Summer cheap and cheerful holiday activities — Scope | Disability forum
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Summer cheap and cheerful holiday activities

Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,673 Disability Gamechanger

The Summer Holidays are upon us and we all know the pinch of a tight budget, so here are some cheap and cheerful holiday activities that come from a blog post created by parents and carers for younger children.  Please do add your own hints and tips at surviving the next 6 weeks.

Treasure hunt
I enjoy going on a treasure hunt with my kids. The other day we collected sticks to make a pretend camp fire. Other times the ‘treasure’ has been stones or daisies. It’s a good, inclusive activity they all enjoy.
Glitter party
Poppy has very little fine motor skills and struggles with most art and craft activities. So I stuck some wrapping paper to the wall and we made hand-prints on it. Then we covered in glue and threw glitter at. Messy but great fun!
Rubbish instruments
Raid the recycling and make some musical instruments. Fill jars and plastic containers with rice to make shakers, elastic bands over a box can make a great guitar and balloons stretched over tubs for some bangin’ drums!
Make a den
My daughter loves it if we put a sheet over the dining table and make a den. I bring some of her sensory lights in and we all sit underneath. Her non-disabled brothers think it’s great too!
Retail therapy
A great free activity for a rainy day … the Argos catalogue! Harris and I poured over the pictures. Lots of opportunity for conversation, it was a bit like retail therapy except, since Harris doesn’t understand the concept of shopping, so no money was spent.
Make some thunder
“Thunder makers” are brilliant. I got mine at Hawkins Bazaar for around £8, you just give it a shake and it sounds like a low rumble of thunder, the harder you shake the louder it gets. (Be warned though they are addictive!)
Feeling art
For visually impaired people, try adding things likes sand or beads to enable them to feel their artwork. Be consistent and stick to the same textures for colours: sand for yellow, smalls beads are green etc.
Rice is nice
Fill a bin with rice and let your child plunge their hands deep into it. Hide some toys and measuring cups for added fun. Dried beans also work well.
Activity frame for wheelchairs
The frame from a small child’s swing makes a great frame to hang stuff from to go over a wheelchair as it is stable and can be folded for easy storage.
Foil play mat
We use a foil emergency blanket as play matt for Matty –   it is great for sensory stimulation as it is shiny and makes nice sounds.
little girl laughing and playing

Cinema Club
Turn your house into a cinema. Choose a film together, make tickets, posters etc. Invite friends if you’ve got the space and then make popcorn, close the curtains and enjoy!
Paint with smells
I like to do ‘smelly painting collages’ with my daughter.  Using mint sauce, coffee, chocolate, sherbert etc.  We’ve also tried making a pulp from grass by adding a bit of water to it.  My daughter is visually impaired so it really helps bring the world to her.
Sensory album
We made our own sensory scrapbook. We stuck sensory bits and pieces alongside our own photos in an album to make it personal.
Make your own film
Use a camera or phone to make a ‘film’ of a favourite book. We did The Tiger Who Came to Tea, using a toy stuffed tiger, shots of our table set up for tea, empty food packets, and a homemade cardboard claw peeking round the front door. You can do lots of voiceovers to explain what is happening, or do it documentary-style and interview the Mummy, the child, the cafe owner, Daddy, the Tiger etc.
Sensory flour games
I mix cornflour and water together and it makes a great sensory play tool. Also put flour into a plastic bag and seal it with some food colouring. As it gets squished round it will change colour.

How will you be spending the summer holidays with your children or grandchildren? What are your children play life hacks? Any hints or tips to add?

Senior online community officer


  • Blue Frog
    Blue Frog Member Posts: 358 Pioneering
    We started the holidays yesterday by buying a day ticket on the tram for me (kids under 5 go free) and we went round pretty much all of the city. Was a great, cheap day out - kids love travelling on public transport and the trams are really accessible.  We planned ahead and knew where the Changing Places Toilets are so could stay out all day :) 
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,673 Disability Gamechanger
    Good point @Blue Frog -its worth checking what family passes are available on your local public transport.  If you are a disabled person, you could get a free travel pass.

    If you're not eligible for that, have a look what other deals you can get, for example in South Yorkshire you can get a Group Day ticket for between 1 and 5 people (max 2 adults aged 16 or over) for £9 a day.  I have found that bus drivers don't always tell you about the best deals so it's worth checking online!

    A Family & Friends Railcard costs £30 and it'll save you 1/3 on adult fares and 60% on kids' fares throughout Great Britain for a whole year.
    Senior online community officer
  • IndependentSupportServices
    IndependentSupportServices Member Posts: 54 Courageous
    Hi @Sam_Scope

    I have shared this to our Norfolk Facebook page, if we get any more ideas I'll share them back here! Great idea :smile:
  • Sam_Alumni
    Sam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 7,673 Disability Gamechanger
    Senior online community officer


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