Keeping children entertained can be harder than you think, particularly if you want to avoid huge chunks of time in front of screens. Days out are great but they can become very expensive. These are my five favourite activities which I have played with my children over countless school holidays:
- Plan, shop, and cook a meal – this is not only a great learning opportunity but also a wonderful way to connect with your children. Give them a budget to make a meal for the whole family. They need to source a recipe, write a shopping list, cost the items, then cook. You can be there to help but the idea is to allow your child the freedom to be as creative as they wish – and be prepared for some mess! This activity is great for boosting confidence, promoting mathematical skills, and problem solving.
- Alphabet treasure hunt – depending on the weather you could play this inside or outside. The idea is to take it in turns to find an object which begins with each letter of the alphabet in turn. You can roam around the house together or go on a walk in the woods, or even down to your local shops, whilst findings things along the way. It’s a great way of promoting literacy skills, attention, and memory.
- Put on a play – get the whole family involved in writing, rehearsing, and putting on a play to friends. You might simply choose to act out your child’s favourite book or create something from scratch. Add costumes too. This will boost your child’s confidence, promote their creativity, communication, and literacy skills.
- Water play – no matter how old your children are everyone loves playing with water, the sensory nature of it it so relaxing. Whether you use the kitchen sink, bath, or a bucket in the garden your child can learn so much. Try placing different objects onto the water and deciding whether you think they will sink or float and why. You might see who’s object sinks to the bottom the fastest. Also why not challenge your child to fill a small cup full of water using only a small bottle top – you could even time them to see how long it takes. These water based activities promote your child’s scientific enquiry, problem solving, and mathematical skills.
- Teach them how to change and make a bed – it might be old fashioned but it’s a life skill which teaches your child hand-eye coordination, problem solving skills, communication, cooperation, and promotes independence. Our children loved changing their bedsheets as they were allowed to throw the dirty ones down the stairs! We would then scoop them up, show them how to load the washing machine, measure out the liquid, and set the wash cycle. All great skills. You will be surprised at how difficult children find putting a pillow case over a pillow and putting on a fitted sheet, but the sheer sense of achievement they feel when they’ve done it works wonders for their confidence.
There are so many activities which we can do with our children at a low cost, it’s just about being creative and thinking outside the box really. Remember back to your childhood and how much fun you had collecting paying in slips from the bank and going home to play banks, or writing in a notebook pretending to be a reporter. The important thing is to make sure you take time out each and every day to play with your children – the connection you gain is worth its weight in gold.
Happy Half Term Play