I mean really, a quarter of the year on holiday including about half of that in the summer.
Who are they there for?
I can see that the teachers love having a long holiday but the parents…or even the children, I’m not sure everyone loves so much holiday in one stretch.
In case you need a bit of inspiration here are a few wholesome, and not so wholesome ideas which might help fill these 6 weeks.
Give two or three children a first-aid scenario to act out. You will play the phone operator at the end of the emergency services line if a 999 call is part of the scenario. For example, get one child to pretend to be a parent up a ladder who falls and the other to pretend to be the child. Or get a group of 3 to pretend they are playing in the neighbouring field when they shouldn’t be when one of them falls into a patch of nettles.
Hide and seek with an edge!
Only for older children, this works well when you have 4 children close in age, well it worked for my family!
One child sits on a dining chair on a carpeted floor and is tied by the other children to that chair. They use things like skipping ropes, scarves, school ties, etc, they do not use duct tape, cable ties, or surf straps (having seen it I know these do not work well for this game). The children who remain free have until the person tied up manages to escape to go and hide, the game carries on until all of them are found by the one who has escaped from the binds.
Treasure hunt for young children.
This is the easiest treasure hunt to set and works best with very young children of a preschool age. Take a toothbrush from the bathroom and put it in the pan drawer, take a saucepan and put it where the welly boots go, take a welly boot and put it where the coats go, take a coat and put it on the bed. Take a pillow and put that on the sofa et cetera. To start, just give them the last objective you have moved. I find that children don’t need the treasure at the end of the treasure hunt, the hunt itself is enough to keep them very occupied and happy but sadly not for that long.
I’m very old-fashioned. I’d rather my children didn’t have too much time on the screens and have done things like removing iPads and putting the TV plug into a timer socket which in itself is in a petty cash tin and has an extension lead coming out going into the wall. I’ve set the timer for 6 pm and carried the key to the petty cash tin around my neck on a ribbon. Once out of the habit of switching on the TV the children forgot about it and found other entertainment.
I have been forced to revise my views in the last few years because my son is now studying Cybersecurity at university. It turns out that hacking the parental controls on a variety of devices is perfect training for this uni course!
The fairies need a swimming pool, again for younger children
Remember the fairies, the ones that live at the bottom of your garden, the ones who are first cousins with your tooth fairy, and are probably on nodding acquaintance terms with Father Christmas?
Well, they have written the children a letter saying that now it’s summer they want a swimming pool near their home at the end of your garden. Don’t solve the problem for the children, let them work out what they’re going to use as the pool and how they are going to fill it. At this point it’s really good to tell them that there is a hosepipe ban so they have to use other things. Some children will use teaspoons and some will ask you for a bucket.
Bungee jumping Barbie
If you are someone who keeps rubber bands, maybe in one of those giant balls that you keep adding new rubber bands to this is the perfect use for them.
Take a toy such as a Barbie (or other toy) and get the children to make a bungee cord for them and then drop the toy out of the upstairs window. Ideally, the bungee cord should just be long enough to dunk the Barbie’s head into a bucket of water down below.
This activity is as wholesome as homemade wholemeal bread and soup made from your own garden vegetables!
Get a piece of card either like a bookmark or long enough to make a crown round the head. Put double sided sticky tape along it (or several circles of normal tape with the sticky side out and get the children to go and pick up objects from the garden to stick to it to make a rainbow of colours.
No, I can’t really recommend this, mixing the perfect Negroni or Espresso Martini is definitely a life skill but one left till they are a bit older. I was just checking if anyone is still reading!
Yes, this is something that EVERY child should experience. Boredom breeds creativity. It really is the place where ideas happen. Don’t feel that you have to entertain your children a lot or to fill all their time. They need downtime as well. So, the next time they complain to you in a whining voice ‘Mum, I’m bored’ reply, ‘That’s marvellous’.