- Family and Parenting
Entertaining Children During Rainy School Holidays
Holidays are all about relaxing and having fun. Children these days really do need a bit of time away from routine when they too can relax and spend time doing enjoyable things just for fun.
For lots of children, and their frazzled parents, term time is a constant rush form one place to another fitting in school, or nursery, and often dance, music, football, tennis or swimming lessons, just to mention a few. Of course all these activities are valuable but without care it's easy to overdo it. Check out the link below and consider how busy you and your children are.
The brilliant thing about school holidays is that they are a chance to redress the balance a bit - even young children will enjoy sometimes not having to get dressed straight away and take time over breakfast.
But we all know that children also get bored very easily so it's good to have a few ideas up your sleeve to amuse children during the school holidays, especially when the weather isn't brilliant.The ideas here are all easy and inexpensive and most can suit a wide age range with a little bit of adaptation.
There are literally hundreds of options for creative activities or craft projects that can keep children occupied for ages. With younger children painting is always fun but instead of just painting on paper try painting stones or pebbles, or try printing with cut potatoes or sponges anything with different textures that can create an interesting paint effect. Often using some glitter paints or textured paints can make the activity more unusual. If you need a bit more inspiration there are lots of ideas on you tube - the video link below is just one example.
But slightly older children might enjoy more complicated projects, making sock puppets, sewing simple 'creatures' with fabric or using fabric and pegs to make dolls. Boxes and packaging can also be used to make models, robots, cars, castles or almost anything else you can imagine, and children have great imaginations.
Nowadays phones all have videos so it can be great to encourage children to make a short film, but it's also a good idea to plan a bit, they can easily make a 'story board' and then act in their own 'blockbuster'.
Remember that with creative activities the emphasis is often on the process rather than the finished product, although there is a satisfaction in producing something they feel pleased with so support with some activities will be essential. Before you start, think about where is best for the activity so that you don't need to clear it all away while they are still enjoying it and also make sure if it's messy that things are covered if you don't want them 'painted'.
Cooking with Kids
Almost all children, and in my experience a lot of teenagers too, love cooking. Cakes and biscuits are usually a firm favourite but many will also enjoy baking bread or making a simple pasta meals, almost anything that involves food will be fun. If as a parent you enjoy cooking and baking then the chances are your child will already be used to being involved in cooking. But don't worry if cooking isn't something you love there are lots of simple 'cookery' ideas that don't really involve much cooking at all. Try cornflake or crispy cakes, making popcorn or decorating plain biscuits.
It can also be fun to have a picnic, even if t is just in the lounge with a blanket on the floor it can take quite a while to make and pack and with imagination you could be anywhere!
As well as sweet treats think about making vegetable crisps or chopping fruit into yoghurt. As always be aware of safety, but cooking is a great learning experience as well as fun. But the very best part may still be licking out the bowl!
Cooking with kids is fun
Even if the weather is bad it is still good to be active. Modern homes often don't have a lot of space but there are still ways you can get the kids to be active. A simple option is to get them to dance to some music, young children don't need much encouragement but they will often enjoy it more if an adult joins in. Older children might enjoy choreographing a dance and even putting on a show.
Simple yoga type routines can also be fun and if it is 'postures' they don't need too much space. Try looking up some simple yoga moves and have a go. Even fitness videos can be good fun to do with children. The video below also gives a few ideas about how to be active with kids indoors.
Whatever you do getting active is good but remember too that even if the weather is bad children can still enjoy wet walks or visits to the park when wrapped up.
Stories, books and games
Hopefully stories and books are a fundamental part of children's lives but holiday times are a great opportunity to really indulge in some good stories. With young children simply having the time to read the same story over and over will be much appreciated but you can also try acting out some stories, or basing a creative activity around the characters in a story. With children who are little bit older try getting them to make a book by writing a simple story and then illustrating it. Or even making a magazine which they can then print. Technology means it is easy and relatively inexpensive to print pages and include photos or drawings.
But it is also fun to make up stories together, this can be a game in itself by using story cubes or having a few stimulus cards - characters and places for example. In the age of electronic games, which can be great fun and educational, don't forget about some of the classic board games which children still enjoy - a simple game of bingo, dominoes, snap or happy families can keep children engaged for some time. If there are a few children you could have a games marathon or tournament.
It can also be a time to get out some of the toys and games that may have been stored away - children will often enjoy for example building with lego when there is time to really get into it - even if it is something they haven't done for a while. And don't forget pretend play almost all children will enjoy setting up a shop, or restaurant, it just takes everyday objects and some imagination.
Use holiday to recharge batteries - even if you can't go away and even if the weather is awful you can still have break from routine, important for children and parents. I know that many parents have to work during school holidays and that becomes another pressure but if you take any time off try to enjoy spending time with your children and having fun.
- Try an art or craft activity or project
- Even if indoors try something active
- Cooking can be great fun
- Going outdoors even if the weather is poor can still be fun if appropriately dressed
- Visits and trips needn't cost the earth
Think too about inviting friends round - it can easily create a 'party' atmosphere and many activities are ore enjoyable when shared.
Trips and Visits
Even if the weather is awful it is worth getting out and about sometimes. Check out places to go near you that don't cost the earth. In the UK we are very lucky in having lots of museums and galleries that are free.
Similarly nature spots likes woods and lakes can be free to visit and are fun. Making a note of what's been seen and making a book (simple for young children) about it or 'hunting' for various things can also be fun. Young children will always have fun splashing in puddles in their wellies.
Cinema can be expensive but watching a movie at home and making it like a cinema with popcorn, lights low and friends can be a fun alternative.