The summer holidays provide a break from the normal routine and allow quality time with the kids and family, while enjoying the sunshine. However this summer has proven to be a scorcher and although the beach and pools can offer some relief, often it is just too hot to be outside all day.
I know these holidays I have found myself inside on numerous occasions trying to entertain bored and hot kids! TV and DVD’s are often the easy option and can provide some much needed down time, however I wanted to do activities that were more interactive and engaging.
These holidays I decided to get creative! Creative play is found to provide many benefits – physical, emotional and intellectual. It’s a great way for children to express themselves, explore new activities and provide much needed relief from the question “I am bored/ there is nothing to do”
Below are 6 ideas that aim to use things that you have in the house, are simple to implement and most importantly keep the kids entertained for the remainder of these hot summer holidays:
- Make a Book – An activity that was a big hit in our place for both my 8 and 4 year old was making a short book about a particular activity that has happened in the holidays. We choose an outing to the zoo. My older daughter designed the front cover, used a combination of pictures we had taken and her own drawing and wrote a couple of sentences on each page. My younger daughter spent time just drawing the pictures and then I sat with her to write the words for each page. The end result was a great memento of the activity and something they continued to read and show other people.
- Get creative with food – The kitchen can sometimes be a daunting experience with children, but with the right planning it can be a lot of fun. Firstly make the time, select a recipe with minimal steps and get the kids to take an active role in getting ingredients, measuring, and stirring. Recipes that don’t require the oven could include rum balls and lemon slice. Making icy poles or even just cutting up fruit for them to put on skewers could be another great option or perhaps a smoothie filled with their favourite fruit. You can even incorporate playing “restaurants” to add another dimension to the activity.
- Concert / Role playing – Performing is a great way for children to express themselves, gain confidence and let their imagination run wild. Depending on the age of your kids it may be as simple as giving them a theme and opening up the dress up box or even just selecting a piece of music they may want to dance or sing to. For younger children there may be more adult participation required to guide the performance, but in most cases if you give your child a stage and your attention, it provides a perfect platform!
- Try new craft activities – Engaging in craft provides a great vehicle to develop fine/gross motor skills, promote independence and confidence. Activities can be done singly or with friends/siblings. I discovered Sand Art and Scratch Art a number of years ago and the kids have not stopped playing with them. I have found they have a broad appeal across all ages and genders. And most importantly they can keep kids entertained for hours. Sand art is about using bright colored sand to make artwork using a pre-cut sticker card, while Scratch Art is a magical black surface card, when scratched reveals multi-colours. Other simple craft ideas include pet rocks where kids can decorate rocks with craft material you have in the house or stamp printing, which involves cutting up potatoes into various shapes and then putting them in water based paints to make stamps.
- Box Construction – simply put this is keeping containers and boxes, that would generally be put straight into the recycle bin and making them into anything and everything! As a minimum sticky tap and scissors are required. We sometimes decorate with wool, scrap material, stickers or we will paint the final construction. Favourite designs for us include a bed for a doll, a car and animals. This activity is very easy and promotes basic problem solving and concentration. The kids sort through the different shape boxes as they work out how to build their design.
- Games – We don’t generally get out the board games regularly so they often provide another good alternative to entertain the kids. Games that require kids to count are a good option. Other options that don’t require anything other than imagination and perhaps a little lateral thinking could be charades or 20 questions, where you select a topic i.e. an animal and you ask your child questions to work out what it is, you can then swap roles and let them ask you questions to guess your animal. The accuracy may not always be there, but it does provide a few laughs and allows kids to think outside the square. And finally, a fun game we play is where the kids have a dress up competitions. They can be as creative as they like, wearing anything from tea towels, to my high heels, to each other’s clothes. This simple game provides many laughs and some unique outfits!
Your child’s imagination is a vital skill, that if nurtured provides a great stepping stone on their childhood journey. There are lots of ways for you to support creative play and it’s important to take the time to understand your child’s needs, provide variety and where possible put a slight twist to the standard activity! Most of all enjoy the time with your kids and stay cool!!!