So that time is nearly upon us – the summer holidays! 6 weeks of summer fun with no school. It can be a blessing and a curse. You might be looking forward to the break from the routine – I know I am (anything that means no school run is ok in my books), but you might be dreading these summer holidays.
I think for working parents it is particularly stressful trying to cover that full 6 weeks and I don’t envy you having to organise all of that. The headache it must cause trying to schedule activities or using holiday to stay at home and look after them. Whether you are at home or at work they have to be entertained for weeks on end.
Stay at home Parents
If you are staying at home whether as a break from work or just as a stay at home / work at home parent there is the matter of entertaining little people for 12 hours a day and that is also no mean feat. So in this post I am sharing 9 quick and easy ways to entertain kids during the summer holidays. I do also organise some day trips and my boys attend a holiday club a couple of times during the summer holidays just for a change of scenery. We are lucky enough that we are also able to go on holiday each year so we get out of the house too, but I can’t always just be throwing money at the holidays so these ideas are all cheap or free and home based.
For more money saving ideas this summer check out this post from Me Him the Dog and a baby.
- Toys in ice – this is great for a hot day and is super easy, but not so quick as of course the water has to freeze! All you need is a Tupperware or silicone (easy to get ice out of) dish, small toys, water and food colouring. Put it all together and then freeze. The kids spend ages trying to get those toys out. If you use food colouring I recommend not putting their best clothes on for the excavation!
- Garden obstacle courses. I have written about this before as it is such a great way of burning off some energy and for the children to learn to take turns, think through how to achieve the end goal and practice physical skills like balancing
- Create summer pictures. My littles love to draw and paint and have little easels so we set up outside and then perhaps choose a flower to draw or they just go freestyle. I am rubbish at drawing so am no help, but they love it
- Have a garden disco. My kids love ‘Alexa’ and think it is great that they can ask her to play songs so we get that outside or inside if its raining and we have a good old dance
- Make another world… Using the black builders tray (which if you don’t have one I totally recommend getting as it is great for so many activities and keeps the mess where it should be) we use sand, stones and leaves to create an imaginary planet or a prehistoric world or a desert island. I use large Tupperware surrounded by sand to make a lake as you totally need water! We then get out the playmobil characters and imagine all kinds of scenarios. Recently the romans and Egyptians had a big battle on our builders tray
- ‘Hide the…’ We don’t have a big enough garden to really play hide and seek so instead of that the kids choose an item and take it in turns to hide it. Hours are spent playing this game and they love it just as much as hide and seek
- Fruit ice lolly making – this is another one that isn’t so quick due to freezing time, but I think it is always good to get the littles involved in the kitchen. To do this we will do a trip to the local shops to buy fruit and then once home we cut it up into little bits and create a layer of fruit at the bottom of an ice lolly mould. Next we add apple juice and freeze. I don’t fill it to the top and as soon as the juice starts to set we take them out and add another layer of fruit before topping up with juice again and leaving to freeze.
- Foot print pictures. This is seriously messy but oh so much fun…. We use rolls of paper to cover the patio and then put paint in the builders tray. The kids then walk through the paint and onto the paper to make footprint pictures. They always end up slipping over so you do have to be careful and they always end up painting each other so we tend to do this in pants and at the end of the day so that it can be straight up to bath afterwards. We have some great laughs doing this
- On a sunny day you can’t beat a bit of water play whether it is a paddling pool, a water fight or just washing their toys
I am not sure there is any magic formula for the summer holidays and at some point, the kids are likely to get irritated with one another and you are clearly going to get irritated with them, but that’s life. I am hardly the bastion of perfect motherhood and am undoubtedly muddling through making mistakes left right and centre, but one thing I have come to realise is that we mustn’t be afraid to let them get bored. When I was little my mum certainly arranged stuff to entertain us, but we also had to make our own fun. There weren’t endless TV channels available at all times it was ‘Why Don’t you!’ (for those of you not as ancient as I am here is what I am taking about: Why don’t you) or nothing…. At the risk of sounding like an old moan – kids today don’t know they are born! We entertain them constantly whether it is with endless after school activities, or electronic devices, or coming up with things for them to do. I think we need to let them drive some of this themselves. I have genuinely noticed that when we have a day at home where we have nothing planned and when I haven’t prepared an activity they actually tend to come up with the best games on their own. When left to their own devices their imaginations are triggered much more and they have more fun. So this summer whilst I will be doing these activities and lots more besides I will also be just letting them be….