Activities for kids – a guest post

Today I have a guest post from Kate @ The adventures of Jack Jack. With some great tips for holiday activities, this is a post that I know a lot of you will relate to!

With half term not too far away and the good weather appearing, parents across the land will be looking for ways to keep the children occupied without spending a fortune.
So here are some cheap (and even some free) ideas to keep your little ones busy during the holidays.
Wellie hurling


Wellie hurling is one of our most eccentric games but one everyone can play and its a lot of fun. All you need is an open space (away from hazards and houses) and some wellington boots. Mark a line to aim at and throw as hard as you can, the aim is to throw it the furthest. Take it in turns but don’t forget to mark where each boot lands to avoid squabbles


If your wellies are as wet as this, you may want to let them dry off or risk a mud shower!
Paper mache
Paper mache is lovely easy activity that is simply plain flour and water mixed into a paste then thinned using more water, but it can be made from 3 parts pva glue and 1 part water. Strips of newspaper, kitchen roll or tissue paper are perfect for mould making or lathering over an object, but toilet roll tends to fall apart and make one big mess.
As a child I fondly remember covering half a balloon in paper mache then popping it to make a mask or bowl. I also remember the slightly strange but fantastic feeling of peeling off the dried pva glue from my hands, like shedding a snake skin. Paper mache can be used for countless crafts, why not experiment and find some new uses along the way?
Junk modelling
Many a rainy afternoon during my childhood was spent turning empty cereal boxes and chocolate wrappers into spaceships or cars. I was a tomboy so my model making was mainly space or animal themed but there’s nothing but your imagination stopping you and your little girl from making a fairy tale castle or pony training ground.
To make your models really strong and (hopefully) play proof, why not use paper mache as mentioned above. Once made and paper mached your little ones can customise their models with paint, felt tips, stickers, sweet wrappers or even pieces of fabric. The possibilities are endless, just let your children’s imagination run wild and admire the end result.
Using leftover Easter eggs
I know what you’re thinking, who has leftover Easter eggs but with two doting grandmother’s and aunts, uncles and cousins Jack had more than enough chocolate. Even after Mummy had snaffled some he still had lots to decorate his face, clothes and bear with and some that we could use in baking.
We made the simple rice krispy cakes which was easy to involve Jack in the making off. All you need is to melt 100g of chocolate, add 2 oz of unsalted butter and stir until melted. Add 3 tbsp of golden syrup, stir and add 3 oz of rice krispies and stir again until all are coated. Spoon into cake cases and allow to cool, if you can wait that long. You could also use corn or bran flakes instead or even make rocky road rice krispy cakes by simply adding 50g of raisins and 50g of mini or chopped marshmallows.
You could also try making brownies, chocolate chip cookies or using the chocolate as a coating for cake pops.
Another activity with endless possibilities, you could use a theme such as spring or Easter for craft ideas or simply pull an idea from the world wide web.
Jack is nearly two so this does limit our crafting options but not our fun. We enjoy painting, colouring and making decorations for an upcoming seasonal holiday. Children of all ages can join in crafts even newborns but please make sure all materials are safe and non toxic.

I make my own paint using cornflour and water, heated until thick and add food colouring and I am comfortable in the knowledge it is safe even if Jack gets a tad peckish


Nature trails
These are a godsend for keeping my little legs engaged at the park or in the woods behind our house. There are lots of print off checklists on google that you can use or your children could draw their own, featuring animals and plants they may see on their travels.
With little ones such as Jack it helps to point things out and ignite their curiosity.
‘Can you see any frogspawn in that pond?’
‘Can you find a pinecone to take home?’
 Don’t forget to use twigs and leaves for crafts when you get home and the activity can last all day.
Treasure hunt
This activity could be saved for a rainy day or to tire out little legs with a frantic search of the garden. You could simply hide treats and let them search or make it more complex by creating your own treasure map or clues.
You could draw a rough sketch of the garden or room of your choosing and use an X to mark the treasure location. Or for older children you could leave as many clues as you like, even clues to find clues.
‘To find the next clue you must find somewhere that could make your hands blue’
After a little puzzling your children will hopefully find themselves searching the freezer for the next clue. This game could go on as long as you wish, just make sure to put your thinking caps on while writing clues.
This game could go on as long as you wish, just make sure to put your thinking caps on while writing clues. More about this perfect indoor game for kids you can find on
Salt dough
Salt dough is great for recording hand and foot prints or making seasonal decorations.
½ cup of salt, ½ cup of water and 1 cup of flour is all this simple craft needs. Mix the flour and salt then gradually stir in the water to make a dry dough, if it becomes sticky you need to add more flour. Knead the dough then roll out and use as you wish.
Salt dough traditionally needs 3 hours in the oven on a low heat so it dries rather than cooks, however I have read somewhere that you can zap it in the microwave for 3 minutes and add 20 seconds at a time if it is still wet. I personally haven’t tried using the microwave method so if you try it out please let me know.
I have used salt dough to make mothers day gifts of Jacks hand and foot prints which I then painted white and shaded the prints with silver paint. As a child I also used cookie cutters to make decorations to hang on the Christmas tree.
Sensory toys
This category is more for the younger children and babies but older children could enjoy helping to make toys for a younger sibling.
I have made countless sensory bottles featuring many different items that would be dangerous for little ones to explore without a bottle to contain them. I have used rice, dried pasta and old screws and nails to make noisy bottles, coloured tissue paper, glitter and foil to capture visual interest and even used coloured water and baby oil to produce a wave maker.
You could also try making your own playdough. 2 cups of all purpose flour, ½ cup of salt, 2 tbsp of cream of tartar and 2 tbsp of vegetable oil mixed in a bowl. Add 1 and 1/2 cups of boiling water, stirring continuously until it becomes a sticky, combined dough. Allow it to cool then knead vigorously for a few minutes until the stickiness has gone, add a little flour if it remains a little sticky.
This can be stored in an airtight container for up to 6 months and you can add extra items to engage the senses. I added fresh lavender and blue and red food colouring to mine to make a ‘quiet time’ sensory activity to relax Jack before bed but you could add glitter or even hide objects for your child to find.

How about stretching rubber bands across a shoebox to make a guitar or letting your little ones drum a solo on the pots and pans, if you can stand it.


The children could spend the afternoon helping you weed the flower beds or learn about the vegetables in your greenhouse. Gardens can teach our children a lot just by simply observing the them day to day or taking photos of the plants as they grow.
Get them involved by letting them help sow seeds or water the plants. Use all 5 senses to touch and see vegetables growing and then enjoy the taste, sound and smell of them freshly cooked.
Plants such as wildflowers and buddleia will attract bees and butterflies which help to pollinate flower and produce a good crop of fruit or vegetables. Gardening is a great way to develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, the skills needed to use a pen or pencil.
WOW! What a great selection of activity ideas – something for every age and for all weathers. I have made a note of some of these myself, and I will be trying them out once half term rolls around. What is your favourite holiday activity?



1 Comment

  1. May 4, 2014 / 12:41 pm

    Such great ideas! Love the welly hurling! x

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