Tuesday, 26 May 2009

16 FREE (OR NEARLY FREE) THINGS TO DO AT HOME WITH THE KIDS IN THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS

Play skittles - line up plastic bottles on a smooth flat floor and hit with a ball made from screwed up newspaper, a small foam ball or tennis ball.
Make salt dough models - mix 3 cups of plain flour, 1 cup of salt and approx 1 cup of water. Mix well until blended and smooth. Model like playdough, use biscuit cutters to get some good shapes, make beads to string for bracelets or get seasonal and start making decorations for Christmas!. Dry out your finished creations in a cool oven (100C, 200F,Gas Mark 1/4) or you can leave to dry naturally (takes up to 48 hours approx).You can then paint and varnish them when they are dry.
Memory game - lay out a collection of small items on a tray- around 10 things - kids can do this themselves if they want to then give them 2 minutes to look at what is there- cover the items with a cloth and ask them to list what was on the tray. Another alternative game is to secretly remove one item at a time, show them the items again and ask them each time what item is missing.
Make paper plate masks - use paper plates to draw and colour masks, cut out eye holes (help smaller children with this task). use shirring elastic if you have it, knotted through holes at each side of the mask, alternatively stick a lolly stick or straw at the base so the mask can be held in front of the face.
Home camping - this is really for small kids - use a clothes airer (triangular type) or a table, cover with old sheets or blankets, equip with torches, pillows, sleeping bags etc and food supplies for lunch!
Paper and pen - play naughts and crosses or hangman. Play dots and blocks- draw out a grid of 10 dots by 10 dots and take it in turns with a partner to connect 2 dots with a line. When you complete a box you write your initial in it. At the end, the person with the most initials is the winner.
Blow football - use straws and a ping pong ball and make a goal on the table with 2 pairs of unopened tins.
Decorated biscuits - decorate digestive biscuits with icing made from water and icing sugar (not too runny - add a little water at a time to get the right consistency - you want to be able to spread it over the biscuit, but you don't want it running off the sides!). Decorate with sprinkles, smarties or crumbled chocolate flake (makes good "hair" on faces).
Home picnic - spread a blanket on the floor and have a picnic in the house (or garden). Enlist the kids' help to make up bottles of juice and sandwiches.
Make pizzas for tea - buy plain pizza bases (or make your own from pizza mix) and spread with sauce and varied toppings. Small individual ones are ideal if you can get them, as each child can then make (and eat) their own.For younger kids, they could draw/design their own pizza first on paper or paper plates and then shop for the ingredients to make it. May be a bit messy - but at least you get a meal cooked!
Cook some cup cakes - buy or cook small plain cakes and decorate - as per the decorated biscuits.
Start a home cookery course - borrow a kids' cookery book from your local library or get some kids' recipes from the Treats to Cook with the Kids section of Delicious Magazine. Each day, get the kids to choose a recipe, make a shopping list, shop for the ingredients (and work out how much the recipe costs), cook and finally eat it - get them to rate the recipe - hard, easy, tasty or not! This gets them to practise their organisational, practical, budgeting and maths skills.
Visit a city farm or community garden- they are free or cheap to visit. Find your nearest HERE.
Check out what there is in walking distance of where you live - be creative - it may be only something that everyone walks or drives past every day e.g. a war memorial - what is it for ? Are there any surnames you recognise, perhaps from friends at school. Which war was it? What can you find out about it? Use your local library or tourism office to find out some facts about unusual buildings, parks, statues etc in your area.
Start to learn a new language in preparation for your holidays! Kids can use a dictionary to look up the names of household objects, clothing etc (or use the Internet) in your chosen language - write the foreign word on post-it notes (on the front - English translation on the back) and put on on your chosen items. Get kids to keep practising the names then take all the post-it notes off the next day and see how many they can remember, by putting the post-its back on the correct items. Build upon this each day adding new words.
Visit the Met Office Education website for loads of weather experiments, such as Make a Cloud in a Glass, measuring a puddle, make a Windmill, raingauge, etc plus, online games such as Snowflake and Cloud Attack and for younger kids, loads of weather related colouring pages to print out and colour.
More Ideas HERE for Things to do on School Holidays!

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