Family activities for summer 2021

Nottinghamshire: a great place to bring up your family

Nottinghamshire is a great place to bring up a family, where children get the best start in life and having fun over the summer is a big part of this. There are lots of family fun activities to keep you and your kids busy.

Whether you want to stay inside or explore the outdoors, there are a range of FREE activities to suit your whole family!

Top things to do at home with your family

Here are our top family fun activities to keep you and your little ones busy over the summer holidays. Whether you want to stay inside or explore the outdoors, there are a range of FREE activities to suit your whole family!

Summer Reading Challenge 2021

Our friends at Inspire have sent us information on the 2021 Summer Reading Challenge, which looks really great. This year’s theme is Wild World Heroes, in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund.

Summer Reading Challenge

Inspire Culture

You can choose from hundreds of books, audio books, magazines and newspapers through the Inspire website.

All you will need to be able to do this is a membership, but don't worry, this if FREE and can easily be done online!

Join or use your libraries

If you’d rather listen than read, then Inspire also have a great range of audio books too.  Take a look  - and have a listen!

Read or listen online

It's important to keep the kids healthy and active while at home, so we've brought you some inspiration below.

Recreate Sports Day at home

Enjoy all the favourites at home in your garden or out at the park. How about trying some of the following races below Don’t forget the prizes!

  • Egg and spoon race: No eggs? No problem! How about substituting whatever you can find at home?
  • Sports Day Stars: A challenge against the clock to complete the most star jumps in one minute.
  • The Parent's Challenge: We know things get competitive during the Mum's and Dad's races on Sports Day, so why should your home version be any different!
  • Obstacle Course: Our friends at HENRY have come up with some great ideas Let's make an obstacle course (HENRY)

Using what you have

Staying active doesn't mean you have to have equipment at home. This summer can be all about improvising, so here's a few ideas:

  • Substitute football goals for any item placed on the floor and enjoy your very own penalty shoot out challenge! 
  • Swap rackets for pots and pans and if you haven’t got a ball, how about a rolled up pair of socks? Remember to be careful where you aim of course!

Treasure Hunt: Everyone enjoys a treasure hunt, especially if there’s a little prize at the end of it. Our friends at HENRY have some great ideas here: Let's go on a treasure hunt (HENRY)

Or you could go on a Listening Walk. here’s some ideas from the Children’s Centre Service: Listening Walk [PDF]

When the weather warms up, cool down with Water Play in your own garden. Thanks to HENRY again for the ideas: Let's play with water (HENRY)

Change4Life ( has loads of fun, active play ideas such as the Disney 10 Minute Shake Up, with ideas linked to Toy Story, Frozen and Cars, to name just a few.

For more great active play ideas take a look at our Virtual Family Hub on Notts Help Yourself: Things to do at home: 5-7 years (Notts Help Yourself)

Why not take a look at Your Health Your Way’s brilliant website: Nottinghamshire’s Wellbeing Service: Your Health Your Way ( and Youtube channel. They are our county’s integrated wellbeing service, commissioned by Nottinghamshire County Council, delivered by ABL Health, to help you be more active and have a healthier lifestyle.

Here’s just a taste of the work-outs on offer:

For more information and lots of other great ideas take a look at :Nottinghamshire’s Wellbeing Service: Your Health Your Way (

Couch to 5K!

Join the Couch to 5K running plan for beginners! This FREE programme has been tried and tested by thousands of new runners. Why not grab your running trainers and give it a go! Learn more by visiting NHS Couch to 5K 

Active Notts Summer Fun

Active Notts has some fantastic resources aimed at providing children and their families with a series of ideas to help them to stay active over the Summer.  Their weekly activity packs will keep you and the kids busy all Summer long and include Orienteering, Golf, Netball and loads more.  For more information visit

Wildlife Watch

The British summer is the perfect time to explore all of the beautiful nature on your doorstep. The Wildlife Trust has a fantastic page, Wildlife Watch, that is packed full of fun free activities for children including spotter sheets, activity guides, masks to make and much more!

These great fun ideas from our Children’s Centre Service are perfect for little ones, but big brothers and sisters will have fun joining in too:

For lots more ideas have a look at our Virtual Family Hub: Things to do at home: 5-7 years (Notts Help Yourself)

As things start to open up again, you may want to treat the family to a visit to the theatre – have a look at what’s on at some of our local theatres:

Online, you can still join in the fun. Have a look at these for ideas:

  • You will be spoilt for choice with the online theatre productions available, from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat to favourites from Shakespeare's Globe!

The Shows Must Go On!

Musical favourites from Andrew Lloyd Webber's collection will be streamed online, starting with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat! Each performance will be available for 48 hours after being posted so you can enjoy at anytime over the weekend. 

Watch productions from The Shows Must Go On

The National Theatre

Enjoy theatre from the comfort of your own home by streaming productions from The National Theatre!

Watch productions from The National Theatre

The Royal Opera House

If you want to get your cultural fix this summer, The Royal Opera House offers online broadcasts, musical masterclasses and a unique look behind the scenes at one of the world's most famous cultural institutions.

Watch productions from the Royal Opera House

Shakespeare's Globe

Shakespeare’s Globe productions are available to watch for free on the theatre’s video-on-demand service, Globe Player. Featured films will be captioned to make sure they are as accessible as possible.

Watch productions on the Globe Player



Gardening for kids lists a range of fun free activities that provide opportunities for families or informal groups to learn together, while encouraging love for nature and the environment.

Garden activities and crafts for kids of all ages 

Science experiments

How about trying some crazy science experiments? These websites have some great – but safe – ideas:

If you're still cautious about getting out and about, you could try a virtual tour instead:

Google Street View Tours

Explore the British Museum and many other museums and galleries from around the world all from your computer. There's so much to choose from, why not let all the family pick a favourite to explore?

Start my virtual tour journey

The Natural History Museum

Inspect the butterflies, birds and beasts in the Natural History Museum’s collection up close. The interactive online guide includes insights into some of the 80 million specimens through short films, virtual reality and a 360 degree tool. Bonus: the departed Dippy the diplodocus is back on display in the entrance hall online and you can even listen to Sir David Attenborough narrate the virtual tour around Hintze Hall!

Explore The Natural History Museum 

The British Museum

More than 8 million objects sit inside the British Museum. You can search through much of this online, exploring the artefacts individually or by geographical origin

 Explore The British Museum

The National Gallery

The National Gallery is home to thousands of publicly owned artworks from the UK and Europe, spread across 18 rooms, which you can visit with the National Gallery’s 360 degree tool. The tour offers detailed information about each painting as you look at it, as well as floor plans to navigate around as though you are there.

The National Gallery: Stories

The British Library

Discover literature from medieval to Victorian times, as well as a number of virtual tours around the exhibitions you may have missed. Highlights include Harry Potter: A History of Magic, which has a section for each of the Hogwarts magic classes, and Alice In Wonderland, looking at how Lewis Caroll’s story has been retold over the past 150 years.

Discovering Children's Books: The British Library

Discovering Children's Books: Films

Rufford Abbey Country Park

Rufford is one of Nottinghamshire’s favourite attractions. Set in beautiful parkland, Rufford Abbey offers over 870 years of history, from its origins as a 12th century cistercian monastery to its period as a Jacobean era family home.

Visit Rufford Abbey Country Park website

Sherwood Forest Country Park

Visit the legendary Sherwood Forest, a unique habitat for wildlife and a magical destination for over 350,000 visitors. From its ancient oaks and legendary characters, to the work of the RSPB, protecting the forest today. Play, discover and leave with tales of your own, inspired by 420 hectares of beautiful, precious, unique woodland.

Visit Sherwood Forest Country Park website

Holme Pierrepoint Country Park

Visit the home of The National Water Sports Centre! Holme Pierrepoint is bursting full of family fun water sport activities including Lagoon Wipeout, Kayaking, Canoeing, White Water Rafting, Lazy River Tubing and much more! If you prefer to stay dry there are a fantastic range of other outdoor activities such as Sky Tykes, Segways, Archery to name a few! 

Visit Holme Pierrepoint Country Park website

Notts Outdoors

Notts Outdoors inspire families to get outdoors and embark on adventures together and provide outdoor learning opportunities for young people. What's more, they've been awarded the Good to Go Mark and are recognised as following COVID-19 government and industry guidelines.

Visit Notts Outdoors website

Virtual Family Hub

Take a look at our Virtual Family Hub on Notts Help Yourself for more local ideas of where to go for parks and open spaces.

Wildlife Watch

The British summer is the perfect time to explore all of the beautiful nature on your doorstep. The Wildlife Trust has a fantastic page called Wildlife Watch that is packed full of fun free activities for children including spotter sheets, activity guides, masks to make and much more!

Take a look at the National Trust’s fantastic 50 things to do before you’re 11¾ activity list. Don’t forget, we’ve got Clumber Park , Mr Straw’s House and Southwell Workhouse in Nottinghamshire and Hardwick Hall just over the Derbyshire border, with lots of other places a little further away. Why not take a picnic and make a day of it?

Search Places: National Trust

For events happening throughout the summer and places to visit why not take a look at:

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