If you’re holidaying at home this festive season, here are some bright ideas to keep your kids busy…
Get your hands dirty in the garden, build a blanket fort and make a big song and dance – there are many ways to make your staycation ‘kid-friendly’. Here are eight super-cool ideas:
1. Make a home drive-in theatre in your lounge
Before there were video players, before there were MP4 files, before there was Netflix, there were drive-in theatres.
Moms and dads of the pre-digital era will remember the thrill of heading out on the verge of twilight, to watch a flick al fresco from the seat of your car, or on a camping-chair alongside.
Let your kids capture the experience by turning big cardboard boxes into cars of their own, dimming the lights, putting a good movie on the big-screen TV, and snacking on the traditional drive-in diet of popcorn and chips.
2. Be a celebrity toy-reviewer on YouTube
On YouTube, anyone can be famous for 15 seconds, even longer if you can persuade your audience to linger.
The trick is to have something interesting to say, and a fun or different way of saying it.
So give your kids a chance by letting them conduct show-and-tell reviews of their favourite toys or gadgets, recorded on their smartphones and uploaded for all the world to see. You’ll find plenty of examples by searching for reviews on YouTube.
3. Get your hands dirty in the garden
Where do herbs and vegetables come from? No, children, not the supermarket.
The much more exciting answer is that they’re grown in a garden, planted with care, nurtured with love, picked fresh and ready for dinner.
Of course you have to be patient, and you have to get your hands dirty, but if there’s a spot in your garden that lends itself to the exercise, it’s a lesson in green-fingered sustainability that will stay with your mini-gardeners for life.
4. Make the world’s best blanket fort
Every budding military strategist knows that there’s no place like home for building a fort to fend off your enemies. All you need is a good selection of furniture, a few blankets and sheets, and plenty of imagination.
Oh yes, and some enemies who will instantly become your friends, when they see that you’ve built a blanket fort that is better than theirs.
5. Put on a reality show in your backyard
Do your tribe have what it takes to outwit, outplay, and outlast, in the great tradition of Survivor? Only one way to find out.
Draw up a list of challenges that will test their mental and physical toughness to the limit, such as running 10 laps around the pool before jumping in to scoop up a coin. Or split them into teams and send them on an Amazing Race around the house.
Reality can be a lot more fun when you’re doing it for real, instead of just watching it on TV.
6. Make jewellery from fruit-loops
If the serial cereal-eaters in your household are loopy about Fruit Loops, persuade them to save some for craftier purposes than breakfast.
All you need is some string to turn these colourful morsels into necklaces, bracelets, anklets, and a range of other trendy accessories that are good enough to eat.
7. Make a big song and dance
The instinct to dress up and tell a story, with song and dance routines in-between, is as old as humanity itself. So get your kids to act on theirs by coming up with an off-Broadway extravaganza of their own.
You can rest assured that they’ll be good enough to charge a small entrance fee to the theatre in the lounge, which will allow them to act on their entrepreneurial instincts too.
8. Build a working jetpack
Take two empty cool drink bottles, the big plastic variety. Paint them metallic silver. Cut little slits in the side, and thread straps through, backpack style. Five, four, three, two, one – instant jetpacks!
Well, of course they work – doesn’t everything, if you use your imagination?