Yes, the summer holidays are here again and this year finding home activities for kids is even more crucial. Thanks lockdown. The park is not the same when you have to wear gloves to go on the swing (that's if it's open at all) and soft plays are a definite no-go for some time. Our usual haunts that are open are looking rather busy too, and let's not forget that multiple trips to the cinema, zoo and aquarium soon add up. We're not made of money.
So, we have put together a list of activities to keep the kids busy this summer. In most cases they are free to do, or require an initial investment that will keep on giving with every use. Read on to see some of our favourite home activities for kids or check out our No Place Like Home hub, for more ways to make the most of staying in.
1. Learn to make pizza
Kids love pizza and making the dough, sauce, toppings and then cooking them from scratch is a great way to fill a morning – all while providing a tasty lunch. See our easy pizza dough recipe, then prep bowls of veggies to top them with and encourage your kids to pick a colourful selection to hit one of their portions of fruit and veg for the day. Gozney pizza oven development chef, Joe Boiling, recommends using veg to make the pizza into a funny face as a way to get your kids to sample flavours. From mushroom noses to red pepper smiles, allow them to flex their creativity and they might try something new.
If the weather is good, why not take the pizza making outside? Get your hands on one of the best pizza ovens to cook your pizza in a matter of minutes. Fresh air, good food and a way to keep the family busy for hours – we are so on board.
2. Have a go at growing your own
This really is the gift that keeps on giving. It will keep kids occupied all the way through the summer holidays as they first need to plant their seeds or saplings, then tend to them through to harvest. When harvest comes, you can then spend some time picking and prepping the fruits of your labour and if bestowed with a glut, the next task is finding loads of ways to cook and preserve what you have. You might even grow a few things to top your homemade pizzas!
Growing their own food is also a hands-on lesson in biology and horticulture that they can take with them to adulthood. And who knows – if your family turns out to be gifted with green fingers, it could save you loads of money on fresh produce!
3. Arrange virtual play dates
Social distancing is set to be around for quite some time, so it is only sensible to find ways to 'hang out' without meeting in person. Get tech savvy and plan play dates for your kids over Zoom, Hangouts or Skype. It isn't quite the same as meeting in person, but as anyone who has tried to keep a load of kids under the age of 10 two metres apart knows, it is some ways much better. Pick something as a focus, be it a craft session or maybe cooking a fun lunch together.
Tech companies have made this easier for us with a number of pieces of kit on the market to facilitate video calls. Try the Google Nest Hub Max or Amazon Echo Show – they have built in screens and can easily be set up on a worktop or dining table for your virtual play date.
4. Turn your little one into a master yogi
So many of us have found the benefits of yoga for our health and wellbeing during lockdown, so keep it as part of your family's routine this summer too. Start the day with a quick stretch and chill before breakfast. You don't have to be a master yourself as there are so many free online resources to show you the moves. Try Cosmic Kids Yoga for younger kids on YouTube which incorporates stories and learning into their flow. Older children and adults alike will find Yoga with Adrienne a bit more their pace (and she has a cute dog). All you need is one of the best yoga mats, or a towel or thick rug to get started.
5. Set up a home cinema
You will need to fork out for one of the best outdoor projectors for this (prices start from around £100), but once you do you are sure to get your money's worth – if the weather cooperates that is...
Hosting a movie night for the family is only half of the fun, as you can get the kids involved in building a totally Instaworthy garden cinema like the one above. String up a sheet or paint a wall white to use as a screen, grab some comfy chairs, outdoor rugs and cushions. Fairy lights are optional but very much encouraged. This could take a bit of time, so get everyone involved. It is like building a really cool den!
Prepping your movie night snacks is another activity in itself. Have a go at making popcorn from scratch or why not make pizza as suggested already – the perfect movie night snack and another few hours of family fun.