A free activity guide for parents: fun at home and outdoors

7th March 2024

Indoor activities:

DIY craft projects

Use household items to create art. Empty toilet paper rolls, old newspapers, and scrap fabric can become materials for creative projects. Pinterest, TikTok and YouTube are goldmines for craft ideas suitable for various ages.

Home science experiments

Engage in simple science experiments that require minimal materials. For example, explore density with a homemade lava lamp using oil, water, food colouring, and Alka-Seltzer. Check out websites like Fun Science UK for ideas.

Baking together

Find simple recipes that allow children to participate, like no-bake cookies or homemade pizza. Cooking provides practical lessons in measurements and following instructions, not to mention the tasty results.

Indoor treasure hunt

Create a treasure hunt around the house. Hide small treats or toys and draw a map or write clues to find them. This activity can entertain children for hours.

Storytime and DIY theatre

Read a story together, then act it out with homemade costumes and props. This encourages creativity and helps children improve their storytelling and acting skills.

Outdoor activities:

Nature walks and scavenger hunts

Visit local parks or nature trails where children can explore the natural world, there is a great list on Tripadvisor. Prepare a list of items for them to find, such as a pine cone, a red leaf, or a smooth stone. Apps like iNaturalist can help identify plants and animals you discover, download for android or Apple.

Outdoor art

Take chalk art to the paths or a nearby park. Encourage children to create large murals or play games like hopscotch. You could also gather natural items like leaves and rocks to create temporary art installations.

Picnics with a twist

Have a themed picnic at a local park. For example, read a book about dinosaurs, then have a “dinosaur picnic” with toy dinosaurs and themed snacks. This adds an educational element to a simple outdoor meal.

Treasure hunt apps

Geocaching and Adventure Lab are engaging apps that turn outdoor exploration into a treasure hunt. Geocaching uses GPS coordinates to locate hidden containers worldwide, while Adventure Lab offers location-based adventures created by the community. Both apps encourage exploration, discovery, and learning about new places. They’re popular for adding an element of adventure to walks and hikes, making them ideal for families looking to explore the outdoors together.

Nature photography challenge

Encourage children to take photographs of interesting things they see during walks or in your garden. Set challenges such as capturing something red or finding the perfect leaf. This not only gets them moving but also enhances their observation skills.

Tips for making the most of free activities:

Creativity is key

Use what you have at home to avoid extra expenses. Common household items can turn into an afternoon of fun with a little imagination.

Involve the kids

Let children take part in planning the activities. It gives them something to look forward to and helps them feel invested in the fun.

Mix it up

Variety keeps things interesting. Alternate between indoor and outdoor activities to cater to different interests and weather conditions.

Educational opportunities

Look for the learning moments in each activity. Whether it’s a historical fact during a nature walk or a maths lesson in baking, every moment can be educational.

Community resources

Keep an eye on community boards or social media groups for free local events or activities. Libraries, for example, often host free events for children.

Remember, the goal is to spend quality time together, creating memories and learning new things. Enjoy exploring these free activities with your children!

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