Tips to Survive the Summer Holidays

by Dr. Amanda Gummer

While summer holidays are an excellent opportunity to spend time with the kids doing something a bit different, it’s easy to feel pressured into making sure they are constantly entertained. It can be challenging thinking up an activity to do every day; you probably find you run out of ideas after all this time in lockdown. For those of you trying to prepare your child for preschool or nursery in September, you may also want to find activities that promote those all-important social skills.

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But don’t worry, we’re here to help. A summer activity jar is a great way to plan activities and give your children things to look forward to. You can find activities that you and your children like and that develop key skills.

Summer Activity Jar

You will need:

  • wooden lollipop sticks or strips of cardboard, at least one for every day of the holiday period
  • Red, orange and green paint
  • Black permanent marker

How to make it:

Start by cleaning out an old jar – you can let the kids decorate it if you like (one activity down!). Label itSummer Activity Jar’.

Each lollipop stick represents an activity, and each activity will be colour coded based on how much it time it takes to do:

Red = more than half a day

Orange = more than an hour but less than half a day

Green = less than an hour

Top tip - for things that are easy and that you are happy to repeat, put the lollipop back in the jar, for one-offs or things that are expensive once the lollipop stick has been pulled out of the jar, it can be left out.

Everyone’s schedule will be different; so adjust the amount of red, orange and green activities accordingly. Green activities can be used as rewards for good behaviour.

Dip the ends of the lolly sticks in the paint so you have enough of each colour. Once they’ve dried, write the activity on the lolly stick. Here are a few ideas to get you started (these activities can be adapted to be appropriate for the age and stage of your child’s development and feel free to add your own) :

Red

  • Day trip - to the zoo, theme park etc - check COVID-related restrictions
  • Create your own home cinema set up and have a movie marathon
  • Foraging and baking - go for a walk to collect blackberries and other wild fruit and make some delicious goodies
  • Pirate day - make your pirate ship out of your sofa and other pieces of furniture and children can pretend to be pirates all day - pirate-themed food, games and dressing up.

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Orange

  • Make a pizza
  • Go for a picnic - make preparing the food part of the fun.
  • Visit the swimming pool
  • Have a playdate
  • Go for a walk and collect things to make a nature collage
  • Visit your local park and go bug hunting

Green

  • Try bird watching - see what birds you can see out of your window or on a walk
  • Read a book together
  • Learn a dance routine or a new nursery rhyme with actions
  • Have a scavenger hunt
  • Have a fashion show
  • Do some yoga
  • Paint with water - on a pavement or fence - if it’s just water it won’t leave any marks once you’ve finished
  • Play a board or card game together


Remember when you are engaged in these activities to be present with your child and to give them lots of positive reinforcement to boost their confidence and motivate them.

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Play At Home Fest!

Wrapping up the Summer Holidays, Dr. Gummer’s Good Play Guide is hosting an action-packed day of virtual family fun on Saturday 29th August.

Play At Home Fest is available to all and ensures that summer festival vibe isn’t dampened despite social distancing measures! Whether you’re planning a staycation break in the UK, staying safe at home or looking for ways to entertain your little ones on a budget, this free full day of interactive games, competitions and sing and dance-a-long action is sure to save your summer! Head to www.playathomefest.com for the latest headliner announcements and information to get involved for free!


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Written by

Dr. Amanda Gummer

Child Psychologist & Founder of Good Play Guide
Child psychologist and development expert Dr. Amanda Gummer is the founder of Dr. Gummer’s Good Play Guide. Established as the UK’s leading expert on the importance of play for childhood development, Dr. Gummer’s guide at www.Goodplayguide.com is a hub for tips and advice and ensures parents are able to know which toys and apps ( The Good Toy Guide and The Good App Guide ) offer developmental and entertainment value to their children. Amanda’s book, ‘Play: Fun ways to help your child develop in the first five years’ is available on Amazon and at good book shops.

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