and imagination.
You can do this in your own back garden or in the local park. The Woodland Trust has some great ideas for natural scavenger hunts, where kids find plant life or animals which relate to the summer season. Alternatively, if you’re able to, you could create your own around a theme your children enjoy, such as space, dinosaurs, or characters from their favourite movies. Stick photos or small toys in secret places in your garden and get the kids to find them all.
Many towns have art walks – guided walks around the city or a certain area where you can see plenty of street art or sculpture. Check your town’s tourist information to see if they have one. Alternatively, take your children and some simple art materials on a walk somewhere new and encourage them to paint or draw pictures of their surroundings.
Kids’ guided tour
The way kids see the world is completely different to adults, so why not take a trip round your local area through their eyes? Task your kids with creating their own guided tour of the neighbourhood, complete with map of ‘famous’ landmarks and extra information for inquisitive guests. Then, go on a tour with them (matching t-shirts are optional).
Visiting the beach
It wouldn’t be a British summer holiday without a day trip to the seaside. For maximum safety, pick a day where the weather looks pleasant but not too hot and sunny – you’ll be able to avoid any crowds. Make sure to pack antibacterial wipes and hand sanitiser, a picnic, some towels and a good book – and off you go! Be very clear with your kids on the importance of social distancing, and set off earlier than usual to make sure you can find a relatively secluded spot.
For night-time adventures, go star-spotting. You’ll need to pick somewhere with low to no light pollution; this means somewhere away from housing, ideally in the countryside. This website has an interactive map showing the light pollution levels across the world. Zoom into your area and you can find the nearest low-level light pollution destination from which to spot the stars. There are also a number of great star-spotting apps you can download and use to help your kids identify different constellations.
As a final tip, a fun activity to do with your children which will also help you plan your summer is to sit down together and create an ‘activity jar’. Write different activities on slips of paper and pop them in the jar, after explaining to your children about the importance of social distancing and what they have to think about this summer. Each week, pull out a couple of activities at random and plan them in to create a cheap, safe summer that everyone will enjoy.