As my children officially started the holidays yesterday, it was no surprise to me whatsoever that it kicked off with a day that wouldn’t look out of place in October. Rain sweeping past the houses drenching everything in its path. Blustery weather that was fitting for a cosy day indoors. We were lucky enough to have a day spent filming with BBC Breakfast TV, so we had no chance of being bored. However, it is supposed to last the week and I know there are many of you out there wondering how to entertain your children while it’s wet. It is especially difficult when you have children of all ages – I should know! Here are a few ideas you can try.
1. Go out in it.
Who says you have to stay in when it rains? Yes, I know there will be extra washing to do and yes, they will get wet and muddy, but they will have great fun. Let them jump in puddles, look at reflections and dance in the rain. It’s a perfect time to start your summer experiment and collect the rainfall using an old bucket, plastic bottle or jug. Older children could make a rain shelter in the woods, or take photos of raindrops and reflections and edit them to look arty.
2. Rain Art.
This is a fun activity for all ages, even the adults. Using rain and water as a theme make some art. Anything goes. Use old crayons and melt with a hairdryer to look like coloured water drops. Scrunch up tissue and make clouds. Put some blobs of paint on a blank piece of paper and place outside and let the rain do its thing. Draw raindrops, umbrellas, wellies and all things rainy.
3. Make a den.
Create a fortress using duvets, cushions and blankets. Throw a big cloth over your table and they can have it as their ‘cave’ for the day. They could make their own post box by cutting a letter shaped hole from a cardboard box, or have a basket outside their den to place their post in. You can communicate with them through notes, posting when dinners ready or their favourite programme’s on.
4. Treasure Maps.
We have already done this, it was a brilliant activity, my 11-year-old daughter really enjoyed it. You can be as elaborate as you like so it’s great for all ages. Use old teabags to stain the paper and a lighter to burn the edges off for an authentic look. Think up some cool names for the places on the map and draw them, not forgetting the location of the treasure.
5. Re-arrange a room/ declutter.
Have a go at changing the layout of a room in your house and see what new plan you can come up with. Notice how much you enjoy being in the room when you have altered it. If you can’t manage a full move around, maybe swap a couple of items around or have a massive decluttering session. Be strict on items that haven’t been used for ages, or old things you don’t need and clothes that don’t make you feel great when you wear them. Things that are past their best, books you don’t read, films you don’t watch, old C.Ds, belts you don’t wear, make-up you don’t use, toys that don’t get played with. Don’t stop there, declutter your technology deleting old photos, emails, apps etc… Anything worth donating, take the kids and give it all to your local charity shop. If you need some extra cash think about selling some unwanted items.
6. Board games.
Bring all the games down and have a marathon of family board games. Get the older children to design a board game you can all play. Make one out of a cardboard box and use buttons as counters. Have a themed game from your favourite movie, book or band.
7. Move and Meditate.
If they are bursting with energy and driving you crazy, get them moving with a game of ‘Simon Says’ and make them jump around. Stick an exercise D.V.D on and get them to do it together or tell the older children to design a workout that everyone can take part in. Stick on some tunes and have a dance together. When you have tired them out find a relaxing playlist on Youtube and do some meditating together. Making them be still and silent and aware of the moment is a fantastic way to calm them down and chill them out.
8. Home Cinema.
Get some supplies for a home movie day. Have hot-dogs, nachos, popcorn and ice-cream throughout the day instead of regular meals for a treat. Watch movies all day with blankets and cushions and stay in your pyjamas. You could even re-enact your favourite scenes and upload them to Youtube.
9. Puppet show.
I know this sounds ‘babyish’ but all ages can enjoy this. Make some puppets and props - these can be as intricate as you like - and have a show. Use a carboard box as a stage, or teenagers could practice their animation skills with a camera and upload to Youtube.
10. Volcanoes that clean the sink.
How about a messy craft that cleans as you do it, sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? Make an eruption in the sink. Get your child to sprinkle a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda onto the plug hole and then pour 60ml of vinegar on top and watch the eruption. This is a great way of freshening up the sink and your child will love doing it. You could be brave and do it with added food colouring and a volcano made from modelling clay or dough.
11. Pasta art.
Using dried pasta make as many different types of art as you can think of together. Thread the pasta through string to make necklaces or bracelets. Paint it and use as a stamp. Stick it to paper and make a collage or make music by putting it in a tin and shaking it. Let their imaginations do the hard work.
Find odd textures around the house and create rubbings on paper. Use a camera or phone to take pictures close-up and guess what they are. Make a texture piece of art using items such as bubble wrap, tin foil and tissue. Get creative together.
These are just a few ideas to help you out but don’t forget to let them get a bit bored now and again. Don’t feel under pressure to think of things for them to do constantly, let them amuse themselves sometimes too. Good luck!