Last days of Summer

When we look back at our childhood and remember the fond memories, it's the days that were different that really stand out. We don't recall going to bed on time or being sat in front of the cartoons on a Saturday morning. We remember going on long bike rides, whizzing down hills on go karts and family trips to the seaside.

Unfortunately, there isn't much left of this summer. Soon, children will be heading back to school and you'll have a whole year to wait until you can enjoy these days with them again.

Summer is an incredible time to be a child. And the best way to finish it is by creating those memories that will last a life time.

To help you and your family make the most of the rest of the summer holidays, we've put together a handy list of 10 activities to enjoy before the kids go back to school.

1) Go on an a real life adventure

The great thing about adventures is that they can be as adventurous as you want. Explore all the hidden secrets of a huge forest, or the wonders of your own back garden. The choice is yours. 

Every stone has a story, just as every tree has a tale to tell. You just need to look closer for the magic hidden within! And, by showing your child all the nooks and crannies of your own surroundings, it will help to keep them safe when they're old enough to explore on their own.

2)  Make tidying their room the greatest story ever told

Asking a child to tidy their room isn't always the easiest thing to do. It sounds like a chore and takes up valuable playing time.

But what if tidying their room wasn't something they HAD to do? What if tidying their room was something they desperately WANTED to do?

When you walk into your child's room, what do you see? Their Playmobile set scattered over the floor, dirty clothes thrown all over the place, a questionable substance that you think may once have been orange juice?

But picture another scene. What if those Playmobile figures weren't just toys; what if they were instead, the heroes and heroines of our story?

What if they have to venture over magical realms to get to their home: the toy box? It's not going to be easy though, because in their way are the great mountains of 'Dirtyclothesdonia' and the uneasy seas of 'Organgejuiceglump'. How will our brave Playmobile figures ever make it back to the safety of the toy box?

This way of tidying may take a lot longer than normal, but if you really buy into the story then room tidying becomes quality time that your child won't dread doing in future. 

3 ) Capture what it means to be a family in one drawing

What is your child's favourite thing about being part of your family? Is it fun days out to the park? Going to the swimming pool? Seeing all the wonderful exhibits at the local museum?

Whatever it may be, get them to draw it. But get them to draw their own version of it, with their own character imprinted.

And whatever it is they draw, you have to do (within reason) before the end of the summer. If they draw you all wearing football boots, go and have a kick about in the park. If they draw you with a dinosaur head instead of your own, create your own Jurassic Park in your living room.

4) Create your own back garden water adventure park

As I sit writing these words, the sun outside is blazing and most of the children on the street below have an ice cream in hand. 

It's not often in Britain that you get to pretend you're on a summer holiday abroad, but when the day turns out like today, you really should make the most of it. 

One really great way of doing this is to turn your garden into your child's own water adventure park. 

Hose pipes, water balloons, slip and slides- it's completely up to you how wild and wet you go with this idea. The important thing is that your child has the time of their life and stays cool while doing it. 

5) Compete in your own Olympic / Paralympic Games

This summer will be remembered for all the incredible sports and games that have taken place.

We've had Cycling in the Tour de France, Tennis at Wimbledon, Football at Euro 2016 and of course, the Olympic Games.

With so much inspiration on show, this is the perfect time to get active, make the most of the good weather and maybe find a hidden talent or passion in your children. 

All you need for this activity is an open space and a go-get'em attitude!

6) Write down their favourite summer memories

What did you do? Where did you go? How did you feel?

Writing inventive and colourful descriptions of their favourite days not only helps them remember the special moments, but also gets them back into the routine of writing before they go back to school.

This is their chance to really tell the story. Ask them to describe everything down to the finest detail. If the sky was blue, how blue? How playful was the wind? What tune were the birds whistling.

This diary of summer memories is something you can look back on for years to come. These were the days that you will never forget. 

7) Draw a family tree

Family is one of the most important things in the world. It's the constant that your child sees and the people with whom they feel completely safe and happy. 

If you're lucky enough to have a big family, it might be the case that that support network is much bigger than your child thinks.

Drawing a family tree is a fantastic way to be creative with your child, whilst also teaching them about where they come from and whose footsteps they're following in. 

It's a wonderfully humbling thing to realise that you have an identity far beyond your own, and helping your child realise that is incredibly satisfying.

8) Learn something new

Whether it's a few words in a different language or how to bake a cake, learning something new is a fantastic way of developing as a family. It's best when mum and dad don't know how to do it either, because you can then all learn together at the same pace.

Not only will learning something new help your child grow and develop a thirst for knowledge, it will also make them more well-rounded. 

Memories aren't just made when we do something wild or spontaneous; we will always remember the time we cracked something, or the first time we were able to do something by ourselves.

9) Go treasure hunting

Hiding random items around the garden and spending the day trying to find them again can be great way to spend quality time. For an extra bit of fun, why not create a character each for the different members of your family. Dad can even be Blackbeard if he wants. 

Treasure hunts, where clues are left to find the items, are fantastic for logic building. Believe it or not, but working out how one clue can lead to another, will help them improve in subjects such as Maths, Science and History when they go back to school!

10) Do something good

Do you live near a lonely person who could do with some company a couple of times a week? Are there any squirrels who need a nice warm place to rest in the winter? Maybe your town or village would benefit from a litter pick and tidy up?

This might not be your child's idea of 'fun', but spending the day improving your local community and making it a better place for everyone will teach them about responsibility and doing the right thing. 

Doing something good needn't be expensive or really hard work. it's the gesture that counts. It may even help them make a few new friends along the way.

 Finish off the summer in style...

These suggestions are just the start; you have the opportunity to tailor the end of your child's summer to be the most fun week of their lives. 

We all remember our first day back at school after the summer when we were asked by our teacher what we did our holidays. Why don't you make your child's answer the very best yet...