So the summer holidays are here and one thing you can safely guarantee is that the weather will be predictably unpredictable. So it’s pouring with rain and the kids are stuck indoors going stir-crazy, or it’s hot and humid outside and tempers are fraying. Either way, it’s time to take shelter – and we’ve teamed up with Compass Card families to come up with a few suggestions to help you turn a potentially challenging day around…

You can add your own suggestions in the comments box below if you log in with your Facebook, Twitter or Google account – and we’ll be giving away prizes for the best!

For further information about the Compass Card offers listed below, see the Compass Card app or the offers page on this website. If you haven’t got the Compass Card app already, search ‘compass card’ in the App Store or Google Play and download the Brighton and Hove or West Sussex version.

When staying at home makes perfect sense.

There are days when this just works – and a little preparation goes a long way.

Go to the movies from the comfort of your own sofa

You know the Compass Card means you can borrow movies from your local library for free? Get yourself down there with the card and stock up – you never know when a few movie options will come in handy. Buy in generous supplies of popcorn and, if you’re feeling particularly magnanimous, movie-style tubs of ice cream. Voila!

Go Kid Music could be music to your ears

One of our newest Compass Card offers is Go Al Start from Go Kids Music on illustrated backgroundKid Music Club, an online music club run by Brighton-based musician, Al Start – who, by the way, is also a Compass Card parent. The club is recommended for under 10s, as well as those with special educational needs, hearing impairments and speech and language delay and if you like a catchy tune, it could be great for a day indoors. Go Kid Music Club is a subscription-based service (£6.99 a month or £70 a year) and includes a weekly video with Al singing and signing a new song; a signing video of the month that teaches signing and Makaton; lyric sheets; and audio downloads. Members also get invites to exclusive Go Kid Music Club events and gifts through the post including a certificate, tee-shirt, CD, badges and stickers. Compass Card holders can claim two free digital music albums when they register. For full details, see the Compass Card app. For more information about Go Kid Music Club, visit

Get crafty

Some of us (parents too!) love the opportunity to get stuck in with paint, Close up of child's hands playing with playdough.scissors, magazines, glue and a few cardboard toilet roll tubes. “We love a bit of play dough and colouring, and even make up and nail painting at home when it’s all too much to go out” says Compass Card parent, Christina.

How about a homemade marble run out of toilet roll tubes, an aeroplane made out of a clothes peg or ‘homemade microwave puffy paint’? These are just some of the ideas on happinessishomemade’s ‘45+ 15 minute crafts for kids’ –

Ann from the Compass Team remembers a day when her son was small. “One rainy day, I printed out face shots of different family members and we stuck them onto photos from magazines. I became a prima ballerina and my son was a giraffe – it kept us entertained all afternoon. I’m going to do the same thing this summer with my friend’s kids, but this time we’re going to make super hero versions of ourselves, using toilet roll tubes for bodies, pipe cleaners for arms and bits of material for capes”.

Books can be a winner

It’s worth stocking up on books and signing up for the summer Animal Agents characters for summer reading challenge.reading challenge in your local library. Libraries in West Sussex and Brighton and Hove are inviting young members to solve a mystery with the ‘Animal Agents’ gang. There are books for all ages and abilities, including multi-sensory stories, graphic novels, e-books for your iPad or tablet and audiobooks (great for long car journeys!).

“It’s always fun to join in with the library summer reading challenge- this encourages children to borrow and read books – and [some] libraries run free events on certain dates in summer holidays relating to these, for example, a craft workshop. Ideal if it’s raining or too hot outside!” says Compass Card parent, Alyson.

Getting out and getting undercover

Soft play

There are loads of Compass Card soft play offers – you can see all of them on Out of Bounds soft play.the Compass Card app – set the filter to ‘soft play’ on the ‘leisure’ filter and you can see them all!
Out of Bounds in Angmering has reserved its four storey soft play area exclusively for children and young people under 14 with additional needs and their siblings from 6pm to 8pm on Monday 7 August. Cost is £5.50 each and there’ll be a 10% discount on all food and drink throughout the session. Parent carers go free, up to a maximum of two per child with additional needs. Additional adults will be charged £1 each. Head to the Out of Bounds website for more information. You can find out more about Compass Card discounts at Out of Bounds on the Compass Card app.

“Our failsafe place to go to is soft play – for example Activus, Out of Bounds and Amazon Adventure. This purely because I know my children are safe …and I know they can’t escape” says Compass Card parent, Cheryl.

Flying Fortress – it can be busy and loud, but there’s stuff for my 6 year old and 19 month old” recommends Samantha.

Stimulating simulating

SPORTS SIM in Crawley has a 20% cashback deal for Compass Big screen TV and racing car simulator.Card holders, but the venue’s summer half price deal is even better value for children and young people aged seven to 15, so long as you book to play between 1 and 3pm. You can’t combine the summer deal with the Compass Card offer. SPORTS SIM is great for technology geeks with its HD sports simulators that allow you to drive a racing car, practise golf shots, try penalty shoot outs and much more. For more information, see the Compass Card app.

Littlehampton Interactive Room

It’s hard to beat the Compass Card deal at Littlehampton Interactive Room, so you’ll have to forgive us for banging on about it. Based at Littlehampton Swimming and Sports Centre, this interactive audio and visual games room costs just a fiver an hour to hire exclusively for the whole Compass Card group. It’s fully accessible with hoist-assisted changing and a hoist in the interactive room and there’s even a food preparation area. Indoor deal of the summer, surely?! See the Compass Card app for full info.

Down to the Base in Bognor

Base Skatepark is an indoor skate park and there’s a café and shop for mums and dads if the thought of skidding round on a set of wheels is a step too far. Compass Card holders get ‘membership rates’ at the skate park, as well as the café and shop. Please note, the café is upstairs and isn’t wheelchair accessible. See the Compass Card app for full details.

Learn to climb

We’ve got two climbing deals on the Compass Card, one at High Sports at Young man on climbing wall.Withdean Sports Complex, the other at Boulder Brighton in Portslade. Staff at Withdean have plenty of experience working with additional needs and can include physically disabled children and young people with the help of full or partial hoists (call in advance to explain your child’s needs).

“At the time my son was a bit anxious and it took him a while to get into it, but the staff at High Sports were very patient and accommodating with his need for a more gentle approach and the other children who were a bit more gung-ho had a great time – so all very inclusive – what more could you want!” says Compass Card parent, Emma.

Boulder Brighton in Portslade specialises in ‘bouldering’, a stripped down form of climbing that substitutes ropes and harnesses for climbing shoes, safety mats and a bag of chalk to help you grip. See the Compass Card app for full details.

Nature undercover

Earnley Butterflies, Birds and Beasts near Chichester is a great choice Close up of butterfly.if the weather is iffy, or just too hot to handle. Although Earnley is all about nature, most things are undercover – including no less than 17 covered, themed gardens, a tropical butterfly house and a walk-through aviary.

Compass Card parent, Louise is a big fan. “I think the Compass Card app I carry on my mobile is brilliant as it was there we discovered a new place had popped on the news feed one day called ‘Earnley Butterflies Birds and Beasts’. it looked so interesting we decided to check it out there and then – so glad we did, what a fascinating little gem of a place where you can get really close to nature. We as a family loved it and having a child on the spectrum was ideal as very quiet on each occasion (we’ve been three times now) and quite spacious too” she says. There’s a Compass Card offer here – see the Compass Card app.

Jump in!

Trampolining is a great way to bounce off excess energy and there are Compass Children on a trampoline.Card offers in place at two trampolining parks, both in Chichester. Flip Out and Air Arena are currently more suitable for children and young people with special educational needs rather than physical disabilities, but they could be a lifesaver for families of kids with energy to burn. Both venues hold ‘autism-friendly’ sessions. Adults can join in too and you’ll find cafés and plenty of games to put the bounce into bouncing; Flip Out includes free running areas, dodgeball and a ninja warrior course and Air Arena has dodgeball, basketball and battle beams. See the Compass Card app for full details.

Swim, swim

There are loads of Compass Card offers on swimming, so this is a real Little boy with goggles in poolwinner for a rainy day. The Triangle in Burgess Hill is always popular and the leisure pool costs just a quid with a free carer ticket. Other top picks are Freedom Leisure centres at K2 in Crawley and in Littlehampton and Bognor where there’s a free ticket for the Compass Card holder and one carer.

Compass Card parent, Lisa, says “It’s relatively low cost, great exercise and fun and kids and adults enjoy some quality time splashing about!”

“I took the kids to Littlehampton swimming pool today and it was amazing! We’ve been before but not as Compass Card holders… staff as always were so friendly, but I was astounded to find out that both of the Compass Card holders swim for free plus one carer so we only paid for one child :) Happy days! :) A big bonus for us since exercise is one of the big keys to keeping their lungs as clear as we can!” says Compass Card parent, Carla.

See the Compass Card app for full details.

A trip to the movies

You’ll find Compass Card offers in place at The Odeon, Duke of Box of popcorn.York’s and Dukes at Komedia cinemas in Brighton and at The Windmill in Littlehampton, The Connaught in Worthing, Picturedrome in Bognor and Scott Cinema in East Grinstead.

“Our failsafe leisure activity is usually the cinema, there is usually something on that the kids like – the weekend morning movies are great value and brilliant for kids. Even better with the Compass Card we can both go, get drinks and popcorn for under a tenner!” says Lisa.

Compass Card parent Samantha recommends Picturedrome in Bognor. “£3.50 a ticket maximum, kids munchbox, and always a friendly experience!”

See the Compass Card app for full details.

We’re offering prizes for your best summer ideas

We’re talking about leisure in our blogs and e-news letters over the summer holidays, but we want ideas from you and we’ll be offering prizes for the best ideas. The ideas could be Compass Card offers, or have nothing to do with the Compass Card. You can comment below by logging on with your Facebook, Twitter or Google account (or if you prefer, email or message us at Amaze Compass on Facebook) – and answer all or just one or two of the following:

1. What’s your ‘Failsafe leisure activity’ – the one that more or less works every time? Why does it work?

2. What’s your recommendation for ‘Leisure on a budget’ when money is tight? What does it cost and why do you think it’s a bargain?

3. Rainy day rescues or shelter from the heat – if you need to go undercover, what places do you recommend and why?

4. Do you have any other leisure tips or ideas for the summer? Please share them!

Please note, if we include your idea in a blog or in Compass News, we’ll use a quote from you, along with your first name, so do let us know if you want to remain anonymous.