Even if you don’t have suitcases in the boot and packed out with buckets and spades as you head to somewhere fabulous – you can still have a wonderful break, heaps of fun and avoid the dreaded screen overload!
Don’t lose your children down the Minecraft rabbit hole
If you don’t want to kiss goodbye to your children as they enter the Land of Minecraft or you want to save your tween from becoming surgically attached to their phones, here are a few of our favourite ways of passing the time screen free.
Get out of the house and explore the countryside
My first rule of holidays blighted with bad weather is not to let it put you off!
If you have a National Trust or English Heritage Card then you’re good to go. Often they have free activities, trails and even hands-on days clearing or repairing their estates. Even if you don’t have these memberships, there are so many wonderful places to go – for free!
If necessary, stick your fingers in your ears for a few minutes to block out the tween moans and groans at the prospect of leaving the sofa and get in that car and head on out. Our favourite trips this holiday have been to the Lincolnshire Coast on a bright but windy day – sheltering in the verandas of abandoned beach huts and eating fish and chips and exploring the North Yorkshire Moors. For my kids the lure of water for icy paddling or rocks and boulders for scrambling around on are the icing on the cake.
Getting the kids in the kitchen to bake kills two birds with one stone. It keeps them busy for an hour or so and serves up a sweet treat that isn’t necessarily loaded with 20 tonnes of sugar. You don’t need to go all Great British Bake-Off, a simple cookie recipe keeps little (and big) hands busy and is simple enough that you won’t have to reach for the gin before they have finished. So why not dig out your baking tins and try our Oat and Raisin Cookie Recipe
Haul those board games out of the cupboard
I’ll be honest, a 3 hour stint of Bucaneer is my idea of purgatory! Thankfully my husband loves it – apparently it brings back childhood memories (the only memories it brings back for me is my brother and I trying not to murder each other). But even for the hardened board game hater like me, there is usually one that gets the competitive juices flowing. Bring out Boggle and I’ll beat you all – hands down. Poker – don’t try taking on my six year old if money or sweets are involved – you’ll be broke!
Get Creative – Make Cards and Write letters!
Whilst my husband manages the board game extravaganza, you’re much more likely to find me sifting around in the craft cupboard! My kids love to make pretty cards and write letters to people they don’t see very often. The joy of receiving a real life letter in this digital age can’t be beaten. The look on their faces when postie brings a handwritten letter for them is an absolute joy! Try teaming up with other bored friends this holiday and setting up a penpal arrangement. If your kids are too small then grandparents are often brilliant at gushing over little Freddie’s illegible scrawl and sending a little something in return.
This really takes me back to childhood. Spreading out blankets between a few chairs and pegging the sides down with a pile of books then cramming my hideaway full of pillows and duvets, teddies and snacks. Get them to take it one step further and invite their friends around and let them join their ‘Secret Club’! Somehow dens are so much more appealing when you get to keep the grown ups out!
And if you think that your tween will look at you with disdain at the very thought of den building – try making them the manager! My eldest loves to be bossy (I mean in charge!)
What do you get up to on grey days?