It’s not always easy keeping little ones busy and occupied during the school holidays and the usual parental guilt ends up creeping in when you realise they’re on their 10th episode of Peppa Pig . . .

If you’re really not creative like me, you probably need some inspo, and who better to provide it than parenting coach Joanna Miskin from Action for Children, who has loads of wonderful ideas for building motor skills and encouraging creativity too! Joanna has helpfully sectioned the activities into groups so you can avoid the ones that fill you with dread (arts and crafts anyone?!)

 

Shake it Up!

  • Singing and dancing are great exercise if you’re stuck indoors. Put on your favourite tunes and have a disco.
  • Create your own soft play experience from pillows and cushions. It will burn off some energy and help physical development.
  • Play balloon catch with a rule that the balloon can’t touch the floor.
  • Kick a football around if you have a garden. Count the goals and it becomes a maths lesson too.
  • Take it in turns to blow bubbles. When it’s your turn to blow, ask your child to run around and pop them.
  • Play a game of Simon Says. ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ or the ‘Hokey Cokey’ will get them moving.

 

Let’s pretend

  • Dig out the dressing up box. You don’t need expensive, shop-bought costumes: Daddy’s old hat will do just fine.
  • Pretend you’re heading off on a camping adventure and make a den with duvets, pillows and cushions.
  • Collect up all your toy motor vehicles and create a mini car wash in the sink.
  • Have a tea party for teddies and dolls. Ask your child to share out food (try breadsticks) with them, counting as they do so.
  • Grab a teddy and become a first aid superhero! Visit our Facebook pages for videos showing little ones how to get help in an emergency, deal with a burn and more!

 

Calming activities

  • Go cloud watching. What shapes can you see in the sky?
  • Plant some seeds or small plants in the garden or in a pot. You’ll have the fun of watching them grow through the summer.
  • Share favourite stories and books. It’s a great way to help your child with their reading skills, speech and language.
  • Teach your child about different emotions by drawing emotion faces on paper plates. Copy those faces in the mirror together and talk about what they might be feeling.
  • Do simple puzzles together: they’re great for problem solving.

 

Arts and crafts

  • Make sock puppets. Glue on old buttons for the eyes or draw on some whiskers. Then make a theatre out of an old cardboard box and host your own puppet show.
  • Make a print with some paint and leaves from the garden. Count the leaves together for a quick maths lesson.
  • Pick a theme each day and base your activities around that. You could try ‘dinosaurs’, ‘under the sea’ or ‘people who help us.’
  • Make cards for friends and family to celebrate coming events like summer or a birthday. It helps children have something to look forward to.
  • Make a collage from old newspapers and magazines. Using scissors under supervision helps with their motor skills.
  • Make a ‘touchy-feely’ box with different textured items from around the house. Ask your child to reach their hand in and describe what they can feel.
  • Practise cutting skills by making snowflakes and other shapes out of folded up paper.
  • Become a fashion designer for the day and get them drawing on an old plain t-shirt.
  • Try face painting. Perhaps something that fits with your theme of the day?

 

Fun with food

  • Make patterns with pasta, rice or lentils. Tip them into a tray or fill up different sized containers. You can do this with flour too, but grab your aprons first!
  • If the weather is bad, make an indoor picnic and take turns to serve or be the chef.
  • Baking together is a creative way to introduce maths skills, and everyone can enjoy the end product.
  • Decorate plain biscuits with some icing sugar or sweets.

 

Need some more advice?

Action for Children are committed to helping parents by providing down-to-earth advice you can trust – you can chat online or request a call back from a qualified parenting coach about anything that’s worrying you, and its all free. Click here for 1:1 support.