7 Free Activities To Entertain Kids (So You Can Actually Enjoy Easter)

And there's not a tablet or TV in sight.
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The bank holiday weekend is finally upon us – meaning it’s time to come up with some activities to keep the little ones occupied (providing you haven’t already been doing that all week, in which cause you really deserve a cup of tea, chocolate bar and a sit down right about now).

A parenting and mental health expert has shared a list of free activities to keep children entertained over Easter – and none of them involve screens.

In fact, according to Jennifer Johnson, from on-demand expert service platform JustAnswer, these activities also aid child development – so it’s basically a win-win.

“Any activities which promote gross and fine motor skills are important for children of all ages,” she says.

So without further ado, here are her seven recommendations of things to keep kids quiet and stimulated over the long weekend.

1. Get crafting

Most kids love to get messy – and giving them the opportunity to make things is also great for their development. It just means a bit of a clean up job for you afterwards.

Johnson recommends making things from play dough, creating cards or anything else that includes grabbing, touching and bending fingers to develop their fine motor skills.

2. Bake together

Again, pretty messy. But baking is such a lovely activity to do with kids of all ages and often doesn’t require a huge amount of ingredients. Stuck for inspiration? Check out these easy baking recipes from Delicious.

If cakes are off the cards, why not let them help with making family meals over the weekend?

“Baking and cooking involve weighing and measuring ingredients (mathematics skills) and using their hands (gross and fine motor skills),” says Johnson. “Also, your child has an end product they can reap pride and satisfaction from.”

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3. Create your own supermarket

What kid doesn’t love playing shops? Parents can use their kitchen as inspiration to create their very own supermarket, fashioning a basket from something lying around the house. You could even just give them a reusable tote to use.

Stack tins and packets in one area so your child can choose items to put in their basket/bag. Your child could even get creative and make their own money, which they can use to “buy’ the items.

“It’s simple and easy, and can help their understanding of real-life transactions,” adds Johnson.

4. Head to the park

With the weather set to be nicer over the bank holiday weekend, it’s certainly worth getting out and about to your local playground – or if you don’t live near a park, perhaps going for a long walk or bike ride.

Creating good social skills is also an important part of growing up, Johnson says, and playing in parks can help with this.

“Parks are great for a child’s gross motor skills as they are running, climbing and bouncing but they are also filled with lessons for children, too,” she explains.

“They can learn to share and interact with other children. For example, they can’t all be on the swings at the same time and they can’t go down the slide at the same time so they have to take turns.”

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5. Experience nature

It’s also worth heading out for a walk in nature – whether that’s along the beach, through a forest, across a large park, or anywhere else where they can engage many of their senses.

“If you have a child above the age of three, consider asking them to name the different colours they can see. You could also get them to smell a pine cone, touch gravel and listen out for birds,” says Johnson.
“Nature treasure hunts are another great outdoors activity for children. Set them a task to find various items, such as a green tree, a black dog, a brown bench and let them tick off what they manage to find.
“Completing the activities is reward enough, however if it is something you are doing with your child then praise them for what they have done.”
She adds that a physical reward such as an ice lolly might raise the excitement levels.

6. Read together

One of the best free activities that can be done for any child right up to the age of 18 is reading, says the parenting expert, as it fosters bonding with the parent or caregiver and stimulates creation and fantasy.
“Be sure to read not only fiction but non-fiction for children age seven and above, such as stories about historical heroes,” she recommends.
“For children who can read by themselves, especially teenagers, ask them to tell you about their book and what they felt about it and if they could relate to it.
“Ask if they would have acted the same way or differently from the hero or heroine in it. This is an easy way to find out how your teenager thinks and what they believe about topical issues.”
She continues that discussing books also allows your teenager to broach important subjects with you, if they do not feel comfortable to ask something outright.

7. Introduce them to journaling

For older children aged between 10 and 18, introducing journaling can also be beneficial – especially as “in many children today, resilience is low,” says Johnson.
“Journaling for older children allows them to put down their thoughts and feelings and think of ways to manage their feelings,” she explains.
“Of course, there is a cost to buying a journal, but some come with great prompts aimed at getting younger people to write down their thoughts and feelings.”
If you’re low on cash (or don’t have time to get out to the shops), you could help your child make their own journal – and they can decorate it how they like.
“Children between the ages of seven to twelve can keep a journal of their holiday, writing down what they did, who they saw, what was fun and what was not. They can share this with parents if they want to,” Johnson continues.
“Children in the teenage group can suffer low moods, and often don’t have an outlet for their frustrations. Journaling is an excellent way for them to express their feelings. Parents must also let their teenage children know that they are there if they need to chat to them.
“There’s lots of research that shows writing down even just a couple of things they are grateful for can be effective.”