Days out as a family can be pretty rare. Especially once the kids start school. We’re all busy, even the kids have after-school clubs or lessons they need to attend, and most adults work a lot more than they should. Finding a whole day where everyone is free for a fantastic family day out can be tough.
But, it’s exceptionally important that we do. Family days out can give us all a break from our everyday lives, help us to reconnect as a family, and be a great way of helping the kids learn something new, away from school. It gives you a great chance to get away from real life and reminds you of how much fun you can have as a family. As well as reducing stress, this can improve your relationships and help you to communicate better.
Many of us stick to days out that are close to home, as time and financial constraints limit us, and this can be awesome. But, with a little planning and thought, there are some fantastic places that you can visit, whatever your budget or situation. Here is a look at some places worth adding to your 2018 family bucket list.
There are some brilliant family-friendly museums all over the world, so wherever you are there is sure to be one nearby. It’s a great idea to branch out and try new places though as there is so much out there to learn and see. Many museums are free, or just ask for a small donation, and a lot of them have some incredible interactive displays and exhibits for children.
One of the best things about visiting a museum with your children is that they experience it differently every time you go. Even if you’ve been to the same place 20 times, as your children get older, they will take something different away from the day each time. Often teaching you in the process. A toddler might just enjoy touching and looking at nice pictures, a younger child might love having a go at all of the activities, and an older child or teenager could spend ages learning all of the finer details. Museum visits never get old.
If you are looking for some great, family-friendly museums in the UK, some of the best options include:
- Thackray Medical Museum, Leeds
- People’s History Museum, Manchester
- Ulster Museum, Belfast
- Ripon Workhouse, North Yorkshire
- The Natural History Museum, London
- Techniquest Science Discovery Centre, Cardiff
- The Geffrye, London
Like museums, children of different ages get a completely different experience when they visit an aquarium. Babies and toddlers absolutely love looking at all the bright colours and following the fish as they swim around. Older children and adults spend time both appreciating the beauty of the animals and learning more about their history and lives.
A visit to somewhere like the SeaQuest Interactive Aquarium gives families the chance to get up close to beautiful creatures and learn a lot more about them through interactive learning displays.
An aquarium trip can also be exceptionally relaxing as you are surrounded by water and colour, as well as boosting children’s imagination as they wander around looking at the magical undersea shapes and colours.
Parks are everywhere and prove that a family day out doesn’t have to be either expensive or take a lot of planning. Head to a park near your house or go further afield to try something new. Leave all of your devices at home and just enjoy simply being together. You could take a picnic and make a full day of it. Some great activities to try on a day in the park include:
- Football and other team sports
- Skating or skateboarding
- Playing on the playground
- Scavenger Hunts
Or, you could just spend some time sitting, relaxing and enjoying some peace.
For a lot of us, when we think of festivals we imagine students and young people partying into the night. We picture people stumbling out of tents in last night’s clothes, feeling rather worse for wear. We may have even been to a few before we had kids and seen the carnage first hand. Certainly not the kind of place you’d want to take your children for the day.
However, there are some wonderful family-friendly festivals out there. You’ll be able to stay in family campsites, take part in fun activities, have your faces painted and spend time with other families and their young children.
If you don’t like the idea of a music festival or a full weekend away, there are festivals for family entertainment, food festivals and many other options which may be worth considering.
A Sporting Event
Taking your family to a sporting event can be very different from going on your own or with your friends. But, no less invigorating. Introducing your children and family to your favourite sports can be an excellent way to share some of your own personality and the experiences of your youth with them. It will help them to get to know you better, away from your parental duties, as well as being a great way to have some fun and let off some steam. Who knows, you may even inspire them to go on and try some sporting pursuits for themselves.
Going to a farm is a classic family day out, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a worthwhile trip. There is a lot that we can learn from animals and how they live. The simple lives. Now we’re all so glued to screens all of the time, even from a very young age it can be easy to forget what’s out there in the real world. Spending time with animals at a farm or zoo can be a great reminder.
Many farms run kid’s groups or even take on young apprentices to give them some experience of hard work and discipline in a fun environment. This might be worth thinking about as your children get older.
Camping is the ultimate way to get away from it all, relax and unwind. Spending your nights under the stars also has a great habit of putting your life and its issues into perspective. Camping with kids can be fantastically good fun. Even if you just do it in your back garden in the summer.
Writing a list of places, you want to visit next year can almost push you into seeing it thought, instead of putting all your plans off. As so many of us do far too often when life gets in the way.
What’s on your bucket list for 2018? We’d love to hear from you!
*This is a contributed post.