By day two of the summer holidays it is common for parents to have already become accustomed to the chorus of ‘I’m bored’ and ‘I’m hungry.’ It is almost impossible to avoid these chants entirely but you can certainly take the proactive approach and reduce their frequency! This isn’t necessarily about the big holidays or expensive days out, children get just as excited (if not more so) over the small moments you spend together, you don’t have to spend the entire 6 weeks worrying how to ‘entertain’ your brood, instead think of it differently, what can you do to create moments of family fun this summer? Here are six excellent suggestions to help you along your way.
1. Role Play
Children naturally love role play as they explore their place in the world and how they interact with it. As an adult you don’t need to force a role play activity, just provide some simple stimulus and watch the magic happen. Raid your cupboards and look for fancy dress costumes, hats, shoes and face paints. If they want you to join in they will ask, if not grab a cuppa and get your camera ready.
2. Nature scavenger hunt
This is a great way to make a family walk more engaging and fun for little ones and also helps them to learn about the great outdoors. Before you go, make a list of things you know you will see on your planned route, this could be anything from an oak tree to a blue bell. Some of the items may be things the children can collect and others can just be ticked off. Don’t forget to add some woodland animals on the list too, even if they don’t see them that day it will be a good talking point as you search for signs of their existence.
3. Look for shapes in the clouds
This is one of the most simple and relaxing activities on this list and brings such a huge sense of peace and bliss to those who partake. We all remember doing it as children and in our digital world of tablets and game stations, our children need moments of simplicity even more. Lie back, side by side with your children and embrace the innocence of it all.
4. Dance in the rain
Ok, so our British weather can’t be relied upon to bring us sunshine but that doesn’t have to stop us enjoying outdoor play. In fact these experiences actually help to build children’s resilience and encourage active life styles in adulthood. Just keep an eye out for sudden changes in the weather and have warm dry clothes and towels ready before the madness begins.
5. Make mud pies
Children learn by exploring their senses and messy play is a fabulous way of investigating their environment. All you need for mud pies are a selection of buckets, spades and spoons, a bath ready, spare clothes on hand and plenty of mud! Don’t be afraid to get dirty alongside them, they will take great delight in seeing you play alongside them in such a messy activity and it will make the experience even more memorable, for everyone.
6. Paint each other
Allowing children to use each other as an art canvas might be considered brave (or stupid) but it is also an excellent parenting move. Children love to be creative and it is good for them too; art activities help a child’s brain as it supports the development of their multisensory skills and self-esteem. Using each other as a canvas can lead to inspired creative ideas and can feed into more imaginative play.
Don’t panic though this doesn’t have to mean covering each other in paint from head to toe, even face painting provides all of these experiences and it is a lot easier to clean up. That said if you want all the inventive benefits of face painting but with zero mess then consider attending a family event with professional face painters and watch as your child transforms right in front of your eyes, just for the price of a cup of coffee.
What is fun anyway?
When the summer holidays start they are full of potential, like a wide open road you and your family are yet to travel. How much fun you have on this journey cannot be measured by how much money you spend or how many places you visit, the memories you make together can be made in your own garden or at a simple village fete. Fun is the glue that binds a family so be sure to pack your holidays full of mud pies and face paints.