7 Fun Things To Do With Kids These Holidays That Won't Break The Bank!
Given the length of the Christmas Break keeping the kids busy can end up being an expensive business especially as they need to be kept so well fuelled. What we'd suggest for most outings is to be as prepared as possible, which includes packing a lunch for the day ahead, along with making sure there is plenty of water on board. Not having to stop somewhere and buy food and/or drinks can make a material difference to the cost of any day out. If you're feeling inclined to give the munchkins a treat (as a result of their excellent behaviour :) ice-blocks all rounds is a neat solution and a great result for your wallet! So without further ado let's check out a few possibilities:
1. Culture Club: For those who live in towns and cities there are normally a multitude of publicly funded institutions (galleries and museums) that lay on child-focused exhibits and activities specifically for the holiday period and most of these are FREE to access. This is a total gift which you shouldn't pass up. Get online and see what's going on near you. For those in more rural parts there are very often local organisations that lay on various activities for kids.
2. Park Life: if it's a really nice day a simple trip to a local park with your picnic (and some good company) is great way to spend a few hours, while the kids can burn off energy playing on the equipment, climbing trees or chasing each other round. Electronic devices may have their attractions but you'll be amazed at how even a few twigs and other random outdoor debris can keep the kids occupied for some time.
3. Camping in the Back Yard: get the kids to either gather together various paraphernalia to build a cubby or set up a small tent in the back yard and the kids can pretend camp for the day. Again, you can prepare a picnic lunch and eat it 'in camp' while either side of lunch the kids can pretend to do all the all things they'd do on a real camp: ride bikes, build a pretend fire, play games -- perhaps even sing songs :)
4. My Kitchen Rules: not every day is going to be dry and sunny so it's a good thing there are fun things to do indoors as well. The first of these is baking, which the kids generally love to get involved in, not least because it presents an opportunity to lick the mixture off the utensils -- clearly nothing has changed since my day :) If the process starts with a trip to the supermarket to get the ingredients then you are likely to eat up several hours of the day.
5. Movie Night: or movie day ... if it's raining cats and dogs and you really can't be motivated to leave the house then it may be an idea to think about a 'movie night'. You set up the TV room to be nice and cosy, make it sufficiently dark and don't forget the popcorn! Making your own is good fun and the kids will enjoy the explosion of popping that goes on under the lid. Fill a large bowl, then all pile into the TV room for a movie experience almost like the real thing. A great thing to do with your children's friends or just the family.
6. Day Trip: prepare the night before and set off at a time that won't clash with peak traffic. Places to visit include the beach - think sandcastles, rock-pools, splashing in the shallows and, of course, ice-cream! If the beach doesn't appeal or is not accessible check out inland options instead -- we have some fantastic countryside just inland from the coast that is often over-looked and therefore not that busy. The flora and fauna should be enough to keep young minds engaged and stimulated. Picnic essential!
7. Boredom: no seriously .... there are no known cases of children dying of boredom so please don't feel bad for having a few days without 'plans'. Without plans the children are forced to go off and amuse themselves. What to do? Read a book ... play a game ... do art 'n craft ... make mud pies ... hunt for interesting insects. They'll find something interesting to do soon enough and they learn to think for themselves in the process :)
- Dominic Smyth