Of all the school holidays, the February Half term is probably the trickiest. The weather can be very hit and miss so planning lots of outdoor activities can end in disappointment. So, just how can you keep your little ones entertained for the week, without breaking the bank and whilst still managing to keeping your sanity. School holidays are meant to be about downtime for the children, and a chance for them to have fun and re-charge their little batteries. But when the weather is bad, money is still tight from Christmas and parents are stressed out, it can feel like the longest week ever and not a holiday at all. Here at Maid In Essex, we are always on call to help householders out with their cleaning, ironing and housework. But we also like to make sure that we offer our lovely clients and readers as much information on general lifestyle issues as we can in out little blogs.
This week, we have scoured the internet for some virtually cost free activities to help this Half Term fly by. To start with, have a look at these great ideas from www.netmums.com. These are shared via the community forum so they come from mums who are just as stressed out as you are, and have no doubt tried and tested some if not all of these suggestions for themselves.
1. Room tidying competition
We love this one! This involves you setting a challenge for each child to see who can tidy their room in the fastest time. You can set a timer or simply count loudly until they have finished their tidying and the winner can choose what activity you do next. Genius.
2. Pizza party
Lay out pizza bases plus lots of ingredients and ask your kids and their friends to decorate them. Once they’ve finished, pop them in the oven and lay a rug or picnic blanket down with some paper plates and cups. Children will love devouring their home made creations and using their fingers to eat with.
3. Movie afternoon
Whilst we know lots of TV is bad for our kids, a nice children’s movie is a great way to spend time together. You could make some homemade popcorn, makeshift paper tickets and assign one of your kids the role of steward/stewardess so they can show you to your seats and announce when the movie is starting.
4. Board games
Digging out the old boardgames can be a delight for children who haven’t played them for a while or are totally new to the game. Set the rules up front and ensure nobody cheats! A big pitcher of home made lemonade or fruit juice will add to their enjoyment.
7. Theatre afternoon
Children have very vivid imaginations so stories and characters often come easy to them. Ask them to help you create a play and decide on which characters they want to play. You could help them create costumes and invite the neighbours around to spectate. A creative, rewarding activity that’s great for boosting confidence.
8. Rainy day walks
Who says you need sunshine to enjoy a good walk? Get togged up in your macs, wet weather gear and wellies and head outside for a fun, revitalising walk in the rain. Children will adore splashing in the puddles and with most people sheltering away from the rain, you’re likely to have most of the streets to yourself.
10. Make a magazine
Dig out old magazines and help your child cut out their favourite adverts, images and features. They can mount them in a new magazine all of their own and use the images as a basis for creative stories, quizzes and fun activities. Another idea is to use different eye/face/hair/body cut outs and mix them up to create some comical looking collages.
11. Create a film
Let your children take charge of the video camera for an afternoon and create their own little film. Whether they star in it themselves or use their teddies/dollies/Lego men as characters – it’s a great way to entice creative role-play and fill a few rainy hours at home.
12. Fashion design
Girls love pretending to be fashion designers. Get out lots of paper, scissors, scraps of wool ribbon, material, tissue paper etc and a couple of models/ barbies and let them spend the afternoon designing clothes on the paper. Once they’re happy with their sketches they can use the materials to make them into outfits for their dolls. A great way to add drama and excitement is by displaying their creations in a fashion show with music and a catwalk (i.e. the kitchen table!
13. Friendship bracelets
A current favourite which is quite cheap (or entirely free if you have lots of embroidery thread loitering around) is making friendship bracelets. There has been quite a craze for them at schools recently and girls especially love the rewarding feeling they get from finishing one off.
14. Open a salon
Hair and beauty salons is a great role play opportunity for young children. Yes, you might end up looking like a cross between Coco the Clown and Tina Turner but if the kids enjoy it, who cares?! All you need is a bag full of make up, some hair accessories and a mirror and the creative opportunities are endless…
15. Shoebox scenes
Remember those charming little nativity scenes we used to make at home as kids? Re-live the activity by encouraging the children to create their own shoe box scene. From miniature dolls houses, train stations and bird boxes to airports, swimming pools and zoos, there are stacks of ideas that will make great projects – all you need are some crafts materials, plasticine, paints and glue.
We think all of these are great ideas to while away a couple of hours during with the children. If none of them appeal to you, how about trying something more traditional like a long walk in the park – with wellies and warm coats, a trip to a local museum (usually free entry) or arrange for play dates with your childrens’ school friends. If you are a dab hand in the kitchen you could even hold a bake off and see who can make the best cakes or biscuits.
We know that it’s very tempting to just dump the children in front of an iPad or Xbox for hours, and they probably won’t complain too much to begin with. But spending time as a family, doing something you wouldn’t normally do together is what makes a holiday.
While you are busy entertaining the children, we could be taking care of your cleaning for you. Our reliable, professional and friendly maids can come to your house and clean from top to bottom to free up more time for you to spend with your children. We cover all of the Essex area and offer cleaning services from just £10.00 per hour (plus management fee). Call us on 01277 812220 to find out more, or click here to contact us by email.