Time is a tricky concept to young children so when we are talking about the weeks of the summer holidays or counting down to an event it can help be really useful to help them visualise the days.
Try having a weekly calendar with a peg or sticker to mark the days of the week. This also works really well for counting down to holidays or birthdays too!!
Prepare for the day:
Some children can find it hard to be ‘off timetable’ they like routine and like to know what is happening. That’s why you can often be asked a hundred times when Grandma is arriving!
Therefore something I like to do with Mason in the morning is draw through our day. I will talk through a rough plan of events for the day and draw some very simple pictures to symbolise these events. This can be really useful for young children to see the day ahead and know what to expect.
Filling your days:
It can be daunting trying to think of ways to fill the days with a little one but remember that your days do not need to be filled with all singing and dancing activities and expensive days out, it’s just not realistic! If you choose to have days at home in your pjs or use TV to earn yourself a rest then so be it! Don’t put pressure on yourself, your kids already think you’re great!!
If I was only allowed one activity to get me through the Summer holidays it would always be role play or pretend play!
Ok, it can take slightly longer to set up than my usual activities but once it’s done you can leave it out for weeks, allowing the kids to return to it time and time again. And what’s really great is role play is amazing for encouraging a wide variety of skills including creative, writing, number and social skills!
Always Keep role play simple! You don’t need it to look Pinterest worthy for kids to get involved, you’ll be amazed at how a few key items like a pot of coins for a till and a notepad can go along way!
Also don’t forget to go with the flow! If you set up a cafe but they turn it into a bakery- that’s great! Go with it because they are more like to play with it and engage their imaginations!
And of course we have our PRETEND mini pack of playPROMPTS for lots of role play ideas you can set up using items from around the house!
Leave it out:
I know it’s so easy to feel like you need to be creating those ‘wow’ moments everyday but actually you don’t! If you take the time to set up an activity make sure you leave it out for at least a week!
I know that sounds like a long time but it allows children to revisit in different moods and build on skills they have learnt!
And don’t forget an ignored activity is not a failure! They maybe just weren’t ready for it yet or not in the mood! Leave it out for a few days and if there’s still no interest, save the resources and put it out again in a month or so.
Grab a book:
Ahhh my favourite!
Those days when you’re stuck, tired or just can’t be bothered...grab a book! Any book, one of the kids or one of yours and cuddle up to read together! It’s amazing how inspiring a book can be and can spark an idea of something to do, make or play!
An essential tool for any school holiday- snacks! It’s alarming how often our children get hungry as they grow and want to graze all day! Fill the cupboards and be prepared! But also get the kids involved too! I’ve recently discovered My Fussy Eater who has a wonderful book I was kindly gifted but have been using with Mason to think of new ideas! There are loads of amazing accounts out there for inspiration!
TV is an activity:
Personally I choose to use TV time as an activity. At certain times of the days, it is absolutely fine for them to be watching TV. I will always tell Mason how long he has, and I do this in episodes as they are easier to measure then ‘10 minutes’. I don’t feel guilty because he’s not spending all day sat watching. And it’s amazing how sometimes even the likes of Peppa Pig have inspired an activity afterwards!!