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Seven in 10 parents are concerned that these summer holidays will be harder than usual

To inspire families, Smart Energy GB, Helen Skelton and The Wild Network have created 42 sustainable activities - one for each day of the summer holidays, including energy-free activities

  • Nearly half are considering new activities that they haven't tried previously to keep children entertained
  • A quarter are concerned about increased energy consumption over the school holidays and that watching TV and playing on games consoles will contribute to this
  • Families could make small savings over the summer holidays just by turning appliances off standby and lights off when not in use
  • To help monitor and manage energy consumption, Smart Energy GB is also encouraging families to speak to their energy supplier and get a smart meter installed

21st July 2020: One in seven (69%) parents and carers feel that this year's summer holidays will be harder than usual, with over half (55%) expecting to spend more time at home due to travel restrictions and social distancing measures.

Research by Smart Energy GB, which surveyed 2,000 adults with children, reveals they are more concerned about keeping their children occupied during the summer holidays this year because they would have spent so much time at home already during lockdown. Similarly, almost a quarter (24%) worry about energy consumption over the holidays - especially as many may have seen their energy bills increase over the past couple of months. For those who are worried, one of the simplest ways to monitor energy use is to get a smart meter installed, as the in-home display shows exactly how much energy is being used.

Parents and carers are eager to try new things to keep children occupied and the energy costs down. Nearly half are considering new activities they haven't tried previously, and three in 10 want to try and do something sustainable. with school now out, or nearly out for summer, 40% of those surveyed also hope their kids can switch off and enjoy a digital detox, with one in two keen to keep their kids entertained by exploring the outdoors.

To inspire and help families, Smart Energy GB has teamed up with Helen Skelton and The Wild Network to create 42 sustainable things to do over the holidays, with one activity for every day of the break, including energy-free activities.

Helen Skelton says, "As a mother of two young boys who have been at home for most of lockdown, I know how hard it is to keep them entertained and occupied over the summer months. As a family, we really try to have at least one hour a day of energy-free time, and whilst we are outside a lot and away from devices as much as possible, it can sometimes be tricky to think of new things to do.

“One thing I’ve learnt during this time is that I can help them start to understand the importance of how we use energy at home and turn it into a fun thing to do – for example, using my smart meter to have a competition to see which day of the summer holidays was the lowest and why.”

The fun and easy to do activities range from a time capsule and foraging to a domino rally and becoming an energy waste detective, and are designed to be cost and energy effective for all school children and their families.

Steve King, Director at The Wild Network adds, “We’re excited to be partnering with Smart Energy GB for this campaign, which will give families a whole range of fun and creative activities to see them through the summer - rain or shine! We believe that understanding how we use energy and where it comes from is vital to helping us all live a more sustainable, connected life. And this campaign will make that learning exciting and fun for everyone to get involved with!”

Fflur Lawton, Head of Public Affairs at Smart Energy GB adds, “As a mum myself, I know parents and carers are facing a new and unique challenge this summer – and keeping kids entertained who are already used to being at home is no mean feat. 

“With many families opting to stay at home while school is out, increased energy use during the holidays may mean an increase in energy bills. But a simple way to better manage your usage is to get a smart meter installed. What’s more, households with a smart prepay tariff can easily see how much credit remains and can top up remotely – even if you’re keeping the kids amused at the park.”

And it’s not just using devices and gadgets which can increase energy costs, the research also revealed that families often leave things plugged in, turned on or on standby mode when not in use, which can cause unnecessary energy waste. It revealed:       

  • The top three items round the house that children leave turned on are lights (42%), the TV (41%) and mobile phone chargers (38%)       
  • A third of parents admit they’re as much to blame with leaving electricals on standby       
  • TVs and mobile phone chargers were the items most commonly left plugged in or on standby in the home

As a result, figures from Energy Saving Trust estimate families could save £14 over the summer holidays alone just by turning off appliances on standby and lights when not in use – that’s enough for 6 tubs of ice cream to share out at the regular family picnics, or enough money to replace your light bulbs with a couple of energy saving ones.

Fflur Lawton concludes, “Families should contact their energy supplier about getting a smart meter installed, as this will help to monitor and manage their energy consumption, and even reduce energy use, as well as helping Britain become carbon neutral by 2050.”

Go to to download the activities and get more information on how to manage your energy with a smart meter.

10 of the 42 sustainable things to do over the summer holidays;

1.     42-day time capsule. See if you can put something in it for every one of the 42 days ahead to create a memory box of an unforgettable summer. 

2.     Conduct a sunlight experiment. How will plants grow in darker spaces compared to sunlit places, like on a windowsill? Choose two different environments and track your progress over the rest of the summer holidays. 

3.     Become an energy waste detective. Organise a family scavenger hunt to find unused appliances in your home that can be unplugged to save on energy waste. You can also monitor how much energy different items in your house use with a smart meter. Ask your parents who their energy supplier is and encourage them to request an installation.

4.     Make a temporary dam. If you have a stream nearby, collect twigs, branches and stones to stop the flow of water. Just remember to remove the dam afterwards. No stream? Improvise at home!

5.     Send a Haiku postcard. A Japanese poem formed of 3 lines with 5, 7, and 5 syllables respectively. Send it to someone you are missing over the summer.

6.     Make a domino rally. Use everyday objects to build it and start an epic chain reaction.

7.     Be a street artist. Paint a stone and leave them for others to find! 

8.     Make a pinwheel wind farm. Put your craft skills to the test and build some paper windmills. All you need is paper, scissors, a stick and a pin! 

9.     Go foraging. Local woodlands are perfect for encouraging the inner forager – so go and explore with an adult. If you can’t forage outside – play a foraging style scavenger hunt at home.

10.  Learn some sign language. Learn how to introduce yourself – and then challenge a friend to do the same.


Notes to editors:
The holiday saving of £14 was multiplied by the number of households in Great Britain (26,718,755 from Office for National Statistics) to give a financial equivalent of £375,752,907 (rounded to £370,000,000). The same was done for the 73 kWh saving to give a potential national saving of 1,953,937,802 kWh (rounded to 19,000,000,000 kWh). These figures were divided by the cost of typical household items to generate the equivalent statements such as tub of ice cream £2.25, energy light bulbs £4.98, weekly food shop for a family (2 adults and 2 children) £83.40.

About smart meters and the rollout
Britain is committed to a cleaner future – one with zero carbon, zero emissions and reduced pollution.

To make this happen, our nation requires a major upgrade to its energy infrastructure, specifically, it requires the creation of a smart energy system. Smart meters, which replace traditional, analogue meters, are the building blocks of a more reliable, clean and affordable energy infrastructure, allowing Great Britain to better manage energy use, transition to mass uptake of electric vehicles and to build a greener economy.

There are already 17.3 million smart meters installed in homes and microbusinesses across Great Britain. Every household in England, Scotland and Wales can now see their energy use in near real time, receive accurate bills and do their bit for the planet, by requesting a smart meter, at no extra cost, from their energy supplier.

About Smart Energy GB
Smart Energy GB is the campaign for a smarter Britain. It’s our task to help everyone in Great Britain understand smart meters, the national rollout and how to use their new meters to be cleaner and greener with their energy use. Our national campaign is reaching households and microbusinesses in England, Scotland and Wales. For more information visit our website

Smart Energy GB media contacts
For more information including interview requests, case studies of smart meter users, infographics, photography and video content please contact the Smart Energy GB media team: [email protected]

About The Wild Network
The Wild Network is a broad and diverse community of parents, creatives, educators, innovators, businesses and hundreds of grassroots interventions on a mission to rewild childhood. Through various programs around the themes of nature, education, health and play, we work together to increase #wildtime for our kids - and the rest of us too.

About Energy Saving Trust
Energy Saving Trust is an independent organisation dedicated to promoting energy efficiency, low carbon transport and sustainable energy use. We aim to address the climate emergency and deliver the wider benefits of clean energy as we transition to net zero.

We empower householders to make better choices, deliver transformative programmes for governments and support businesses with strategy, research and assurance - enabling everyone to play their part in building a sustainable future.