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The school summer holidays are approaching, which means as parents we have to find different ways to keep the kids occupied for 6 weeks.
It would be best to start by planning each week in advance. If the kids know they have things to look forward to it will make for happier more relaxed children. Also be sure to get the children involved in the planning. They will be less likely to complain about the activities chosen if they have taken part in the decision-making.
Some ideas that won’t break the bank:
- Make your own games. Get a supply of coloured cards, children’s scissors, glue and anything else you may want to make some fun games.
- Cooking and baking. Involve the kids in the process from the beginning — let them chose from a selection of recipes that you have ingredients for. Step by step, help them to work through the instructions.
- Make an assault course or hold your own mini Olympics. A sack race with pillowcases, a tug of war with a dressing gown belt! Use your imagination.
- Build a garden patch. Dedicate a small patch in the garden to the kids. Plant flowers, herbs, lettuce — anything that grows quickly and gives them the satisfaction of having produced something.
- Go camping. Build a tent indoors or outdoors with blankets and sheets.
- Go on picnics. You don’t have to go far to have a picnic – you can even have one in your garden or on a rug in the house if the weather isn’t very good.
- Have a treasure hunt. Make a treasure map and let the kids go off finding the treasure.
- Create a Summer Diary. Take photos of special days and write about them. It will become a lovely memory book for them in the future.
- Get jamming. Grab some musical instruments, or make your own — things like bongos, shakers or tambourines. Get your kids to sing and dance along.
- Paint. Get large sheets of paper and lots of paint. Go mad and use your hands and feet, if the weather is nice you can do it outdoors and not have to worry about the mess so much.
- Get into jewellery making. Go to a bead shop and stock up on beads, wire and clasps, and get busy making your own jewellery. The children will be so proud to wear the jewellery that they have made.
- Go swimming. If you are lucky enough to live close to the sea, go swimming when possible. If you don’t live close to the sea, go to a swimming pool instead. Check to see if your local council swimming pool offers free or reduced-fee entrance in the school holidays.
- Take nature walks. Go on nature walks with a purpose. On the beach, collect shells and stones to later make a shell castle or shell and stone sculptures. In the forest, get kids to seek out different sorts of bugs, plants or trees.
- Visit the library. Use your local library regularly. In most libraries you can get more than books; you can get movies and music. Make a day out of it. Do some reading while you’re there instead of getting some books and heading home.
- Organise some play dates. Plan some play dates and invite friends over. While they spend time with their friends it may give you the opportunity to get some work done and perhaps even connect with other parents. The invite may be returned some day.
- Have a “Chill Day”. With all that activity planned, kids will also need some down time. Make sure you plan some days where you just chill, watch some movies, read some books, and take it easy.
During the school holidays, there may be lots going on in your local area that your family can enjoy, often for free. Check the websites of your local council and tourist information centres for local days out, or scan the local papers and community centres to see what’s going on in your area.
Don’t try and fill every minute of every day. Encourage your children’s imagination and independence – let them play in their rooms or the garden.