It can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming finding things to do to keep children occupied during the Summer school holidays. Here are a few suggestions that you can add to your holiday schedule:
Create a schedule for each week so that you and the children know what they will be doing – involve them and ask for ideas. If you prefer, suggest a few options and then let them choose from these. If possible try to have a visual timetable for younger children so that they can see what will be happening and when, particularly when their normal schedule has changed.
- Plan a balance of exciting outings and time to play at home. Give children space for downtime where they can be creative and free to lead their own play ideas.
- Limit screen time. Plan times where you are happy to let the children watch a bit of TV or play on a tablet, but keep these times short. Again, having a timetable/visual planner can allow children to see when these times are okay and also when it’s time to move onto something else.
- When you are at home, spend time interacting and engaging with your child’s play. Your children will love spending time with you and although it is tempting to let them play while you get all the chores done/look at your phone, try to create some really quality time where your child chooses and leads their play whilst you follow their lead. This time will help you to connect with your child and give them lots of attention.
- Check out your local library. During holidays, they often put on free events so it’s worth having a look at what they are offering. Encourage your child to read and choose a range of books. With school-aged children they may like to create their own storybook as well.
- Have a look to see whether your local leisure center is offering any sports activities that you can access. Keeping children physically active will also benefit you as they are likely to be more tired come the end of the day, but also holds a lot of benefits for overall health and interacting with others. Many children love swimming. Depending on their age, keep an eye out for times in the day where they may put out the inflatables or balls – but please be aware that this may be a bit overwhelming and too busy for little ones.
- If you have a garden and a tent this can be a great stimulus for some imaginative play at home. Take some toys into the tent and pretend to cook. For older children, you could also spend a night out in the tent just to add some excitement.
- Go for a walk in a Nature Reserve or local woods. Collect leaves, twigs and pebbles and then use these for a craft activity at home. You could also take some paper and crayons with you and see if your children would like to do some bark rubbings.
- Plan a day of cooking with your children and provide some suggestions for recipes that your child can cook. These can be simple cakes, for example, but for older children you can be a bit more adventurous and suggest cooking a meal for the family dinner. Help them to create a shopping list and then go and get the ingredients together. For older children, encourage them to read the recipe and follow the instructions with as little help from you as possible.
Take lots of photos and make positive memories. You can then print them and start creating a ‘Holiday Scrapbook’. The photos can be of ‘at home’ activities as well as your outings. Make a note of the date and where the photo was taken, plus any additional details your child would like to add. School-aged children should be able to do the writing by the photo, possibly with some assistance, which will make it even more personal. You can add stickers and other craft items to the scrapbook as well.
- Encourage your children to put on a play. Allow them the opportunity to find things in the house that they can use as props. Give them time to practice and then record the actual show for them to look back on. With older children, you can suggest producing their own programme.
- Have a fun ‘Arts and Crafts Day’. Bring in a mixture of activities as well as ask the children what they would like to do on this day. Have activities for outside as well as activities you can do inside – this will keep them more engaged than staying in all day.