The 6 week holidays are here, school is out, and parents everywhere are panicking about how they are going to keep their children entertained during that time! There will have been an adjustment period for children, and parents, to settle into a new routine of being at home. A good tip is to keep your children busy but also include downtime so that you as the parent do not get worn out. After the last 12 months of lots of things closed and not being able to see people, use these holidays to remember how much fun meeting up with friends for playdates can be. The summer holidays do not need to be about lots of expensive days out. Here is our list of a mixture of indoor, outdoor, at home and out and about ideas for school holiday activities to keep your children entertained.
At home (inside):
#1 Make an obstacle course. Use pillows, cushions boxes, chairs, blankets etc to create an obstacle that your child has to complete. Time them to see if they can beat their time. Get them to help you create it too.
#2 Themed play space. There are so many ideas on Pinterest using Tuff trays to create themed play spaces. You could use a large mat, or large box and cut the sides down instead if you don’t have a Tuff tray. Set up a different one each week ie: a farm, a dinosaur world, monster truck track, water play etc. You will be surprised how long these will occupy your child’s imagination.
#3 House treasure hunt. Create a list of different items around the house for your children to go and spot. Make it harder by saying, something round, something blue, something rough for example. Then discuss what the children have found when they bring them back.
#4 Make a den. A simple one but still very effective, even with older age children. Use a table with a bedsheet/blanket over it and let the children bring into it what they want, pillows, duvet, teddies etc. This can also be used as a chill-out area when you want the children to have some downtime.
#5 Baking. This was something loads of us were doing during Covid, but children still love it. Classic cake recipes always go down well with children, but if you look online, you can find healthier baking recipes and if the children have helped to make it, they may be more inclined to eat it!
#6 Cardboard boxes. Children have wonderful imaginations and if you give them an empty cardboard box, their imagination will take them to lots of different places. Work with them to help cut it to shape or decorate it to be what they want. Younger children can paint one with a brush and some washable paint.
#7 Collaging. Use different textures, colours and picture resources to create wonderful collages on paper. You could set a theme such as holidays, toys or a colour. Or just let the children create an image they want using the different resources they have got.
At home (outside):
#8 Gardening. You would be shocked at how much children want to help in the garden. General tidying, weeding, rearranging, planting are all activities that children of all ages can help with and enjoy while outside in the garden.
#9 Create a herb garden. This is an idea that can be done using small plant versions of herbs to grow and develop at home, or fully established ones that only need replanting. Take a trip to your local garden centre and get the children to choose what they would like to grow. Then, use them while cooking!
#10 Water play. This is great for when the sun is shining as a way to cool down the children, but children still like getting wet whatever the weather! So set up an area/table with a big tub of water and lots of little pots, cups, spoons etc and let their imagination go wild!
#11 Play garden games. Teach children to play classic garden games such as Jenga, catch, football, boules or hopscotch. They will love using the equipment and might even come up with their own game using it all.
#12 Build a wormery. This is a great one for children who love to watch and see bugs or insects at work. There is a great step by step instructions here to help and guide you.
#13 Flower pressing. Go on a walk and collect local wild flowers, talk about the colours and smells etc. Then when you get home, use an old heavy book to press them. These can then be used in pictures.
#14 Leaf collages. Like the collage idea mentioned above but using resources from outside to create the picture. The image could even be made on the garden path for example.
Out and about:
#15 Visit your local library. Libraries need the support of the local community and now more than ever after Covid. Children love going to the library and looking at all the books, choosing which ones to take home and then reading them as soon as they can. Most local libraries do summer reading challenges or treasure hunts.
#16 Go for a bike ride. There is something so lovely about seeing a whole family out and about on their bikes enjoying the fresh air. If your children are younger then use bike seats or tandem bikes, there are even those karts that you can put on the back of adult bikes too.
#17 Go fruit picking. There are lots of local places that offer fruit picking of lots of different fruits. The children can enjoy finding the best fruits and then use them in a recipe afterwards. Most places will also have a play area or cafe.
#18 Plan a day trip. Of course, you don’t want the whole summer holiday to be about expensive days out, but one or two is not harmful. Talk to your children about where they want to go and maybe choose 1 place each. When booking, do look for possible offers or cheaper ways to book.
#19 Picnic in a park. Get the family involved in choosing and shopping for the picnic, possibly even make it together. Then get the car loaded up and head off to your local park for the afternoon. All sat on a blanket, having a lovely picnic in the sunshine, perfect family time.
#20 Outdoor quest. Whilst outside set the children a quest or challenge. This could be photographing butterflies, looking for letters in objects to spell their name or spotting different cloud shapes. Having a focus on a walk helps make it more interesting for the children and makes them feel involved.
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