I’m pretty sure I’m no the only one who shudders at the thought of a long day stretched ahead where you are going to be at home with the kids and nothing to do. If you are lucky your children will play like little angels together and if you aren’t they will argue, say they are bored and moan about having nothing to play with. After school, weekends and holidays need a little bit of planning so that you have activities in mind for keeping the children entertained. Although some would say that it is beneficial to let your child use their own imagination of what to do to keep themselves occupied, having something up your sleeve is a safer option.
Check out some of these indoor and outdoor activities depending on the weather and your preference. Most activities require little to no preparation and will be fun for the whole family!
Although the age range for play dough is meant to be children from 2+, anyone of any age would have fun playing with it as long as you don’t let the baby eat it. Set up the kitchen table with a wipe-clean tablecloth and you’re good to go, challenge older kids to sculpt animals out of it.
Just some scrap paper and a bit of imagination is needed for the next three activities: making paper planes, writing a story and painting. This guide is a great place to start for a basic paper plane but you can amp up the skill level by searching for more complex designs. Painting is a great, an oddly therapeutic way to spend a couple of hours and it can really get the creative juices flowing. Today it’s scrap paper but tomorrow it could be a canvas! Get the children ready for a writing session with a fun game of writing a couple of paragraphs of a story, folding over the paper until only the last line can be seen and then carrying it on to each person. In the end you’ll have a very funny story to read out.
You could get creative and nostalgic by getting the little ones involved in creating a scrapbook. Simply print off some images and get them to arrange them in any way they choose. They’ll get to enjoy how little they used to be and you get to reminisce with them.
Indulge their theatrical sides with a game of dress up. Throw together some old clothes and any fancy dress items hanging around and let the acting begin. And, if this proves to be a winner, you can even help them to put on a play to entertain everyone. Lights, camera, action! If spirits are still high after the last curtain call, you can get the karaoke machine out of hiding and belt out some tunes…
There’s always the classic of playing a board game or two, and if you’re all feeling like a lazy day you can set up a movie afternoon with some children’s classics such as Finding Nemo, Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins – just grab some throws, some popcorn and close the curtains for that cinema feel.
Indoor sports might seem like tempting fate but if you hide all the valuables and create a space that offers itself to games such as crab football, sofa wrestling or even yoga, it will be a great way of keeping the kids active even in poor weather. If you have a living room and dining room next to one another, you could create one huge space by installing some internal bifold doors that would be the best arena for indoor sports. Then, once the victors have been named and the valuables can return, you can close the doors so that the rooms are back to normal.
Whether you opt for baking cakes, making bread from scratch or preparing a feast for the whole family, getting the children involved in cooking is a fantastic way to keep them entertained and teach them some essential skills for life. As long as you’re relaxed about making a bit of mess and things not turning out exactly as planned, your brood may even produce some delicious results.
If the weather is pleasant and the kids are getting a little restless indoors, heading into the garden can open up more activity options. Organise a scavenger hunt to get them to find unusual objects around the garden. You can buy little prizes for the first to find them all.
You can also ask them to help out in the garden with watering the plants, get them raking leaves and helping to pot new plants ready for summer. Nothing is cuter than little ones trying hold a watering can. It will be just as entertaining for you as it is for them!
And, last but not least, there is star gazing. On a weekend or holiday night, you can let the children stay up a little later than usual so they can watch the stars. A little bit of research on what stars and constellations to look out for will help, and if it’s dry, you can even spread out picnic blankets on the grass to gaze at the sky while lying down. A truly magical way to entertain the little ones.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.