Friday, 8 August 2014

Top Ten Ideas for Keeping the Kids Entertained This Summer

42 Days of Summer with McVitie's BN - the biscuits with a cheeky wink!

With the month of August stretching out before us, we still have plenty of time for lots of family fun before the kids return to school.  We have days out and holidays planned but what about keeping the kids entertained when there is nothing planned.  Sitting in front of the TV or playing on the laptop is fun, but I think if children can unleash their creativity and work together, amazing things can happen.  As a parent you can get involved by celebrating their achievements in an exciting way.  It really helps nurture children's  creativity and builds their confidence.

Here are my top ten tips for things for the kids to do that won't cost much money, but will be fun and super creative!   

1:  Put on a fashion show - get the kids to upcycle some old clothing and choreograph their own fashion show.  Create a makeshift runway space and put on some tunes so the kids can strut their stuff.  Provide props such as shades, hats and scarves so they can accessorise their handmade outfits. Clap along as they do their thing!  Take photos or video their efforts so they can look back at how well they did.  It's just like America's Next Top Model!

things for kids to do

2:  Keep a holiday scrapbook - fill a book with written pieces, drawings, photos, cartoons and clippings to record of all the things you got up to.  Not only is this a fabulous souvenir to look back on, it is also a way to keep the kids' writing skills polished during the long summer break.  Even the youngest child can contribute with finding things to stick in or by doodling pictures, which can be annotated by a grown-up.  This is something we have done for years and we enjoy looking back on the great times we have shared.

things for kids to do

3:  Make a music video: get the kids to pick their favourite song and record them as they lip sync or sing along to the track.  They can think about costumes, settings and dance moves to put on a really entertaining show for the camera.  If children can play instruments, they could even make-up their own song to sing and play along to.  X Factor - eat your heart out!

4: Have a garden picnic - lunch always tastes better when eaten outdoors!  If the weather is dry why not challenge the kids to make some inventive sandwiches and maybe even bake some cookies or cakes.  Then enjoy an alfresco feast on a blanket on the lawn.  Younger children might like to bring teddy bears and have a teddy bear picnic with teddy shaped sandwiches.  (You could even serve up some chocolate or raspberry BN biscuits!) 

5:  Make a movie - for older children, challenge them to write a script and direct their own short movie.  Hand them a camcorder and leave the creativity to them.  My children have participated in movie making projects and they really enjoyed it.  Once the film is edited, put on a premier party.  Invite friends and family over to watch the first screening of their debut movie.  Get everyone to wear their best red carpet attire and provide freshly made popcorn to nibble on.

6:  Make a giant junk model - using boxes, newspaper, PVA glue and paint, challenge the children to create a junk model.  Encouraging teamwork and creativity, this is a fun way of recycling household junk and producing something artistic.  Whether they make a car, a dinosaur or a play house, they will love playing with the end product once it's been made.

7:  Make an art gallery - get the kids to draw or paint portraits of family members.  Once the whole extended family has been immortalised on paper, Blu-Tack them around the house and invite the family over to view the pictures.  The artists can be in charge of serving pop and nibbles to the guests, who are free to keep the portraits of themselves at the end of the afternoon.

8:  Stage your own mini-Olympics - think of ten sporting events that can be done in the garden, hula hooping, skipping, obstacle course, bike race, wheelbarrow race etc.  Spend an afternoon competing against each other in the fun sports you have devised.  Give younger kids head starts or handicap older children to make it a level playing field.  At the end of the day tot up the scores from each event and have a medal presentation.  Ensure everyone wins something to reward their strengths, even if they win the 'biggest smile whilst running' medal. Not everyone can be an athlete, but everyone can do something really well!

9:  Have a Pirate themed day - get into the spirit by dressing up with bandanas and eye patches; face paint on a beard and some scars and spend the day talking in Piratese with phrases such as "ahoy me hearties" and "shiver me timbers"!  Do some arts and crafts activities making things like a loo roll telescope or an egg carton treasure chest. Make a treasure map and hunt for buried treasure in the garden or have a hopping race in honour of Long John Silver himself.  Theme some food such as making a Map Wrap where the kids can decorate a tortilla wrap with a piratey scene - red and green pepper palm trees, sweetcorn gold nuggets, grated cheese sand and with carrot sticks in an X marking the spot! At the end of the day watch a piratey film such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Peter Pan or Treasure Island.

things for kids to do

10:  Have a photo scavenger hunt - make sure each child has a camera or a phone for taking photographs and challenge them to take a picture of twenty objects.  Write an age appropriate list with items such as a spider in a web, a funny shaped leaf or a bird on a branch if you are surrounded by nature, or a phonebox, an electricity pylon or a blue front door if you are in town, and get them to photograph the evidence. The photos can then be uploaded to a computer and everyone can watch back a slide show of each other's efforts.  It encourages kids to enjoy photography!  For older kids, you can give them prompts which can be artistically interpreted using their imagination. Ask them to capture a colour or an expression, or photograph things that begin with a certain letter of the alphabet. Making two teams will give two very different results!  

This post is an entry for 42 Days of Summer Linky Challenge sponsored by McVitie’s BN. Learn more at



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