With schools having shut their doors for the summer, many families may be struggling to come up with ideas to keep the children entertained.

However, as the UK basks in hotter weather, it’s the perfect opportunity to get creative. And there are plenty of options available – from outdoor fun to staycations and indoor activities.

Here, our Welfare team offers up a few fresh ideas, as well as sites to check out when you’re looking for inspiration…

Connect with nature at home

Why spend money on activities when you have your own dream playground on your doorstep? There are so many things you can try out outdoors, whether it’s in your own garden, in local woodland or in parks nearby.

You could head out on a walk, pick up leaves as you go, then either write down what each of them is at home or even make some colourful drawings or sketches of them. Or, if your kids enjoy a scavenger hunt, why not make up a list of things you know they could spot near you – from flowers to trees and birds – and see who can find the most?

Woodland Trust has been sharing regular blogs throughout the last year with suggestions for activities that families could try at home. While restrictions are now lifting, many may still feel uncomfortable venturing far from home so there’s loads of ideas in there to keep the kids occupied in the garden and around the house.

From twig boat races to spotting animals outside, making blossom cards and even stick weaving, there’s something for every age group. Here’s just one of the many blogs you could check out.

The Rivers Trust also has a number of events for the kids to get involved with, while learning about rivers and what lives beneath the surface, as well as talks and educational bits for adults too.

Have fun outdoors

There are plenty of outdoor activities on offer if you fancy something a bit different this summer.

Why not set the kids a challenge of building something out of leftover recycling items? Or cool down with a fun water fight – ensuring everyone plays safely throughout.

Verywell Family has a long list of outdoor activity ideas on offer, so check them out and see what takes your fancy.

Find local events

Depending where you’re based, there will more than likely be some events and activities taking place, as venues make the most of the lifting of restrictions. It’s important to ensure you’re adhering to current government guidelines throughout, however.

From outdoor festivals to summer camps, museums, shows and educational events around nature, TheSchoolRun.com has gathered some local activity ideas for the summer together here.

It’s also worth seeing what sites are available in your area. York Mumbler has listed a number of things to do in York with kids including days out, classes, the best places to eat out and lots more.

Get crafty

If there’s one thing the last year has taught us, it’s how to stay entertained indoors. So don’t forget all those handy tricks, they’ll come in useful on rainy days or when you’re working and taking care of the kids.

Try asking the children to draw their favourite flower or bird, educating them about what they have around them in nature in the process. You could also set them up with glue and some craft items and ask them to make cards to send to friends and family. In a digital age, sometimes a physical card can mean the world to someone.

Or why not create a memory box together? We may have spent much of the last 18 months indoors, but it’s a time many of us will never forget – with lessons learned along the way. Ask the kids to record some of their top memories and write them down, to look back on in years to come.

Verywell Family also has a long list of indoor activity ideas on offer.

Meanwhile, like most of the UK, Blaze the bear is ready to soak up some sunshine this summer – all being well! We’ve prepared a special summer-themed colouring sheet to keep the kids occupied. Remember to share your finished results with us by tagging us on social media.

Summer colour sheet

Everyone’s favourite fire engine is also available to print off and colour in. Find a Neenaw colouring-in sheet here.

Bake together

If you’re stuck inside on a rainy day, which we all know can happen in a UK summer, then why not test out your culinary skills in the kitchen with the kids?

As part of our fundraising campaign, Brew With A Crew, in partnership with Typhoo, we shared some of Great British Bake Off star and firefighter Mat Riley’s most popular recipes for cakes and biscuits, to go alongside your cup of tea.

Try some of them out, or dig out your own recipes – and be sure to share photos of the finished results with us!

Mat Riley’s BWAC recipes

Get active

It may seem simple, but there’s often nothing better than jumping on a bike, heading out for a walk or going on a run in the countryside.

Why not pack up a picnic and take it along, stopping on the way to (hopefully) enjoy some sun and sights? Not only does it help the whole family get active, but it also brings everyone together – away from screens – and pushes you to go further than you would on foot.

You could also plan a staycation as a family this summer, whether it’s to the coast or into the countryside for some camping. You can’t beat roasted marshmallows under the stars – especially when the weather suits!

The benefits of activity are not just physical. Yes, they contribute to our fitness, strength and stamina among many other things, but they also have an extremely positive effect on our mental health as well. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, a feel-good hormone that makes a hugely positive impact on your overall sense of wellbeing.

Check out Everyone Active for some exercise ideas to keep the kids occupied.

Have fun everyone, stay safe and remember to let us know what you get up to on social media!