Ahhhh, the holidays...
Despite my best intentions, the latter half of the school holidays generally resound in choruses of "I'm boooooored" and "Muuuuuuu-uuuuum, he (she) just **insert heinous crime of siblinghood here**" while I snap, bang my forehead against the wall and generally model ineffective parenting practices while trying to maintain order in the household and a clear kitchen benchtop.
For the sake of my sanity, and yours (though I'm sure you don't need it ;-) ) I'm going to make a list of stuff to do with your kids that is fun, cheap, and relatively stress-free. I intend to refer to my own wisdom a lot over the next few weeks!
1) Paint stuff with water - the deck, the house, the driveway (for those lucky sods who have sealed ones), the footpath (for those lucky sods that have one at all) or in our case, the playhouse.
2) Turn on the sprinkler and play under it. Or squirt stuff with it - preferably the garden, rather than siblings. You could even get particularly diligent souls to wash the house exterior or car, if you played your cards right. If you manage that, courier said child here. I will feed it and send it back, I promise!
3) Make playdough. This is a fabulous recipe:
* I make half the suggested amount, and by adding glitter, sand, rolled oats etc, you can alter the texture and make it more fun.
* Try mixing several colours, and turn it into an art lesson!
* Wrap your rolling pin with string, or an old beaded necklace, and watch what happens.
* Get our your fancy cookie cutters, muffin and cake tins and let your child play. You can even bake your creations at a low heat. They look a bit white and flakey, but it makes them solid!
* Using rock salt makes interesting texture, as well as giving fun shiny bits in the dough.
* Find some interesting sticks, stones, seed pods etc to imprint your dough with.
* Donate some old birthday candles to the cause and make birthday muffins.
4) Fill the baby bath, or a large tub / bucket (or heck, even the normal bath!) with water tinted with food colouring and dishwash suds. Let them play with containers, seives, tea pots or whatever you find that might make the water and bubbles do interesting things.
5) Cut out pictures from supermarket circulars to make shopping lists. Ensure that they understand that YOURS is the one that actually gets followed though, as I discovered today - "But Muuuu-uuum, ice cream IS on the shopping list!"
6) Play 'Snap', 'Snakes and Ladders' or other simple games.
7) Get some chalk, find some concrete (I'm still looking - but I'm not nagging, darling!) and draw some hopscotch grids.
8) Make an obstacle course.
9) Make a tent using the dining table and a large sheet. Get cushions, torches, blankets etc and read stories.
10) Make stained glass windows with paper paste, tissue paper and a window you don't care about. Ours wasn't finished before something else stole their interest, but it is so horrendously hideous that I think I'll scrape it off tomorrow. I may finally feel repentant towards the numerous school cleaners I've brassed off by pasting things to the window after I've done it!
I had visions of adding coloured letters and shapes that they would enjoy 'finding' in weeks to come, but nah. It's ugly.
11) Make pizza together.
12) Invite friend over with like-aged children, eat cake, drink coffee and close the door!