Tuesday 27 May 2014

It's Half Term! 10 Free Things To Do If It Rains.

Have you ever panicked when you see the weather forecast and realise its going to rain for the whole week that the kids are off ?!?!?!

I have been carrying out intensive interviews with my children to find out how they like to spend rainy days (OK, so the baby didn't reply - but these are the 7YO suggestions)

Being a home-educator I am at home with my children every day - I love it but it does take a certain amount of patience and (sometimes faked) enthusiasm.

Top Tips -

  • Remember you are making memories, and these can't be bought.
  • Accept that nothing else will get done for the next few hours.
  • Relax and enjoy each others company. 

1. Read a book together - Get everyone up onto the sofa together and read a good book out loud to your kids. This is something you should always be doing with your kids anyway, if you only have little children, read a picture book. Children over 5 should enjoy an appropriate chapter book, I don't think you are ever to old to be read to but perhaps older kids will take turns with you reading to the younger ones.
I'd recommend anything by Roald Dahl, or one of the Harry Potter books. We read loads of chapter books in our house - The Indian in the Cupboard and Heidi are our current favourites. Your kids would love it if you share your favourite childhood books with them.
Remember there are plenty of classics available for free on e-readers, or borrow from your library.

2. Go for a walk - Even in the rain. Put on your waterproofs and get out of your door. We like short walks of less than an hour - depending on the age of the kids that can be a couple of miles or a couple of hundred yards. Maybe you want to walk to a local park, or to a known landmark, or over to a friends house for a short visit. Take a camera, collect things on your walk, remember to take snacks and drinks if you want it to be a long walk.  If you get completely soaked while you are out, put on jammies when you get home, and move on to ...

3. Watch a good movie - Cosy up together on the sofa and stick on a good movie. Choose carefully, pick a family movie that you can all enjoy. What was your favourite when you were their age? It doesn't need to be a new movie but don't expect them to take to The Sound of Music - I'd suggest one of the 'Night at the Museum' films or a 'Despicable Me', but whatever you have, or can borrow, or is on the TV.  Having some popcorn, wearing pyjamas, munching on some home baking all make it much more enjoyable.

4. Play with lego - We love building lego structures together, It often starts with a plan of what we are going to build - a lighthouse, a castle, a skyscraper, a coral reef - There are some great lego books available, loaded with ideas and inspiration. Build a car each and have races. Build little houses or shops, make a village, or build a giant structure together. The possibilities are literally endless.
Don't have lego? Use other building toys, or cardboard boxes (tea-bag boxes are especially good), or the cushions from the sofa, or paper and tape - you can build with anything.

Robin Hood has popped into his local farm shop for some leeks and orange juice.

5. Do a jigsaw together -We don't have many jigsaws and they all pretty lame Disney Princess ones, and only have 50 pieces... so we have races to see who can finish them the fastest. Or work together to beat the clock - can we get this jigsaw done in 2 mins? It is quite easy to make it fun.

6. Cook together - Maybe try something you've not made before and learn together, It's fun doing cakes but I find it stressful if they don't turn out right - I'd recommend trying my cinnamon buns or easy focaccia bread (because they are both simple and really rather impressive) If your kids are a bit older maybe cook a fancy meal instead.

7. Play board games - Monopoly is a classic and a favourite of ours, but don't turn your nose up at a game of hungry hippos or pop-up pirate if that is what you have. If you don't have any board games I have instructions here for making your own twister game.

8. Let them teach you how to play a game - If your kids love a particular computer game, let them teach you how to play, then play each other, have a tournament. It helps to be enthusiastic (faked or otherwise)

9. Teach them something new - This could be anything, teach them how to sew, how to take photographs, how to light a fire, how to draw a dog, how to make beans on toast, whatever you can teach easily. I wouldn't suggest teaching car mechanics or how to play a musical instrument; keep it simple.

10. Make something out of a cardboard box - It depends on the size of box really, but the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. A car, a dolls bed, a spaceship, a town. Here's our city in a box

So I hope you have fun - let me know what you get up to. Remember not to get to stressed about it and enjoy your time together. They'll be back at school before you know it.

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