Tag Archives: summer

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. 

#Memorybox reminder

So the summer holidays are coming to an end…MBbadge

Have you had a good one? Bad one? Or indifferent?
We hope you’ve been able to store up some good memories, even if you’ve had a challenging few months. They give us something to hold onto when the struggles seem too much.

So today’s post is just a reminder to let you know that our Summer #Memorybox linky is still up and live, and will be for a few more weeks yet. Please come and share your positive moments, no matter how small or big. You can link up blog posts (like usual) or even tweets (here’s the tutorial on how) and we’ll share them when we can.

To save you clicking through or scrolling back through the posts, here’s the linky, so just add your memory below:


Summer Sandpit 1/9/14

It’s our final week of Summer Sandpit…

dens in the woodsOur very last Summer Sandpit is all about dens. I think most children enjoying den-building don’t they? Whether it’s in the woods with sticks and branches, in the garden under the trampoline or in the dining room with blankets over the table.

dens inside
What about your children? Is this something they’ve done this Summer? If so, we’d love you to link up your posts or share your images with the #SummerSandpit.

Summer Sandpit 25/8/14

Days out. How many have you had? Where have you been? How have they gone?

It’s difficult to keep the children occupied during the holidays. Days out can be expensive, and sandpit_zpse4b97af5need a lot of planning. But, they give our children great new experiences, allow us to learn, play and be together, and just have fun!

We appreciate that for many, security is an important issue, so of course, don’t disclose your location if you don’t want to. However, if you have reviewed somewhere, then please add your post, and do add your general trips to beaches, parks, exciting attraction and any other days out you feel happy sharing.


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. 

Summer Sandpit 28/7/14

Hello and welcome to the first week of our new Summer Sandpit linky – a place for you to share your summer memories and activities, and perhaps give some inspiration to others.sandpit_zpse4b97af5

Our weeks are themed, but as with all our linkys – the themes are optional. This first week is ‘Nature’ and to kick us off, Vicki from The Boy’s Behaviour is sharing some activities that you might like to do with your children…

barny the woodsTruth be told, I’m not an outdoorsy person. I don’t like hot weather, despise wasps and buzzy insects, and see no point in sunbathing. However, I do like nature – I love the smells and colour of the flowers, homegrown fruits and vegetables taste far sweeter than bought ones, and even as an adult, I’m fascinated by seed pods, crunchy autumnal leaves, knobbly twigs and live in hope I may one day see fairies at the bottom of the garden.

With this in mind, I like activities that encourage the children to think about nature, and allow them to bring the outside in – not worms and stuff, but those seed pods, seeds, dried flowers, petals, feathers and such.

Here are a few of the posts I’ve published in the past that explore and encourage thoughts Dirt cupsabout nature:
Dirt Cup Puddings (with jelly snakes, worms or bugs)
Rice Maze and Story Maker (easily adaptable to only include natural objects)
Grape Caterpillars
Nature Paper

And I have a pinterest board full of other nature-type crafts and activities

how to get kids offline

I also recently reviewed a fantastic book called ‘How to Get Kids Offline, Outdoors and Connecting With Nature’ – click through and you’ll see a photo of the Fairy House that Dollop and I made together. And I’ve made a list of other activities from the book that I’d like to try this Summer.

 

We’ll definitely be heading out to explore nature – fruit picking, scavenger hunts, gardening, geocaching, and even painting our own rock bugs, link your post up below so we can see how you’ve been getting nature into your lives…

As usual, no rules, just add your link below. All welcome to link in – no connection to adoption needed, but great summer activity posts only please. Do share your favourites, and comment on posts where you can.
 


First aid, audio CDs and other things to keep close by in the Summer

Are your children accident prone?
One of mine is. Sometimes he falls over accidentally – he has hypermobility in his ankles so that doesn’t help, but often he hurts himself in the middle of a meltdown, and sometimes he hurts himself on purpose – yes, he’ll throw himself into a pile of stinging nettles, or headbutt a wall repeatedly, and there are the days where he’ll punch something hard, and end up slicing open his knuckles. We’re having therapy at the moment to help, but in the meantime I have to be prepared for many eventualities when at home, or out and about.

So with Summer approaching and days out planned, I thought I’d share the contents of our first First Aid posteraid kit with you…just in case.

At home, I expect most of you have a first aid kit. I have two more – one I keep in the car at all times, and a smaller one that I chuck in the backpack for days out.

  • Tweezers
  • Lanacane for itching/bites
  • Plasters (various sizes)
  • Calpol
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Safety pins
  • Individual square non-stick dressings
  • Bandage
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Triangular Bandage
  • Micropore
  • Small scissors
  • Piriton/Piriteze syrup

I don’t always take Calpol or Piriton, and when I do, sometimes leave them in the car. Bit bulky to carry around with me.

Of course, use your common sense and judgement. If I had other people’s children with me, I’d make sure I had parent’s permission to administer medicines, and check that plasters are OK too.
In the car, I also keep a few bits that make my life easier, and I know then that wherever we are, even if on the spur of the moment, I have what I need:

  • Change of clothes for the children (several pairs of pants for the serial wetter)
  • Suncream
  • Sunhats
  • Clean towel
  • Picnic blanket/doubles up as a warm blanket for in the car
  • Small box with baby wipes, tissues, plastic cutlery, rubbish bag

The boy is now in just a booster seat, with no back, so nowhere to rest his head – he has a beanbag filled ‘pillow’ for leaning on, else he contorts into weird positions to rest, most of which involve the seat belt no longer being where it should be!

And, in the back between the carseats, I keep clipboards with paper and pens, colouring books, some travel games, children’s binoculars, and sticker books to help keep the kids occupied during travelling – even just 10 minute trips.

I also made a CD that has songs on that EVERYONE in our family likes – this helps stop the bickering.
And we also have a couple of story CDs in the car. They’re a bit young for the boy, but sometimes after a long, tiring day out, a little bit of The Gruffalo is just what’s needed.

Travelling with children is a whole other post, so just thinking about days out – what else do you take other than picnics, buckets/spades for the beach, footballs for the park, or bikes for the woods. Any tips?

Exciting new link-up on it’s way…

With the Summer nearly upon us, we know you’ll all be busy keeping the children occupied. So instead of our usual #Memory Box Mondays, we’re bringing you a new link-up for the Summer holidays where we’ll invite you to add posts about your Summer activities.

 

Some of you are so creative and come up with amazing activities and opportunities for Sandpit siblingsyour children, some of you need a little inspiration at times, so by sharing your summer fun on ‘Summer Sandpit‘ you get to show us what you’ve been up to, and get ideas from other bloggers too. We want all your posts on what you’ve been doing with the children – fun times, rainy day activities, crafts, cooking, day trips, outside play, any anything else that you do over the summer.

 

Each linky will be open from Monday morning to Sunday evening, and we’ll share as many posts as we can on Facebook and Twitter. We’re also creating a Pinterest board where we’ll add all your summer activity posts.

 

And we’re going to give you a bit of inspiration too, with our optional themes:

28 July – Nature

4 August – Crafts

11 August – Cooking

18 August – Active play

25 August – Den building

1 September – Days Out

 

If you’re stuck for ideas to get you going, then you could check out our review of Getting Your Children Offline, Outdoors and Back to Nature, that we’re publishing tomorrow, and of course there is always Pinterest for some great ideas too.

So watch out for Summer Sandpit starting on 28 July.

And as always we have a lovely badge you can add to your post or website to let everyone know you’re part of our Summer Sandpit.

The Adoption Social