Little Routines, Gillian Stewart

School Summer Holidays!
Gillian Stewart, Thursday, July 23, 2015

School summer holidays! Please don't worry they don't need to be dreaded. 

Here are some great, inexpensive ways to entertain young children:

1. Have a picnic in the garden or in a nearby park. It doesn't have to be fancy. The simpler the better.

2. Buy a paddling pool and put lots of different plastic pots and containers in it. If you have a baby bath, this is good to use for great water play.
3. Buy some pots of bubbles to play with in the garden or at bath time. Babies love to watch bubbles.
4. A small watering can provides endless entertainment.
5. A sand pit is such fun. Add different toys every few days to keep children entertained. Plastic animals and cars as well as spades, rakes and buckets. Older children may enjoy shells, small sticks and bark.
6. Large pieces of paper and crayons for drawing.
7. Be brave, and have some paint outside. Feet and hand prints are great fun.
8. Hang some wind chimes outside to watch and listen. Perfect for babies.
9.  Hide and seek can be hilarious with young children. They often stand and cover their eyes, thinking you can't see them!
10. Tea parties for teddies and dolls.
11. Cooking with young children. Pop an apron on them and go with the flow! They love to mix, pour and taste. Keep it simple though.
12. Playdough, with lots of cutters and utensils for making shapes and patterns.
13. Collect different things on a walk. Make a nature table at home.
14. Feed the ducks by the river. Watch for the rather greedy ducks as fingers get pecked easily!
15. Go to the park. Swings, even for very young children can be such fun.
16. Visit the local library. Children are always very welcome. In the school holidays libraries often put on fun events to get your children involved in.
17. Provide a large box of clean junk to play with... yoghurt pots, boxes, wooden spoons, silicone pastry brush, tupperware tubs, spoons etc.
18. Invite a friend over to play. It is better to keep play dates short. Finish with everyone happy rather than waiting until everyone gets too tired and the tears flow.
19. Talk, sing and play with your child. Encourage their development and make them inquisitive little people, eager to learn.
20. Always make time for looking at books. Babies and children love them. It is the perfect way to end the day.

 Never worry about the mess, particularly if it is outside. Everything can be washed afterwards, including your child!

I hope this has given you some inspiration. Enjoy your little ones. They are great fun to have around. But just one little piece of advice, remember you are the boss and not them. They are looking to you for guidance, so don't give them too many choices and don't end up trying to negotiate. Children will respond better if you tell them, not ask them!