There’s nothing like digging up a memory of a long-lost holiday from your childhood. We bet everyone’s got one, even if it’s just the memory of an ice cream falling into your lap, or that glorious dual sensation of sand squeezed between your toes and the sun beating down on your head.
See, it’s often the little things that stick with us from these trips, which is why we’re sharing our top tips for making your little one’s stay in your home-away-from home unforgettable. The beauty of having your grandkids to stay with you at your Haven park means that you’re abound with local knowledge and know-how to make their holiday special. Instead of hurriedly sorting activities upon arrival, you’re able to plan ahead and start creating those childhood memories. Or, if your brood turns up for a spontaneous weekend at yours you’ve got some easy, no-fuss ideas to put into action for them.
If you’re in need of a little extra inspiration for their trip to yours, read on.
(Don’t forget, we’d also love to hear exactly what you do to make your child’s stay with you special!)
If you’re fortunate enough to pay your grandchildren a visit at their home before they come and stay at yours, why not encourage them to swap their iPad for scissors, glue and magazines. Get your grandkids excited about their upcoming visit by encouraging them to create their own visual journal. You could find some photos of your park and its surrounding area and set the kids a challenge to recreate the image in front of them in the most creative way possible.
For the littler ones in your pack, why not help them out by suggesting “chapters” for their book? While you’re all busy snipping, clipping and sticking, talk about the food you’ll be eating on holiday, the animals you might see and all the different clothes you’ll be wearing too.
If you’ll be riling up holiday excitement from the comfort of your own caravan, you can harness the power of email to drum up their delight. A week before they arrive, send them a photo a day of things they’ll be doing when they arrive. This could be the view of the sea, a barbecue filled with their favourite foods, or a short video of the water slides in action. They’ll arrive dressed in their swimsuit and goggles!
Before the little ones have pulled into the park, why not distribute a thoughtful present on the bed of each child for when they enter their room? It needn’t be extravagant; simply something that’ll make their trip a touch more special. If your caravan is nestled in one of our parks by the sea, a small kite or a bucket and spade will go down brilliantly. If you call one of our inland parks home, you could always present them with their very own magnifying glass (for bug hunting) or binoculars (especially if there’s a junior birdwatcher in your ranks!).
Surprise them with a treasure hunt:
We’re all well aware that holidays are the perfect time to catch a little more shut-eye than usual, but getting up that bit early can definitely have its benefits. While the kids are asleep, one of you could set out a very simple treasure hunt for them, making the most of the local knowledge you’ve gained during your time at the park. Know of a tree that looks like it could be home to a fairy clan? Theme your hunt around that!
You can go all out with a brain-teasing trivia trail, or keep it simple by asking your little ones to hunt around and collect as many of the same item as they can see (for example, red balloons). Rewards don’t have to be big: you could create medals out of their favourite chocolate bar and some ribbon, or give them a book or old-fashioned toy to keep them busy during down-time.
Teach them a new skill or hobby
There’s no better place for kids to try something new than on holiday: away from their usual surroundings, they’re surprisingly good at losing their inhibitions and fears and getting stuck into new activities. For some, this’ll be the first time they visit the seaside, so why not go all out and build them a fortress made of sand, and crown them king or queen of the beach?
If your park has more than its fair share of seaside rock pools, grab a net, a bucket and a magnifying glass and tell your grandkids you’re going on an underwater adventure. On your way to the beach, tell them about all the types of sea creatures they might see, and set them a challenge to be the first to spot one. Once you’re finished, make sure each animal you’ve caught is returned safely to where you originally found it.
To discover what local animals might be hiding in a rockpool near you, check out the local section of the Wildlife Trust website.
Take advantage of bike hire if offered on site to get your grandkids cycling. For those still on stabilisers, why not make the most of the green space offered to help coax them from four wheels to two – guaranteed to top the list as the most memorable part of your child’s holiday!
For older kids, how about equipping them with the underwater equivalent of a jetpack? Our AquaJets whoosh your grandkids through the swimming pool, helping them twist and turn like animals. Or even better, why not join them in the water too!
Pack a picnic with all their favourite foods
When the weather’s right, there’s nothing quite like a good, old-fashioned family picnic. The tartan blanket, a hamper of food and don’t forget the jam jar to keep the bees busy! It truly is one of life’s simple pleasures.
To make dining al-fresco that little bit more exciting, why not choose a theme? For the Frozen fans, you could include hundreds and thousands to sprinkle over their food like snow, or if they’re Gruffalo devotees, you could whip up a bowl of scrambled snake (favoured by the animal itself) by making a special bowl of spaghetti, or serving multicoloured gummy worms.
Wait a minute, Mr. Postman!
Send them a post-postcard a month after they’ve been on holiday (even if you live just around the corner) to tell them how much fun you had with them. Keeping that holiday feeling sometimes disappears quickly once you’re far away from Haven, but you can never underestimate how special a piece of post is for a child, especially one who’s used to reading everything on a screen!