Long bank holiday weekends, half term and end of term provides a great opportunity for families to spend more quality time with each other, and whilst a few days of school can be novel, once you get a few weeks into a long break and it can be a different story!
As much as we love our kids, when they are off school for long periods of time, they can get frustrated, bored and have a habit of getting under your feet.
Here are some handy ideas to help you get them out from in front of the TV, and doing something fun and crafty instead!
1. Craft Project
Crafting is a great way of letting your kids be creative and means they can let their imaginations run free. When it comes to craft projects there are so many options, that you’ll need to start by narrowing it down a bit. What time of year is it? Thinking of something seasonal is a great way to help you come up with craft themes, from which you can develop more specific ideas.
Easter and Christmas provide obvious sources of crafting inspiration, but if there are no obvious events coming up, turn your thoughts to the seasons. Now for example, is a great time to be thinking about summer so you could get your little ones to create some summery paper bunting or paper chains. They are SO easy to do and the results are fantastic!
For lots more children’s craft ideas, check out Pinterest here.
2. Artistic Flair
Get the paints out and either a plain piece of paper or a cheap plain canvas and let your little one create a painting. This could be in the style of a famous artist (Picasso is always fun!), it could be a self portrait or a portrait of their pet, it could be inspired by their favourite place or hobby, or they can let their imaginations run free and paint anything they can think of!
3. Scavenger Hunt
This idea takes a little bit of planning, but can provide hours of fun for your kids. A scavenger hunt typically involves a list of things that they will need to find, in order to tick it off their list.
Suitable scavenger hunt items could be anything from finding any fallen leaf through to a twig from a certain tree or a petal from a specific flower. If it’s a rainy day, then simply create a list of household objects that they need to go and find instead, though an outdoors scavenger hunt is always much more fun.
If you don’t fancy creating your own list, then why not download the Crocky Trail woodland walk scavenger hunt here.
4. Local Landmarks & Attractions
You don’t have to travel far to do this but taking advantage of what’s on your door step is a great way of both entertaining and educating the kids at the same time. Kids love ruins and castles, take a picnic with you you can make a day trip of it.
If you’d prefer not to have to spend any money on entrance fee’s, which lets face it can soon mount up; look to your local library, museum or gallery. Many will have special events on for children and many also offer free entry, making them the ideal way to entertain your kids and give them a taste of culture at the same time.
5. Something Yummy
You can’t go wrong with baking and i’m yet to find a child that doesn’t enjoy getting involved with cooking and especially cake baking!
If you are after something simple and no fuss, you could go with chocolate Rice Crispie cakes, but you can’t beat baking cupcakes from scratch and then letting your child decorate them. They are unlikely to look pretty, but your child will be immensely proud and get’s the added benefit of getting to eat something yummy as a reward for all of their hard work!
Baking with children recipes from the BBC.
6. Green Fingers
Spring and summer are the ideal times to get your little ones out in the garden. With their own little tool set, they can help with weeding and planting. Our recommendation would be to buy them a packet of seeds of their choosing or to go with something like sunflowers. Teach them how to sew them and look after them. Watching something grow can bring an enormousness amount of joy to a child and means they can then tend to the plant/flower for several weeks as it grows and blooms.
Alternatively, you could let them plant their own little salad or fruit garden. Growing from seeds is always a joy and little ones will love seeing seeds germinate and the plant start to grow. In a few months time, picking tomatoes or strawberries they’ve grown themselves will provide them with a great sense of achievement.
7. Treasure Hunt
A treasure hunt is different to a scavenger hunt as it involves following a series of clues. This will take a fair bit of time for you to set up, but it can provide enormous amounts of fun for your children. They also get a great sense of achievement from working out the clues and will be delighted with a reward at the end which could be anything from a tasty home baked cake, some sweets or a small toy.
Make the clues as easy as possible and children really like rhyming couplets, for example “This clue is hidden on your bed, close to where you rest your head….”
8. Create A Scrap Book
A scrap book can be a one off or ongoing project which lasts an entire summer, or even a full year. Scrap booking is great way of letting children record and remember things that are important to them and can include everything from tickets to events they’ve visited through to photographs, pictures they’ve drawn, stories they’ve written and pretty much anything they can think of.
You will need some basic supplies like paper and glue. Washi tape (patterned sticky tape), glitter, buttons and pattern cutting scissors are all relatively inexpensive and are ideal for helping your child be creative with their scrap book. You’ll also find scrap booking kits available online and in hobby stores that will provide you with everything your child needs to get them started.
9. Set A Learning Challenge
Challenge your child to learn something new during the holidays. This usually works better for slightly older children of say 8+ but it does apply to younger children too. For example, you could challenge your 4 year old to learn to ride their bike without stabilisers, encouraging them to practice regularly. Your child might show an interest in languages, certain crafting techniques, creative writing,
10. Crafting With Cardboard Boxes
A simple cardboard box presents a world of opportunities to a child and gives them the chance to let their imaginations run free! From using a shoe-box to create a mini scene of say their bedroom or the local park, through to creating a fully decorated play house complete with cut-out doors and windows from a large cardboard box.
Boxes are inexpensive (if you don’t already have any, you can pick them up from some Supermarkets) and can be used to form the basis of many creative crafting activities. How about creating an animal mask, a robot costume or even a super simple cardboard sword?
Take a look at the creative things you can do with a cardboard box here.