Tips for surviving the summer holidays


Try to keep some routine

Plan for each week – let everyone know the plan

Have a back up plan

Visual timetable

Don’t have plans for every day

Is there an online network you can join?

Only do essential housework

Simple play

Choose your battles

Take help if offered

You can say no

Do you have a budget?

What is happening locally?

Set aside family time to talk about special interests or activities that the family might want to do.

Use positive language such as how can I help you?, I can see this is hard for you, Are you ok?, Let’s talk about it, Be gentle please, Take a deep breath then tell me what happened, It’s ok to feel…, Do you need a hug?, I am here for you.

Practical tips

Don’t forget there are a number of cards available to children and young people with additional needs that allow free or reduced cost access to a number of activities:

Access Card


Carers CEA Cinema Card

Disabled Persons Railcard

Max Card

You can also get a sunflower lanyard to alert staff in different organisations to any additional needs.

If you need a radar key for accessible toilet facilities you can find out more here.

Don’t forget to visit Turn2Us to make sure you are getting the benefits that you are entitled to and DISH can help with the completion of benefits forms.

Family Fund can provide grants to families for play equipment, electronics, days out, holidays and kitchen appliances.

Activity ideas and top tips!

Autism in museums is an initiative to raise awareness of accessibility for all in museums and cultural venues.

Why not have a go at making your own butter?

Try a nature walk. Take along a small box and have a contest to see who can put the most in it.

When siblings are fighting, whispering can raise their curiosity enough to make them stop shouting because they want to listen. Using silly voices can help to move them on.

Feathers and scarves can be really fun ways to practice breath control for regulation. Hold the feather high up as you breathe in and then drop the feather. Breathe out as you watch the feather fall to the floor. Some children love the sensory input from stroking feathers.

Watch a family film (on repeat if it helps!)

Have a pyjama day.

There is nothing wrong with sandwiches for dinner!

There is nothing wrong with screen time – lots of our children and young people use this to regulate their emotions!

Some children may enjoy English or Maths games online such as Reading Eggs or BBC Bitesize.

Messy play can be a great sensory outlet – if you don’t like mess maybe set up an area of your garden or in the bathroom! Cheap shaving foam or tins or baked beans give some fantastic sensory input.

Use cushions to make a ‘stepping stones’ game.

Peterborough Cathedral have a different exhibition each summer – check out what’s on.

Punching cushions can be a good way to release pent up energy or anger.

Cover your child with cushions so that they can hide and feel safe – especially if they like pressure.

Build a pillow fort and have a picnic in it.

Have theme days at home where you all dress up, make some decorations, have foods that match the theme and play games – how about a pirate day?

The SEND library service has an autism collection and offers materials for a wide range of needs such as

  • bag book packs (multi-sensory kits)
  • ClearVision braille books
  • giant print and large print books
  • stories on CD
  • books for children with dyslexia and other reading difficulties
  • Autism collection on recommended books
  • Bookshine, bookstart and book touch – free packs of specially selected books.
  • Clear Vision braille books
  • eAudio books available to borrow for free
  • New experience books
  • Giant print/braille/large print books

Make your own playdough

Make your own paper mache model

Have a boredom jar

Have a household chores jar

Make your own pizza

Make your own fruit salad

Grow cress

Summer 2023 ideas

Cambridgeshire County Council have produced a guide of free activities for children and families which you can view here.

Happy Mama have produce a guide for family days out in Huntingdonshire, Peterborough, Cambridge, Northamptonshire, Royston and further afield.

Here is the link to the child and family centres offer for Summer 2023 for families with children having additional needs.

Professionals also shared some ideas with us at our participation session on 13th July which you can view here.

And don’t forget to keep an eye on Pinpoints social media pages as well as the SCIP emails for the latest news about what’s on! SCIP have helpfully put together a guide on what to do in the summer holidays.

Time for you!

Remember that taking time for you is essential.

Take a walk when you can, look at nature. Have a coffee with a friend. Have a hot bath while someone else watches the children. Read a chapter of a book. GUILT FREE!

Breathing exercises are for you as well as the children.

Take some time to be mindful. Close your eyes and think about 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can feel, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.

Don’t forget:

You’ve got this

Celebrate the little wins

Some days won’t go to plan

You are amazing!

Your children are amazing!