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19 Awesome Ideas for Keeping Kids Busy Over the Holidays

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19 Awesome Ideas for Keeping Kids Busy Over the Holidays


    Need some ideas for keeping the kids busy over the summer break?

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    Holidays can be a great time to bond with your children and maybe even let your own inner child come out to play. But it can also be a stressful time when kids can misbehave because of boredom. It’s best to put a little bit of advanced planning into the summer holidays and prepare yourself with an arsenal of activities to keep the little ones out of mischief.

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    Start by planning each week in advance. If the kids know they have things to look forward to it will make for happier more relaxed children.

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    Also be sure to get the children involved in the planning. They will be less likely to complain about the activities chosen if they have taken part in the decision-making. Have a range of activities to select from: stuff to do at home, in the garden, outdoors, and the odd activity that cost money to do.

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    Here are 19 ideas that you can chose from.

    1. Make your own games. Get a supply of colored cards, children’s scissors, glue and anything else you may want to make some fun games. Games like Hoopla, Pin the Tail on the Donkey or Snakes and Ladders can all be easily made at home and will keep the children occupied for some time. (Note: You will probably have to help out with smaller children.)
    2. Cooking and baking. Once a week plan a cooking or baking day. Involve the kids in the process from the beginning — let them chose from a selection of recipes that you have ingredients for. If the child can read, get them to read from the recipe book. Step by step, help them to work through the instructions. Try to avoid the temptation of doing it yourself.
    3. Make an assault course. One of my eldest son’s favorite activities was assembling an assault course in the back garden. Old pieces of wood, boxes, buckets, garden chairs — anything that can be jumped over, under or around. Tell the children to time each other around the assault course. The course can be completed on a bicycle, scooter, skateboard, or simply by running.
    4. Build a garden patch. Dedicate a small patch in the garden to the kids. Plant flowers, herbs, lettuce — anything that grows quickly and gives them the satisfaction of having produced something. If your kids are small, just give them a spade, put on their old clothes, and let them loose. I read recently that gardeners are the happiest people alive. The explanation was that there is a form of bacteria in the soil that actually makes you happy. No harm giving it a go; we all want happy and relaxed children.
    5. Go camping. Build a tent indoors or outdoors with blankets and sheets. Once the tent is up, give them a torch and a picnic to take with them. I guarantee you won’t see them for hours.
    6. Go on picnics. You don’t have to go far to have a picnic — my children regularly ask for a picnic out the garden. I give them whatever I have in the fridge. You’d be amazed how once it is packed in a plastic container and eaten on a blanket on the grass, how much the atmosphere romanticizes the most boring of sandwiches.
    7. Have a treasure hunt. Make a treasure map with clues to find some treasure you have hidden somewhere in the garden. It doesn’t have to be expensive or big — any little treat will be exciting when it is found outdoors.
    8. Create a Summer Diary. Encourage the little ones to keep a Summer Diary or scrapbook. They can take photos of special days and write about them. It will become a lovely memory book for them in the future — and also keep them busy for hours.
    9. Get jamming. Grab some musical instruments — things like bongos, shakers or tambourines, and get jamming. Get your kids to sing and dance along. (Alternatively, you can stick on some Deep Purple, let your hair down, and dance on the furniture.)
    10. Make a movie. At this moment my two boys (aged 6 and 8) are making a movie using my iPhone and some Star Wars figures. They have decided to create it themselves and will use Windows MovieMaker to edit it afterwards. They get to have creative fun — and I get to finish this article in peace.
    11. Paint. One of the nicest ways to express your creativity is to use paint. Get large sheets of paper and lots of paint. Go mad and use your hands and feet — it’s liberating. To avoid any stress, prepare the area well and cover with plastic or newspaper. Have some water on hand to wash when you are finished.
    12. Get into jewellery making. Go to a bead shop and stock up on beads, wire and clasps, and get busy making your own jewellery. This activity can be done with the smallest of children, just be sure to get appropriate bead sizes for different age groups. The children will be so proud to wear the jewellery that they have made.
    13. Sketching. My sister is an artist and recently brought my two youngest boys and their cousin to a local park to sketch. They all had their own sketch pads and pencils, and they were encouraged to draw what they saw around them. They all had so much fun and want to make it a regular date.
    14. Go swimming. If you are lucky enough to live close to the sea, go swimming when possible. The sea has a calming effect on children and the amount of energy used in the water means that they won’t be quite as active when they get home. If you don’t live close to the sea, go to a swimming pool instead.
    15. Take nature walks. Go on nature walks with a purpose. On the beach, collect shells and stones to later make a shell castle or shell and stone sculptures. In the forest, get kids to seek out different sorts of bugs, plants or trees. Alternatively, give them a map to plot the route you are taking. By giving them control and a plan will ensure they don’t get bored too quickly.
    16. Have a garage sale. Get the kids to clear out their rooms and have a garage sale. You could sell some of your baking products and make lemonade. Pool all the money together and use it to pay for an outing for the whole family.
    17. Visit the library. Use your local library regularly. In most libraries you can get more than books; you can get movies and music. Make a day out of it. Do some reading while you’re there instead of getting some books and heading home. Give your children a love of books — it is one of the best gifts you can give them.
    18. Organize some play dates. Plan some play dates and invite friends over. While they spend time with their friends it may give you the opportunity to get some work done and perhaps even connect with other parents.Plus…the invite may be returned some day.
    19. Have a “Chill Day”. With all that activity planned, kids will also need some down time. Make sure you plan some days where you just chill, watch some movies, read some books, and take it easy.

    (Photo credit: Group of Happy Kids Silhouette via Shutterstock)

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    Ciara Conlon

    Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2021

    The Importance of Making a Camping Checklist

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    The Importance of Making a Camping Checklist

    Camping can be hard work, but it’s the preparation that’s even harder. There are usually a lot of things to do in order to make sure that you and your family or friends have the perfect camping experience. But sometimes you might get to your destination and discover that you have left out one or more crucial things.

    There is no dispute that preparation and organization for a camping trip can be quite overwhelming, but if it is done right, you would see at the end of the day, that it was worth the stress. This is why it is important to ensure optimum planning and execution. For this to be possible, it is advised that in addition to a to-do-list, you should have a camping checklist to remind you of every important detail.

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    Why You Should Have a Camping Checklist

    Creating a camping checklist makes for a happy and always ready camper. It also prevents mishaps.  A proper camping checklist should include every essential thing you would need for your camping activities, organized into various categories such as shelter, clothing, kitchen, food, personal items, first aid kit, informational items, etc. These categories should be organized by importance. However, it is important that you should not list more than you can handle or more than is necessary for your outdoor adventure.

    Camping checklists vary depending on the kind of camping and outdoor activities involved. You should not go on the internet and compile a list of just any camping checklist. Of course, you can research camping checklists, but you have to put into consideration the kind of camping you are doing. It could be backpacking, camping with kids, canoe camping, social camping, etc. You have to be specific and take note of those things that are specifically important to your trip, and those things which are generally needed in all camping trips no matter the kind of camping being embarked on.

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    Here are some tips to help you prepare for your next camping trip.

    1. First off, you must have found the perfect campground that best suits your outdoor adventure. If you haven’t, then you should. Sites like Reserve America can help you find and reserve a campsite.
    2. Find or create a good camping checklist that would best suit your kind of camping adventure.
    3. Make sure the whole family is involved in making out the camping check list or downloading a proper checklist that reflects the families need and ticking off the boxes of already accomplished tasks.
    4. You should make out or download a proper checklist months ahead of your trip to make room for adjustments and to avoid too much excitement and the addition of unnecessary things.
    5. Checkout Camping Hacks that would make for a more fun camping experience and prepare you for different situations.

    Now on to the checklist!

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    Here is how your checklist should look

    1. CAMPSITE GEAR

    • Tent, poles, stakes
    • Tent footprint (ground cover for under your tent)
    • Extra tarp or canopy
    • Sleeping bag for each camper
    • Sleeping pad for each camper
    • Repair kit for pads, mattress, tent, tarp
    • Pillows
    • Extra blankets
    • Chairs
    • Headlamps or flashlights ( with extra batteries)
    • Lantern
    • Lantern fuel or batteries

    2.  KITCHEN

    • Stove
    • Fuel for stove
    • Matches or lighter
    • Pot
    • French press or portable coffee maker
    • Corkscrew
    • Roasting sticks for marshmallows, hot dogs
    • Food-storage containers
    • Trash bags
    • Cooler
    • Ice
    • Water bottles
    • Plates, bowls, forks, spoons, knives
    • Cups, mugs
    • Paring knife, spatula, cooking spoon
    • Cutting board
    • Foil
    • soap
    • Sponge, dishcloth, dishtowel
    • Paper towels
    • Extra bin for washing dishes

    3. CLOTHES

    • Clothes for daytime
    • Sleepwear
    • Swimsuits
    • Rainwear
    • Shoes: hiking/walking shoes, easy-on shoes, water shoes
    • Extra layers for warmth
    • Gloves
    • Hats

    4. PERSONAL ITEMS

    • Sunscreen
    • Insect repellent
    • First-aid kit
    • Prescription medications
    • Toothbrush, toiletries
    • Soap

    5. OTHER ITEMS

    • Camera
    • Campsite reservation confirmation, phone number
    • Maps, area information

    This list is not completely exhaustive. To make things easier, you can check specialized camping sites like RealSimpleRainyAdventures, and LoveTheOutdoors that have downloadable camping checklists that you can download on your phone or gadget and check as you go.

    Featured photo credit: Scott Goodwill via unsplash.com

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