We are about to experience our first ever school holidays (and my first time looking after 2 children all day every day for 8 weeks until Pip starts school in September). Slightly intimidated by what I see as a rather daunting job of providing activities day in and day out, I’ve been busy planning. I’ve been putting together a new series for The Little Pip Things to do in the school holidays – posts about ideas and things to do over the summer, or indeed, all the myriad half terms that will soon be on our radar. This time round, I’m not at my day job as I’m still on maternity leave, so this summer, the series will be about things to do as one off days to entertain with your child(ren). Some will be local to me, some London centric but others are available nation wide, and I’m trying to include a mix of different price points.
Join the Wild Network, get outside and remember that #dirtisgood!
Several years ago, I joined the Wild Network and pledged to try and get outside with my children every day, even just for 10 minutes. I don’t always succeed but I do think it is very important to try and get fresh air and allow kids to grub around without too much direction.
This summer, the Wild Network have launched a Wild Explorers App with Persil. It is packed with more than 100 outdoor activities to get kids enjoying the great outdoors. You can filter by location, age or time to get inspired with outdoor activities.
“In partnering with Persil we hope to set off the sparks in kids whose parents can’t let them walk home from school, or who have no opportunity to walk through a cemetery, or a park. With every tiny step into the wild, we are changing things. And from those seeds of change… great Wild Time will grow!”
Make a mud volcano!
We tried out the headline activity – a mud volcano – a couple of weekend’s ago in a London park. This one was made of food grade materials to create a bubbling erupting coffee like sludge which trickled, poured and bubbled down the side of the volcano – a compelling substance which just begged to be explored.
Don’t be afraid to get dirty
This point was reinforced on the parenting course that I did the last few weeks (again, more on that soon) – children need to be free to experiment with different textures and materials. Parents are, understandably, far too keen to keep children inside and clean and safe and reluctant to let them get messy. I have been guilty of this in the past and have been working hard on relaxing, not complaining about dirty clothing and reassuring Pip that it really is ok and that clothes can just be washed.
Whilst this particular volcano was made on a large scale, volcanoes are fun to create in the garden at home using vinegar and bicarb of soda to create an eruption. If that sort of science like experiment doesn’t appeal for whatever reason, here are a few more ideas for the garden:
As kids, my sisters and I used to spend hours pretending we were running a bakery – using buckets and jelly moulds and flat stones we collected at the beach to make mud versions of cakes, decorated with small leaves and petals we found in the garden, and then sold to each other.
Perfect if you have a patio or terrace and the sun is out. Give each child a paintbrush or two and a bucket of water and they can ‘paint’ patterns on the on the paving slabs over and over again. (I’ve also found this works well in the bath – Pip likes to use a paintbrush to ‘paint’ the shower screen. Keeps her occupied for ages!)
Face / body painting
This one requires a little more prep and patience, but essentially, let them loose with some stick face paints (like crayons) and let them draw on their own arms and legs (sit them in the shade). Washes off along with the mud in the bath in the evening. As Pip has eczema on her face, she can’t have face paint but we have found wrist and arm paint to be an excellent compromise.
If, like us, you don’t have that big a garden and outside time is mainly restricted to the park, we’ve found the following to go down well – and can be found on the Persil Wild Explorers app:
Not exactly a ground breaking idea but it has always been a favourite of Pip’s. This can obviously be easily tailored to the age of the child(ren) and can even be done as a competition with a prize (like an ice-cream) at the end. We also play versions of this in galleries, using the leaflet that comes with the exhibition as the source of the items to locate.
An extension of the treasure hunt idea, we play this in the park or at the beach. Each person collects interesting items for a set time period at the beginning (or the adult can collect/find/provide them at the start) and then each participant makes a face (leaves for hair, stones for eyes etc). At the beach the possibilities sadly include all of the rubbish at the high water line which makes for a more nuanced piece of art, the bonus then is we throw the items away afterwards, therefore also having done our own version of the 2 minute beach clean (post on that coming soon too!)
What about you – any other fun simple outdoor games to add to the list?
Our family were guests of Persil and The Wild Network at the launch of the mud volcano to celebrate the new app.