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5 ways to keep your family entertained this summer

30 July, 2014

Summer-holidays

The summer holidays are a great time for the whole family to enjoy each other’s company. But with restless children and a small budget to play with, mid August can be a difficult time for parents.

Digital entertainment can provide a great way for the whole family to be entertained and informed, while keeping costs to a minimum.

And web-based games and activities don’t have to involve being sat inside – there are now loads of ways to use websites and apps to inspire creative play and lead outdoor physical games and activities too.

Here are five digital entertainment ideas to entertain the whole family this summer.

(1) Museum Art Trails

Most museums and galleries now offer some kind of trail for families to follow. This may involve an audio guide tour or an app-based programme that you can access through your phone. Museums are now embracing digital as part of the audience experience, as seen in this year’s #MuseumWeek.

Call your local museum or gallery to find out what is on offer and plan a day where everyone can join in, and learn something new as well as having some fun.

For example, in Yorkshire, check out the following:

  • Yorkshire Air Museum – Hologram Museum Tour

(2) Games for all ages

Free games are available on all the major children’s television websites, but for younger kids Cbeebies (www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/games) is an excellent choice. There are multiple games from favourites such as Nina and The Neurons and Mr Tumble. And the great thing about them being produced by the BBC is that your children won’t be bombarded by advertising.

For older children friv.com is a good option. There are dozens of really cool games here like the slightly addictive Rollercoaster Creator. It’s not all about the children though. There are many games that will make some younger adults beam with nostalgia, including old favourites such as Mario and Pacman making an appearance.

(3) Keeping on top of studies

While studying is likely to be the last thing on teenagers’ minds during the holidays, summer is a valuable time for teenagers to read up on their past year’s subject materials, work on any difficult topics and do some revision for exams the following academic year.

Topmarks.co.uk is an excellent resource to keep children’s brains active over the summer. The website is an aggregator for educational tools, tutorials and games and does a great job of signposting based on subject or keystage.

For teenagers who are looking towards GCSEs or A-Levels next year, TheStudentRoom.co.uk is a must. The forums are crammed with support from young people like your child. It’s also a hub for revision, university and job applications, in addition to help with emotional and physical wellbeing.

i love blogging

(4) The family that blogs together…

Encouraging your youngster to blog is a great way for them to express themselves. Kidsblogclub.com is full of tips on how to get youngsters started and manage their blog effectively. Your mini-bloggers could follow popular child bloggers such as Martha Payne (neverseconds.blogspot.co.uk) who started blogging about her school dinners. The blog has been voted The Observer’s Food Blog of the Year and has helped raise £100,000 for charity, Mary’s Meals. Maybe you could blog about together like the daughter and mother book reviewers behind childtasticbooks.wordpress.com. Not only are they starting to gain a large following, but they’re starting to get publicity in national press too.

Or maybe you fancy starting a blog? With children to entertain, siblings competing for the computer and exam stress in the house, you may need an outlet too!

(5) Social media ideas

If your children aren’t impressed with your suggestions for summer activities, why not task them to come up with their own shortlists for places to visit? Get them signed in to Twitter and Facebook and sit with them while they conduct searches on activities in your local area. Many small arts groups and local events won’t appear in the regional media or on be advertised on television – you have to go out and search for them. But you will be surprised what you find when you do a bit of digging! The process of discovery is great for inspiring curiosity and adventure. And many locally-led activities are free or low cost.

social media

 

I hope these ideas have helped you to think up new ways to keep the kids entertained this summer. Do let me know if you find any interesting or unusual ways that culture, leisure and tourism venues and groups are using digital to promote their events or engage with audiences. I’m always on the look out for interesting digital technologies and ideas!

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