If you’re dreading half-term because you just can’t think how to keep the kids entertained then firstly, you’re not alone! We’ve all been there, and many of us are having the same thoughts! Secondly, we’re here to help.
At Uber Kids we’re always talking about ways to keep our children active and entertained during the school holidays, and our very own Charlotte has put together this handy half term bucket list which includes some fun, affordable ideas that are great for entertaining your kids. See how many you can get through!
Half-term doesn’t have to be costly – or stressful!
With half term fast approaching the inevitable ‘I’m bored,’ ‘I’m hungry,’ ‘I don’t want to do that,’ comments are just around the corner. Entertaining kids isn’t always easy and day trips can lead to expensive, over-crowded venues which can feel like an endurance test; a very costly endurance test at that!
Even more challenging than trying to find cost effective ways to entertain your child is trying to find cost effective ways to entertain your older child. The ten plus age group are far harder to please than an eager-eyed toddler who is quite content with jumping in muddy puddles and feeding the ducks. Just because older kids have grown past the stage of wearing their superhero outfit wherever they go and carting their over-loved teddy around with them, doesn’t change the fact that they still want to have fun, even if they do proclaim that everything is ‘so uncool.’
My son, Luke, is not-so-little anymore and at thirteen his preferred means of communication is in grunts. His feet are bigger than mine and his knowledge of gaming worlds is outright impressive which makes trying to plan days out and activities with him very difficult. Even if it’s something he says he wants to do, trying to prise him off his games to go out and do it can at times feel like an advanced level challenge.
A bucket list feels different because it’s a challenge and older kids like bursts of activities that make them feel grown up and as though they’ve accomplished something. I’ve made sure that this list includes items that older kids won’t deem ‘too babyish’ while still being suitable for younger kids to join in too.
Try a food for the first time
When it comes to food kids can be fussy…very fussy! They like what they like and getting them to budge on this can be a challenge…a BIG challenge. For this one I bought some vegetable sushi. I decided that sushi was a good choice for a teenager because it sounds somewhat grown up. When it comes to food Luke is not usually adventurous, his favourite food is chicken nuggets and chips and trying to persuade him to try new foods is usually met with a frown and a grunt.
For the purpose of a bucket list challenge Luke wasn’t just prepared to eat sushi but he was excited about it. He picked up a round piece, studied it, and then took a cautious bite. He ate the whole thing, announced ‘it was quite nice actually,’ then looked at the other pieces, had a change of thought and announced that ‘he wouldn’t be eating anymore of it as it wasn’t for him.’ He gave it a try though and he enjoyed doing it.
Other first time food choices could include pomegranate seeds, lychees and avocado. Or you could have a look around the supermarket or market and see what you can find.
Watch a classic family film
Cue sofa time, a blanket and a big bowl of popcorn. For this one I picked a film I loved from my childhood: Jumanji. Somehow, in all of Luke’s thirteen-years I’ve never watched it with him…shocker! I’m not sure how that one passed us by! Anyway, older kids may act like they don’t want to hang out with their parents most of time but most kids (even grumpy teenagers) like movies.
Luke liked the stampede part, especially the slow rhino and the mischievous monkeys made him laugh. Despite the running commentary and at times ‘smart’ remarks, classic film time with Luke was a good, argument free time and an effective way to spend a lazy afternoon.
A movie day is great for a lazy late-afternoon chill-out time, for rainy, black-skied days or for an end of the week pyjama day. Other great classic film suggestions are Homeward Bound, The Never-Ending Story, Home Alone, The Wizard of Oz and any of course, anything Disney.
Create a monster sized sandwich!
Take a layer of stringy cheese, a layer of chicken nuggets and chips, a layer of scrambled egg and sandwich it all between white bread. Okay, so it might not sound that appealing but that was ‘the Luke sandwich’, (although his verdict was ‘I’m glad I didn’t include a layer of crisps.’)
So, I doubt ‘the Luke sandwich’ will be added to restaurant menus anytime soon and sometimes combining favourite ingredients together doesn’t work as well as expected, but it allows kids to be creative, have fun and try something new. If you have younger kids and you want to jazz up your monster sandwich experience you could use olives for eyes and cut up cheese for teeth. Also, this doesn’t have to be limited to sandwiches as you could also make a monster pancake, a monster omelette or even a monster pizza.
A few more half term activities to try
So they’re our top suggestions, but your child’s bucket list doesn’t have to end there. Here are some more half term activities that your little and not-so little ones might also enjoy:
Camp in the garden. Perfect for those awkward older kids, camping in the garden lets them feel grown up sleeping outside of the house. All you need is a tent, pillow, blanket and torch and you’re garden camping ready. As for telling spooky stories with a torch held up to their face, we’ll leave that one up to them…boo!
Read a book in a week. Pick your book and go! Perfect for a time-filler, improving reading skills and delving into new worlds.
Learn a few constellations. From Orion to Aquila, this is a great clear night activity. There are also downloadable apps out there to aid you on where up high is best to look.
Snail race. If the weather is friendly enough for snails to appear then this is a fun, free activity. Choose your snail and ready…slime…go!
Learn to play a classic card game. In the buzz of technology it’s easy to forget about a traditional pack of cards. Video games are great and all but sometimes it’s good to sit back as a family and learn and play a classic card game, such as Go Fish, Crazy Eights, Old Maid and Rummy.