When there’s a holiday coming up, there’s always one big thing on your mind. That’s how to keep the little ones entertained. When the children are at school, they have every minute of their day planned out. The teachers craft a perfect balance of learning and fun throughout the day. Now it’s the holidays and that task falls to you. The good news is that children are easy to entertain. They are easily pleased and once you’ve found the right activity, they’ll play for hours.
The trick here is finding the activity that works for you and your children. Whether it’s inside or outside, there are plenty of options. Kids love to use their imagination. Give them an idea and they will run with it for hours. They are more creative or imaginative than we could ever be. That’s the wonder of a child’s mind! Let them explore their imagination. Remember that learning is just as important as playing. The following activities will help them continue to develop and love every minute of it.
Make a puppet theatre. – This is a great idea because it covers so many areas of learning and development. It will also keep them entertained for hours, even days. Help your children design and make the puppets in the first place. It could be as simple as a sock puppet. You could use lollipop sticks and some fabrics as an alternative. Whatever you choose, the children will learn how to create something from nothing. They may learn how to use fabrics and express their imagination. You can even help them build the theatre with a cardboard box. Once that’s done, the sky’s the limit. They can create stories and stage performances with their new puppet theatre.
Baking. – This will require the watchful eye of Mommy or Daddy, but the little ones will love it. Start with something simple like cookies and teach them how to bake. They’ll get covered in cookie dough and flour, but a messy toddler? What’s new? Baking is a ‘grown up’ activity so it’ll really make them feel special to be involved. Kids always want to do the things their parents do. Even if they just lick the spoon, at least they’re involved and joining in with you. Let them shape a few of the cookies. Those ones will be ‘their’ cookies. At the end of it all, sit down with their favourite film and their cookies.
Games. – Many games now provide a stimulating learning experience for children. If nothing else, they may just give you half an hour’s peace and quiet. The options are limitless here. Use an iPad, a console or online games. A lot of games are now designed to improve the learning process for a child. They explore themes of logic and problem solving. Of course, only choose games that are age appropriate.
When it comes to the longer holidays, you’ll want to get the kids out of the house. Plan a number of activities to keep them from getting bored. You could plan one big adventure, like visiting the zoo. However, there are plenty of smaller, everyday activities too. Here are a few ideas.
Swimming. – The local leisure centre usually has discounts over the holidays, especially for families. You should take advantage of these and take the children swimming. Swimming really helps develop your kid’s muscles. It also teaches them a vital skill and grows their confidence. If nothing else, they’ll love splashing around and playing with you. There are all sorts of games you can invent in the pool. Perhaps you’re a shark and you have to chase them. Maybe they are pirates and they have to get back to the pirate ship! Let their imaginations run wild here.
- – Museums and galleries are a difficult one with children. You have to pick the right museum and don’t let their attention drain too much. Get it right and it will be a brilliant learning experience. As you go around the museum, explain things to them in a way that they will understand. Don’t stop at everything, just the things that you can create a good story and background. Most children learn better by seeing. Museums help them piece together the information. This is particularly useful if you can match it to their school work. For example, if they’re learning about the Egyptians, take them to a museum with Egyptian artifacts.
Libraries. – The importance of libraries for children cannot be underestimated. The quiet, peaceful environment will also make your life easier too! Help them find a book to get lost in. Find a cosy corner to snuggle down into and while away the hours. Let them find their own books, but also introduce them to the classics. Show them the magical world of Alice in Wonderland or Treasure Island.
In the garden
Build a den. – You don’t have to stray far to let the kids explore their imagination. Make use of your back garden and let them turn it into anything they want. You could start by building a den. Bring some of the house furniture outside. Changing the environment is always a stimulating activity for children. Take some sofa cushions and some sheets and hang them from the washing line. Once you’ve built the den, or fort, invent a story and they’ll play for hours.
- – Teaching your children the basics of gardening introduces a great many new skills. It helps them appreciate the value of the world around them. You can teach them about the environment and the importance of nature and natural cycles. Again, gardening is a ‘grown up’ activity. They’ll feel special if you let them help. You could visit the garden centre together and let them pick their favourite flower. Take it home and let them plant it, so part of the garden is theirs.
These are just a few ideas of how to turn the holidays into a fun, learning environment. You know your children better than anyone. Figure out what they would love the most and build their holiday around it. Let them be involved in ‘grown up’ activities and let them explore their imagination.