One of the major issues that parents face during the summer holidays is children getting bored. In these unprecedented times, you cannot let them out for play and you have household chores to manage as well. In between all this, when children get bored, the boredom begins to manifest in various unsavoury ways. You don’t want to give them too much TV or computer time as too much screen time is again unacceptable. At times like these, you want them to do something creative and fun.
Scientists believe that children, especially preteens, develop best when they are left to their own tools. It is the best way to let them develop their curiosity and explore their creativity. But you are worried that leaving them to their business might not exactly be in their interest. The best solution is to find some activity that requires minimum to zero supervision, is totally interesting, creative and fun.
Fret not, because we have a list of such activities that will not just be a source of enjoyment for your preteen but also enhance their creativity and aid their development.
Alphabet Scavenger Hunt
This is a fun yet learning activity for preteens which involves a bit of competition (if there is more than one child) as well. The best part about this game is that it doesn’t really require any kind of supervision on the part of the parents. It can be played easily and with maximum enjoyment.
Give a big cardboard box to the child. If there is more than one child playing, you can ask them to paint their initials on the box to identify it. Now, set a timer for say one hour. Then ask the child to scavenge the house for different items starting from alphabet A to Z. For older children, you can ask them to find objects that begin with a certain alphabet and end in a certain alphabet.
With the set time limit and children searching for the same or similar items with the same letter, it will be super fun to see them rack their brains to figure out what items to collect. Whoever collects items with all the alphabets and does that before the others, wins. You can ask them to name the item they collected and ask them to keep it back in the same place where they got it from, for extra rewards.
Plant a Project
If you are looking for a project or activity that will make your children responsible along with learning and enjoyment, there is nothing that comes to the top of the list than gardening. To start with, you just need to buy a small plant, some soil, some peat and a bit of perlite. You can take your time to explain to your children why you need soil, peat and perlite.
If you are looking at DIY planters, it will be fun to let your child find old vessels, plastic containers or bottles which can be recycled into planters. You can tell them how to wash, clean, cut and paint to create some beautiful planters for the plants you have bought.
Guide them on how to mix the soil, peat and perlite. They will not only learn the basics of gardening but also have fun mixing the various items and playing in the soil. Instruct them on how to fill the planter with the soil mix and then to plant. If you have bought seeds, you can teach them how to sow the seeds.
You can tell them that this plant is going to be their responsibility. It will be fun for them to watch the seeds and plants grow, bear flowers and fruits, while they water them daily. You can also teach them to snip dead leaves, cut for growth as well as use natural fertilisers (with proper protection). For older kids, you can ask them to create a small garden or a terrarium of their choice.
Indoor bowling alley/Tape Maze
As chores and long-term games can only help them so much, you do need to know some only fun games and activities that can engage your child. Not every project needs to be about learning. Some can be simply about having fun and laughing out loud.
There are two ways of making an indoor bowling alley. For the big one, you can use toilet paper rolls or paper cups for bowling pins. Arrange them as bowling pins at the end of a room. Use balled up socks for bowling balls and have a lot of fun trying to get all the pins down.
Another way to play bowling, albeit a bit smaller, is to use crayon stumps and bottle caps. Stack up fat crayon stumps as bowling pins and use the bottle caps as a bowling ball to drop them. Your kids will be howling and laughing at how much fun this whole deal is.
Another extremely fun game is a tape maze. Just give them a colourful tape and ask them to create a maze by sticking them on the walls in a room or passageway. It will be amusing to watch them create and navigate the tape maze.
Paper or cardboard craft
There are hundreds of paper and cardboard craft ideas available on the Internet that you can teach your child to do. They are so varied and easy to do that you will be surprised at the level of creativity your child display. One simple technique is to give them some boxes of cardboard, some colourful paper, scissors, paints, threads and wait for their creativity to emerge.
One amazing craft that I found to be extremely easy and fun was to make a kaleidoscope. For the supplies, you need a plastic container that can be easily cut, a toilet paper roll, reflective scrapbook paper or foil, glue stick, craft tape, glitter or confetti or beads and scissors.
How to do?
Step 1: To begin with, cut the piece of a reflective paper to 10.5 inches by 4.25 inches.
Step 2: Fold the reflective paper into 3 equal parts to create a triangle, with the reflective part inside. Secure the ends together with tape.
Step 3: Insert the triangle into the toilet paper roll. One end will be aligned with the bottom of the roll and the other end will be about 5 inches from the top.
Step 4: Using the toilet paper roll as a template, cut 2 circles out of the plastic container. Place one inside the paper towel roll, on top of the triangle.
Step 5: Place glitter, beads, or confetti on top. It should be full, but not so full that they won’t move around.
Step 6: Place the second plastic circle at the end of the paper towel roll and secure with the decorative tape.
Step 7: Using the toilet paper roll as a template, cut a circle out of scrapbook paper. Cut a hole in the centre.
Step 8: Place on the other end of the roll and secure with tape. This is the end that you look through. Now simply point towards a light source, look and enjoy.
Guide your child through this and many such crafts and see their imagination bloom.
As summers bring in a lot of heat, there is nothing children would enjoy more than playing in the water. Add a chore in it and it becomes a fun activity.
Give your child a sponge, some washing soap, a cotton cloth and a bucket of water. Ask them to wash all their toys, bikes and cars. See them have the time of their lives mixing the detergent, making foam and bubbles, dipping and squeezing the sponge and washing their precious toys. Just make sure to remove all the batteries from the toys, keep away any electric toys or those that tend to bleed colours. For older kids, you can also ask them to wash your car by giving them a hose.
You will see how by the end of the activity, you not only have clean toys and cars but extremely happy kids too. Keep a good reward ready!
Holidays can be made fun for children inside the home by these simple yet entertaining activities. Enjoy the hugs and kisses that you are bound to get in return.