Making the most of the last days of summer

How to keep the holiday vibe going while you get set for September and all that ‘back to school’ business

Here are eight savvy ways to get into the swing of things without having to give up the relaxed joys of the summer holidays just yet.

Keep those brains working – have fun

1. Studies suggest that some mental stimulation during the school summer holidays is important for any child’s development. The good news, it requires NO homework. Make a book out of scrap paper, with card for the cover, then encourage your child to write a story based on what they’ve done during the holidays. They can make it as realistic or silly as they want, telling their story with pictures or a cartoon strip if they prefer.

2. History doesn’t have to be hard work – Romans, Tudors, Victorians and World War II are all project themes your kids will explore when they’re back at school. Warwick Castle has events around everything from Medieval warfare to Victorian life, as well as Horrible Histories, jousting and the biggest trebuchet catapult in the world. Visit: to discover some of our spectacular offers at Warwick Castle.

Get yourself organised – have a picnic

3. With the kids around, an evening out with other mums and dads from school isn’t likely, so why not host a picnic in the park where the kids can run around and you can talk? Share ideas about what after-school activities are worth signing up for next term. Pool your local wisdom about the latest dance workshops and junior football teams looking for new strikers. While you’re all together why not chat over ways you can all share out the burden of school run duties, too?

Don’t give up on summer – stay ‘on holiday’

4. Whether you managed to get away on a trip or you’ve just spent some family time at home during the break, beat the back-to-school blues by cheating your mind into thinking you’re still off duty. Try keeping these habits going into September. For example have breakfast outside on sunny days. Recreate the pleasure of mornings on a hotel terrace and have coffee and toast with the birds singing around you – an easy everyday luxury.

5. Build 30 minutes of me-time into your daily routine. Choose a deliciously fruity skin cream to rub into your arms and legs as if you’re putting on sun lotion at the beach and just read a magazine or a book. If the kids (big or small) want to get in on the act, play ‘let’s pretend we’re by the seaside’. Put towels on the living room floor and get everyone to lay down and close their eyes. Tell them to imagine the sun is shining and that the sea’s waves are washing up to their feet. What can they ‘see’ – a beach ball, a sailing boat, a seagull? A great way to chill out.

Get school uniform sorted on the sly

6. Nothing says ‘the holidays are over’ like long queues for white shirts and black school shoes. Many parents don’t like to buy new uniform until the last minute in case their children have a growth spurt. They’ll spring up eventually, so bite the bullet and buy the next size up now.

7. Order as much of the uniform as you can online (pants, socks, shirts) so it’s only for shoes that you have to drag your little darling to a shop.

8. The summer holidays can be as expensive as Christmas, so if your August budget is already spent, instead of having an epic school uniform shop on September 1, break down your shopping list into bite-sized tasks. Eg: if the sports store is near the park, combine 15 minutes shopping with an hour playing, then pick up a couple of new shirts next time you’re grocery shopping at the supermarket, and so on.

More back to school savvy advice

Check out our 5 top tips for saving money on school uniform and our school year budget planner