They’re the three words that parents dread during the long school summer holidays: “Mum, I’m bored,” and of course, “Dad, I’m bored,” when it’s father’s turn to look after the youngsters.
Screen time is certainly not the answer and though it might be tempting as a quick fix, parents on both sides of the Atlantic, are being strongly encouraged to limit the hours that kids have with their smartphones, tablets and TVs each day.
The answer is active play, games that call for imagination, and preferably time outside if you have a garden or access to a park or the countryside. Not that we’d discourage kids who love to read, as well-chosen children’s titles are another great way to introduce new ideas and widened horizons.
So, where to begin? It may well be that there are plenty of inexpensive events in your local area, from urban beaches to holiday sessions at public libraries or leisure centers. Another solution is to involve the grandparents and get them to tell your kids about the games they played in the holidays.
Time-honored favorites include building dens – which can be indoors when it’s raining. All that’s needed is some old blankets or sheets to spread over upturned chairs or a table and a few cushions, and before you know it they will be polar explorers or time travelers in the Tardis. Hide and seek is good provided you don’t live in a studio flat and the kids can run around.
Top of our list is the ‘rainy day cake’. Admittedly supervised children’s cooking can be messy, but the potential for fun is enormous and in the end, there is something lovely to eat. A rainy-day cake doesn’t have to be Mary Berry perfection, but even if it sinks in the middle or is a bit sticky, it will be utterly lovely and you will finish up with happy kids.