More Fun Than Fortnite: 21 Ways to get Pre-Teens Off Screens This Summer


This post is sponsored by Fantastic for Families –  a brilliant website for families to discover affordable and relevant quality arts and cultural activities in their area. Delighted to say that tickets to some of these marvellous days out are up for grabs courtesy of Fantastic For Families. Read on to find out more!

Back int’ day Fortnite was just a fancy way of saying two weeks. To be honest, the first time I heard it used in a sentence it didn’t actually register that it would mean anything other than that. And I’m still in my twenties. Times change quickly, don’t they? Even if your kids haven’t succumbed to the game craze that’s been sweeping the nation, chances are they like being glued to one kind of screen or another for as long as you will allow it.

Sometimes even we parents may dislike getting out and about but there’s no denying that once we’ve done it we all feel better for it. Here’s a few things that’ll get you out, and have you collapsing happily on to the sofa at the end of the day, knowing you’ve had a good one.

  1. The John Madejski Garden at the V&A Museum in Kensington. Not only can you peruse whatever the V&A has to offer on at the time, but the garden has an enormous fountain come pool in the middle. Get yourselves an ice cream, get your flip flops and go for a paddle in the sun.


2. The Horniman Museum and Garden in Forest Hill. Beautiful gardens you’re free to let your sprogs run around in and exhibitions they’re also, sometimes, allowed to run around in. The Horniman hosts a permanent Natural History collection, which is a taxidermists’ heaven, a Music Gallery and a new World Gallery of anthropology (all free) but if live animals are more your thing there’s an aquarium (under a fiver) in the basement, an Animal Walk and a butterfly house. Also, crazy golf in the gardens ‘til September!


3. Make lunch. Make your own pizzas! Even as an adult I enjoy the construction of a good pizza, and what a good way to make sure your kids eat what you give them for once.



4. The Royal Academy of Arts hosts Family Studios: free drop-in sessions and practical workshops based around current exhibitions. You and your kids can learn together, recreating a famous Hockney or Turner with sequins, glue and some glitter. Be finding glitter under your nails for weeks! What’s not to love?


5. The Science Museum, every kid’s (cough, mine) dream. A whole museum for you to run riot in. You can touch pretty much everything. You can play with pretty much everything. And the bonus is that you can pass it off as having done something educational.


6. Museum Of Childhood. Yeah, okay, so it’s part of the V&A as well, but they’re good at what they do! It’s totally free and they’ll often have a bunch of toys and things your kids can actually play with, not just look at. At one point they had an enormous sand pit. You can practically smell the floor burning with how quickly parents are doing the drop and run.


7. Under1Roof in Woolwich has a bunch of activities, uh, under one roof. From soft play to a nursery, to a theatre, all in house! There are tons of things to do. And it may not be free but it breaks the monotony of the soft play down the road that smells vaguely of wee and has that one kid that always pokes yours in the eyes.


8. Covent Garden Street Theatre. You’ll have no trouble finding a performer to watch, and a precarious situation involving bowling skittles, maybe a knife and a chainsaw to throw your child into as an audience participator. Free, except for a few quid as a tip for the performers.


9. On the second Saturday of every month, the Guildhall Art Gallery might have you recreating Victorian paintings, or delving into the Roman amphitheatre below to hear winding tales of how the Romans lived in the very spot you’re standing on. Oh, and it’s totally free.


10. Bake Off. Pick an episode and follow along, but obviously remember to give yourself time to make the things. Bake a technical together, like a good Victoria sponge with all the extras, make your own jam and whipped cream, and then you’ve had fun and got cake at the end of it.


pinterest - 21 ways


11. Geocaching. It’s an app. People bury things in your local area, you go searching for them, dig them up, and bury new things. Those things may not be particularly exciting I’d wager, but it’s the journey more than the destination? Think of it as your own little treasure hunt.

12. The Barbican theatre. A little more for teenagers, but they offer heavily discounted tickets to their shows for 14-25 year olds. Get watching!

13. Hampstead Ponds. It’s summer. Go for a swim! The Hampstead Ponds are free, easily accessible on the London overground, and in the middle of lovely Hampstead. Take a walk along the Heath and pop into The Spaniard’s Inn, a pub noted in Dracula, and frequented by Keats. They have good food, good wine, are entirely dog friendly, and have a lovely garden.

14. It’s a heatwave. We might as well make the absolute most of it while we can. Conjure up the 70s, pop your cossie on and have a water fight! Either in the garden or in the street. Get a couple of spray bottles, some water balloons, and for you, the parent, a hose pipe. We can’t have it being a fair fight, can we?


15. Kids a pain? Send them to the Ragged School Museum to show them just how good they’ve actually got it. There’s a Victorian classroom, and a load of opportunities for dressing up and acting. Best of all? Free!

16. The Blooms And Beasties Treasure Trail! Starting in the shop of Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham, kids go on a trail throughout the gardens looking at and for different flowers and insects. It ends with a lucky dip into their treasure trove.

17. Let yourselves in for a visual and literary treat with Winged Tales of the North, a playful and imaginative street art trail inspired by one of the North’s most loved writers, David Almond. Let the murals, sculptures and art inspire you to write your own flash fiction, in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

18. Mudchute City Farm, for goats, horse riding, feeding the animals, all the fun of a farm but on the DLR. And if Mudchute isn’t your deal, you can try Spitalfields, Christmas Tree (slightly outside “London”), or Vauxhall City Farms. For being such a large, industrious city of smoke, there’s a lot of farms.


19. Do a little bit of sight-seeing. When we live in a place we tend to take it for granted but try being a tourist in your own town. If you’re in London, watch the pelicans being fed in St. James’ Park, then take a quick jaunt up to Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, or Big Ben. If you’re not in London, have a quick Google for the sights in your town or city.


20. Not free, but always a pleasure: The Tower Of London. In a country with such brilliant history it’s rude not to partake. The Tower Of London feels different every time you visit, simply due to the fact that the Beefeaters make the visit. Each one has their own, unique way of telling the history and involving their audiences. Learn some gory history in the torture dungeons, and old toilets.


21. Have a rearrange. For the final day of this Fortnite, rearrange the house. Move beds and chests of drawers around, make a room feel like it has had a makeover, stick on some new, or clean, bedsheets, pop up some fairy lights, and settle down for your kid’s choice of movie (obviously from a pre-decided list of bearable ones).


We only have a few summers with our kids before they think they’re too cool for us and decide they’d rather go gallivanting in parks at night with cheap vodka with their friends. So why don’t we make the most of it? Get out there and enjoy the sun before we start complaining about the rain.


To win up to 5 tickets to a family event featured on Fantastic For Families (FFF), head over to the pinned post on our Facebook page and simply comment with your kid’s favourite off-screen activity. Closing date:  Thursday 26 July 2018 at 5pm.


N.B. Not all of the above events are featured on FFF. There are up to five tickets to an event listed on the FFF website to be won.  The Winner will be able to choose one event from the FFF website, excluding West End shows. All events are subject to availability. If the winner chooses the Just So Festival, the prize will be day tickets, not camping tickets.

Other Terms & Conditions apply and can be found here.


This post is sponsored by Fantastic for Families –  a brilliant website for families to discover affordable and relevant quality arts and cultural activities from trusted organisers in their local area. Fantastic for Families is run by the Family Arts Campaign, a national collaborative programme funded by Arts Council England.


Founder of MGF, Helen is a mum of four who spends way too much time on the interweb and not enough time in bed. She loves wearing her dressing gown, car boot sales and watching TV programmes featuring food. Her specialist subjects include 'how to overfill your car boot' and 'how to avoid dusting'. Follow her at Twitter: @Ginfund, Facebook: @MGFund, Instagram: @mummysginfund and online: