Tag Archives: play

Summer activities with little planning

I’ve been thinking a lot about the forthcoming Summer holidays. Usually I go with the flow but this year I wanted to arm myself with a handful of activities that I could pull together quickly when the first ‘I’m bored’ calls begin, so I thought you’d like to see it too…

In the garden:

Garden games – It takes very little to get some garden games ready. You can even get the kids involved with the planning and making.

Make some cardboard spots and mark them with different point values – who can score the most with 3 beanbags? Often the children think about different ways they can play the game and they get inventive. BUT you might need to be clear on rules at the very beginning to make this work.

Trampolining a great activity to help with calming down angry children, regulating hyper children, it’s a sensory experience too.

Water fights – get the water pistols out, buy cheap sponges and cut them up, even use old ketchup bottles as squirters. Good for cooling down on hot days. And it provides a nurturing opportunity when getting snug and dry after.

Invite their friends over – yes you might have to supply squash and sandwiches, but it’s a real eye opener watching your children interact with others. And if they’re in your garden, you get to keep an eye. Provide a few footballs, swingball, skipping ropes or pots of bubbles and even the most cool and streetwise 14 year old, will be running around popping those bubbles with the glee of a toddler!

In the house:

Cooking/baking –  yes this can strike fear into the heart of any parent, but it really is great fun for kids and as long as you don’t mind a bit of mess it can be a lovely bonding experience if you choose the right moment.
Whatever your skill level (and your childs) you can have fun with this…rice crispie cakes to homemade pitta bread pizzas, my son (after some sensory therapy) now loves squishing together homemade veggie burgers, and my youngest likes just spreading butter and jam on a piece of bread.

Movie time – grab a few DVDs, whether they’re old favourites or new surprises, make up a bowl of popcorn and bottles of drinks and chill together. This is a lovely way to snuggle, relax and re-charge.

Crafting – again, not everyone’s cup of tea, but even if you leave a pile of paper, some glue sticks and foam shapes on the kitchen table, the kids will enjoy it. You can supervise with a cup of tea whilst they stick each other together, I mean create wonderful pictures, and even if only for 20 minutes, it’s a fairly simple activity that can be enjoyed by various ages. (My children make loads of pictures, so armed with envelopes and stamps we send them as presents to members of the family and then they don’t clutter up my house too much).

Play – lots of our kids struggle to play. They might need some structure in which case you can put out some useful props and sit nearby for help and support…maybe leaving some paper plates out next to a pile of teddies (picnic anyone?), or a half built lego model that can be continued, even a pile of blankets and pegs so they can make their own den. Sometimes that initial prompt can be enough to get them going. For inspiration search ‘invitation to play’ on Pinterest.

Out of the house

Fruit picking – a simple way to get them out of the house but with an end purpose and a healthy snack (who doesn’t nibble a few strawberries whilst picking them?). You could (if you have the time and inclination) make a whole themed day of it…beginning with fruit themed crafts, ending with jam making, or cake decorating with fresh fruit?

Go to the park – Whether your kids are younger or older, the park is light relief. Swings, slides and climbing frames or even a field with a ball. Take a couple of drinks and some snackage, and get out for an hour or two. Arrange to meet friends there if you like, or take a picnic.

Nature trails and walking games – we make nature bingo sheets, just a very simple list or pictures of things they might see on a walk…ants, blue cars, post boxes, the bakery etc and they tick them off as we go. Sometimes we take a camera and they have to take a picture of each thing too. Other times, the bingo card lists leaves and objects they can bring home, so we take a bag or hat with us to fill. This works well with younger children, but you can adapt it to suit whatever age group. This has helped my hyper child focus on something…a big achievement.

Puddle jumping – even on the wettest days, and in fact especially on the wettest days you just need to get out. So pull on your wellies, grab a jacket and go out to jump in puddles. Have fun with your kids!
Before you go, put newspaper down by the door and a pile of towels and pyjamas on the side, so you can get dry and snuggly when you get home.

What do you think? Will you do some of these with your children? What else are you planning? Let us know.

Today’s guest post is from Hayley, a mum of 4 children, 2 of whom are adoptive. They are 15, 12, 7 and 6. Hayley’s children have lots of different diagnoses (ASD, SPD, Attachment problems, FASD and anxiety) between them which are displayed differently in each so she’s well used to juggling activities to suit all or most of their needs at the same time. We’re grateful to Hayley for sharing this post with us. 

Book review: Keeping The Little Blighters Busy

This week I’m sharing a review of a book that is simply about occupying the children – not adoption related, but I hope it’ll be helpful never the less. (Oh, but you’ll notice that the author is an adoptive mum, which I didn’t know til I re-read the introduction for this review!).

It’s no secret that I like to have lots of activities to hand for the holidays. I use Pinterest (a LOT), I’ve used the great book How to get your children offline, outdoors and connecting with nature  and I have so many craft materials, Hobbycraft would be jealous.
So when my mother in law showed me a few suggestions of books that were along similar lines as How to get your children offline, I was keen to check them out.

CYMERA_20140804_210229Claire Potter’s Keeping The Little Blighters Busy is a wonderfully refreshing and original book of 50 things to do with your kids (before they’re 12 3/4). As much as Pinterest is fab, the pins are often the same project that’s been shared and reshared, with different interpretations of the original idea. This book is completely different, with new ideas, not variations on older projects.

The humorous title drew me in, as did the lovely Quentin Blake style illustrations. And the activities within don’t disappoint.

The book is separated into 10 categories – from Food Dudes to Chinwaggers, Hidden Treasure to Spicing up Everyday Life. And then the activities within include Jam Tart tray dinner, Ice-cubes in the bath, The wall of foam, The Unscary Scarecrow, Lickety Wallpaper, The straight line walk, An ‘unsensible’ pair of shoes and Lucky dip cooking. Each activity gives a rough age range that it would be suitable for, the whole book is aimed at approx. 3-13 year olds.

A few immediately caught my eye…
It’s Gone All Mouldy is a fungus farm project that I know Mini will love. Putting food in jars then purposely letting them go off!
The Witch’s Larder will suit my two down to the ground. Clearing out my larder is a boring (for them) job that takes me away from doing fun stuff with them – but how about getting them to rename the pots and tins that you put back into the cupboard? Mini’s already re-named the honey as ‘Bee Sick’, so I know he’ll be up for this.
Shruken Heads is in the festive section as a Hallowe’en activity, but I’m pretty sure we could do this any time of the year – turning apples into spooky hangings.

I found all the instructions to be clear and concise, with a bit of humour and mischief along the way. And in many of the activities the tips and twists are as good as the activity itself. There’s no gender stereo-typing. Even the husband agreed that he’d be able to enjoy some of these with the children…high praise indeed.

So, a great book to have to hand, helping you avoid the overcrowded soft play centre, or jostling for a good spot on the beach. Each activity is inexpensive, tried out on real children, and turns everyday routines and jobs into mini adventures. At £5.99 I think it’s a real steal too.

Today’s review was written by Vicki from The Boy’s Behaviour, the book was paid for in full by her, and this review is her honest opinion. 

Playground Problems

Today’s problem comes from Sarah from The Puffin Diaries, if you have any helpful suggestions please comment below……

CYMERA_20140305_152029My son, who is nine, is having problems in the school playground. He doesn’t like going to school at all, and often refuses to go. However, the school have been really supportive and implemented lots of strategies that help him through his day in the classroom. It seems that outside of the structure of the classroom he finds it very hard to deal with any level of confrontation, or what he perceives as confrontation. He gets himself into fights with other children, often lashing out and using aggressive language. He then finds it difficult to listen to those in authority and will be rude to those who are trying to help him.

He also struggles to see any incident as it realistically occurred and is convinced that everyone is against him.

The school have, for his own safety and to lessen the possibility of major fallout, taken the decision to keep him in at playtimes. My son really hates this as he sees it as a constant punishment for his behaviour, and in a day that is often very hard for him, playtime for him is the best bit. I’m really drawn because he has had better days when he doesn’t go out but he is very sad about not being allowed out with his friends. 

Has anyone had similar problems in school and have the school managed to implement any strategies that work?