School Holiday Fun
You’ve got six weeks to fill with entertainment for the kids, what a challenge!
Kids need to be kept occupied – let’s face it, when they’re bored they end up being naughty. I know it’s difficult keeping them entertained for every waking hour of the school holidays but if you can do as much as possible and they’re happy, then you’re probably happier too.
I can remember when I was a kid I used to be able to go off and play football, go on bike rides and spend many hours at the outdoor swimming pool, with my brother and our friends. We’d appear at home at mealtimes and then go off again, amusing ourselves quite happily. Unfortunately we live in different times now and it isn’t really safe to let children do that these days, so the onus is more on parents entertaining them.
If you can combine subtle education with play then hopefully you will have sown the seeds for later life. I’m talking about creative play – get them to make something out of old stuff, basically upcycling – and getting them to realise why you’re using these cast -off materials, will teach them to carry that on through their life.
I’m making a few suggestions, some my ideas and some I’ve found through online searches, but you’ll have your own ideas, possibly based around things your own children are already interested in. It may even be worth getting them to suggest their own ideas of using waste materials – children’s imaginations are wonderful. Think Blue Peter!
If the weather dictates indoor play, get them baking. Give them an apron, a rolling pin, flour etc and make pastry, cakes or scones. They love getting messy so be prepared for some cleaning up but they’ll love it. My kids can remember helping their Nan in the kitchen even now. Make some biscuits or buns and let them run riot with the decorations – hundreds and thousands, chocolate sprinkles and cherries.
While we’re taking about making stuff, I’ve seen this recipe for Slime – yes, Slime! It’s eco-friendly, non-toxic and edible - and lots of fun.
1/2 cup Cornflour
18-20 Teaspoons of Water
Food Colour or Natural Colour
How To Mix It:
Step 1 > Measure out 1/2 a cup of cornflour
Step 2 > Place some water in a small dish and add some colour
This makes it much easier to stir and less chance of staining your hands or clothes in the process.
Step 3 > Place cornflour in a dish and add 10-12 teaspoons of your coloured water on top.
Step 4 > Mix together with a butter knife or spoon - It should start to look a little crumbly.
Step 5 > Slowly add extra teaspoons of coloured water to the mix until you reach a gooey, slimy consistency.
It's like making cupcake icing and only takes a minute or two to do.
If you made it too watery, just add a little more flour.
If it becomes too dry, especially after the kids have played with it for a while, just add a little more water.
When you scoop it up with a knife it should slowly drip down like a gloopy mess. And when you grab some of it in your hand you should be able to roll a ball.
While you are rolling your hands together, it will keep its shape and as soon as you stop, it turns straight back to gooey slime and drips everywhere!
Because it’s all natural ingredients it’s easy to dispose of when you’ve finished with it.
I found other recipes you may like to try, such as biodegradable glitter made from salt – go to www.thegoodlifewithamyfrench.com
If you’re able to get outdoors, perhaps go for a nature walk. Make a list of things you’re likely to see, such as a particular tree, bush, bird, insect, and give the kids the list on a clipboard so that they can tick them off as they go. This may involve you brushing up on your nature skills a bit but make it realistic for the kids, listing things you know they’ll see – no bald eagles!
If you see something interesting that’s not on the list, tell them what it is and add it to the bottom of the list. Take a picnic and a ball to kick about if you’re near a park, let them run off some energy. Of course, encourage them to take any litter home, making sure they know why it’s important.
You may be lucky enough to live near an off-road cycle track, where you can have a family bike ride in safety. Do the picnic too. We live near an old railway line, the tracks are long gone and it’s now a footpath, cycle path and bridleway. You have to be aware of other users which is a good way of teaching children elements of the highway code and being considerate and polite.
The beach is always a winner, assuming you’re within easy reach of one. Kids love playing in the sand, and splashing about in the water. If there’s room, play cricket or rounders, again expending their energy, making them sleep well at night!
Of course, if you take a picnic, the only cost will be the fuel and the car park, possibly an ice cream. Maybe you could take the train or bus, which are of course eco-friendly.
Organise a treasure hunt, giving the kids a list of things to find and tick off. This can be indoors or outdoors and as short or long as you like.
Get them involved in gardening, growing their own veg or salad is something they’ll find fascinating. Even growing things from seed on the kitchen window sill in old plastic bottles will be interesting to them. And the fact that you will then have herbs you can use, or cress you can put in sandwiches is a plus.
Of course, they will still want to watch TV or play on the gaming device but balance that with an activity and hopefully they’ll be happier, which in turn makes you happier too.
At the end of the six weeks you can breathe a sigh of relief and put your feet up for 5 minutes!