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Free things to do in this summer break.

Byline: By Wales on Sunday

School's out for summer so here's WALES ON SUNDAY'S guide to fun activities for free during the holidays, come rain or shine... Whack on a cagoul and wellies and get your kids to collect things of interest in a plastic tub on a walk in the garden or woods.

Stick a DVD on. Don't feel too guilty about sticking them in front of the telly. As long as it's not every day, a Disney classic isn't going to turn them into couch potatoes.

Go swimming (inset). Free for under-16s at most leisure centres. Check before you go. Even better, over 60s also get free entry, so why not get granny and grandad to take them?

Sleepovers. Arrange a rota of sleepovers with other mums and dads so you each get a break from the kids every month or so. It does mean you have to host the little horrors every now and again, but it's worth it for a night off.

Make a wormery. Layer soil and sand in a large glass jar and add worms. Top with leaves, veg peelings and old fruit. Then cover, leaving airholes, and put in a cold, dark cupboard. Get it out in two weeks to see what patterns the worms have made.

Make homemade jewellery with pasta, wool and buttons.

Make your own playdough with 1/4 cup of salt, 1 cup of flour, 1/4 cup of water. Mix the flour and salt in a bowl then add water. Knead and squeeze before adding food colouring to make shapes.

Quiz time. Compile a list of questions from the internet or your library and invite kids and their parents round.

Create a new dressing up box by going through your wardrobe and make up drawer. Let the kids customise them with felt tips, safety pins, glitter and rips.

Make papier mache heads by blowing up balloons, dipping paper strips into a water and flour mix then sticking onto the balloon. When it's dry, pop with a pin and paint away.

Make a holiday scrapbook detailing the things you do every day. If you can print off photos, stick them in, if not, just get them to draw their favourite activities.

Get your kids to write a play or put on a music concert. Bake a cake and serve it during the interval.

Get granny and gramps round to teach the kids how to play cards.

Have a hair and beauty day. Do manicures, blow dry each others hair and let them go wild with your make up.

Go to the beach and have a sandcastle competition. Take a cool box for your lunch so you don't have to splash out on anything except an ice-cream.

Borrow a friend's dog - or join them when they're taking the pooch for a walk - don't forget a plastic bag for the dog's waste.

Camp in the garden. Set up your tent, get the BBQ going, and sleep under the stars.

Have a teddy bear's picnic. Get all your kids' mums and dads to go and you can turn it into a big get-together in the park.

Find out what village fetes and shows are on, then get down there for a fun day out.

Host a bbq for friends and family but get everyone to bring food and drink.

Visit a national park. Walk the mountains of the Brecon Beacons (inset), explore Snowdonia or trek the Pembrokeshire Coast. Ring the Welsh Association of National Park Authorities on 029 2049 9966.

Get to the park and play football, rugby, cricket or frisbee with a gang of pals.

Get on your bike. Log onto www.cycle-routes.org for inspiration and information on cycle routes.

From bat conservation and butterfly walks to bug hunting and wildlife gardening, Britain's wildlife trusts have a huge variety of events on this summer for everyone to enjoy. Visit www.wildlifetrusts.org for more information about what's going on in your area.

Have a beach party in your back garden. Serve up non-alcoholic cocktails - check out www.cocktailatlas.com for recipes - and stick on the Beach Boys.

Venture to the Mermaid Quay Cardiff Harbour Festival over August Bank Holiday, 25th to 27th, where you can explore tall ships and enjoy free entertainment.

Head to the SeaSwansea Festival on July 28 and 29 at the National Waterfront Museum grounds for music and entertainment from traditional sea shanty singers, jazz musicians and pirate shows. Contact 01792 635428 for info.

If your family loves music, take them to Castell Rock, a one-day charity festival in the ruins of Aberystwyth Castle, on August 4, from noon.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 22, 2007
Words:772
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