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Doing summer differently – UFA’s top tips to summer satisfaction

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The summer holidays are looming and seven weeks to fill can be a daunting prospect for families. But ‘I’m bored’ doesn’t have to be the battle cry of the summer.

Here are the UFA’s top ten tips for a fun, healthy, happy summer that doesn’t have to break the bank.

  1. Get physical – getting moving, whether it’s going for a long bike ride, a kick about in the park, chasing waves or climbing a mountain, all benefits the body and the brain. And after a summer term of exams and classrooms, it’s a great way to let off some steam.

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  1. Take learning beyond the classroom – it could be a visit to a museum or art gallery, a trip to the library to discover a new author or even learning a new skill, just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean learning has to stop, but it can become much more fun.
  1. Volunteer – getting involved in volunteering can be a great way to get a different perspective on the
    world. From helping an elderly neighbour dig their garden to getting involved in an organised project, spending time helping other people can be equally rewarding for the volunteer and the beneficiary. And if you’re 16/17 it’s not too late to sign up to NCS! We run UFA NCS in some areas of the country see check out our blog post about it.
  1. Take time out – the school term can wear young people out, so build in some time out to catch up on sleep, particularly at the beginning of the holidays. It’s worth keeping more regular hours when some of the sleep debt has been cancelled out too.
  1. Get together for a chat – whether it’s a family walk in the park, or a dinner designed and cooked by the children, it’s good to sit down and catch up on the day and have a good conversation.
  1. Keep connected – the summer holidays can seem a long time without friends of a similar age, so encourage them stay in touch with school mates and get together for days out, a quick game of football or just to hang out.
  1. Don’t be afraid to do nothing – it’s OK to be bored. It forces young people to become creative and lead themselves, as long as it’s not straight to the Playstation. Encourage them to make something, a den, a new outfit, a junk sculpture?

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  1. Get outdoors – getting outside and getting dirty, whether it’s the local park, the beach on holiday or camping out in the wild (or the back garden), can open up new world and connections with nature.
  1. Challenge – Try something new which is a challenge for the whole family. It could be planning and cooking a meal using ingredients you have never tried before, to climbing a mountain or even learning a new skill like riding a bike or learning to swim. The sense of achievement as a family can be huge.
  1. Don’t diarise every minute – it can be a real temptation to plan out every second of the holiday like a military operation, but that creates pressures and expectations on the whole family. Have a few ‘Decide Today Days’ when it could be a great day out in the sunshine or a duvet day watching movies on the sofa.

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Check out your local council websites for free events throughout the summer as well as these for a few more ideas:

The National Trust’s 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾ 

Do It for volunteering ideas

100+ tips for cheap school holiday family fun

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