Our Summer Holiday – Activities vs ‘At Home’ Days

summer holidays, playing in the garden, summer holiday ideas


I read a thread on Mumsnet today, where one commenter stated that no parent used to dread the summer holidays like so many of us do now. Mostly because previous generations had more family help and their children played out more, not expecting to be constantly entertained. And she has a point. How the world is now, with the sometimes unreasonable expectations we have of ourselves (and of our children on occasion) means that 6 weeks, without the safety net of nursery, school, clubs, groups and activities, can feel like a REALLY LONG TIME. And I admit, I swung from looking forward to having my oldest at home before he starts school, and thinking ‘how am I going to keep both of them amused without losing the plot entirely’? With no summer holiday planned, and a very busy work period ahead for me…..I was starting to get the fear.

But we are in to the third week of the Scottish summer holidays already here, and bar a few rainy days, there’s been nothing stopping us from going out and having fun. We have play-dated, gone to the park, visited a farm, popped past local National Trust properties, seen family, and went for an overnight stay in the countryside. Last night, I was trying to plan the rest of our week, thinking of ways to fill our days and make sure the kids were getting a summer holiday ‘experience’.

Then this morning, I woke up, the sun was shining, and I thought, ‘no’.


summer holiday ideas


We don’t ‘need’ to do anything today. We don’t ‘need’ to go anywhere. The children won’t be deprived by having an ‘at home’ day. Will they? Nah, they won’t

So I stuck the kettle on and had two HOT cups of tea in quick succession. The kids had breakfast, snuggled under a blanket, while they watched Curious George. Don’t judge – some mornings you just need your tea hot and in copious amounts, and if Netflix can facilitate that, then so be it.

With it being an absolute corker of a sunny day, I did feel those gnawing pangs of mummy guilt for not getting organised to take the kids out. I’ve seen too many gorgeous Instagram feeds of late, detailing beautiful summer holidays. Beach trips, ice creams on cobbled streets, and little explorers climbing through forests….was I letting them down by not having the energy/patience/enthusiasm to do the same?

But to be honest, today they couldn’t give a toss. They spent the first part of the morning in the garden, barely dressed, splashing in the water table, chasing each other round with sports bottles full of cold water to squirt. (Note to self, warm water, always warm water, because they will inevitably squirt you too). There has been den making, lego building, snack eating, book reading, cuddling, running, jumping, singing and the just the smallest amount of sibling fighting. We have been dentists, doctors, dinosaurs and purple minions.  I’ve done washing, bathroom cleaning and tidied up ‘the pile’ in the spare room (you know, that pile that no matter how often you start to tidy it up, it just grows, grows and grows some more!). I’ve had more tea, made lunch and now the littlest is napping and I’m blogging….in daylight hours! (this never happens).

And it’s been wonderful. I love watching them play together, creating their own little games and mischief. Seeing their relationship grow, away from the the relentless cycle of the school term routine, is one reason I am grateful that we get this time together. All too soon I will be standing at the school gates waving my boy off in beyond the school gates, so grown up but at the same time, still my baby, and I don’t want to be wishing this time with him away.

How have you been spending the summer holiday so far? Have you been busy with lots of activities, or have you taken a quieter approach? I’d love to hear your summer holiday plans, and I’ll be back with a post or two for summer holiday activity inspiration – both locally and in general!



  1. July 26, 2017 / 10:56 am

    Sounds like a wonderful day!

  2. July 26, 2017 / 1:47 pm

    I was thinking about my summer holiday memories the other day, we didn’t have family close by but the summer holidays were a great excuse to go visit family but also just to spend time in our small family unit.
    I have to wonder if previous generations pre-social media compared themselves to others in quite the same way without the constant pretty pictures showing they aren’t doing quite the same or as much as everyone else!
    I’m sure your children are enjoying just being with you!

  3. August 4, 2017 / 1:25 pm

    This!! There is so much pressure to present an insta-life to our social media ‘friends’ that we have lost sight of the fact that the holidays are meant to be a break! By all means do ‘stuff’ if you want/can, but don’t stress if you can’t/don’t feel up to it. We are absolutely skint, so we’ve had to make our own entertainment, and that for Big has meant most of the day in front of the computer or telly. And I don’t even care, because next week we’re camping and it won’t happen then!

  4. August 7, 2017 / 3:57 pm

    I have to take my boys out otherwise they become little monsters. Don’t get me wrong I do really love our days at home too but I need to have something planned. We recently bought a tuff spot for activities and it is working well!

    Our summer so far has been a mix of days out, days with friends and staying at home. We have however written a bucket list of 50 things to do before school which we are slowly working our way through!

    Thanks for linking up with #TheMumDiaries!

  5. August 8, 2017 / 9:30 pm

    We’ve had a mix of activity days and quiet days. I have to admit that I often find the activity days more relaxing as the kids are more likely to be doing something productive, rather than the play-fighting they do when they’re left to their own devices. But it’s not sustainable to do something everyday.

    Also, congratulations because someone loved this post so much, they added it to the #blogcrush linky! Feel free to collect your “I’ve been featured” badge 🙂 #blogcrush

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