Sunday, 30 March 2014

Fun Easter Holiday Ideas


The kids are off school, they are bored, they are restless. The clocks are going forward (thanks, Greenwich Mean Time- and on Mother's day?  Cheers for that hilarious irony) and more daylight means more time to fill.

But what to do with it?

Five fab tips from my two Blethering Boys.

1:  "Visit the Abrary!" (LIBRARY)

My kids love a visit to the library.  Our local Children's Centre is fun, engaging, there's always extra activities to do like colouring or lounging on the couches, and best of all, it's stuffed full of free things that they can take home to do too.  Every day if they want to!

Our local library runs special activities over the holidays (and during term-time) for the kids, storytelling, rhyme times and even games clubs for older children.

Here's an idea of what goes on at our particular 'abrary' via their always-updated Facebook Page.

As someone who works there, I know just how much time and effort goes into thinking great and imaginative things for the kids to do and we want them to come back for more!

Drop into your local library to see what goes on - I bet you'll find there's a lot more than just books.

Why not focus on a project over the holidays to give them a little bit of focus? Let your librarian help you with some books on your chosen subject.

There are some really cool books about Space - this one has lift-up flaps that keep Tom occupied for ages!

I think we are going to choose Space; there's tons of lovely books on that topic, we could make a Space model out of old recycling, we can watch Space themed movies (hired free from the library of course!) and we can visit a very special place...

2. "I really really REALLY want to go to the Observatory!  Please, please, please!?"

Check out Mills Observatory!
We are very lucky here in Dundee - we have an old Observatory  where families can visit either during the day to see all of the different instruments, or even better, late at night when the sun has set to have a look through the massive telescope.
  It's set in the middle of a huge park too, which is great for running around in after a visit, to let off even more steam.

Tom's been asking to go for weeks, and the holidays is a perfect time, as a later bedtime won't interrupt our early school mornings (and might get mum and dad a lie-in!)

Have a look and see if there's anything near you of a similar interest.  It might not be an Observatory - it might be an Earth House , a Secret Bunker (speakers down for that link!) or even something like a Camera Obscura.

Camera Obscura magnifies the surroundings - you can see for miles!  Kids are fascinated by it!

Make a point of visiting the smaller, less time-consuming bits and pieces around you.  A lot of them are free, spark a lot of interest for the kids and chances are, you'll learn something new too!

3. "My like the castle with the animals and the café in it Mummy!"

McManus Galleries, Dundee, Scotland
O.k, it's not a castle, but when you are 3 years old, everything looks huge and impressive, and our local museum is just that.  And yes, it does have stuffed animals and a rather nice café in it.  Buying our kids a slab of chocolate cake and a lemonade at the end of our wander around the exhibits basically earns me superhero status for the rest of the day too.

Check out your local museum during the holidays - most are cheap enough or even free, and they aren't the old, stuffy places that we went to when we were kids.  A lot have installed some amazing interactive displays and have added new media to keep the exhibits modern and fresh.

Our world has become so small through the internet that now a lot of kids know more about what is going on in a completely different continent than what has happened in their own back yard.  So make the most of your local history!

4. "Yeah, I wanna make a massive Happy Street!"

We have been blessed with a huge amount of Happy Land toys.  My lovely auntie saved them all for me from when her kids were small and I really appreciate it.  They are great - loads of wee people and houses and road and stuff that all amalgamate together into a land of long happy playtime.

We are really big on our play sets in this house, and I'm sure you all have some figurines and stuff too, just waiting to create their own tales.  In the holidays, we throw aside any ideas of keeping the house under any kind of tidiness and go for day-long, even two-day-long play set-fests that grow in size and shape.

Happyland and Tomica, with a dash of Chuggington Interactive!
The key is here to give your kids a platform to jump from and let them go mad with it - let the In The Night Garden toys mix with the Sylvanian Families and the superhero action-figures.

A kid's best gift is their imagination.  Warning though; as I have discovered, certain husbands get a bit too proud of their creations!

We mix it up a lot and move them to different environments - build caves out of stones in the garden, cut tunnels out of cardboard boxes, make track out of masking tape on the carpet.

Not my living room - beige wouldn't last long in our house!
When everyone is fed up, we just spend a scheduled day tidying up (my boys strangely enjoy this - might be easier said than done!) and chilling out with a reward, such as a DVD and some popcorn.  There's something nice about organisation after chaos, and sticking them all away again keeps the play fresh for next time.

5. "Can we play the game where you lift us up and throw us on the couch one on top of the other?"

Spinning around and around in a huge field!
Yes, I am always hoping our kids don't ask us this in public, as I am aware it sounds sketchy.

Rough play however is great for kids.

We do all manner of stuff for and around our children, but the truth is their favourite play is the rough stuff -because it's time that we are interacting, we're all laughing, we're monkeying around, and generally just having fun.

We build forts in the house out of sofa cushions, we go to the park and roll down hills, we go tree-climbing, we feed the ducks, we swing high on the swings, we have races, we get down and dirty with the kids.  And nine times out of ten (presuming we don't get too carried away and someone gets hurt) these are the best days.

And who cares how muddy you get?  Mud washes!  There's nothing better than having a 'who can make the best bubble-beard' competition at the end of a long day!


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