Don’t worry about keeping the kids entertained during the summer holidays, the experts at The Positive Family Academy & Stokke are on hand to help.
Now that school is out for summer, parents may be feeling anxious about keeping the kids entertained and happy over the holidays, especially if on a tight budget.
No fear; parenting experts at Stokke have compiled a list of easy ways to keep children busy with indoor and outdoor activities that can be done at home or locally.
Linda McNeill, a family expert at The Positive Family Academy, in collaboration with premium children’s brand, Stokke, says: “Summer can be a daunting time for parents, especially when balancing work and home life. There is pressure to keep everyone entertained and this can feel overwhelming and become expensive.”
“Rather than viewing the summer holidays as a challenge to overcome, we want to help families make the most of their time together, create fun memories and foster connection with a list of activities to make summer go that little bit smoother.”
Read on for top tips from Linda.
Garden camping can give kids an exciting change from their usual indoor play and is ideal when friends come to visit. Set up a couple of tents in the garden for kids to enjoy a range of activities, such as reading, playing and hanging out together. Sleeping outdoors is also a summertime treat and can transform a bedtime routine of tears and tantrums into a night of storytelling and stargazing which the whole family can enjoy.
Make a den
Kids love making dens in the garden, local park or woods, and all it requires is a little creative thinking to get started. You can use outdoor chairs or garden furniture, old curtains, plastic sheeting or branches to create the ultimate hideaway. Decorate with ribbons, bunting and add potted plants or flower garlands for a rustic look. Children’s imagination can run wild with hours of enjoyment especially with the addition of fairy lights, cushions and blankets for a cosier feel.
Guaranteed to cool you down in the scorching sun, there are a wide variety of water games to dip into. Set up the slip-n-slide, prepare the water balloons, set up the sprinkler, and grab the super soakers for an afternoon of water-drenched fun. Add in a paddling pool, perfect for smaller children, and keep them entertained with inflatables and toys. Splash through summer with water activities and keep the kids happy in the top temperatures.
Eating al fresco is a real treat, so why not head out with a homemade picnic for an inexpensive lunch in the sun? Get the kids involved making sandwiches, salads and snacks and encourage them to try a little bit of everything. Try to limit fizzy drinks, crisps and sweets and swap for carrot sticks, hummus, fruit and non-sugary drinks. Soak up the sun and prepare to munch and unwind.
Rounders, cricket, tag, dungeons, obstacle courses
the possibilities of family games are endless! Make up your own games or stick with the family favourites. To avoid tantrums or arguments by giving every child a choice or responsibility, take turns to be the umpire/ref, and ensure teams are split age- and ability-wise. You could even do a tournament and invite local families to participate.
Arts & crafts
For rainy days, crafting is ideal to keep little ones busy. With a little preparation, arts and craft activities are perfect for play dates or parties. Get stuck in with papier-mâché creations and painting or try a simple t-shirt tie-dye or DIY paper marbling. Kids creations can be wonderful gifts for family and grandparents and there are so many options: tissue paper flowers, playdough designs, origami, string-bead necklaces all using simple and cheap materials.
Cooking & baking
Cooking with kids is not only a fun and cheap activity, it also provides life-skills and boosts their confidence. Start small when cooking with kids, try simple biscuit recipes, chocolate rice crispy squares or DIY ice lollies before moving onto easy pasta dishes, make-your-own pizza and fajitas. It’s going to get messy, so encourage children to clear up as they go and help with the washing up.
Most small children will marvel over packaging rather than the actual gift at Christmas or on birthdays, so grab a couple of cardboard boxes from the supermarket during your next visit. Boxes can be decorated and transformed into cars, castles, dragons, monsters so let your child’s imagination run free – you’ll be amazed how much kids love playing with a box.
Share household tasks
Keeping a household running smoothly shouldn’t just be up to parents and getting kids involved teaches them valuable life skills. Create a star chart and set each child age-appropriate household tasks: clearing the table, keeping their bedroom tidy, putting toys away at the end of the day or helping to wash up are just some examples. Helping at home instils a good work ethic and teaches children the value of caring about their home space while they’re young – a trait that should carry on into adulthood.
Set some goals
School may be out, but practicing reading, writing and numbers over summer is a great way to kick start the new school term in September. Set aside some time each day to go through each child’s check-list and get kids to practice reading out loud as this builds their confidence and social skills. You can practice words and numbers in the garden using chalks and water and make it into a game.
For more information, visit www.stokke.com