The weather may not be very co-operative, but this time of year usually brings a little pause in the hectic school / work / home routine. This half term, brainstorm some activities that you or your caregiver can enjoy with your children. If you are sharing half term care with your trusted nanny or childcarer, make sure that you both enjoy some quality time with your little ones.
From Spring-themed fun to indoors entertainment, here are six fun-packed ideas for everyone. None of them involve a screen -- so get yourselves and your children reconnected with the physical world this half term.
1. Plan A Screen Free Day
Put away the screens and disconnect from the digital world. 'Phone, TV, laptop - everyone spends time (4 hours or a whole day) without their devices. Instead, your family can cook, garden, play, walk, run instead. If the little ones are missing their online games, play them "for real". Using clip art, cut out some bird shapes and stick straws or lollipop sticks on the back to make Angry Birds and pigs, with Lego bricks as the structures the pigs sit on. And if you haven't yet, talk to your carer about setting daily screen time limits for your children.
2. Enjoy Nature
As an extension of Screen Free Day, spend some time reconnecting with nature. With spring around the corner, now's the time to find some lovely displays of snowdrops or other early flowers. Alternatively, get your children engaged in planting - using pots or your garden - as bulbs planted now will flower within the next few weeks. Alternatively try something new in the garden - plant veggies for using in family recipes, or grow heather and lavender to attract bugs and pollinators later in the Spring.
3. Dust off the BBQ!
Have your first BBQ of the year! Children love a barbeque so don't let the weather get in the way. Wrap up warm and sizzle some sausages and eat them outside.
4. Head To A Museum
Major museums in the UK, including London museums, offer several free activities for children around half term, including National Portrait Gallery, British Museum, National Maritime Museum and V & A. Encourage your children to bring notebooks or sketchbooks, and fire their imaginations to write some short stories or doodles inspired by their visit. Whilst admission may be free, don't forget to leave your carer extra kitty money for transport costs, or maybe food, drink and souvenirs.
5. Have A Treasure Hunt At Home.
For this activity, encourage everyone to get in the spirit by dressing as pirates or Naval officers. Use spare coppers or sweets as the treasure, create "aged" maps using paper soaked in tea and draw maps, objects, and clues with the children. If the children are different ages, grade the maps according to difficulty and make sure everyone gets some treasure as a reward!
6. Play Indoor Sports
Even if the British weather isn't helping, you and your carer can still encourage your children's sports skills. Use small soft balls for catching practice and larger ones for kicking. Clear any ornaments and encourage the children to play barefoot or try Judy Murray's indoor sports games, such as Indoor River Jumping. In this game, you use a couple of bits of rope to make the river and stick toy sharks in the middle to make it more fun. Then you get the children to jump or hop over the river, and progress to catching something in mid-air as they do so.
Make the most of this half term by working with your carer to map out a week's worth of fun activities for your children. And don't forget some time to just sit and relax too. You've all been working hard -- you need this break!!