Looking for ideas to entertain the kids next week? We asked some fellow parents for their advice on surviving half term for those enjoying extended time at home with the wee treasures. Here’s their advice.
Disclaimer: Some of this post may involve wine and lying down. But there are also actual useful tips in here so keep reading. However, if you’re looking for a list of museums and workshops, you might want to look elsewhere. This is Beano, right?
Kat, mum of three says ‘let them watch TV for countless hours. Leave one of those 24 packs of crisps in the middle of the room to feed them, all the while shouting “Just five more minutes!” any time you hear a noise.’
Alice, mum of two, came up with the concise answer: ‘wine’*, while Vicky’s next level idea is ‘sedatives’. However, she doesn’t specify whether this is for the children or the parents.
*We should at this point remind you a. please drink responsibly and b. wine is also applicable during term time.
So that’s sustenance covered. What else?
Jane reminds us that ‘it’s okay to be bored’, a sentiment seconded by Emma, mum of two, who says ‘let them make their own fun with what they have… if they can’t think of anything they can always tidy their bedroom. I also very much enjoy taking them to the grandparents house.’ Clever. More expensive wine there.
Gemma, mum of one, has some canny swapsie advice. ‘Swap childcare days with pals who are also self-employed so the children have company/play buddies and, on the days when you swap, you get some time to lie in a dark room in silence.’
Friends also feature top of the list for Claire, mum of two. ‘Find a friend with a garden. Get a sprinkler. That’s how I’ve survived the last two weekends!’
So that’ll take us up to, ooh, about 3pm on Monday. What about organising some actual activities? That’s what proper parents do, right?
Mum of three, Katie, suggested this cute lucky dip idea. ‘All members of the family write down what they’d like to do in a day, then you fold up the paper and put them in a pot. Draw one piece out a day and that’s what you do. All surprises and everyone is happy.’ It’s good in theory, but you might just need to set some clear boundaries to avoid inevitable disappointment and having to yell ‘WHO WROTE DISNEYLAND? I SAID CHEAP!’
Cheap fun is good fun. Gillian agrees: ‘I don’t think you always have to do big expensive days out – my two often love pretty low effort things like going for lunch followed by looking in our local charity shops. Also the library always has free stuff on. Followed by wine and sedatives, obviously.’ We like Gillian.
Alice again: ‘Reduce expectations. You don’t have to be off paying to do every organised activity going, or feel guilty about not going away on holiday. Relax, have long breakfasts with pancakes and fresh fruit, find a big of open ground somewhere and let the kids be wild.’
Wild gets our vote. The forecast isn’t looking too bad next week, so outdoor fun might actually work. Jane again: ‘Get mucky and tired – forest school type stuff’ and Katie agrees: ‘Camping with no technology to hand. Remote wild camping… river swimming and tree climbing. Failing that, Kids Club!’
Siobhan’s idea is to ‘join in with the rock painting craze – hunt for rocks, paint the rocks, hide the rocks in local parks, post pictures of ones you find in the local Facebook group and look out for people posting pictures of yours. See how far they travel’, while Kimberlee takes this one stage further: ‘Geocaching!’ (For the uninitated, geocaching is where you hide a container at a particular location for GPS users to find using co-ordinates you post online. It’s basically a 21st century treasure hunt).
Kimberlee is clearly something of a supermum – her other brilliant ideas include ‘go to the local skatepark in the early morning as you always pretty much have it to yourself so the kids get to feel like a pro! Pokemon Go! is still going strong in our house. And we’ve downloaded a comic book template online and the kids spend hours making their own to read to us.’ Future Beano creatives in the making RIGHT THERE. You could also give stop-motion animation a go – download an app and use Lego figures as your cast.
But our favourite idea of all comes from Katie, mum of three: ‘Set up a stall outside your house. Sometimes, when I’m on the ball, we make cakes or flapjacks to sell. Other times, the girls find stuff they want to sell from their bedrooms then stay out there all day selling. They always get more customers if I leave them to it!’
Give that mum a medal.
Need indoor fun ideas? Head to Beano.com for tons of makes, videos and funny stuff.