29 Mar Top tips: Keeping the children amused in the holidays!
It is nearly the Easter holidays, school is closed, playgroups have shut down and the prospect of entertaining your children for two weeks is looming. The wonderful unpredictability of our weather doesn’t help matters either. So we have put together some of our favourite activities to help inspire you. Most of these can be tailored for any age and can be done using normal things you have in the house. They can also be transferred outside if the weather turns out to be nice 🤞. We would love to hear from you about what your little ones enjoy too – we always need new ideas!
1) Play sink and float – pick things from around the house and get the children to guess whether they will sink or float – this usually just ends up in a massive splashing fest so you may want to do it in the kitchen or bathroom, or, if warm enough, the garden.
2) Scavenger hunt – give your child a list of things to find either from the garden or if it’s raining inside the house. If they can’t read, draw pictures of the things you want them to find.
3) Make an assault course – crawl under chairs, jump off sofas, you can even make a tunnel to crawl through with blankets, make circles out of tights for them to jump in, do slalom with shoes or tubes of breadsticks as obstacles, get creative! Depending on how many children you have you can even have teams – our races get very loud.
4) Cooking – get baking with your little ones. Fairy cakes are always popular (especially if they get to lick the bowl). Shortbread is another good one to do with children – they can spend ages pushing this into the dish with their fingers. And for those of us not in the running for the best British Bake Off you could try crispy cakes (melt chocolate, add corn flakes – so simple even we can do this one!), or get the children help make lunch or supper, anything that they can cut vegetables for and help with. Stir fry and soup are particularly good for this.
5) Make up stories – you each take it in turns to say a sentence. You write them down and then read them out as a story. Be prepared for lots of poo and bottoms!
6) Play a board game or card game together – snap is always a good one – the children love shouting snap! – or if you have it dobble is a popular choice in our houses. Other fun games if you don’t have any board games are noughts and crosses and the matching game (where you have to find matching pairs of cards by taking turns to turn two over at a time and remembering where you saw matching pairs).
7) Memory game – collect random things from around the house, put them on the table and let the children look at them for a for a few minutes. Then cover them with a towel and see how many they can remember. Another way is to take something away when they have their eyes closed and see if they can work out what it is.
8) Read together – you can talk about the characters and the plot together, look at the pictures to explore how the people might be feeling given their facial expressions, or ask your child questions about the story and what they understood from it.
9) Do a “country day” – your child chooses a country. You then spend the day finding out about that country: what their flag looks like; what language they speak; how to say hello in their language; what types of houses they live in; what animals are native to that country; what the capital city is etc. You can even make a collage to display all the things you have learned. We also eat a traditional dish from that country for lunch or dinner (or both!).
10) Help you to do chores – sort washing, do the dishwasher, tidy up.
11) Let them entertain themselves for a bit – don’t feel that you have to provide constant entertainment, it is good for them to come up with ideas and entertain themselves. If your house is anything like ours are, it is filled to the brim with toys and tat that they can play with!
12) If it is raining, bundle them up and go and jump in muddy puddles!
13) Rotation play – This is great for the younger members of the household (1 year olds) Packing up toys that are not being played with and then re-introducing a bit later. For example have various play buckets & toys set up in different rooms of the house for the little babies to explore.
14) Messy play – the weather is warmer so you can in theory chuck them outside with dry pasta, Saucepans, rice, spoons. Kinetic Sand is also a winner! Squeezable and easy to clean up and re-use.
15) Roleplaying – pretend to paint the shed with buckets of water and brushes, or actual painting of cardboard boxes. Playing families is also a firm favourite among our children. Set up a rug in the house or outside and ask the children to organise a pretend picnic.
16) Crafty shizzle – cutting, sticking, painting. Or if you’re organised and have a craft draw just empty it out on the table and let them go for it!
If all else fails and you reach your limit, pour yourself a glass of wine and turn on the tv. We will post next week on the most educational tv programmes that our little ones like to try to help assuage the guilt!