Great summer holiday ideas for kids

PUBLISHED: 12:11 29 June 2016 | UPDATED: 12:11 29 June 2016

Dance classes

Dance classes


Kids love the summer break but it can drag for mums and dads as they battle to keep their youngsters occupied for six whole weeks

Canoeing at Lee Valley White Water CentreCanoeing at Lee Valley White Water Centre

Avoiding the boredom trap is the key to a successful summer break and there are a host of organised events right on your doorstep including a tennis camp in Wanstead, Chingford Stagecoach’s week-long performing workshops and over 300 animals to meet at Lee Valley Park Farms in Waltham Abbey where there’ll be lamb and pig racing to get you into the spirit of the Olympic Games.

Whether you’re children are football mad, would-be Oscar winners or as nature-obsessed as David Attenborough, there are activities available to tempt them all.

Picnics are a favourite with kids of all ages and the perfect pastime for dry and sunny days. Keep it simple with sandwiches, crisps and dips and head to one of the many picturesque local spots from Wanstead Flats to High Beech. If you don’t want to travel, simply pitch your picnic blanket on your own lawn and enjoy the sunshine.

Family barbecues are always a winner with toddlers and teens and an excellent way to make the most of long, summer days.

New farm lambs at Lee Valley Park FarmsNew farm lambs at Lee Valley Park Farms

It’s a great time to take advantage of your local green spaces with family walks and, to add in extra fun, make a list of creatures and flora and encourage your mini explorers to go on a nature hunt.

Your local swimming pool will be a haven if the weather gets really warm and, closer to home, smaller children will happily spend a day in a paddling pool or running through garden sprinklers.

Damp days can be a bit of a headache when you’re stuck indoors but, with a little imagination, you can keep your youngsters entertained easily and on a budget.

Most kids love arts and crafts, whether it’s painting or Play Doh and it doesn’t have to get complicated. Puppets are easily made with an old sock, wool and some googly eyes that can be sourced at most stationers or supermarkets. Or encourage their inner artist with painting, collages or model making kits.


If all else fails, you can’t go wrong with a movie. Pick an age-appropriate film then ply them with popcorn while you spend a couple of hours catching up with your chores.

Ensuring everyone’s happy for six long weeks can seem like a military operation but, whether you’re barbecuing, playing basketball or off for a walk through the woods, remember that kids of all ages are happy just hanging out with mum and dad, and make the most of the sunshine and quality family time.

Top five family fun activities


Pack up your sandwiches and sausage rolls and head to the park.

Nature hunts

Explore your local green space with a mini beast adventure.

Get arty

Unleash your imagination and create a masterpiece, be it finger painting or puppetry.

Movie Night

Dim the lights, break out the popcorn and settle down for a family film.


Encourage their culinary skills whether it’s making dinner or baking biscuits.

Summer Holiday events

21 July to 1 September

Tennis lessons for 4-16 year-olds. 10am to 1pm

Tennis Camp

Warren Clay Club, Overton Drive, Wanstead, E11 2LW

Admission: £15 for one session a week, £12 each for multiple sessions booked per week or £50 for a block of five sessions per week.

Call coach James Biggane on

0780 0876681

25 to 29 July

Summer Performing Workshops

9am-12.30 (4-7 year-olds) 10am-4pm (6-16 year-olds)

Parkside Primary School, 21 Wellington Ave E4 6RE

Singing, dancing and drama for 4-16 year-olds as they learn a show in a week, to be performed on 29 July.

Admission: £100 for the morning sessions, £160 for all day (sibling discounts available).

01234 709600 or

25 July to 19 August

Multi Sports Programme 9.30am to 3.30pm

Wanstead Leisure Centre, Redbridge Lane West, Wanstead EII 1JZ

Multi-sports activities including hockey, football and dodgeball for 5-15 year-olds.

Admission: £20 for the day (additional cost for the early bird session from 8.30am to 9.30am and the Twilight session from 3.30pm to 5pm).

0208 9891172

25 July to 4 September

Summer Games 11am to 4pm

Lee Valley White Water Centre, Waltham Cross, EN9 1AB

Olympic fun with a bouncy castle, garden games, a beach and sports activities.

Admission: Free

03000 030 616 or

28 July and 4 & 11 August

Indoor Olympics

1pm to 4pm

Epping Sports Centre, 25 Hemnall Street, Epping CM16 4LU

Olympic sport taster sessions, including trampolining, athletics and volleyball, for 7-14 year olds.

Admission: £8 per session

01992 564 226 or

28 July and 1, 4, 8, 11, 15, 22 and 25 August


Times and venues vary.

Family friendly navigation challenge for children aged five and over.

Admission: £2 per map

01992 564 226

1, 3, 8 and 10 August

Epping Forest Multi-Sports Days


Epping Upper Clapton Rugby FC, Upland Road, Thornwood, Epping, CM16 6NL

Sports and activities including netball, tag rugby, athletics, Zumba and Street Dance for 6-14 year-olds

Admission: £15 per day

01992 564 226

1 to 25 August

Play in the Park

Times and venues vary (see for details)

Outdoor fun and games, including football, tennis, rounders, space hoppers, arts and crafts, for 0-19 year-olds.

Admission: Free

No booking required

4, 11, 18 and 25 August

Soccer Tots


Limes Centre, Limes Avenue, Chigwell IG7 5LP

Football coaching for 3-5 year olds

Admission: £3 per session

01992 564 226 or

5 August

Play in the Forest

Ditches Rise Car Park, Coppice Row, Theydon Bois CM16 7DR

12 and 26 August: Behind Kings Oak Pub, High Beach, Loughton, IG10 4AE

19 August: Warren Pond Road, Chingford E4 6BD

10am to noon

Fun in the forest for 5-11 year-olds with den building, minibeast hunts and crafts.

Admission: £3 per session

No booking required

5, 12, 15, 23 and 30 August

MTB Days 9am to 4pm

Debden House Centre, Debden Green, Loughton, IG10 2NZ

Mountain biking skills for 8-16 year-olds.

Admission: £30 per day

01992 564 226 or

Get in touch

Stage Coach Chingford

Stagecoach Chingford, Parkside Primary School, Wellington Avenue E4 6RE

01234 709600

Lee Valley Park Farms

Stubbins Hall Lane, Waltham Abbey EN9 2EF

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