It’s been months since most school children were in the classroom five days a week, and with the summer holidays looming full-time education is still weeks away for most. Alongside tackling homeschooling, one of the challenges facing families has been keeping children entertained.
With social distancing measures those activities you enjoyed as a family may not have been possible recently. But restrictions are being lifted and more venues are opening, paving the way to make trips for the summer holidays.
While we’ve been allowed out to exercise throughout the lockdown, it’s not been as much fun for children with social distancing measures in place.
Now the recommended guideline has been cut from two metres to one metre, heading to the park to play is an option you might want to explore. With open spaces, it’s easier to spread out from other families too, whether you’re enjoying a picnic or kicking a ball about. Recent changes also mean you’re permitted to meet others at the park too, with small social bubbles allowed, it’s the perfect chance to catch up with friends they might not have spoken with since schools closed.
Keep in mind that park equipment, such as playgrounds and sporting pitches, may still be closed due to hygiene concerns, or have strict rules on when they can be used.
If you love watching the latest release with your children, the good news is that cinemas are reopening. Cinemas were permitted to open from the 4th July, however, many chains and independent cinemas have set their own opening date after this, with some not expecting to open until autumn. Be sure to check when your local cinema is starting to screen films again.
Many of the films expected for release earlier this year were pushed back and some of the summer blockbusters have also been rescheduled already. So, your options for watching a film may be more limited than normal. Among the kid-friendly options screening in July and August include Dreambuilders and Mulan.
Cinemas will need to continue sticking to social distancing guidelines. This means there will be empty seats between customers and you’re likely to need to book in advance.
Zoos and safari parks are also now open to the public, ideal for little explorers that love nature. Taking in the lions, tigers and bears is a great way to spend a day after the long lockdown period and get outdoors too. Being outside makes it easier to maintain social distancing and with fewer crowds, you might even have a better experience as you take in the enclosures.
At many zoos, some attractions will be closed, including those indoors such as reptile houses. Additional experiences and facilities, including restaurants, may also be limited or unavailable too, so it’s worth checking what your local zoo has on offer. Once again, numbers will need to be monitored, so you should book a ticket well in advance.
Local heritage properties are a great way to get to know the history of your area and step back in time, it can be a fantastic experience for children too.
The National Trust has already begun opening its garden and parklands to explore, often with hidden treasures kids will love to find. Some of the National Trust houses are also opening at a gradual pace and with limited availability. With more than 500 heritage properties to its name, we’re sure they’re some gems close to you worth heading to over the summer. English Heritage is also reopening throughout July and August, perfect for summer holiday plans.
With both these organisations, keep in mind some facilities and attractions, such as indoor exhibits or cafes, may not open even if the wider venue does.
There are plenty of opportunities for homeschooling outside of the house, including heading to museums and galleries near you. Where social distancing can be followed, these venues are now permitted to open. However, expect one-way systems around exhibits and hands-on exhibits to be closed, which often includes areas designed for children.
While larger organisations are often announcing plans to reopen, smaller museums and galleries may remain closed for the foreseeable future. Make sure you get the latest information for your local venues before making plans.