With only three weeks left (or less – I really don’t want to count!) of our summer holidays, I am starting to feel the pull of boredom emanating from the children. For those of you who don’t know I have four kids to entertain for the six week period of the summer hols. Now for some, that might feel like a daunting task. For me, it’s a fantastic challenge!
I try to assume I’m a cool mum and my kids quickly correct this assumption at every opportunity. The one thing we do agree on is the fact that I can create some really whacky games, sometimes similar to the Hunger Games, which encourages even the oldest one eagerly into participation. Please don’t judge too harshly if you find some of the games/ideas a bit far fetched. No children were lost, or harmed in the making or participation of the activities.
Here are my top five things to do to kill boredom:
1. Camp Out – my idea of camping is putting up a tent for the children in the garden. We do not own a lovely tent big enough to accommodate all 6 of us, so my husband and I volunteer to sleep in the lounge and watch over the kids overnight (from the safe enclaves of four walls without the threat of spiders!) Thanks to our small beach tent, we have to improvise to make it big enough for all the children. Using the washline, we drape old shower curtains over the opening which gives a waterproof covering, but also provides little pocket views of the moon and stars whilst they sleep at night. Getting the kids to make their own camp out flexes their grey matter and encourages them to work together on making the perfect camp – as untidy and imperfect as it would look to the experienced camper’s eyes. Sorting out a small bucket bbq for cooking and hot dogs on skewers for dinner, we have four very happy campers. A packed breakfast bag waiting for them on their bench in the morning gives them something to smile about and they feel like they have achieved something great staying out on their own overnight.
2. Treasure Hunt – yes I know. It sounds like a lot of hard work. In reality, the set up for a good treasure hunt should take about ten minutes…fifteen tops! Yellow post-it notes stuck around the house (if it’s raining) and in the garden keep them guessing for at least 45 minutes. Finding a bag of sweets or if I’m out of the good stuff, their toys, keeps them going until they find the treasure. Getting them to dress up as pirates is an added bonus and keeps them busy whilst you set up the treasure hunt. Of course, having a nearly fifteen year old means that he helps supervise the younger ones as I zoom around the house hiding toys and sweets. Pop the kettle on and watch the hunt begin!
3. Super Mario – well this is a favourite for rainy days. When you see the children starting to wiggle in their own skin out of boredom because they can’t go out and play, it’s time to start Super Mario! Find soft cushions and low stools and place them around the house in open spaces where the kids can run safely. Dining room chairs work a treat as climbing obstacles as they are solid and safe to climb over. No, not the back of the chair! Face two chairs together so that the seats touch. That way the kids have enough space to climb over and it usually blocks the running pathway so they can’t cheat! Once the obstacle course is set, challenge the kids to beat their time across the course and have a treat waiting at the end for the winner. This is great for any amount of kids as they can take turns and cheer each other on or race each other. If they find the course easy, crank it up with climbing obstacles and crawling obstacles to slow them down. Or add items they have to collect along the way – like plastic balls they have to throw into a bucket or toys they have to collect and take to the finish line to win. Many an afternoon has been spent playing Super Mario.
4. Monster Catch and Rescue – pretend you’re a monster. Well, for my kids they don’t require an imagination for that! Seriously though, pretend you’re a monster and try to catch a child. Too easy right? Well, what if the child you catch has to be put into the monster’s jail (say a beach tent outside in the garden or a garden chair if you don’t have a tent) and the monster guards the jail. The only way to rescue the child is to find the magical fairy dust hidden by the evil monster. (In reality, a pretty tin filled with talcum powder which you hide in a place that the other children have to find.) Only the child trapped in jail knows where the magical fairy dust is hidden and has to tell her/his rescuers where to find it. In the meantime, the monster sits in a comfy chair close to the jail and falls asleep (pretend of course). The rescuers have to figure out a way to come close and rescue their friend before the monster wakes up. If the monster hears the sound of a rescue taking place, she/e has to chase the screaming rescuers away so that they have to come up with a better plan! And so the game continues until every has had a chance to be caught and rescued. The monster chooses how the game flows. Once everyone has had a chance the only way the children can destroy the monster is by throwing the magic dust over the monster’s head. And so ends the game. Be prepared to roar and stomp about for effect
5. Night Creeper – this is not a game for the faint hearted. Smallies might have to be accompanied by an older child or adult. Basically it is blind man’s buff with a difference. Instead of a blindfold, use a wollen hat of the winter variety so that you can just make out light if you try. The person who is the night creeper wears the hat over their head covering the whole face and hunts for goolies (the other players!). The goolies hold torches in their hands so that they can see where to go in the house. Did I mention this has to be played in complete darkness? Shut the blinds, close the doors, apportion a safe area without too many sharp objects/furniture. The goolies switch on their torches for short bursts but can switch off if the night creeper comes close. Hide! Hide! Hide! Feel the adrenalin rush as the creeper sweeps closer and closer until…you’re it! Once caught, you become the creeper and so the game continues until everyone decides to quit. I warn you, this game is addictive if done properly. It adds a sense of horror to the person finding you and you want to run to avoid the creeper’s hands. The torches attract the creeper to the light and as he/she draws closer, you feel every horror movie you’ve ever watched come to life! For kids, they haven’t watched horror movies yet (hopefully!!) so it won’t be as frightening – just thrilling!
If you are brave enough, try them at home. If you have any crazy games of your own, feel free to share them with me. I’d love to hear from you.