A London Summer Holiday Survival Guide

Summers here!  Katie Paynter, Head of Pre-Prep at St Nicholas Prep shares some ideas about how to keep your children entertained in our wonderful city during the summer holidays

Well, it’s that time of the year again! Into storage go the welly boots and winter coats and the search for summer hats, sunglasses, swimwear and sunscreen ensues! 

Children relish the summer holidays.  It is a fabulous opportunity for enjoying the outdoors. Invest in a paddling pool – they may only last the season, but they are worth every penny! Enjoy picnics in our beautiful parks. Take the ball games and frisbees from your garden and if there is a group of you, a good game of cricket is always fun.  

Do embrace much of what our world-renowned city has to offer.  Not all days out need to cost a fortune! Try taking a river cruise on the Thames Clipper, followed by a ride in the Emirates cable car.  Enjoy watching the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and then see if you can get your child to make one of the guards sitting on their horses at Horse Guards Parade smile!  There’s so much to do at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park – it’s definitely worth a visit. It’s also worth considering purchasing annual passes to the Historic Palaces, which encompass Kensington Palace and the Tower of London, to name but two – that way you can go back as many times as you like throughout the year and enjoy some of the exclusive themed days that they put into their calendars.  Do watch out for ‘Kids Go Free’ at the theatre; there will be some amazing opportunities for the children to have exposure to West End productions!

Teachers are always asked about homework for the summer holidays.  There is I am afraid, no one size fits all, answer. All children are different!  One thing though is that all our youngsters need time in the long summer holiday, to be children and to play. They should be encouraged to climb trees, play hide and seek, make creations from cardboard boxes and enjoy time with their friends.  That said for any child, keep them reading! Enjoy books together and do invest time in discussing them – the importance of this cannot be underestimated. Why not join the local library? They run a summer library challenge which the children relish.  There will be the books to enjoy, as well as stickers and medals for cherishing.

Do wind down the week before the children return to school.  They will have been used to late nights, wearing what they want, barbecues in the garden and hopefully generally ‘having a ball’.  It is therefore important to introduce the routine gently, particularly at bedtime.  Do start too, talking about the friends in their class and familiarising them with school related conversations – always keeping things light hearted.  Maybe talk about the teacher they are going to be having and ask what they are looking forward to doing or who they are looking forward to seeing when they get back to school.  That way you are approaching the forthcoming year with positivity, which will only be of benefit to your child. 

Childhood passes all too quickly, so above all, do cherish the summer holidays with your youngsters while you can!  

Katie Paynter
Head of Pre-Prep
St Nicholas Preparatory School
23, Princes Gate, LondonSW7 1PT
0207 225 1277