With the Easter holidays approaching there are plenty of reasons to dust off that box of toys, shelf of books and cupboard of games. Everyone looks forward to the holidays, but there are days when the whole family would rather be back at work or school with schedules, routines or workloads for that little bit of discipline and guidance. However, there is no reason that school holidays can’t play out the same way. With a bit of organisation and a lot of inspiration, children can quickly become engaged and entertained.
Here are some of the best ways to keep them occupied and tantrum-free, no matter what the weather, setting or their energy levels.
- A board games session – use this time to reflect upon rules, taking turns, logic, tactics and healthy competition. Whether it’s monopoly or battleships, board games are a great way to have fun while teaching useful skills.
- An art project – build a diorama, design a robot, make a scrapbook, create a masterpiece with unusual or recyclable materials – whatever the choice, it will be a brilliant way to encourage them to be in charge of what they want to construct. The assignment will test their patience, spatial reasoning, colour matching, numeracy, fine motor skills, design, imagination and creativity.
- Become an architect or designer – using their imagination and design skills, kids can choose their own setting to create a 2D version of. Whether they have a favourite doll who needs a shopping centre, toy cars that need a streetscape or an army man who must have his own battle scene, let them create their own location on butchers paper. There is hand-eye co-ordination, numeracy, planning and spatial reasoning ready to be exercised.
- A big block of ice – freeze the largest container of water you can with food colouring and some of their favourite toys. They can use kid-friendly hammers, chisels or tools to ‘un-pick’ the block and get their things back. This is a great way to exercise patience and precision.
- Spiderman – using masking tape, string or ribbons to build a spider web between trees or the washing line and the handrails. This can be creative or mathematical depending on the child’s interest levels.
- Be a noodle – by firstly blowing up some balloons and using some colour pool noodles – kids have the chance to be active and possibly creative by inventing their own game. Take it as it comes based on age and enthusiasm. Some might just prefer to hit the balloons around and test their gross motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination, while older children may engage with creating their own version of shuttlecock or hockey.
- Bug off – exploring with eager hands and small tools, kids could hunt in the garden to find any insects or bugs they come across. They could build a collection to compete with a friend or sibling for who can find the most. Alternatively, older children could use the internet or books to classify and learn about what they have found. A search and found activity or interesting biology lesson.