Written by: Cally Worden
The expectant faces of kids on holiday mornings can test the most creative of parents – how to fill those endless school-free days? There is an argument that says just tell the kids to go off and play. Personally I think it’s important to do just that sometimes – they need to learn how to occupy themselves. But at some point even the most independent kids will need some guidance. Here are a few ideas for things to do in the school holidays which will fire their imaginations without busting the bank.
Things to do
1: Fly a kite – I recently discovered Pocket Kites – cheap, and easy to assemble (important for my spatially challenged brain), these colourful little gems can be slipped into your pocket or bag and whisked out when the wind gets up. Whether you are at the park or the beach a Pocket Kite can provide just the injection of life you need to re-energise your kids.
2: Play Board Games – remember those?! At risk of sounding like my mother … in my day games like Monopoly, Guess Who and Connect 4 were essential tools in our rainy-day armoury. If you instil a love of games such as these in your kids from an early age they offer a welcome diversion from the electronic gadgets that can tend to dominate proceedings.
3: Go for a Bike Ride – if your kids are old enough then sending them out for the day with a packed lunch and a map is a great way to encourage independence. For younger children an accompanied trundle around the local area is ideal, with the promise of drinks and snacks at various points enough to keep most little ones motivated.
4: Read a Book – for fun, not because your teacher says you have to. Visiting a library is a lovely way to get children interested in books, and the endless choices on offer can appeal to those children who thrive on regular new stimuli. It’s like getting a new set of presents every week.
5: Go Bug Hunting – not for faint-hearted parent this, but many children are fascinated with all things creepy-crawly. You can buy a bug-viewer for very little online, and it’s the perfect way to contain the mini-beasts while your child examines them in all their wriggly detail. Outside, naturally!
6: Make a Chalk Picture on the Path – chalks have always been cheap, and while the whole ‘graffiti is a bad thing’ conversation needs to be part of this activity, creating harmless chalk pictures on the pavement provides endless fun for your kids. And it washes away when you’re done – a virtually free activity with no clean-up required? Bring it on!
7: Have a Yard Sale – getting kids to clean up and throw out old toys can be a nightmare, but adding the incentive of a little pocket money in the mix adds a whole new perspective. Creating posters to advertise the yard sale to other kids and parents in your area, and then selecting and pricing toys, can keep kids busy for ages. The sale itself can occupy an entire day of its own.
8: Plant Seeds – most children love getting grubby in the garden. Yoghurt post make perfect seed holders, and a trip to the garden centre can allow your children to select something to plant – maybe a flower and a vegetable or fruit each. Soil can be dug up from the garden, and daily watering and nurturing is a subtle way of encouraging responsibility and a caring attitude in your kids.
Take a look around you
If you stop and think, and look around you, there are so many ways to find free fun things to do with the kids during the holidays. Open your mind to the possibilities – your kids will thank you for it later. Or probably not, as it happens, but deep down inside they are more likely to remember their childhood holidays for the things they enjoyed doing, and not as a time of interminable boredom. It’s a great gift to give them.