As the Summer holidays creep closer and closer, the thought of keeping your little ones entertained for six weeks can be daunting. No-one wants to hear the cry of “I’m bored!” and no-one wants to station their kids in front of the TV for weeks on end. There is an avalanche of summer activities for your child to get involved with, but summer camps, classes and workshops can all start to add up – especially if you’re also taking a family holiday. What can be even more special and memorable is playing at home: the summer holidays are a wonderful opportunity for imaginative and creative play.
Without too much effort, and a little imagination children can have huge amounts of fun playing happily at home.
Here are my suggestions for summer fun at home:
- Start a recycling box now and fill it with used cereal boxes, toilet rolls, milk cartons – when the summer holidays start you’ll have plenty of bits and bobs for the kids to use for arts and crafts.
- Set a theme for a day/week: the first week could be “under the sea,” the children have to follow the theme in parts of creative play. They can create an underwater den, and then make fishy crafts. The following week could be the “enchanted forest.”
- Give little ones sticks of chalk and ask them to trace their shadow.
- Spend a morning baking and making, make silly sandwiches using cookie cutters, create veggie dip by mashing up avocadoes and follow them with coloured fairy cakes. Eat lunch outside at least once a week, and if it’s raining have a picnic indoors.
- Keep your old clothes for a dressing up box, Disney costumes are great but it’s a lot more fun to wear grown up clothes for an afternoon.
- At the start of the holidays plant some seeds, and encourage the children to tend to them over the summer holidays. Wildflower, cress and sunflower seeds will show early results, and the children can be responsible for them over the six weeks.
- Get the kids outside and playing! In hot weather have a water fight without any restrictions, let them get soaked! Climb trees, dig in the sand and chase butterflies! Create an outdoors play space using nature: plants, trees, rocks, mud and water.
- Let the kids have a floppy afternoon and curl up on the sofa in front of a favourite movie; make popcorn and the kids can create their own cinema tickets.
- Gather some old bins, turn them up side down and form a noisy drums band.
- A great art project for older children is to create collages. Buy some blank canvases, they are pretty inexpensive from arts and crafts/homeware stores. Gather some old newspapers, magazines and postcards, cut out interesting pieces and pictures. Then using PVA glue and paint create a summer collage on the canvas. Once they’re dry the canvases can be hung on bedroom walls.
- If you have a budding journalist, why not encourage them to start their own online blog? There are easy ways to start blogs using blogger.com and you can protect the settings. They can use the blog to record their summer holidays, upload pictures and for creative writing.
Most importantly, let the children create their own play – once their imaginations are turned on they can create a whole world from nothing.
- Put on shows! Younger children can re-tell their favourite fairytales and stories to an audience, older kids can stage new pieces or perform a mini X-Factor. Encourage shyer children to be make-up artists, lighting and sound technicians.
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