So school has been finished for over a week now. Who’s hearing ‘I’m bored’ already?
I don’t know about you but I was really looking forward to the kids being off, the not rushing out the door or daily lunchboxes but we seem to be more busy now than when school was on. In fairness, the kids were booked into the Kelloggs GAA camp the first week after school (not a good idea!) and it seems just like school except with the added stress of finding gumshields, boots and sunscreen (imagine!).
The two months of the summer hols will be different of course if both parents are working fulltime but if, like me, one of you is at home fulltime then you might be needing some inspiration as what you can do with the kids for the next 50 days till school restarts? You’ve probably all the heard the news that it’s good for kids to be bored but in reality, when my kids are bored, it doesn’t always result in a scene from ‘The Famous Five’ where the imaginations kick in and adventures begin! No, it can be more like, can I watch TV or can I play Minecraft?
The way to get through these potentially long days is to have a plan, yes didn’t you know that we Mothers make the best project managers! Of course the best laid plans are all influenced by a series of factors outside our control, namely the weather but here’s some (hopefully) useful ideas to deal with days like these. I’ve split up these ideas in two sections, outdoor and indoor for obvious reasons.
1. Beach – we can’t talk about summer holidays without talking about visiting the beach. If you’re lucky enough to live near the coast and it’s not raining, why not head to your local beach and engage in some of the following fun filled activities:
- swimming – make sure that a lifeguard is on duty and the beach is designated safe for paddling and swimming
- sandcastle building – You don’t even need a bucket, just a little bit of imagination and some eager hands
- rock pooling – pick up a net in the local pound shop and see what your kids can find, this also includes searching for shells and interesting stones
- picnic – get the kids involved in preparing a lunch to bring to the beach. Call on other parents whose kids are around the same age and rope in some instant play buddies which gives you time to share a cup of tea (from a flask) and exchange some ideas with the other Mum or Dad!
2. Gardening and at home – whether you have an acre or a windowsill, there’s lots of fun to be had in your nearest green space:
- planting herbs – it costs cents to buy a packet of seeds, get the kids planting and having fun with the soil and before long you can have your own parsley, basil or thyme that you can then use in cooking
- hanging baskets – we recycle the steel baskets and liners every year. Take the kids to the local garden centre and let them choose a pack of plants suitable for baskets (look for something like trailing lobelia and geranium). It’s a popular time of year for them so there’s often deals like 3 for 2. Blog post to follow on creating these, we’re doing ours in the next couple of days
- go on a bug hunt – send the kids out with a pencil and notebook and get them to note all the bugs they find, they never tire of this one no matter how old they old they are
- camping – we bought a family sized tent last year but never got a chance to use it. We weren’t brave enough to try it out far from home, so we set it up in the garden and spent the night, cooking sausages on the disposable bbq and even making tea on the camp stove. We got some funny looks from the neighbours but it was great fun!
- why not give the kids a bucket and a sponge and get them to wash the car, earning them a little extra pocket money, having some water fun (before the water meters kick in) and also getting a clean car in the process
3. The local playround or and local park –
- most towns in Ireland now have a decent enough playground or park to play in, why not bring along a ball and recreate your own World Cup
- bring your bikes (if you can fit them in the car) and cycle round your park – while you walk round and get some exercise too
4. Explore local area –
- the first wednesday of every month, you can visit OPW Heritage Ireland sites around Ireland for free so investigate what’s in your local area and bring the kids along for a little bit of education (in the summer holidays… aren’t you a great parent!)
- any mountains or hills in your area? get some decent shoes on all of you and get climbing, the kids love the challenge and you’ll be glad of the views at the top
- heading to your nearest forest for a spot of orienteering, or looking for particular plants
- do you have a local market at the weekend, here in Strandhill, Sligo, there’s a weekly market where it’s possible for kids to take a stall (for free) and sell their own baked goods or craft. Why not help them to organise themselves to prepare and sell at a stall, teaching them some entrepreneurship and making a little extra pocket money in the process
- there’s lots of festivals and special events, many dedicated to kids, happening throughout the summer in Ireland. Check out Discover Ireland to see what’s on in your local area in the coming months
1. Kitchen table activities –
- I’m not particularly ‘arty’, but there are lots of books in the library which gives kids of all ages, different art and craft projects which will keep them entertained for hours. Just remember to cover the kitchen table in newspaper, you’ll be glad when the glue comes out! Head to your local discount store to stock up on stickers and card
- Board games, cards and jigsaws – we all have a few in the cupboard that don’t come out very often but this is the time and especially if you can sit and join them
2. Put on a show –
- get the old clothes and dress up outfits out and get them to dress up and put on a show. You could even record it and send it to Granny and Grandad or put it up on Facebook for all your lucky friends!
- along the same lines, get some instruments out or even the saucepans and get them to ‘compose’ something
3. Play outside anyway –
- even if it’s raining, get their waterproofs and wellies on and let them play in the garden in the puddles (just Peppa!)
- check out your local cinema, many of them are doing kids cinemas during the summer which means you can take your kids to see a fairly recent kids movie for a fraction of the cost
5. My favourite – baking and cooking
- it’s a perfect time to get your kids in the kitchen, helping you bake and cook dinner for that evening. There’s lots of recipes on the blog here that you could choose
What fun things would you suggest to help keep little ones entertained this summer?