School Holiday Planning with kids
Six weeks of school holidays are approaching fast and while the excitement mounts, I’m already being asked what we’re going to do. We’re not going on holiday so having some ideas of activities on hand is really important to help with the dreaded phrase ‘I’m bored what can we do’.
For the past few years I’ve planned activities with the kids. I’m still surprised how much they actually enjoy the planning part. Involving them in the decisions and giving them a say in what they’d like to do is really important.
To start the planning, we all have to think of some rainy day ideas (indoor) and sunny day ideas (outdoor) so we’re prepared for any weather. We also set a budget of what we can spend that week. As such, most of our activities have to be low cost or free, with an occasional treat thrown in which might be more expensive. I find it really helps to have an activity poster on the wall. This is because the ideas are already on paper so we can chat about things we’d like to do without being too prescriptive.
What to do – getting prepared
There are so many ways to do this and you can use what you have in the house. You can use A4 printer paper and do a poster each for sunny outdoor days or rainy indoor days on A4. If you have larger A3 sheets or card in the house combine both indoor & outdoor activities on one sheet. Rolls of lining paper also work well for this too – just cut any size from the sheet to create your poster.
To get going, I give them blank sheets of card – usually A3 size. I leave it up to them about how they design the poster. However, they have a system now and the page is filled with drawings of a sun with the activity written down in the middle or next to it. The other side is raindrops or clouds with activities in the drop or next to the cloud.
Variations on the themes
Ideas for activities change each year as the children get older and it depends on their age for what’s appropriate. There are lots of variations on this theme from ‘Bored Jars’ or lolly pop sticks. For the bored jar, write activities on pieces of paper and fold them up and pop them into a jar. When your children say they are bored, they have to pick a piece of paper at random and do that activity.
The same thing can be done with lolly sticks. Write on one end of the stick the activity and they have to pick sticks at random. We did this at Brownies but they had to write ‘good turns’ on the stick and do these (e.g. feed the animals, make my bed, help with tea etc). As such, they are just 5 minute jobs but it really helps with chores and tasks! – maybe that’s one for another day though.
I’m a huge fan of Pinterest and have numerous boards for ideas, including, ‘crafts for children’, ‘crafts for tweens’, ‘crafts for teenagers’ etc. My teenager has her own pinterest account so she can make her own boards, but I sit with my youngest who is too young for an account and we look together for ideas. They are both into crafts so the boards are full of ideas they’d like to try.
This includes, stone painting, felting, lip balm making, friendship bracelets, phone stands, upcycling clothing, pom pom making, dream catchers, macrame. Crafts is usually an indoor idea but there are so many possibilities, I think we need to create a poster of all the craft activities we’d like to try.
Although I say to my daughters they can design and suggest anything, I do advise they have to be realistic! Disneyland would be at the top of their list and whilst this would be fantastic it’s not realistic. I do set guidelines that some of the activities have to be low cost (but still fun). They can also suggest treat ones which might be most expensive. We set a budget each summer holiday and involve them on how we should spend it. They therefore appreciate if we blew all the money in the first week on big activities then there wouldn’t be any for the rest of the holidays. However, we do try and put a good few day trips in and spread these throughout the holidays so we have something to look forward to. This year their ideas include theme parks, or an adventure day out like Go Ape or kayaking.
Low cost Activity Ideas
Our low cost options are still fun though and this includes;
Sunny / outdoor
- Picnics (at beach / local park/ river/ woods / den in the garden!)
- Bike rides
- garden games (set up a fair e.g. coconut shy, hoopla etc or garden obstacle course)
- outdoor scavenger hunt
Rainy days / indoor
- movie day
- bullet journal (kids love this!)
- art galleries
- craft store (stock up on supplies)
- board games day
- friends over for day / sleepovers