Entertaining and educational school holiday activities for children
With a week off school fast approaching, it’s a good idea to make some plans in advance so that you can make the week off entertaining, educational and enjoyable for your children. That’s why I’ve put together some ideas for activities that little ones will find fun but that also have physical and mental benefits too.
Sure we’re all hoping for a sunny half term so that we can get outdoors with the kids but, on those less-than-sunny days, what activity can you enjoy together a home?
One of my personal favourites from my own childhood was playing shops. It’s sure to fire up the imagination of even the youngest children and help to develop their cognitive processing. It’s a game that can be enjoyed by multiple kids at once and it can be played indoors – or even outside if it’s warm weather and they’re running an imaginary ice-cream kiosk!
All you need is some wooden play food and they’ll be able to set up their own shop, ready for you to buy their products with play money. It’s an activity that’ll subtly help primary-age children work on their maths skills while they’re at home. They’ll be having so much fun that they probably won’t notice that they’re doing adding and subtracting sums.
If there’s an unexpected drizzly day and they want to create an impromptu shop, take a look around your home for small packets and items to use as products that they can improvise with. You could even encourage them to set up a different type of shop, such as a bank or post office using stickers, envelopes and handmade paper money.
When the weather warms up, it’s a great idea to get the kids outside. They can either get active in the garden with some outdoor games, head to the park for a kickabout and a picnic, or even go to the beach to enjoy the sea air.
The benefits of children spending time outdoors are well documented, as it’s not only a physical activity but a sensory experience too. It can help them to sleep better at night and gives them the freedom and space to move and play. I’ve shared a step-by-step to make an outdoor play kitchen from pallets, which little ones can enjoy all year round.
Kids love to touch natural objects and they can learn a lot from being outside in the changing seasons. Encourage them to explore their surroundings with water- and sand-play kits for a multi-sensory activity that helps them to develop their motor skills. The Blue Marine kits from DanToy are made from recycled waste maritime materials so they’re a sustainable choice for outdoor playtime.
Keep the classroom work going while they’re at home by exploring the strength and energy of magnets. New E-Motion Geomag sets with recycled plastic panels allow kids from age 5+ to make their own spinning tops and suspended spinning models.
Kids can build their test spinner and then test out how long each one spins – does size or construction shape make a difference to the balance and speed? Plus, they can challenge their friends and family to spin-offs, with each person building their own toy to compete.
They’ll learn lots from being hands-on with a building set – and not just mathematics and science skills. There are many benefits that STEM activities can provide including creativity, decision making and social skills, so it’s worth trying out some suitable STEM tasks with either primary or secondary school-age children.
I hope these activities have given you some ideas for ways to keep your kids entertained during the school holidays. Let me know if you have any interesting activities or games that you like to play as a family in the comments below – I’d love to hear your tips for a fun and educational half-term holiday.
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