With so many parents struggling with and/or worrying about how to entertain their children over the summer holidays, I’ve been looking back at how things used to be. How were your summer holidays spent as a child? What about you parents and grandparents?
Summer Holidays Then
Back in 1913, around the time my grandparents were born, children spent their summers playing football together in empty streets, playing games with bits of rope, stones or string and having battles with makeshift swords and shields.
By the 1940s it was all about skipping, leap frog, playing with old tyres, and then in the 1950s, conkers and games of cricket in the streets.
Time was spent playing outside with siblings, friends and neighbours. Children would make and fly their own kites, climb trees, build dens, ride bikes and basically entertain themselves during the school holidays.
Oh, how things have changed!
Summer Holidays Now
With so many parents having to work during school holidays lots of children these days spend time in holiday clubs and at summer camps. These might be sports and theatre ‘camps’ that last all week, or children might be attending different clubs. Perhaps a day here, half a day there, as parents juggle other commitments.
Parents back fill the rest of the time with days out, some of which are often very expensive. Then other free activities like walks, trips to the park, play dates with friends and so on.
The internet, smartphones and parents that are often run ragged, has meant that a staggering 51% of primary aged children spend the bulk of their time in front of a screen. Time spent indoors seems to now outweigh time spent outdoors for most children.
Activities set by parents can sometimes only last a few minutes, not all day long as they did years ago. Building dens, riding bikes and flying kites are not as popular as they once were, and few children now make up their own entertainment.
Many teens waste their days now by waking up late and then consume the internet late into the night.
Of course, the world is a different place now. More traffic, different dangers and few parents feel able to just let their children roam free.
How do your summer holidays as a child compare with those of your children or grandchildren? Do let me know in a comment below.