Tuesday, 27 June 2017

25 Summer Holiday Survival Ideas (& ways to bond with ur step kids)

Surely the biggest #MummyTrial of all is surviving the summer holidays?
I don't know about you but I treat half term and summer holidays like a military operation . Not that I plan every single day (guaranteed way to set yourself up for failure), but I arm myself with a list of free or nearly free activities I can manage without huge amounts of planning or effort.  Don't get me wrong, I chuck in the occasional fancy day out but I'm running on a pretty tight budget these days. That said, I don't think my kids miss out. I like to think my activities are pretty fun and I'm almost 100% sure its the things you do with them, not the things you buy them that they remember as they grow....
These are also pretty good ways of bonding with you're step children. I found it really hard to think of ways to entertain my step son at first due to my lack to prior experience with children his age. Small things can make a huge difference to your relationship- each positive memory is a step forward. 

So I thought I'd share my list with you. Feel free to make the ideas your own, adapt and change things as you like- or even dismiss ones you think are rubbish (hopefully that won't be all of them)! 

  1. Make a tent
Make a tent out of blankets, throws or even towels. If your doing it outdoors use chairs or tables to make a frame and secure things down with rocks or stones. If your doing a tent indoors, use an airier or again tables and chairs. I find this entertains mine for most of the day (periodically) as they like to read or play in (or sleep).
  1. Have a picnic in your home made tent
Even if its raining outside, you can still have a picnic!
  1. Draw chalk pictures
Chalk is pretty good as you can draw on a concrete path or any paved area without fear that it will be permanent. Asda do giant chalks for about £1.50 and you get two of each colour- so if you use them all up in one session you can get them out again another day. This is also really good for practising basic Maths and English. Ask your child to draw a square or a triangle, or write their name.
  1. Fill up a bowl of water & head outside
If its warm, fill up a washing up bowl with warm water and put in some toys. Hand your kids some bubble bath or the last dregs of the washing up liquid and set them outside to have some messy fun. A ball thrown into the bowl from a height makes an impressive splash and sends the bubbles around like confetti which is most amusing to small people.
  1. Fan your own hideout
Grab a fan (preferably a desk one) and a duvet cover. Aim the fan for the open end of the cover and watch as it blows the cover open, creating a den. Also very cooling in the heat!
  1. Water balloon target practise
My son doesn't have anyone to play water balloons with as his brother is a wee bit on the small side at present. Instead, I fill up loads of balloons with water and hang up a target for him to wack.
  1. Rocket balloons
They are really cheap- £1 and sound like farts when you let them go. Kids love them
  1. Fly a kite
You can find decent kites in lots of places now days, and if all else fails Amazon has some. Nothing better that a bit of open space and singing Mary Poppins at the top of your voice!
  1. Visit every park in your area
I used to have a favourite park in my area and we pretty much always went there. Then I decided we were going to visit a different park each day for the week. It worked pretty well. Although most parks have very similar things they  more often than not have a least one unique toy to play on. Plus you get to meet lots of new people 
  1. Bubbles!
Bubbles are so cheap and I tend to have a little stash of them for when I'm about to do my nut and need five minutes peace. Stick them out in the garden to minimise mess and drink a cuppa!
  1. Bottle flowers
This sounds mad but collect old fizzy drink bottles and you can make so many things out of them. I found this idea on Pintrest but I had also seen it on other platforms. Put some paint in a dish and dip the bottom on the bottle into the paint, then print it onto paper. They come out looking like flowers. quite good for Spring themed pictures too.
  1. Shadow pictures
Take some paper out and get your child to draw round your shadow, or shadows of anything you can find
  1. Treasure Maps
I remember doing this as a child! Take some old tea bags (slightly cooled) and dab them over some thick paper for that old effect. Once dry, draw your maps to the buried treasure where X marks the spot and add some scary monsters along the way that you'd have to battle through.
  1. Food colouring pictures
Food colouring and oil in a washing up bowl with some water. Lay your paper on top and take out to see a lovely marbled picture!
  1. Home made skittles
I bought some out door skittles for my son last year from Asda and they were total rubbish. They pretty much fell down if you blew too hard and were incredibly frustrating for my little lad. Those old fizzy drinks bottles I mentioned before are a great alternative. Grab some stones from the beach or  some rice or lentils and fill them half way up to make your own skittles set. You can also decorate them although I tried this before and they ended up looking a bit pants- let me know if you have better success! 
  1. Paint pebbles
We live by the beach so this is easy for us. If you can get hold of pebbles, pebble art is great fun. We put ours out in the garden as decorations and although the rain washed the paint off eventually, they were great fun to make and gave my son great pride that he'd decorated the garden. We've done galaxy designs, mini beasts and just colourful rainbow patterns. I try and combine them with school topics where possible (the mini beasts was the reception term topic)
  1. Make yogurt bites
I spent a whole 89p in Aldi on some berry flavoured yogurt and it turned out to be a cheap and very useful buy. We've made yogurt puddles, frozen yogurt dipped fruit and yogurt jelly. Recipes can be found on Pintrest or a general internet search but the idea is ; blob some yogurt on baking parchment, add some fruit on top and freeze (yogurt puddles, lovely snack in the summer) and for yogurt jelly combine some cooled jelly (not set!) with yogurt and mix together before putting in the fridge. It comes out like blancmange and is really tasty (slimming world recipe tried it and pretty much lived off it) Hopefully yogurt dipped fruit is self explanatory!
  1. Plant some flowers
Plant some flowers or vegetables and watch them grow. Encourage your children to water them and take responsibility for their own pots and see their delight when there hard work is rewarded with colourful flowers, fruits or vegetables. The cheapest seed packs I've come across are in Wilkos, but I've been cheeky and asked people to donate plants they no longer want to fill up my garden. You could also buy a cheap pot and get your children to decorate it, or buy a decorating pack from Asda that comes with paints, pot and brushes. 
  1. Home made play dough
I'm excited to try this myself and will upload pictures when I do. The recipe is as follows:
  • 2 tsp Cream of tartar
    1 cup Flour
    Food coloring
    1/3 cup of Salt
    1 tbsp of Vegetable oil
    1 cup of water 

  • Mix together and enjoy! 
  1. Home made slime
Messy fun! Recipe as follows:

Glue (about ¼  bottle) 
¼ cup water
Food colouring 
¼ cup of Sodium Tetraborate (Borax) 

Mix and stir slowly. Add glitter if your feeling adventurous. This is also a wonderful substance to squeeze the life out of when you feel like screaming! 
  1. Bake
Baking is brilliant for kids but hard work for us. If you can distract your kids for twenty minutes while you get bowls and ingredients out that's great- if not, I whole heartily believe a cheap 70p ready made mix is sufficient. Some days I can be bothered to go the whole hog but other days when I'm sleep deprived and grumpy the 'just add water' method works perfectly well. They still get to lick the bowl and eat the cake afterwards! 
  1. Make fans
Decorate bits of paper and fold them into fans for a cooling activity in the heat
23. Make obstacle course
If you have the room in doors or out, you could make an obstacle course. Use cushions, pillows, hula hoops, anything you can find and watch your kids go round it again and again (and hopefully wear themselves out!)
  1. Pancakes
They aren't just for pancake day! Make some pancakes and decorate them with fruit faces and chocolate spread hair. Nom nom!
25. Paper Plates
You can do some much with paper plates....colour faces on them, make them into the sun or moon or planets, make jelly fish creatures...possibilities are endless and are a good distraction while you grab a coffee and ten minutes peace.

Let me know if you have any ideas in the comments. 

Happy Reading #MummyTrials  

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