Planning for the summer holidays, or any school break, is something I am used to. For the last two years I have worked self-employed as a Childminder. This meant that over the summer, (Christmas, Easter etc) I have had to entertain a small group of excitable children, all with different interests and covering a range of ages from eight months to ten years old. This meant planning was essential to make sure I wasn’t being driven crazy everyday!
But this summer is different. To start with, I’m not Childminding. So it means for the first time in a while I have just Charlie and Phoebe all to myself for six whole weeks. Secondly, this summer is the last one before Charlie starts school. If you follow my Instagram account, you will have seen me banging on about this for a while. It is a big deal after all so please bear with me while I….WE go through this transition! Because of this, I want to make this summer that bit more special.
There is, however, something holding me back from making elaborate plans and that is the budget. With my maternity leave coming to an end and the prospect of no income from my end for a month, I really am going to be saving the pennies as much as I can. As I talked about in my last blog post , this summer I am trying to keep things as laid back as possible with trips to the park and beach with a picnic. We have a couple of “big” days out planned to a museum and the cinema for Charlie’s first visit. There is also going to be a night away camping at the end of the holidays, but apart from that the plans are simple: have fun and not spend a fortune on entertainment.
We are lucky enough to live in beautiful Northumberland where we have the enjoyment of both countryside and stretches of sandy beaches. This in itself is enough for things to do but if the children get sick of this (!), there is a good local garden centre with soft play, a trip down the coast to a lighthouse and farm parks (which if you take your own picnic can work out pretty reasonable). You just need to set yourself a limit each week on what you are going to spend and stick to it. Easier said than done I know but we will always try. Bear in mind, if you have a day out somewhere you need to factor in entrance costs, car parking, food etc so try to plan as best you can to cut costs.
Over the last month I have also started collecting activity books and craft items (which will probably only last the first week) for those rainy days we are bound to have. Charlie is starting to spend longer practising his writing and numbers so he should be pleased with these. I hope. Other adventures I have planned are: walks in the wood to hunt for “the Gruffalo”, meeting up with friends and visits to Grandparents, days in the garden and swimming. All low cost but activities that should keep everyone happy. Fingers crossed…
Overall I am really looking forward to this summer because it marks a milestone in our little bear’s life and I can’t wait to spend some quality time with him (and friends) before he grows up and wont be seen dead with his Mum. Let’s see if I still feel the same three weeks in; it may be a different story by then.