The school holidays are almost here, and as exciting as that is, I can also feel a little bit of dread beneath the surface. Dread of when the excitement of being off school wanes, and the moaning and boredom begin to take hold. To try and avoid this, I’ve been coming up with plans to head off the school holiday fatigue. I hope some of them are helpful to you too.
Create a cubby hole / den
Dressing up doesn’t always have to be about super heroes. Give your children time to dress up and make believe they’re grown-ups, or other characters, is loads of fun too. Instead of throwing out all your old clothes and hats, create a dressing-up box that the kids can access whenever they want.
Baking and cooking
If you’re prepared to put up with the mess, then there are endless crafty activities you can do at home. Invest in some paper, glue, paint, glitter etc. and let them get on with it. If they’re struggling for ideas, then give them a theme, or choose someone to make a card for.
Create a show
Get the children to put together their own show. It could be musical or drama – it’s up to them. They can spend time writing it and practising, and then they could even create flyers and tickets for the performance itself.
Make a newspaper
Your kids could document their holiday adventures by making a newspaper about them that they add to each week. There’s loads of creative skills that could be involved in this, such as photography, drawing, writing etc.
Have their friends over
Take turns having play dates with one or more of their school friends. Children are much more entertained by people their own age. My daughter will happily play for hours with another child, using the same toys that she finds so dull on her own. Company is the best entertainment, and children miss their friends when they’re away from them for a long time.
Get out of the house
If you stay at home day after day, both you and your children will go stir crazy. Try and get out somewhere at least once a day if you can. It doesn’t have to be anything big either. Make a shopping list and then walk to the shop and let the kids take charge of finding the items and paying. Go to the local park, or woods. A change of scenery and fresh air can improve moods within minutes.
Plan some fun trips out. You can visit parks, farms, or museums etc. Plenty of places provide free entry, so it doesn’t need to cost the earth to have a fun day out.
If the weather is lousy, choose a selection of films and make some fun snacks to enjoy while watching them. Or, if there’s a new film out, have a special trip to the cinema. (My daughter is five years old and she still won’t sit down long enough to watch an entire film, but you might be luckier than me!)
Challenge the children
It’s hard trying to constantly come up with ways to entertain children over the long summer break. Why not challenge your children to suggest ideas of their own to keep them busy and see what they come up with? They might surprise you. My daughter asked for a paintbrush the other day and she then spent a full half an hour painting an entire gate with water (she’d seen me painting a gate the day before and was pretending to do the same).
Activities can be incredibly simple and yet they can keep children busy and happy for hours, so don’t think you have to offer the earth on a daily basis.
Jo Murricane is a freelance copywriter and blogger, based in Leeds. Read all about her food and lifestyle investigations on her blog, jo-blogs.co.uk.