24 things to do during the summer holidays with young children in Basingstoke

This is an incredibly long overdue post, but as it’s the last week of the school holidays you might be desperate for some inspiration, so I thought I would post it up anyway!

Many of these suggestions are free!

1. Swim in an outdoor pool.

You could investigate rivers, reservoirs, lakes or canals with towpaths as this will be a new landscape for your child to take in, e.g.:

Fleet Pond

Frensham Ponds

Basingstoke Canal

Lido’s in Hampshire

Splash pools

Or you could just play in the water at Festival Place (the big green phalic things!! lol) or check out the baby swimming pool and the stepping stones in Eastrop Park.

There is also a new splash park which was opened in May 2016, near the Spotlight centre. We are hoping to visit it soon!

2. Walk through the Woods

A trip to the woods can also be exciting – see the woodland trusts nature trails for inspiration – or bike rides. Don’t forget to check out my Basing WoodFarleigh MountBasing Lime PitsMicheldever Wood and Alice Holt reviews.

3. Visit an Ice Cream shop

We have some friends who live in Birmingham which has a fantastic ice cream parlour in the city centre. We always make a trip here, as the children really enjoy it. It’s become a bit of a tradition.

Sundaes Gelato is in Basingstoke and is perfect for an ice cream or sorbet!

4. Fly a kite

Crabtree has to be the best place for this in Basingstoke.

5. Pretend to be a pirate

My little one is obsessed with pirates at the moment. When she’s bigger, we hope to take her to the Historic shipyard in Portsmouth.

She was christened on HMS Victory, so I want to see if they have finally sorted out her plaque!

6. Play ball games

I never realised how much fun you can have with a football till my little one started kicking one!

7. Go on a bear hunt (or a Gruffalo hunt if your little one has read the book)

We are very lucky because we live very close to some little wooded areas which are perfect for bear hunting.

If you don’t live close to some wooded areas, have a look at this post HERE.

8. Go to a Country show

You may be just in time for the New Forest Show this year (it was in July), but maybe something to think about for next year.

It’s a great opportunity to see shiny tractors, lovely animals and yummy things to buy and eat. Or check out some other country shows that are coming up HERE.

9. Go to the Zoo.

Marwell is probably the closest zoo to us, but I went to London Zoo in April 2014 when she was three years old with my little one and can thoroughly recommend this too. Just don’t walk it from Waterloo like we did!

10. Sleep under the stars

We are going camping next weekend and I’m looking forward to doing this!

11. Build a sandcastle or have a sand Castle Competitions

Fleet Pond

Frensham Ponds

Or go to the Beach! The Nearest “Beaches” to Basingstoke are Fleet Pond on the way to Fleet and Frensham Pond, just past Farnham. Otherwise, head to West Wittering, which is great for toddlers.

12. Run through the sprinkler

Not particularly environmentally friendly, but great fun!!!

13. Create your own perfume

I was obsessed with doing this when I was about 8 years old. All I needed was a jar with a lid, some water and a rose bush. My poor parents had to clean out the remnants! lol

14. Roast some marshmallows

“Burning Nights” are a big thing in our house. We have a chiminea and Miss NHM loves it because we can roast marshmallows over it. We recently learnt something new about counting to “50” after you’ve roasted your marshamallow to ensure you don’t get burnt.

15. Go on a train adventure

For a proper train adventure, check out the Watercress Line or Exbury Gardens and Steam Train. Otherwise, just a trip from Basingstoke to Winchester or Farnborough will probably be exciting for little ones.

16. Rainy day card making

Click HERE for some ideas

17. Explore art and music

There are lots of music classes in the area or maybe just a trip to the Anvil or the Haymarket will be inspiring.

18. Learn a new language

Borrow some books in a different language from the library. There are even children’s books in different languages at the Basingstoke Discovery Centre.

Or maybe investigate Linguatastic, the local language school.

19. Fruit Picking – Local Pick Your Own’s

Check out my previous post on local Pick Your Own farms HERE.

20. Climbing Trees

Basing Wood is perfect for climbing trees.

21. Painting Rocks

I want to do this next year with my little one, as I think it will make less mess then! lol.

22. Have a BBQ

You can’t beat a BBQ in summer! Check HERE for a previous post about outdoor BBQ facilities in the area.

23. Daisy Chains

All you need is an area with daisies in. Hours of fun!

24. Go to a farm

Try Finkley Down Farm, Miller’s Ark, Manydown and Bucklebury Farm.

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15 Different Experiences for Children

I believe it’s important, as a parent, to introduce your child to as many different experiences as possible. Obviously, you don’t want to overwhelm them, but the different activities and experiences may help to broaden their horizons.

For example, I would have liked to have taken my little on to the Olympics, but I wasn’t sure what the logistics would be like. I have some friends who took their 1 year old to see the London Marathon and to the Jubilee last summer. What an awesome experience for a little one.

Below is a list that I’ve put together for ideas on different experiences. Please add your suggestions in the comments.

1. Stroke a wolf at Beenham Wolf. Beenham is near Aldermaston and they have Children’s Wolf Walks which look AWESOME!

2. Go swimming at an outside swimming pool. See the previous NHM Lido Post HERE

3. See a show at the Planetarium in Winchester. See the previous NHM Chatterbox Post HERE

4. Trampolining at the Active Life Centre

5. Pet a Sheep at Finkley Down Farm, Wellington Country Park, Odds Farm, or Bucklebury Farm 

6. Pick Your OwnStrawberries

7. Fly a kite on a very big hill. Crabtree is great for this, or if you want go a bit further, try the hill behind Watership Down on the way to Kingsclere.

8. Take your child to see London. It’s such an awesome experience and we are so lucky to only live 40 minutes away on the train. Check HERE for a previous post about travel discounts for families. Or you could drive straight up to Richmond and park in Deer Park car park and get the train in (it’s much cheaper!). If you don’t want to schlep around London with your kids in tow, I totally recommend the London Sightseeing Bus. You get to see all the sights without moving from your seat 😉

9. Enrol your child on a cookery course. Newlyns Farm do great cooker courses. Or take your child to a restaurant where they do food “differently”. Wagamama’s or La Tasca could be good restaurants for this.

10. Hold a snake at Marwell Zoo.

11. Take your child to a Gallery and use this opportunity to discuss the pictures or photography. The Willis Museum in town regularly has different exhibitions.

12. Show your child some of the military history of this country. You could try the Royal Navy Submarine Museum at Gosport, the Army Flying Museum near Andover or the Gurka Museum in Winchester.

13. Take your child on a steam train. The Watercress Line isn’t far away and is a brilliant experience.

14. Visit an Aquarium. I think the nearest ones to Basingstoke are the Blue Reef Aquarium in Portsmouth or the London Aquarium. Or you could take your children along to one of the local fish shops.

15. Take your child to the theatre. The Anvil and The Haymarket have regular children’s performances.