The summer holidays. They’re a marathon. Not a sprint. Anyone who’s peaked on day one and done an ACTUAL day trip will know this (ME last year). And be regretting it right about now. Also. If you’re fed up of haemorrhaging money, here’s some stuff you can do for well under a fiver. This post is written in partnership with BT TV Kids.
Make slime. This is the latest craze and all my kids want to do. It’s super easy. Two ingredients and that’s it. PVA glue (250 ml per portion) and some Bio Washing Gel. Simply pour the glue in and add the Bio Gel a teaspoon at a time until you can knead it without it sticking to your fingers. You can add food colouring or even glitter to really bling it up. Cost: around £2
Go to the park. There are some amazing parks out there. You don’t have to stick to one on your doorstep. They’re free and I can wow my kids with all sorts of stuff (I don’t, incidentally; I’m definitely on the ‘underwhelming’ spectrum these days) but they are always happiest in the park on their bikes. Some park cafes charge a small fortune for lunches and ice creams (especially when you have to buy three of everything) so you could even take your own ice lollies in a freezer pack. It’s not like they’re going to wait until past 10.30 AM to eat them anyway, is it? Cost: food from your weekly shop
Film and TV afternoon. You don’t need to go to the cinema and remortgage your house to have a fab film and TV afternoon. Get the sofa prepped with your kids’ duvets and cushions (show me a kid who doesn’t love the novelty of this), a bowl of popcorn and cola bottles and sign up to BT TV Kids and get nine channels for just £4 a month. Plus over 2,000 episodes of on demand kids’ entertainment. They have all my kids’ favourite shows and more – Paw Patrol, Ben and Holly, Be Cool Scooby Doo, Spongebob Squarepants… Cost: £4 per month, sign up here
Harness their creative spirit. Usually, when we do anything creative together, it ends up with me wondering if I need to call a psychiatrist. I think you can see why. That said, I’ve recently realised that my kids love an organised creative activity – you know, a wordsearch or a join the dots or a maze. Something that’s a bit structured. Now they’re getting older, they’ll happily do this ALONE for hours (OK, that may be an exaggeration but definitely upwards of 25 minutes, which is a result in any parent’s book, right?). The lovely people at BT TV Kids have made this super easy for you. And created a FREE summer activity pack with 26 pages of stuff to do, whilst you put your feet up, have a well deserved cuppa (or gin), and coo the odd word of encouragement. The best bit? You won’t have to set foot near a sodding pipe cleaner. Phew. Also, BT TV has launched a competition that challenges children to get creative and design their own PAW Patrol character. Great for competitive siblings. Visit metro.co.uk/drawpatrol to enter (the deadline is Friday 11th August). Cost: A few pages of printing. FREE if you use someone else’s haha.
Make and eat pancakes. We do this a lot in our house. The kids help. Then I let them go wild and decorate them with whatever we have in the cupboard. Chocolate sauce. Strawberry sauce. Honey. Sprinkles. I’ll be honest. The pancakes look pretty vile by the time they’ve finished with them. And it takes me about three hours to ‘unsticky’ all the surfaces and all the errant flour that’s made its way into every crevice. But just look how happy it makes them. Cost: food from your weekly shop
Let your kids get bored. Someone recently gave me an amazing piece of advice. ‘Kids need to learn to amuse themselves.’ When they are allowed to be bored, they find stuff they want to do. So now? When one of my kids tells me they’re bored, I don’t feel guilty or that it’s my responsibility to relieve this instantly. I suggest lots of things they could do before leaving them to figure the rest out for themselves. Cost: Absolutely flipping FREE.
Hang out and (try and) enjoy being together. Because in a few weeks we’ll all be back to the daily grind and helping our kids remember what shoes are again (the biggest conundrum of all time). PS It’s totally fine if you don’t enjoy being together ALL of the time. There are points in the holidays where no matter how much fun you’ve been having, you just need a little space. Put the kids in a holiday club or ‘lend’ them to the grandparents. Set them up with their favourite shows from BT TV Kids. No guilt. You’ll all be better for it. You especially.