By Louisa Wood, Anything Goes Lifestyle Contributor
Prevent the cries of “I’m bored” over the school winter holidays with this list of activities, both inside and out.
This could be an activity over several days.
First, you need to write a list of all the people you would like to send a Christmas card to. You could decorate it and pin it up on a noticeboard.
Then, you can go shopping for craft supplies. Once you’ve got everything and have a plastic tablecloth to protect surfaces, you can start designing.
Go wild! Eco glitter, different textiles, pretty stamps, all combine to make individual and special cards to receive.
Next, you need to write lovely messages inside and address the envelopes. You could even decorate the envelopes. Just make sure there’s space for the stamp and for postie to easily see the address.
Working out how many stamps you need and how much that will cost in preparation for a visit to the post office is a good way to keep tiny minds whirring.
Getting presents ready
There are lots of charities and food banks that collect gifts this time of year for children who might not get many presents given to them.
Explaining this to your little ones can be a wonderful way to inspire them to look after those less fortunate than themselves.
Empty out all the toy boxes and see which toys could go to a new home and put a smile on another child’s face.
Check with your local charities first what they are allowed to accept. You might even be able to have fun wrapping the gifts.
Wrapping paper fun
Don’t just buy any old wrapping paper. Much of it can’t be recycled so ends up in landfill.
Instead, go traditional with brown parcel paper. It’s often cheaper than pre-decorated paper and easily available. Add natural decorations, like sprigs of holly, for a little extra pizazz.
Alternatively, decorate the rolls of paper yourselves. You can personalise the paper for each person you’re wrapping gifts for. Potato printing and finger painting are super fun ways to create simple, effective designs.
Reverse advent calendar
Every day, when your little ones open their advent calendar, have them choose something of theirs or from a specific kitchen cupboard and pop in a box. On 24th December, you can then take this box of goodies to a deserving cause.
Melting Snowmen biscuits
Make your own digestive biscuits with the following ingredients:
- 100g plain wholemeal flour
- 75g butter
- 65g fine/medium oatmeal
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 35g brown sugar, soft
- 1-2 tbsp milk (you can use soya, almond, or dairy)
- Grab a large bowl and mix butter, oatmeal, and flour with your fingers. You’re aiming for breadcrumb sort of consistency.
- Pop in sugar and bicarbonate of soda and sugar and mix together.
- Add first tablespoon of milk to form a dough. Mix together using your hands. Add more milk, little by little, so the dough is in a big lump and doesn’t just stick to your hands.
- Form the dough into a biscuit thickness, about 2cm. Use two pieces of cling film and a rolling pin to get it even. Then, leave to chill for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Once chilled, roll the dough onto a surface with 1cm of flour on it. It’s often easier split the dough into thirds, leave the rest in the fridge, and just work with the smaller amount.
- Use a cookie cutter or a mug to make rounds from the dough.
- Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and place the rounds on there.
- You could draw patterns in the dough with various utensils you can find. If you’re going to decorate the top with a melting snowman, you could skip this step.
- Put the baking tray in the fridge for 20 minutes and preheat the oven to 170°C/325ºF/gas 3.
- Bake until the edges start to turn golden brown, usually around 10 minutes.
Once the biscuits have cooled out of the oven, you can make up some runny white icing to be the melted snow. Add a white marshmallow in the centre and decorate with a little face.
Make a fort
If the weather’s not fabulous, grab the cushions off the sofa and a couple of bedsheets and create a fort. If it’s big enough you can all squeeze in and tell stories or watch films. Making the fort is so much fun for little ones, especially if their grown-up goes inside too!
The fort could also become the centre for an imaginary game, like it’s Wendy’s house and Peter Pan comes to take her to Neverland, or it’s a dogs house and all the little doggies that live there have to not walk around on two feet like humans. The possibilities are endless.
Outside of the house
If you’re looking to get out the house for a while and you’ve budgeted for activities, there are a range of different places you could visit. Here are some suggestions:
- Soft play centre
- Bowling alley
- Ice skating
- Lazer quest
- Science centre
- Climbing centre.
If the weather’s not too wet, wrap up warm against the cold and go for a walk.
Even close to home, if you really look for it, you might see things you hadn’t noticed before when you’re busy rushing around for school and clubs.
See if you can spot a little bird and see them singing. Can you make the same sound?
Look for different coloured leaves from the trees. Collect them and dry them. You could add them to a scrapbook as a memory of your adventure.
Explore different textures in walls. You could do rubbings with paper and crayon to see what sort of prints the different textures make.
See what different types of transport you can see when you’re walking. Notice the different sounds they all make. Make sure to remember your road safety if you’re near public highways.
What other things could you see in hedges or plant pots and gardens as you explore your neighbourhood?