The Easter hols are here and thanks to recent snow days and a patron saint’s bank holiday, the novelty of having the kids at home may have worn off before it’s even begun!
So to keep your troops occupied and your sanity in check, I’ve compiled a list of cheap or free things to do over the coming two weeks. May the force be with you through it all!
1. Cinema clubs – the old reliable, especially for those rainy or cold days. Many cinemas have morning screenings of kids’ movies at a reduced rate over the school holidays. Some even discount their popcorn and fizz for an extra treat!
2. Picnic at the park – make hay while (and if) the sun shines. Lunch outdoors is an adventure of its own. Throw in a football or take in a playground and the kids can burn off some energy while you’re at it.
3. Write a family newspaper – as simple as it sounds. Assign all kids in the house a story to cover relating to your family or what’s going on that day. Then add some phone-taken photos or some drawings to accompany their articles and voila – you have your equivalent of “The Hogan Times” and the bonus of something for “show and tell” upon their return!
4. Visit the National Museum - There’s loads to see and entry is free! Thanks to school projects there’s sure to be several things that catch your children’s attention and it’s a pretty enjoyable visit for parents too. You can find more info at www.museum.ie
5. Playdates - Have some pals over to keep your troops occupied. There’s always the chance the favour might be returned over the course of the holidays, giving the double bonus of another day’s fun for your child and a bit of breathing space for you.
6. Go swimming - An activity everyone can enjoy, that’s not weather dependent or overly expensive. And it might tire them out a bit too!
7. Visit some relatives, or invite some over - With the restrictions of school and after school activities it’s hard to find the time to visit relations who might live that bit further away. If cousins are involved, the visit made or received is sure to cause even more excitement.
8. Board games - Always fun and often overlooked in favour of the computer type. And the great thing is that all ages can get involved!
9. Treasure hunt (indoor or outdoor). Draw up the clues and hide them inside or outside the house and let the kids do the rest
10. Build a fort – Timeless fun and a great way to keep the kids busy on a rainy day. And if you’ve a few kids, build two. They can visit each other.
11. Games from our youth – Remember how much time we spent outdoors growing up, wary of going indoors to use the bathroom even in case you weren’t let back out again? The games that kept us occupied for hours would no doubt do the same for our own children. So why not teach your kids how to play them? Hopscotch, Red Rover, Crocodile Crocodile, What time is it Mr Wolf, Rounders, Kick the can, Balls and Skipping – to name but a few!
12. Home baking – Most kids love baking and even those of us with limited baking skills can help our littles to make fairy buns, rice krispie buns and maybe something more. Happy bonus - dessert is sorted!
13. A walk on the beach – Even if it’s raining. Skimming stones and wave dodging are fun, rain or shine for the bigs and smalls in the family
14. Trip to the library - to browse and borrow books or to enjoy the different activities that regularly take place there, details of which can usually be found online.
15. Write a letter – To a grandparent, other relative or friend because who doesn’t love receiving mail that isn’t a bill.
16. Make sock puppets – Get crafty and creative to the best of yours and their ability. And then afterwards, do a puppet show
17. Visit a pet farm – Kids generally love visiting animals and a pet farm gives them the opportunity to get a little bit closer. Have a scour online for some in your locality. There’s lots of cheap and cheerful ones – and even some free ones too.
18. Play doh – messy, get everywhere, maddening stuff – that the kids just love!
19. Go out for muffin – a treat in a cakeshop always goes down well. (And the muffin is bribery to behave ;-))
20. Get everyone to do a self-portrait and make a collage – One to treasure and frame.
21. Have a karaoke competition - because, ahem cough, cough, you can have the craic joining in too.