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Social Activites Print E-mail

Days Out
Holidays
Redating

Whether you are a single parent or non-resident parent with contact time coping with your children alone during school holidays and weekends can be exhausting. This is why we have compiled a list of links that offer lots of ideas for days out and activities.

Top Ten Free Activities for those on a tight budget:

girl upside down on climbing frame1. Visit to the local park (or beach if you live near the coast). Whatever the age of your children, fresh air and plenty of exercise should be enough to exhaust them and ensure you at least get a very peaceful evening!

2. Free museums. Most towns and cities have free museums or exhibitions, sometimes attached to local libraries. Check with your local library to see what is available

3. Visit to the library. Most children like visiting the library and choosing their own books. Your library may also offer free holiday activities for children

4. Boot fair (or garage sale if you don't have a car). Get your children to sort out their old junk and ask friends and neighbours for any unwanted items. Children love playing "shop" and will learn something about the value of money and work whilst earning a little extra pocket money

5. Town Walk. Many towns now have designated town walks which follow special and historic places of interest. Your local library or tourist information centre should have details. If they do not have one, then get your children to research your town on the Internet or local library and map out their own route. If you can find some old photographs it would be good to compare scenes then and now and discuss any changes with your child

6. Visit to a church or graveyard. Most churches are open to visitors during the day and it's a great way to learn about the past and do some brass rubbing or sketching. On a Saturday afternoon you might catch a wedding party and you could even drop in on a Sunday for Sunday School. If you are a member of another faith why not visit their place of worship and explain to your child the different features and symbols. Many churches and other faith groups run free activities for children during weekends and school holidays, so contact the local faith leader for details

7. Nature Trail. Whether you live in a city or in the middle of the countryside, you will be surrounded by wildlife. Bugs, birds, spiders, foxes.. With the help of a magnifying glass or binoculars go on the hunt for signs of wildlife in your local area, count ants or borrow some wildlife books from the library

8. Sport. If you have playing fields near you pop along on a Saturday afternoon to watch a local game of football, rugby or hockey. Alternatively, get details of any inter school matches played on weekends or evenings and go and cheer for your child's school team

9. Visit to your local airport, docks or harbour if you have one near you. Watch the aeroplanes come and go or look at the boats - many harbours and airfields also have open days so keep an eye out in the local paper

10. Feeding ducks/ Pooh Sticks. If you have a pond, river or stream nearby then find a bridge and race twigs down stream or feed the ducks. You could also make boats out of margarine tubs and other household items and see if they float, but make sure you take any rubbish home with you

For further ideas visit:

About Britain
Regularly updated with attractions, events and exhibitions throughout the UK

All Kids
Online parenting magazine contains information and ideas for day out across the UK

Castles of Britain
Information on castles throughout the UK including how to get there, photographs, visitor information, ghost stories and more

English Heritage
English Heritage is responsible for maintaining many of the country's historic places of interest including castles, houses and ruins. Children under 19 can now visit sites free of charge when accompanying an English Heritage member

Enjoy Britain
Lots of ideas for places to visit and activities throughout the UK, includes galleries, theme parks, religious places, sporting venues, animal parks and more

Kids Travel
Ideas for days out, whatever the weather for kids across the UK

Local Today
Searchable database of events in your local region

Days Out
Searchable database of days out by region

National Trust
The National Trust cares for English countryside, properties and sites of historic and special interest throughout the UK

Planet Science - Out There
Scientific activities, experiments and online adventures for kids

UK Children's Directory
Packed with ideas for activities and days out for kids

UK Museums and Galleries
Comprehensive information site on museums and galleries in the UK, including searchable database by location or collection and details of current exhibitions

Visit Britain
Tourist information on the UK including attractions and days out, and special offers

Visit England - UK Tourist Information
Details of attractions, cycle paths and countryside walks, rivers, sporting activities, carnivals, festivals, zoos and more throughout the UK, includes searchable database for local information

Wizziwiz
Where to go, what to do.activities and sport for kids


Single Parent Holidays

man with his sons on a raftFinding suitable holidays can be difficult for single parents, particularly as many hotels and flights are based on a minimum of two adults sharing and can incur a single supplement. You may also find yourself in need of the support of another adult, particularly if you are travelling abroad with your children, and might want some time for yourself whilst you are away.

This is why you should consider linking up with other single parents and arranging shared holidays so that you can offer support to each other, share the cost of any accommodation such as a chalet or villa, and take turns to baby sit in the evenings.

The following links are organisations specialising in single parent holidays, ensuring that prices are based on one adult or linking single parents up for shared holidays.

Aquila Care Trust
Network of separated and divorced people throughout the UK including single parents, organises social events, holidays, workshops and weekend breaks

Gingerbread
Single parent organisation with local self-groups throughout the UK, offers support, information, events and holidays for single parents

Holiday Endeavour for Lone Parents (HELP)Charity offering single parents affordable holidays regardless of income, UK and abroad through Butlins, Haven, Pontins and Beachclub (Spain)

One Parent Family Holidays
A non-profit organisation providing single parent holidays

Single Parent Travel Club
Shared holidays for single parents and non-resident parents with contact

Small Families
Specialises in group holidays for single parents and their families


Re-dating

Anyone coming out of a long-term relationship will approach re-dating with caution, however, as a single parent you may also be concerned about the effect of a new partner on your children.

Beginning to re-date:

Don't feel guilty. You have a right to a life of your own and you'll be happier and more able to care for your children if you are taking care of your own needs.

Do not try and hide the fact that you have children, but do not talk about them constantly whilst on a date. Concentrate instead on getting to know all about your new partner.

Build up your time re-dating and let your children get used to the idea, especially if you don't spend much time out socially at present. Answer any questions they have but do not go into intimate details or talk of new a new "mummy" or "daddy".

Consider what type of relationship you are looking for. If you are not ready for a serious relationship and considering something more casual, keep it separate from your home life. Click here for advice on safe sex.

Do not let your ex interfere. As long as your actions are not putting the welfare of your children at risk, you can do as you please now that you are single.

Introducing a new partner to the children:

man and woman walking along swinging a small child off the child between themGive your relationship a chance to mature and develop before introducing a partner to your children. You need to get to know each other as a couple first.

Introduce your new partner gradually when you feel that the relationship is becoming more serious, and both of you are ready. The first time make it a quick introduction and build up towards spending a family day out together.

Signs of affection such as holding hands or hugging are normal between couples, but take it slowly, as the children may feel uncomfortable seeing you with another partner to begin with. Keep any sexual intimacy or time in bed away from the children altogether.

Be patient if your children react towards your new partner with hostility, they will need time to adjust and may not share your feelings towards them. They could feel that accepting them would be a betrayal of the absent parent and may have concerns that they will miss out on your attention. Make sure that they still spend plenty of time with your ex and that you spend time with them without your new partner being there all the time.

If the situation does not improve talk through any concerns your children have. Make it clear that you have a right to your own life but that you still love them just as much.

Click here for further information on Dating

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