Sunday, 16 February 2014

Half Term Holiday Activities To Keep Children's Brains Active

I think younger children who attend school and nursery really benefit from being encouraged to carry on reading and writing during the holidays because they're at the age where a week off is a very long time and can put them a step back.

We've 4 boys, and we've 3 girls - when they were younger the girls would happily colour and write and draw, whereas the boys think of the whole thing as 'work' and none of them, however different they are, have ever really taken joy from sitting for long with workbooks. It's always a challenge to find things that they're happy to do to keep them on track through the holidays, so here are a few of my ideas.

Printables


Holiday Cottages have a 3 free printable games that you can use to keep the kids entertained whether at home or out and about - Roadside Bingo, a Countryside Treasure Hunt and a Beach Treasure Hunt. You can download them here.

Tiny Me, the people who made our lovely wall stickers, have a great range of free printable activities for any occasion, and can certainly give your children a few hours entertainment making masks and door hangers and all kinds of things. Their printables can be found here

Games and Puzzles


Spending time playing games with your children is an excellent way to bond and make memories as well as reinforce learning about numbers and counting, turn-taking, being a good loser and honing fine motor skills. I very well remember playing Monopoly with my Father when he was off work and hopefully my children will remember playing games with me. 


Some of our most favourite games for younger children are Orchard Toys games, with Round And Round (age 3+) and Counting Caterpillars (age 3+) being great examples. For older children we like Drumond Parks Wordsearch Junior (4+) and The Magic Tooth Fairy Game (5+).


Reading Books Together



There is no better way to get a child interested in reading than to read with them and it doesn't have to be a purely bedtime activity. When your children are driving you bats, fighting or tearing about the house like madmen, 10 minutes quiet reading time can make all the difference. We love the Early Readers from Orion Books because it really is a team effort to read along with my 5 year old, with my 3 year old watching, listening and learning.

Cooking And Baking



All children love baking with adults, and it can be a super simple no bake like our Rocky Road, or something more complex like making their own pizzas for tea. Of course cookies and cakes are always popular too. It's fantastic for learning about all kinds of things - nutrition, science, weights and measurements, colour mixing, different cultures and even history. There are loads of excellent ideas on the Pinterest UK Official Cooking With Kids board.

Museums And Libraries 



 Libraries and most museums are free to visit and they're absolutely crammed full of interesting stuff to stimulate children and adults. They go to huge effort to lay on extra activities during the school holidays. We recently visited the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester, who have a week of activities around Spies, Disguise and Ways To Hide - with a special focus on animals role in war time.

Screen Time


Screen time doesn't have to be mindlessly beating up aliens or racing round a track, it can be a fantastic tool for learning and keeping your brain working, and it's a brilliant reward or a break for a child who has been a star.

Heroes Of The City
Books that have accompanying apps. like Heroes Of The City (age 2+) or Robotslayer (age 5+) encourage reading and puzzle solving. Heroes Of The City has free levels and films to watch and The Robotslayer app. is totally free for half term week on IOS - you can download it here.


Online educational products are fun as well as teaching tools and your child will be learning without even realising as they play games and solve puzzles. We're particularly fond of Reading Eggs and there is a code for a free 4 week trial on my review page.

Lego


Build something together. Start a project. Stretch your own and your child's imagination. Build on fine motor skills and design ideas, problem-solving and logic skills. Create something you can be proud of. Playing isn't just for kids, adults need a break too....


Enjoy your break, and enjoy spending quality time with your children....



I was not paid to promote any of these things, I do so because I feel they have value. I did not accept payment for reviews or links, although I may have previously received an item or experience free for review.

27 comments:

  1. I used to love organising the school hols when the boys were younger and you do have some great ideas here. It gets more difficult as they get older so try to encourage them to contact friends and organising swimming/ badminton or a cinema trip to get them out of their rooms and off the games!! We do play loads of board games and card games still which is great

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    1. Our teenagers are never home in the holidays and if they are they're revising because 2 have GCSE's this year - badminton sounds an excellent idea for the summer though - there'll be a sigh of relief and then that huge holiday before they go to College. I think we'll have to make sure they use that time as wisely as possible :)

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  2. some great ideas there. I'm working all week but Hubby is home with 6yo so no doubt they'll be getting up to mischief together

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    1. Oh crikey! I'd wonder exactly how much mess there'd be! Whenever mine gets left 'alone' he decides to tidy a corner of the room and completely dismantles it and then runs out of time :P

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  3. Some great ideas for half term. We're already back at school but it won't be long until they are off again!

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    1. I didn't realise your half term was different to ours again! Hope you had a good week Laura :)

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  4. Great ideas, I do find like you say boys won't sit down with a workbook whereas Miss M loves doing them. They do both love playing games though so we do have regular game playing afternoons which they both love and cooking is always a winner!

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    1. I've promised games and cooking tomorrow. Definitely a winner :)

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  5. Fab ideas - seems so simple but not easy to remember when you get caught up in the monotony of everyday life. Baking is top of my list of things to do, always :) x

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    1. It is all too easy to just do the washing and get on with stuff and forget to make some memories....I've promised mine games and pancake cooking tomorrow :D

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  6. Some fantastic ideas here - and I do keep meaning to share those Tiny Me printables too. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. You're welcome and thank you for your comments! I love the Tiny Me stuff, it's so pretty without being too girlie :D

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  7. some great ideas, we are looking forward to going to see the Lego Movie, and spending some time playing together. Hopefully the weather will be nice at some point for us to go for a bike ride!

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    1. Thank you hon! We're definitely intending to fit in The Lego Movie - it's complicated to try and get everyone who wants to see it together at the same time! Pesky teenagers :D
      Best of luck with the bike ride :)

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  8. We have been working on printables for our miioon mumpreneurs to introduce at their miioon meets. A great way to keep kids entertained- the ex- primary teacher in me comes in handy :-)

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    1. It does indeed! Printables are very popular now that home printing is so much cheaper. They'd be a great thing to share :)

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  9. Fabulous ideas - we usually do all of these at least once during the school holidays! Children need constant activities when they aren't at school so it's good to have lots of ideas to hand!

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    1. Cheers Tami! You made a blinking puppet theatre today - that's way more exciting though! :D

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  10. Some great ideas there Jenny, we seem to have an action packed week in store this week.

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    1. That'll be good. I look forward to reading about it! Fingers crossed the weather is good for you :)

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  11. We are having a quiet week as both Bud and LM need to shake off their colds but it will be filled with Orchard Toys games I'm sure!

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    1. That'll be nice and peaceful. It'll be great when Little Miss is old enough, it's lovely playing with 2 of them :)

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  12. Great post, some fab tips here and thanks for all the links to printables. I have three boys and am always defendng the one who's at school (the oldest) for not settling down to work like girls seem to, so it was nice to hear this is normal for boys. Have a lovely half term!

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    1. Thank you very much for the comments :)
      Boys are definitely notorious for it - not just mine and yours :)

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    2. Oh, and you have a lovely half term too! (What's left of it now :D )

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    3. Hiii,,,want to try number fun puzzle game for kids then get it free from: http://goo.gl/ihCqIB

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  13. Thank you much for share these activities...all the activities keep children's brain active , all the activities are different from each other, kids always want to do different things.

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