It’s that time again, the dreaded half term holidays when there is no school. Your children have been stimulated for weeks on end by their school teachers and friends, but now it is down to you to keep them entertained. In my personal experience, these are my favourite times! As I have had previous experience working in nurseries, I know what kids love to do. Here are my favourite activities to do with the little ones!
1. Messy play
This stuff still amazes me, even at the age of 23! It’s simply just water and cornflour mixed with water until you have a sloppy solid-liquid consistency. The science behind this stuff is unknown to me, but the kids love it.
Just pour it onto a plate for each child, and let the fun begin. They will play with it for a good half an hour, or more, or less depending on your child’s attention span. You can make it last longer, by giving them little toy figures. They can drizzle it over there toy and watch it get covered!
2. Wet walks with welly boots
Ahh yes, the Peppa pig inspired game! Jumping up and down in muddy puddles. Put your kid’s boots on no matter what they are wearing even keep them in their pyjamas shove a coat on and run around out in that fresh yet rainy foggy air. Have them find the biggest puddles and jump in them for as long as they can. Obviously, you can only do this activity if there is actual rainy weather!
3. Fort building
Have your little ones go and find every pillow, quilt, the blanket, they can find. As long as there is a table and chairs your children can have great fun! Pull the chairs out slightly placing large covers over the table until it looks dark and cozy under the table.
Then place your children’s favourite toys and games under with comfortable pillows and blankets so they are occupied for a while. My children love this, although they do start to moan when the cover falls! So make sure you weight it with a heavy thing or else you’ll be back and forth like a fly!
4. Have a picnic teddies and all
Who doesn’t like a picnic? Gather all of your favourite foods such as; hummus & carrot sticks, sandwiches, fruit, crisps, olives, etc. Set down a nice big blanket, the teddy’s and toys can join in too! Your child will love eating on the floor either indoors or outside depending on your weather and how cheeky the local seagulls are!
Put your phone down and spend quality time with your little ones they won’t want to do silly things like this when they are older so appreciate them making random conversations with teddy bears and dollies.
5. Painting with blocks animals & cars
Gather together around the table, prepare for the mess but also happy kids! Get out blocks, small cars, ponies, animals, etc. Add different colour paints on a suitable slate with a few paintbrushes and paper. Now you’re ready to be messy! Use their toys to paint, their hands to paint, get everything involved! Have fun, don’t worry about the mess, just live in the moment and make sure that you use a washable paint.
6. Music and dancing
Turn up your music and dance around the room. Your little ones will love it and will have a fabulous boogie time! The playlist is up to you, I like to play a mix of songs that keep them happy and dancing! Another thing you could do is get all the music instruments out and all play together, using shakers, drums, flutes, etc. You can find some wonderful unique musical instruments.
This bundle pack of play-doh is sure to entertain any child for hours. Play-doh truly is amazing, there is just so much you can make with it. My children love to get all of our kitchen utensil tools out such as chopsticks, a fork, butter knife, tea strainer, etc. They dig the tools into the playdoh to make indents, creating unique patterns, etc. My children do love to play solo but also enjoy the occasional ‘trying to get me involved’. They do this by saying “Dad, I made you some pancakes, do they taste nice?”
They always end up getting me to join in, come to think of it, I don’t know how they do it! Nonetheless, the bundle of playdoh will make a wonderful gift for any child aged 1-year plus. Even then you should supervise otherwise you may either end up with Playdoh everywhere, they may mix all the colors together which is a sad day for any OCD parent, or worse they may eat it all because it does smell so good. Whilst it is meant to be ‘safe/edible’ I just wouldn’t.
Something that is edible as they say is not exactly healthy. Colors included: Rose Red, Bright Orange, Sun Yellow, Grass Green, Night Sky Blue, Purple, Pale Pink and plain white. Cleaning up is generally done quite easy, it’s just a case of using one small piece of PlayDoh and then getting the other little pieces to stick to it.
Whilst PlayDoh is a toy, I never let my children have access to it to just play with it when they like. I keep it out of the way, up high and with good reason. Every time I need to do something whether it be a little work or perhaps cook lunch. It is something I can reach for and say “who wants to play with some playdoh? and they never refuse it, they are always excited to get making some more of those tasty pancakes for daddy!
8. The floor is lava
This is a great game, not to mention challenging for adults too! Grab some pillows, chairs, hula hoops, books, towels and make a walkway with it all. The challenge is that you and the children cannot touch the floor. Teamwork makes the dream work, get your children to help move things around so that you can get further around the house. This game never gets old and is much more exciting than the traditional board game.
9. Home Baking
Gather ingredients for whatever you fancy making such as; scones, biscuits, cakes, etc. Measure them out on the floor or table so that the little ones can see and help you, let them mix it. If you would like you can add the ingredients and when the fairy cakes are cooked you can let your little one decorate them. Of course, in the end, you can eat them.
10. Make up your own game
The silverfish game, I made this game up on the spot. I took some foil that you usually use for cooking and screwed it up into small little fish-shaped pieces. I cleaned an old mushroom tray and put the silver fishes in there. Afterward, I got some scrap paper and ripped it up in strips and placed it in the tray. Now we are ready to play, get the kids to sit opposite each other and 3, 2, 1, go.
The kids have to use their hands to find all of the small silverfish, which is quite challenging when everyone is also looking for them and is moving everything around! It doesn’t matter if bits end up on the floor, as you can have lots of fun and everyone will help put all the paper-back so that you can play again. This is just a game that I made up but these types of games are the best.
11. Board games
There are so many fantastic board games for kids, I remember most of my childhood playing games over and over again. Discover popular board games that are fun for the whole family.
12. Go to the beach
I can’t think of a single more relaxing thing than listening to the waves from the ocean on a sunny day or not. You could bring a picnic along with you if you’d like and if it is warm, have a little paddle in the sea. Go with your family or if alone bring a book and get stuck in. It is one of our cheap family days out that we do a lot with the kids.
13. The park
The park is one of those places, they are made for kids but are loved by adults. I spent a ton of my teenage years sitting on the swings with that fresh breeze on my face. Just like soft play – kids are happy here for hours, or until they are thirsty, hungry, tired, or need the toilet. Usually, there is always a local park in close proximity.
14. Visit family or friends
If you don’t feel up to doing those other things, consider seeing your friends or family. Having social interactions can really improve your overall mood. It’s nice to have a catch-up and maybe ask them to cook for you to make it into a nice evening thing. You don’t have just go there, you could plan in advance to have a barbecue, a dinner, tea and cake, a movie night or an open fire.
15. Family bike ride
When the weather is on your side, a family bike ride is one of the best (and cheapest) days out you can have. Once everyone can cycle to a high enough standard, you can begin exploring new areas of your local neighbourhood, cycling into the countryside or simply to a different area of the city. To make the most out of your bike ride, you can combine it with a family picnic. Simply stop off at a location of your choice, sit back and enjoy the food you have prepared!
16. Local festival events
Throughout the year, it’s likely that your area will hold local festivals. From cookouts and local parties to national celebrations such as firework nights and Christmas markets, local festival events allow you to get out and meet others in your area.
If you’re looking for some down time for you and your children, the library is actually a fantastic place to start. Not only is the library a very quiet place, but here, your children can explore a plethora of books based on the genres they love. This can become a weekly trip in which the whole family chooses a book they want to read that week. You can then replace the book the following week, allowing everyone to learn together.
18. take them to the museum
Museums are a wonderful place; they are full of history. I have always loved going to museums and since a kid, I have visited lots of different ones such as the gold museum where they had one million pounds in 5-pound notes on a display, the tank museum, Brighton pavilion museum, booth museum and many more.
The thing that’s great about them is that you only need to visit once and it’s likely that you will never forget the artefacts that you see. Each one is usually dedicated to one type of thing, kind of like a niche. This means that when it comes to visiting for study, it can help you get inspired on the topic. Everything is old, and always has a story attached to it. A story within itself is enough to drive interest and creates a talking point. From dinosaur bones to crystal stones your child will show an interest in the various items on show.
4 Reasons why you should take your child to a museum
1. Knowledge and education
I have no doubt that as long as your child is above the age of three, they will most definitely learn something new. Thus expanding their knowledge and supporting their future developments, interests about the world, and provoking their curiosity. This is because when children or adults alike go to a museum they are exposed to a wide array of facts. From this, we will take our own interpretations of our experience and over time this could develop into a hobby. It could even become part of a social conversation. As most museums are places that you visit once, visiting different ones regularly, will likely make your child want to experience new things. Overall making them more open to new experiences and increasing their intelligence.
What do you think provides more value to your child? Playing a game, watching a film that they have already seen before or a new experience that they will likely remember for the rest of their life. Even if not, it is something to do and you could always take a photo! The most important thing is that you get to spend more time together as a family.
Not only would attending museums regularly make your child smart. It could also help your child become better at history as a subject in their school curriculum. Seeing as a child is new to this world, it could also help relieve some naiveties about the way they see the things around them. Therefore, developing a further appreciation.
Museums overall can help you unwind, tuning out from all of the stressors of today. Being able to walk around and take in as much or as little information as you would like. The information is not important and is optional. This is why it creates a calming environment where there are no pressures and stress is reduced.
The best type of museum for happiness, in my opinion, is art galleries as they tend to be extremely open to interpretations. Which leads to a no right or wrong scenario where we can just walk around. Spreading positivity about peoples work, also helping us to feel good. For children, this could lead to inspiration and when they know that people have painted these pictures they may want to start painting their own.