What do you remember about your summers as a child?
I remember bright blue sunlit skies, lazy days, no school; summer hikes, munching on wild berries, weaving daisy crowns and the buzz of honeybees.
We had picnics by the river, climbed trees, and tried in vain to stand on our hands. I have such happy memories of those long relaxed summer days.
What kind of summer you want for your children?
In 2012 a major grocery chain in England surveyed 2,000 parents and 1,500 children about their summer activities. The results were really interesting.
What the parents thought
- 29% worried their children wouldn’t have an enjoyable summer if they didn’t have any outings to theme parks.
- 36% planned costly day trips/excursions (spending on average £183.00/$260 per child).
- 41% worried their kids would be bored if left to enjoy simple activities and free play.
Do you have similar worries? Do you find yourself booking expensive trips or clicking through endless summer activities on Pinterest?
You are going to love what the children said.
What the children said
The children were asked to rank their favorite summer activities. They had to rate each activity on much fun it was, how happy it made them feel and how special and memorable it is.
Are you ready for the results?
The UK’s top summer activities, as voted for by kids across the country were:
- Play date in the park or garden
- Water fight
- Building a den in the garden with family or friends
- Bike ride
- Outdoor games such as tag or hide & seek
- Climb a tree
- Mud pie making
- Berry picking
- Eating ice cream in the sun
- Feeding the ducks
- Planting flowers
- Trip to the cinema
- Leisure complex activities (ice skating, bowling, etc)
- Playing in a paddling pool or sprinkler in the garden
- Flying a kite
- Trip to the local beach/outdoor swimming pool or national park
- Backyard camping with family or friends
- Farm trip
- Trip to the zoo / safari park
- Theme park or attraction
- Playing on the computer
- Sport or music lesson
- Horse riding
- Summer camp
Do you notice how simple the majority of these activities are?
In fact the top 10 are all low cost or free. They are the simple pleasures that I remember from my childhood.
There’s more good news for parents
When quizzed more generally about their summer holidays at home
- 47% children rated playing in the park or back garden higher than going to places they haven’t been to before. In fact as long as they have friends to play with most kids said they are very happy to occupy themselves in the garden.
- 59% confirmed that they like playing outside with their friends the most.
- 26% say no activity is boring when you have your friends by your side.
When asked to choose their ultimate summer wish,
- 39% picked summer sunshine for the entire duration of the holidays
- 32% chose hanging out with friends
- 25% wanted to see more of their mum and dad
- 29% said they wanted to camp out in the garden
What does this mean?
Good news parents! You don’t have to pay out for expensive outings to give your child a spectacular summer. Neither do you have to face the summer holiday crowds at noisy tourist venues.
All your kids really want to do is play with their friends and hang out with you more.
An Added Bonus
Studies are increasingly showing that lots of free play is THE best way to give your kids an academic advantage. Say goodbye to Pinterest activities and hello to lazy summer days!
It’s time to listen to our kids
When I think about it simple pleasures like playing with friends and bike rides are some of my fondest childhood memories. Let’s give our children the gift of long, lazy summer days filled with play and laughter.
Summer memories last a lifetime, so we need to pay attention to what the kids have said in this study.
Instead of spending money on expensive outings let’s make sure they have the freedom to go outside, build dens, have water fights, climb trees and play in mud.
We can’t do anything about summer sunshine, but we can camp out in the garden or go for a bike ride with them.
Instead of worrying about enriching educational activities or Pinterest worthy summer activities let’s just invite their friends over.
While they make their own fun we can sit back, enjoy a good summer read, and sip on a cold beverage.
How does that sound?