How to keep your children entertained in the summer holidays.

Well its that time of year again, six weeks of no school; no extra after school clubs and even Beaver Scouts has finished until September too!

I decided as this is my year of being more organised that I would have a bit of a plan in place for keeping my kids entertained so here are some of my ideas.

Throughout the year I have been collecting things for the art trunk. This is just a big box that I snuck some things in that the kids havent seen. There are even some Christmas presents in this box that were given to us by relatives that I have stored for when I hear the inevitable cries of Im bored Mummy!. This box is great for rainy days when you would rather your kids were not mindlessly sitting in front of the television but you really dont have time to entertain them. It includes kits from Hobby Craft such as a make your own stained glass window and paint you own pirate treasure box. These kits are easy to use and you can often pick them up in sales too. Also in the trunk are colouring books, new paints and colouring pencils and also a shoe box full of material like felt, cardboard, pipe cleaners and sparkly fluff in case anyone wants to become the next Picasso and go a bit abstract in their arty creations!

When the weather is nice I try and encourage the kids to be out in the sunshine as much as possible. We have a few family walks that the kids love as it involves a very muddy stream where they can dam build which has always been a favourite pastime in our family. However as I work from home I cannot always take the time to take the kids out so sometimes they just have to entertain themselves. At the end of the garden we have a patch of mud which at one point I thought of turning in to a sand pit but I think my kids prefer the mud! I have watched my kids make mud pies, mud soup and mud castles, which are fantastic and letting them free play like this really exercises their minds and imaginations.

Books! Although books might not be the first thing your child gravitates to when they are bored they are a great distraction and also really improves their literacy. If your kid has a library card, you can make books quite exciting for them as they can choose their own new books each week. A tent or special reading place for them works really well too. Pop up a tent or den in your sitting room or garden, fill it with tantalising tales of The Big Friendly Giant, Harry Potter, The Magic Faraway Tree or Olga da Polga and it will give your older children a fantastic place to escape to. And you can pop in occasionally with drinks and snacks too!

Starting a project. This is a great idea as you can put it down and pick it back up throughout the holidays. Last year we built a scrap book of the holiday as it not only earned my eldest his collector Beaver Scout badge, he could also take it in to show and tell in September. We collected lots of tickets, pictures and leaflets from our family holiday and when we got home they were able to stick it all in along with a load of other stickers I had bought and this provided them with a fun thing to do and also a memory book which they can keep. I also bought star stickers so they had great fun rating the holiday activities and this was much more entertaining than writing anything down!

Dont be afraid of letting your children be bored for a little while. Necessity is the mother of great invention so sometimes your children will invent the best games when they have nothing else to do so let them explore their own capabilities sometimes and run wild, just make sure you check up on them if it all goes very quiet!

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