Don't get me wrong. I do want the children to play with others and usually they meet with other children, of varying ages, on at least six days a week but I'm not a fan of a long wait for a quick swing or not having a chance to look at museum exhibits properly. It isn't fun to go with friends and keeping an eye on the children becomes difficult. Other mothers are much more likely to start to chat if they aren't trying to get their children onto a swing or see where they are.
I don't think there is a real solution and doubtless, there are important lessons to be learned in taking turns, queuing and patience. However, there are a few ways to avoid some of the worst of the crowding. Please feel free to add your own thoughts.
- Make the most of the garden or any other private outdoor space available. My children have discovered some rather ancient cricket stumps and we have been playing "cricket". Probably, a case of the blind leading the blind but the children have been really happy. For me, it is reasonably easy to find a few minutes for a quick game of cricket. Real gardening has kept two of the children busy.
- Go early in the morning or late in the evening. We have avoided the wait for the library reading scheme just by turning up soon after the library opens. We didn't need to arrive at 0500, just at 0920.
- Avoid the worst places. In my book, these are the Science Museum, popular beaches and theme parks. Beaches can be great in the evening. The Science Museum and theme parks are better in term time. If you aren't a home educator, try an inset day. The best time for popular museums is the beginning of term before many schools are visiting.
- Go to less popular parks or local venues. In my area, there is a very popular park with a large playground but plenty of smaller playgrounds and other pieces of open space that are less popular.
- Less well known museums have holiday events which aren't over-subscribed and are sometimes free.
- Some holiday locations are much more crowded than others. We have found that inland areas are often cheaper and less busy. The Black Mountains, Shropshire and Suffolk have been particular favourites of ours.
- Going on holiday out of season is of course, another option for home educators.