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Things to keep the kids busy in the holidays

Posted on July 19 2019

Things to keep the kids busy in the holidays

I’m pretty sure we all feel the same, ready to get off the hamster wheel of school and after school clubs, into a more relaxed way of life for the summer holidays!!

If you are anything like me, you will long for it on one hand and dread it on the other!  The fear of keeping little people occupied for weeks on end can be daunting. 

So we have come up with a list of budget friendly activities to keep everyone happy….well that’s the plan!

  1. Go on a nature walk and explore

On the beach, collect shells and stones to later make a shell castle or shell and stone sculptures. In the woods, get kids to seek out different sorts of bugs, plants or trees. Alternatively, give them a map to plot the route you are taking.

  1. Create some nature artwork

For the little kids, this can simply be pasting the items on a large sheet of cardboard, perhaps adding paint or glitter for colour

For older kids, you might ask them to create a scene using their findings adding details e.g. create a magical forest with creatures

  1. Cooking and baking. 

Plan a cooking or baking day. Let the kids  choose from a selection of recipes that you have ingredients for. If the child can read, get them to read from the recipe book. Step by step, help them to work through the instructions.

  1. Make an assault course. 

They just love this one - using old pieces of wood, boxes, buckets, garden chairs — anything that can be jumped over, under or around. Tell the children to time each other around the assault course. The course can be completed on a bicycle, scooter, skateboard, or simply by running.

  1. Build a veggie garden patch. 

Dedicate a small patch in the garden to the kids. Plant flowers, herbs, lettuce — anything that grows quickly and gives them the satisfaction of having produced something. If your kids are small, just give them a spade, put on their old clothes, and let them loose.

  1. Go camping. 

Build a tent indoors or outdoors with blankets and sheets. Once the tent is up, give them a torch and a picnic to take with them. You won’t see them for hours.

  1. Go on picnics. 

The simplicity of a picnic is that you can do it in the back garden.  Using whatever is in the fridge allow them to make it exactly the same as if you went out – using plastic containers and a picnic blanket so they don’t feel cheated.


  1. Have a treasure hunt. 

Make a treasure map with clues to find some treasure you have hidden somewhere in the garden. It doesn’t have to be expensive or big — any little treat will be exciting when it is found outdoors.

  1. Create a Summer Diary. 

Encourage the little ones to keep a Summer Diary or scrapbook. They can take photos of special days and write about them. It will become a lovely memory book for them in the future — and also keep them busy for hours.  Often this is a piece of homework too so you can kill two birds with one stone!

  1. Painting

Get large sheets of paper and lots of paint. Go mad and use your hands and feet — it’s liberating. To avoid any stress, prepare the area well and cover with plastic or newspaper. Have some water on hand to wash when you are finished.

  1. Go swimming. 

If you are lucky enough to live close to the sea, go swimming when possible. The sea has a calming effect on children and the amount of energy used in the water means that they won’t be quite as active when they get home. If you don’t live close to the sea, go to a swimming pool instead.

  1. De-clutter and sorting game

This has to be one of my favourites and it’s a great one for those rainy miserable days stuck indoors. Every home needs decluttering, whether it be sorting out your junk drawers or packing away the kids last seasons clothes that are too small… You can turn your decluttering into an activity! Get the kids to help you put items in piles, chuck old stuff in bin, find new spaces for items and donate old toys to charity. Not only can you get the decluttering done, it can teach the, about the importance of giving to those in need when we have finished using something

  1. Have a garage sale. 

Taking the items from the declutter game and baking days you could sell some of your items / cakes. Pool all the money together and use it to pay for an outing for the whole family.

  1. Make a fairy / elf garden

All you need is a pot / plastic tub and some dirt. It’s the kids job to create their very own tiny world out of bits and bobs you might find outdoors or around the house. Twigs make a great fence, corks and matchbox make wonderful tables and chairs, bottle tops make for great tiny bowls or cups, or perhaps they might like getting extra crafty with some cardboard and tape to create little pieces of furniture. The sky is the limit and this one really gets their imaginations going.

  1. Toilet roll painting

Start saving those toilet rolls and grab some coloured paints. Snip each toilet roll in half or thirds to create thinner cylinders. Now you can squash and bend each one into a different shape. Dip the bottom in paint, and stamp on paper! Use cotton buds to add small details like eyes to the picture.

  1. Fun with chalk

A bucket of colourful thick chalks is very inexpensive and the activities are endless! The kids can doodle all over the pavers for hours! Hopscotch drawn with chalk is a great game for everyone to join in.. You can have them practice their words and numbers and because you’re outdoors, the novelty won’t wear off as quick as it does when they’re inside doing drawing. You can trace around their body and have them draw different body parts within the lines or do chalk rubbings with different items such as leaves and coins placed under paper to reveal their prints. And the best part is, with a splash of water it all washes away . Or if you’re lazy like me, just wait ’til it rains!

  1. Visit the library. 

Use your local library regularly. In most libraries you can get more than books; you can get movies and music. Make a day out of it. Our local library runs a summer challenge which the kids love to be part of. Do some reading while you’re there instead of getting some books and heading home. Give your children a love of books — it is one of the best gifts you can give them.

  1. Organize some play dates. 

Plan some play dates and invite friends over. While they spend time with their friends it may give you the opportunity to get some work done and perhaps even connect with other parents. Plus…the invite may be returned some day.

  1. Have a “Chill Day”. 

With all that activity planned, kids will also need some down time. Make sure you plan some days where you just chill, watch some movies, read some books, and take it easy.

  1. We would love to hear if you have any ideas to fill no 20?

 Happy Holidays!