Sunshine or showers, nursery day or holiday, inside or out, we've got some fun activities to keep your children entertained – and happy this holiday!
1. Dress up as an Egyptian mummy
While away a boring afternoon by taking it in turns to turn each other into Egyptian mummies with some white loo roll. For the best effect, it's a good idea to start at the ankles and wrists and move upwards and inwards.
Note: If the grown-ups are feeling a bit tired, ask them to lie down while you turn them into a mummy.
2. Blind man's dinner
It might only be the usual fish fingers and chips but even the simplest fare will taste quite different when you're blindfolded. Everyone'll agree that eating turns into an adventure when you don't know what's for tea. Ensure everyone has their eyes covered with a thin scarf before the plates are brought to the table – no peeking! If you're a fussy eater, you might want to use this as an opportunity to try something new? Ah well, it's just a thought...
3. Rain drop racing
It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is... playing raindrop racing, of course! Crowd round the window and get everyone to quickly choose a little watery tadpole each. The first one to reach the bottom of the windowpane is the winner.
4. Make an egg shell garden
The next time you have boiled eggs for tea, save the shells – and the box they came in! Check the shells are completely empty, and then draw some silly faces on the sides of each one with felt tip. Next, fill each shell with some soil or compost, sprinkle on a bit of water, then scatter on some some mustard and cress seeds. Pop each shell into the carton then put on a sunny windowsill where they can be watered every day or two. When the seeds sprout, the mustard and cress will look like hair.
5. Make a magic potion
Go outside with a bucket or bowl and create a magic potion. Water's a good place to start – puddle water's ideal. Now add anything else that takes your fancy - mud, sand, stones, petals, grass cuttings. Perhaps have a look in other's people's buckets – you might be able to do some good swaps. Finally, give everything a really good stir with a big stick and leave to marinate while you go off to watch cartoons on the telly.
6. Flower pressing
Go outside and pick a little bunch of daisies, dandelions and buttercups - taking care not to pull up the roots so the flowers can grow again. Bring them inside and place your blooms on a piece of blotting paper or kitchen roll, then lay another sheet on the top. Put the whole lot inside a big heavy book – a phone directory's ideal because people don't need them anymore as they look things up on the Internet now. Leave for a few days until the flowers are completely flat and dried out. Then you can stick them onto a folded piece of paper to make an extra-special card for someone.
7. Face pulling competition
Gurning – the art of pulling horrible faces – is an English tradition that goes back to the 13th century, and its definitely one that's worth keeping alive. Just take it in turns to see who can pull the silliest face – maybe taking photographs so everyone has chance to see how ridiculous they look. Consider using these photographs on the front of this year's Christmas cards.
8. Be in a band
You don't have to wait to be a teenager to be in a band and strut your stuff. All you've got to do is put on a CD and play along on homemade instruments. Try banging a wooden spoon on an upturned saucepan or paintpot. Pour some dried beans or lentils into a plastic bottle, put the lid back on and get shaking! Wrap some thin paper around the teeth of a comb, place your lips against the comb and start humming!It really is that easy and it's a great way to let off some steam. Take it in turns trying out each instrument.
9. Go camping - in the house
Rainy days are perfect for indoor camping trips. Just chuck a big sheet or cloth over a tabletop or over two chairs to create a 'tent.' Go off to gather all the cushions, blankets, toys and books you want to take with you on your camping trip - see how much you can squeeze into the small space. Remember to bring a torch and some snacks. Perhaps you could have your tea in there, too?
10. Try welly wanging!
The game that does exactly what it says on the tin – you just wang a welly as far as you can. The one who wangs a welly the furthest is the winner. Simples.
NB: The World Welly Wanging Association has some useful health and safety suggestions which we strongly advise you following:
Face the direction you want your welly to go, holding it between your knees, with your legs bent. Everyone counts 3,2,1 and the competitor then throws the welly as far as they can.
It's very wise at this stage to stand well back from them, especially if they're known to be an erratic or inexperienced thrower.
Sally Norton is the author of '101 Things To Do Before You're Five' (Penguin).
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