Today guest posting on the blog is Carole Heidi. She’s an old friend of mine, much mentioned on this blog, but it’s the first time she’s featured as a guest (I think!) So, without further ado, here are Carole’s 5 Things.
5 Things to Keep the Kids Occupied This Summer by Carole Heidi
Summer Holidays can be a dauting thing when you are a parent of young kids. Six (or in our case this year, seven) whole weeks of needing to entertain your children all day, whatever the weather. Some people seem to live for the summer break but others, myself included, can’t help the tidal wave of fear the washes over us as the summer term flies by and that seemingly endless holiday looms.
Having a plan of action for the summer definitely helps so here are five of my biggest survival tips for getting through summer break with small kids:
1. Stock up on craft kits.
There are lots of places you can pick up reasonably priced craft sets – Wilkinsons is a great one. They do a fairly wide selection of craft kits for a variety of ages at really reasonable prices, they’re between £1 and £3.50 from what I remember. I try to have a selection of these along with a Super Value Pack from Yellow Moon ready for the start of the holidays – they are especially perfect for wet days when you can’t just chuck the kids outside.
2. Make a ‘Bored Jar’
Get some paper and a jar or a pot and write down lots of things to do. Whevener the phrase ‘I’m bored’ is uttered – send them in the direction of the jar and make them pull an activity out. The activities can be anything – from Read a Book to Build a Lego house – just use what you have around your house/garden for ideas. Sometimes all you need is a little direction and one thing leads to another and instead of just a Lego house, four hours passes and you have a whole town being terrorised by a dinosaur! You could even pop the craft kits you bought in there as suggestions for them to pull out or add in a few household jobs (such as Tidy Your Room!) We did this last year and called it a Summer Jar. The full list of ideas can be found over on my blog here.
3. Plan A Scavenger Hunt
If you want to get out of the house but don’t want to spend any money OR if it is raining and the kids are driving you bananas then give them some purpose and go on a scavenger hunt. If it is an indoor thing write a list of things in the house for them to find and make it a competition to see who can get a full set first – the list could be something like:
4 blue things
Something with a cat on it
Something that bounces
A green sock
Something with Spider-Man on
Something with wheels
Make the list as long or short or easy or hard as you like – depending on how long you want the game to last!
For an outdoor hunt you could send them in the garden or all go for a walk together and put different things on the list such as:
5 different shaped leaves
A white flower
Something with lots of legs
Again, you can tweak the list to suit your location, destination and kids ages – it just makes it a bit more fun than a plain old walk!
4. Plan some kitchen time!
I hate cooking with the kids. I turn into a big, flappy, stress-monster and usually end up ushering the kids out of the room in order to cry into the floury disaster zone that used to be my kitchen before trying to rescue whatever they were supposed to be making. Even so, I try to plan in a few REALLY easy kitchen things for the summer. I cheat. I buy in those cupcake/biscuit box mixes featuring whatever movie came out last and do those or I look up some no-bake recipes (such as this one) that takes the heat of the oven out of the occasion – perfect when it is already too hot!
There are lots of other things you can do that don’t involve the oven, actually: make jelly, decorate digestive biscuits – even getting them to help make their own sandwiches cand be fun for them if they aren’t often in the kitchen. I like it when we can do all the messy making and mixing outside as well – saves my kitchen 😉
Having a few recipes/kits ready and planned takes some of the stress out of it all – and, as ever, you can always throw the ideas in your bored jar!
5. Have a Bath!
Well, not you, personally, but them. Fill the bath with bubbles, find some way of making it multi-coloured, throw in toys and just let them play. It’s a great way for them to have some chill out time and doesn’t involve much stress for you. I quite often let my two have super long ‘play baths’ in summer because they love it and I get to sit and read my book whilst I supervise. Granted perching on the loo isn’t massively comfy but your bum goes numb enough after a while that you don’t notcie anymore…
I suspect this could be replaced with ‘fill the paddling pool’ and doing the same but we don’t have a big enough garden for that, sadly. And a bath doesn’t rely on it being warm outside either!
Thanks again to Carole! Be sure to visit her blog here. Want to do your own ‘5 Things’ guest post? Message me on twitter @libertyfallsdwn or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!