Monday 28 July 2014

Avoiding the summer crowds

The summer holidays aren't really the best time to see the sights: the beaches are crowded; museums are heaving; theme parks have painful queues and even the local park has no free swings. Usually, as home educators, we have the playground to ourselves with perhaps one or two little children and their parents. Add in a little drizzle, and we have the place to ourselves.

 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.
How do you avoid the summer crowds?

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  1. I have just bought a trampoline....after about 2 years if indecision. But voila! Instant outdoors playing throughout the day. Beaches in the evening . Never head into town here on Saturday during the holidays....shudder.

    1. That made me laugh. I've been wondering about the pros and cons for a trampoline for so long! I can imagine that your town would be horrible on Saturdays in the holidays.

  2. Thanks for this helpful post sarah. It's reminded me that the first week of term in September should be a very good time to visit London museums.

  3. I'm sure the beginning of September would be excellent-just avoid the day before the schools go back!

  4. I totally agree the museums are just that much better when you can actually see everything properly

    1. Thank you for visiting. Yes, one of the advantages of home education!

  5. We avoid the crowds! My children hate sharing museum space with crowds so we wait. The summer is a time to enjoy the woodland, our quite park and visit less know places. We will wait to plan a holiday for when the schools are back in.
    Sound advice here:)

    Thanks for linking up to the #homeedlinkup