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With the summer approaching, you’ll no doubt want to get the kids out in the fresh air after school and at the weekends to make the most of the sun. But keeping your kids busy can sometimes get expensive, so we’ve come up with some free ideas – all you need is a little imagination!

1. Go on a nature trail

If you have a park near you, why not take your little ones on a nature trail – it’s both fun and educational! You can point out any animals or trees that you see while on your walk, and could bring a notepad and pen with you, so that your little one can do some doodling along the way.

To keep them interested, set them a challenge of creating a collage with things they find – so pick up leaves, flowers, sticks and stones and get creative. Take inspiration from this sun catcher collage or this painted nature collage!

2. Make a bird feeder

Making a bird feeder with your kids can be a great way to pass a lazy afternoon in the garden, and it’s really easy to do. Grab an old empty water bottle and two wooden spoons (that you won’t be needing anytime soon). Cut two holes on either side of the bottle and thread the spoons through at a slant (so that the birdfeed falls onto them) and then fill with birdfeed. Hang from a tree and you should have some peckish birds flocking to your garden in no time! You can get the full instructions here.

Get the kids to keep a look out and borrow a bird watching book from the library. You can keep a diary of which birds you see.

3. Play water balloon dodgeball (no, we’re not kidding!)

This game is only really appropriate for older children and you will need a few players, so get your kids to invite some of their friends round or get in on the action yourself!

Start by filling up some water balloons with water, enough to give all players five each. Draw a line in the middle of your garden, and split your players up into two teams. When you give the signal, the kids need to throw the water balloons at each other, whoever is hit leaves the game and the team with the last person standing wins. Your kids will have a whole heap of fun playing this, and it will be a fun way to cool down on a hot summer’s day!

If you don’t have any water balloons left over from last summer, you should be able to pick them up for about 50p from your local supermarket. Just make sure that you get your kids to pick up the scraps of balloons afterwards, so they don’t make your garden look scruffy!

4. Get musical!

You can pretty much make a musical instrument out of anything – we love straw pan pipes.

Grab some straws and get your little one to cut them up into different lengths. Place them in a row (you’ll need about nine or ten in total) and tape them together. Et voila, your very own pan pipes!

Now, if you like a quiet life, this might not be great for you, but you can get them to create their own songs and give you a performance before they go to bed.

5. Design a t-shirt

Moving on to an art theme, why not bring out the fashion designer in your little one by giving them a plain white t-shirt and some fabric paint or crayons to experiment with?

You never know what design they may come up with and if it’s not too wacky, you could even let them wear their creation out and about! Who knows, you could have the next Coco Chanel on your hands!

So there you have it, five ideas that should have your kids entertained for a few days of the summer at least! If you try any of our suggestions this summer, let us know on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

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