Today’s article is brought to you from Tamsin Oxford, staff writer on UK parenting website, PlayPennies.com.
Easter holidays are here and, for parents, you can already hear the strains of “I’m booooored” playing in the background. Yes, it’s great that you can spend some quality time with your children and enjoy their happy personalities, but it can also be really expensive to keep them entertained.
So if you’re looking for some fabulous things to do for free these holidays, then these ideas should keep you going (and your kids busy) for a good part of the time – possibly even freeing you up for a quiet nap or three.
When it rains…
You’d be amazed at the enormous range of printables that you can find on the interweb. Not only do big companies like Disney, BBC and Rowntree offer you plenty of downloadable fun, but thousands of sites started up by family members have them too. These can range from crafts like Easter baskets and holders to colouring in or making your own DJ tracks. All you need is a printer, a computer and some spare time to get them printed.
While many of us think that playing computer games is mind melting rubbish, they can actually be very educational and entertaining. Both the BBC sites, CBeebies and CBBC, have plenty of little games for kids of all ages to play. The young ones may need your helping hands to enjoy their games, but these are valuable skills for them to learn. Computers are looking to remain a part of our foreseeable future so giving them skills in this department will stand them in good stead.
Picnics in the lounge, pirate ships on the sofa, camel rides throughout the house (this may well kill you, dear parent, but is enormous fun as they ride on your back and pretend to chase mummies) and baking are also brilliant ways to keep busy, have fun and stay flush.
In the sun…
Staying healthy over the Easter break is a must. Spring has sprung (well, theoretically) and there is no better time to get your kids running about in the fresh air. The advantages are numerous – you may get some additional exercise which, after all the chocolate, is probably important, the kids will be nice and tired and fall into bed so you avoid night-time struggles and, research has shown that kids who spend time in green areas for at least one hour a day show better memory and learning skills.
There are always parks nearby and they don’t charge a penny for you to amble in and enjoy their facilities. Obviously this will depend on the age of your kids, teens may just shudder in horror, but the younger ones can be persuaded to spend hours running around kicking balls and having fun. Introduce games like “The Squirrel Hunt” where they have to adopt a truly silly walk in order to attract squirrels (this goes down a treat with the younger kids) or grab some pots and pans, put on a silly hat and go on a Tiger Hunt in your garden.
Imagination is key. If you have to go on a shopping mission or walk somewhere turn the experience into an adventure, draw it out and have some fun. There are also some places (reducing in number each day, sadly) that offer free places for kids in the UK. Visit sites like Day Out With The Kids, or What To Do With The Kids to see what free activities, parks and attractions are in your area.