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Making summer fun weatherproof for your kids of all abilities

It might be summer, but as usual, the British weather is, well, unpredictable. And the school holidays are just weeks away, which means endless weeks of trying to entertain bored children, unmoored by the sudden lack of their regular routine, and in need of entertainment that doesn’t rely on the weather – or a large amount of extra funds.

So, when you run out of ideas for little and not-so-little children, we’ve put together some possibilities you can dip into for inspiration and tailor to meet the needs, ages and abilities of your children.

For activities outside the house that don’t rely too much on the weather, there are tried and trusted options like swimming and cinema trips, which often have quieter sessions you can attend. For pricier days out look at places like The Blue Planet Aquarium or Sea Life Aquariums, Zoos and theme parks  – just check the accessibility pages on their websites so you can prepare and ensure a great day out.

For cheaper options there are libraries and museums which often run special events through the summer months. You can also look at your local council website to see if there are any SEND activities planned – or look for activities you like the sound of from horse riding to pottery and see if they have anything suitable for your child and their abilities.

For ordinary days at home, there is a wide range of activities to try when the weather is wet.

  1. Messy play – whether you need to be hands on or just watching over them, letting them play with playdough, paint, glitter or water can be lots of fun. Try finger painting to create some art, add glitter and anything you have easy access to, like flowers, leaves and twigs or sand and shells to create something with a sensory element – just be sure to put an easily washable blanket or even bin bags on the floor to catch any overspill from their creations.

To continue sensory play, try giving them ice cubes to play with or let them dip their hands in yoghurt to find different textured foods such as biscuits, chocolate buttons, raisins, if they are safe for your child to eat.

  1. Get busy in the kitchen. Involve them in making some kitchen creations, whether its baking cookies or cakes or something even simpler like dipping marshmallows in chocolate or making yogurt or chocolate bark – spoon your chosen flavour onto brown paper on a baking tray, add any fruit or edible glitter you want and freeze them for a few hours.
  2. When you need a quick activity, blow some bubbles from your doorway and watch them float away, or have a treasure hunt in your home.
  3. If you need a quiet day, especially if they aren’t feeling too well, have a movie day. Whether you are in the mood for something new or a family favourite, grab some snacks and make the room as cosy as you can. You can even get them to help make the snacks and draw tickets or posters for your film.
  4. Grab a book and get reading. Whether it’s a comic book, a new book or a tale that’s been loved by them for years, read together for a while and afterwards, depending on their abilities, get them to make up what they want to happen next. Afterwards they can draw a picture of their favourite part. You could even make a recording of you reading the book to them so they can listen to it on journeys, when they are in bed at night, or if they have respite care.
  5. Throw a party – for no particular reason. Invite friends around, ask everyone to bring snacks and a game idea, or just put on some music and move in any way you can and have fun.