Check out these other blogs for more activity ideas

Friday, 31 July 2015

Nice ice, baby!

Everyone loves ice cream, so try one of these ideas for making your own at home...

1. Slice some over-ripe bananas, lay the slices on a plate and freeze for about two hours. Then blend them and enjoy a delicious ice-creamy pure fruit dessert.

2. Get two large resealable (zip-lock) plastic bags. Into one put one cup of single cream, two tablespoons of caster sugar, four tablespoons of crushed strawberries (or any other flavouring you fancy) and a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Into the other put four handfuls of ice cubes and four tablespoons of rock salt. Then seal the first bag securely, place it inside the one containing the ice cubes and seal that, wrap the whole lot in a towel, and shake non-stop for five to ten minutes until the mixture in the small bag has thickened and blended. Take it out carefully to ensure none of the salt gets into your tasty strawberry ice cream.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Digging for dinosaurs

For cool (and free) fun on a hot day, get the kids excavating their very own dinosaur icebergs.

The night before you want to try this activity, put a couple of toy plastic dinosaurs or sea creatures into a sandwich bag for each child, along with a few shells or pebbles. Fill the bags with water, then twist or tie them shut & pop them into the freezer.

The next day, peel the dinosaur icebergs out of their wrappers and put each one on a tray, along with with a few utensils - spoons, spatulas, maybe a turkey baster (nothing too sharp). Then challenge the children to free the 'fossils' as fast as possible.

Ask them a few questions as they work. How does the ice feel? Which tool works best? What happens if they put their iceberg in the sun, pour a cup of warm water over it, or add some salt?

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Up, up and away...

Spend a day making, decorating and flying paper aeroplanes. Instructions for different models are easy to find online (eg at Try them out using different sizes and thicknesses of paper. Then take the children's creations outside and hold an airshow, giving marks for distance, style and speed.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Birthday bear

Find an unloved teddy (or any other furry friend) and announce to the children that it's his or her birthday. Ask them to prepare a party, writing invitations, wrapping presents and making cakes. At the end of the day, get everyone - including Ted - into their best clothes, choose some favourite music and games, and have a party picnic tea.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Hunting high and low

Try one of these ideas for a scavenger hunt, either at home or in a local park or woods...

1. The classic scavenger hunt. Give each child or team a list of things to find. (Use picture lists for pre-readers.) The winner is the individual or team that gets them all first.

2. The natural scavenger hunt. Go to the woods, beach or park and ask the children to find natural objects that are specific shapes (circle, oval, triangle), colours (green, brown, pink, yellow) and textures (prickly, furry, smooth, soft, sticky, rough, hard). Can they also find something that holds water, something see-through, something that moves...?

3. The alphabet hunt. Get the children to search for something beginning with every letter in their name, or every letter of the alphabet (they'll have to be creative with Q, X & Z!)

4. The string hunt. Hide pieces of string of different lengths. Then split the children into teams. The teams hunt for the string and tie together any pieces they find. The winning team is the one with the longest combined length of string (so coil it carefully to avoid tangles!).

5. The snap-happy hunt. For older children, give each team a digital camera or camera-phone and set a photo challenge: get a photo on a slide, in a phone box, doing a handstand, star jump, piggyback, etc. Back at home, plug the cameras into your TV or computer and compare the results.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Once you pop...

On a rainy day, what could be better than a movie? A movie with popcorn, of course! Shop-bought varieties are often high in fat, refined sugar and salt, so try this healthier homemade recipe.

You'll need
  • half a cup of popping corn
  • two tablespoons of olive oil
  • two to three tablespoons of agave nectar (a plant-derived sweetener available in most large supermarkets and health food shops) - or maple syrup if you prefer 
  • a level teaspoon of cinnamon.
Put three or four popping corn kernels and the olive oil into a large saucepan with a lid (a non-stick pan with a glass lid works best) and place on the stovetop on a high heat. Once the kernels start to pop, add the rest of the popping corn, replace the lid, and keep the pan on a high heat while the corn pops, giving it a shake from time to time. When the rate of popping starts to slow, take the pan off the heat and stir in the agave (or maple syrup) and cinnamon, making sure the popcorn is well coated. Then spread the popcorn out on a baking tray (or two) and bake at gas mark 5/190C for 10 minutes, turning it over halfway through. Yum!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Kids' Q&A

The start of the holidays is the perfect time to conduct an end-of-school-year interview with your little one(s). Record their answers on your phone, tablet, webcam, camera or camcorder - or just use pen & paper. Here are a few ideas of questions to ask:
  • Who's your best friend, and why?
  • What's your favourite toy?
  • What's your favourite book?
  • What's your favourite song? (And can you sing it?)
  • What your favourite food?
  • What's your favourite film or TV programme?
  • When you grow up...
what job will you do?
- where will you live, and who with?
- how will you get around?
  • What makes you happy? And what makes you sad?
  • Where's the best place in the world?
  • Is there anything you're afraid of?
  • What's the best thing about you? And what's the worst thing?
  • If you could have one wish, what would it be?
  • Can you tell a funny joke?
Carry out a similar interview at the end of every school year and see how your child's answers change - or not - as time passes.