Summer is coming (it has to be!) so whether you want to keep the kids’ entertained in the garden through the holidays or make sure the family is geared up for that great beach holiday you’ve booked, read on for our top ten essentials for a perfect summer – sunshine sadly not guaranteed.
Now, for the great British summer, the chances are any shelter would be from the wind and rain, but should the sun come out, having shade is very important on the beach and in the garden. Umbrellas and wind breaks create a lovely sun trap, and if you have little kids, pitching a tent is perfect for afternoon naps. And don’t forget sunscreen and hats.
Snacks, if not a full-on lunch, is required on the beach. Picnic hampers and rucksacks work well, but if you want real luxury and cold drinks, then an ice box or cooler bag is the only way to go. Keep everything chilled with frozen water in plastic bottles (don’t fill them full), which you can then drink as they defrost.
The great British tradition for the beach – the trusty bucket and spade.
Whether you build Camelot or just upturn a few buckets, digging in the sand is what beach holidays are all about. Rockpooling and crabbing make up many childhood memories of beach holidays past and it seems not much has changed, so don’t forget the fishing net.
A cricket or rounders set is perfect as long as you have the players, although technically you can play both games with just three people and a lot of running! Make friends on the beach, get fit and improve everyone’s hand eye coordination with a good game of bat and ball.
Velcro catch is a great game for the summer – with two circular mitts for your hand and a Velcro ball, it’s another good way to get kids learning to catch. As they improve, you can play simple catch with the tennis ball. Older kids and dogs love frisbee, as long as the wind isn’t blowing too hard. And if you are going somewhere windy, take a kite.
A beach towel or blanket is vital for sunbathing and for picnics. Try and keep the sand off the blanket as much as possible because there’s nothing worse than grit in your egg sandwiches. For towels and blankets, the bigger the better is key, and keep the corners weighted down.
Not everyone likes to lounge in the sand or on the grass, so you might want to buy a chair or two. Some beach chairs are super luxurious and come with parasol attached while others are lightweight and plonk in the sand to simply provide a back rest for you. Think about how far you are walking and what else you’ll be carrying before deciding which chair you want.
A good beach bag is a must have, and depending on where you’re going, you might want to invest in a waterproof bag, if only for your phone. Don’t make dad be the beast of burden, if you buy cool backpacks for the kids, they’ll want to carry their share. One good thing about carrying everything out is that it’s lighter on the way home. Make sure you pick up all your litter.
The kids will love a pool at home. Bringing the beach into the garden is simple with an above ground pool. They come in various sizes, from pure paddling to small swimming pools, and the simplest ones you just need to inflate and fill. If you have a good slope in the garden, a slip and slide will be even more fun than usual! And for the beach, a good inflatable is excellent.
And finally, the good old trampoline! It doesn’t matter what the weather is, the kids (and adults) all love to trampoline. It’s good exercise and good fun. Climbing frames and swing sets will help the summer holidays along too.
Wherever you go for your summer holidays and whether or not you get sun, make them fun! And if it rains, try these rainy-day activities!