Jolly holidays? B’s tips for keeping kids amused

So, the school holidays are well underway. How’s it going, parents? To some, summer means weeks of family fun. To others (be honest now) it can mean seemingly endless days of occupying the offspring. Either way, coming up with 6-7 weeks’ worth of ideas is no mean feat, so the Team at B is here to lend a hand.

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Lights, camera-phone, action!

Ever fancied yourself in the Director’s Chair ? Traditional home movies are all well and good, but making a family feature film takes the fun to a new level. Decide on a genre (or you could reboot a film you already know and love), map out your scenes, hold some auditions, then it’s “Hollywood, here we come!”

With your cast in place, scenery, props, costume and make-up are where things really get creative. Then you’re ready to ‘snap’ the clapperboard and start rolling. Simply pause the video between scenes, or get a bit more techie with a simple editing app like YouTube’s free Capture app (opens in a new window). When the masterpiece is complete, you could even host a glamorous premiere, or share it with friends and family online.

Gets hands-on with theatre

For the slightly more camera-shy, a home-made puppet theatre is a great way to express your inner performer. First, think about which show you’re going to put on (you could come up with your own story or base it on a book or nursery rhyme). Then choose your characters (you may even want to recreate yourselves or each other), and gather a bunch of materials to make your puppets. Stiff card, socks, paper bags, lolly sticks, scrap fabric, wool – the more the merrier. Then let your imaginations run riot (this (opens in a new window) is good for a bit of puppeting inspiration).

When your characters are finished, it’s time to practice your voices, set the scene (an ironing board draped with a sheet makes a simple stage) and get the show underway. If you can, film the performance too – it’ll make a fun family memory for years to come.

“Setting up the obstacles’ can be as much fun as playing the game”

Tee off? Game on.

Even a small garden can be the setting for a makeshift crazy golf course, and setting up the different ‘obstacles’ can be as much fun as playing the game. You might want to draw out your course on paper first, gathering materials as you go along. You don’t need anything fancy: pieces of piping make great tunnels, tea trays for ramps, a plastic cup for the ‘hole’ – go as big as you like. You might need to invest in a few ping-pong balls, but even clubs can be made at home with a stick from your local park and a block of polystyrene. It might not be the Ryder Cup, but it’ll keep your little Tigers entertained.

Host a game show

Keeping kids’ brains active is just as important as exercise, so why not challenge your brood with a family quiz? The concept needn’t be too tricky – ask everyone to write questions like “What’s Dad’s middle name?” or “Name two of our neighbours” and put them into a hat. Contestants then pick a question at random and attempt to answer it correctly (and quickly – a timer makes it even more fun). Think ‘Mr & Mrs’ but with the kids involved too. Everyone can put forward a ‘prize’ that’s more of a favour or reward – say, allowing a sibling to borrow something for a week or offering to wash the car (some hope?).

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