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Ideas To Keep The Kids Entertained The Half Term

15 February 2021

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Disclosure - We were gifted Pizza Punks kit to include in this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. 

February half term is my least favourite of all the school holidays. The weather is always cold, there isn't much to do and there also isn't really anything to look forward to. At least with the other half terms you can look forward to Easter, Summer, Halloween and Christmas. This half term will be a tough one even more as we are still in this national lockdown. I have been thinking of ways to keep the kids entertained this half term and I have come up with a few ideas. Most of these got us through the first lockdown last year so I know we will enjoy them again this half term.

three boys in the woods




Not Just Another Walk In The Park
By now I am sure you may be a little bored of your local park but there are ways that you can make it so it's not just another walk in the park. Go on a scavenger hunt. There are lots of free scavenger hunt tick off sheets on google that make a visit to your local park or woods a lot more interesting. Scavenger hunts will have your little ones running around trying to find all the things on their list. You can always make your own and if you are stuck for some ideas I have a template below which you can use. 

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt

pizza punks ingredients


Make Your Own Pizza's
Creating our own pizza was one of the activities both boys enjoyed during lockdown. We used wraps or ready made pizza bases and added a variety of toppings. Within 10 minutes the pizzas were created and ready to pop in the oven. It's a simple activity but very enjoyable.  We recently came across Pizza Punks and their Pizza Punk It Up DoughIY kits and I wouldn't use anything else from now on. You choose how may pizzas you want (2 or 4) and 4 toppings from a large selection and the kit will be delivered direct to your door. The sourdough is ready to be shaped in to a pizza base, the sauce and topping are ready to be added, top with cheese and pop in the oven.

Pizza


The whole experience was a hit with all of us, not just the boys. We chose meatballs, ham, pepperoni and salami however you can be as adventurous as you like with lots of toppings to choose from. The ingredients all fit within a large pizza box and come in their own individual pots, you even get a little pot of flour. The packaging really adds to the experience and the boys haven't stopped talking about their pizzas since. 

two bowls of popcorn


Host A Movie Night
Enjoying a movie night brings the whole family together and it's a nice activity to while away a few hours. When it comes to hosting a movie night you can be as adventurous as you like. In the past we have made tickets and enjoyed lots of cinema snacks. I have seen others give their children some money to buy their snacks from a selection available at the pretend cinema kiosk.

I spotted Odeon are offering cinema goers the chance to have a full odeon experience at home. All you need to do is download their Odeon At Home pack and print out your tickets, activity pack and even popcorn box. To make the experience even more realistic you can scan the QR code on the downloadable pack and you will see some trailers. 

sleepover


Siblings Sleepover
Having a sleepover with friends may be off the cards but if you have siblings that don't share a room you could create a sleepover for them both to enjoy. Having a sleepover is fun and half term is the perfect opportunity to let the kids stay up a little later than usual, eat snacks in bed, play games and watch rubbish movies.

Depending on the size of the bedroom you could even make it more fun. Add a tent, a den or there are lots of companies now that offer sleepover kits but I think you can't beat your own bed so just pop their mattress in there. 

making a scrapbook


Create A Scrapbook
This past year has been a crazy rollercoaster and I am hoping we will soon come to the end of the track and it will be time to get off. Create a scrapbook of all the things you have done, celebrated and enjoyed over the past twelve months. We will never get time like this again so it will be nice to create a book that you can look back on in years to come when we all stayed home to keep safe. 

Remember that these are very unusual times. Be kind to yourself and maybe loosen the screen time limits a little or let the kids have a PJ day. Our little ones have had a very strange year and if all goes well they will be heading back to some kind of normality soon so let them enjoy this last half term where everything is closed and there is not a lot to do. Pretty soon we will all be back to our usual busy selves trying to juggle 10,000 plates at once, let's just enjoy this moment while it lasts. 

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Michelle
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7 Activities To Help Develop Fine Motor Skills

23 September 2019

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paint pots and paint brushes
Little J has just started a new year in school and whilst I think he has developed so much over the last 12 months socially I think physically he still has a lot of developing to do. I know children develop at different rates and it's only natural that we compare our children to their siblings or other children of a same age. When little J was younger he never reached his milestones on time, he was always months late. It was a worry at the time but with help and encouragement he did get there in the end and when he did there was huge feeling of relief. Developing his fine motor skills is something we are still working as he still struggles to hold a pen or pencil correctly. Here are 7 activities that we are using to help develop fine motor skills and they are perfect for those looking for home schooling ideas too.

a child painting
a child painting
Painting 
Painting is fun but finger painting is better. Most kids love paint on their hands and painting with your fingers can help hand eye coordination and manual dexterity. Painting with your fingers encourages the child to move and guide their fingers in all ways to create a painting.

Colour Sorting 
If your child is struggling to hold a pen or spoon then you could create a nice activity using child friendly tweezers. Fill a bowl for of coloured pom poms and ask your child to use the tweezers to colour sort the pom poms in to piles. Tweezers help to develop tripod grip when holing then between the thumb and first two fingers. Once they have mastered tripod grip they can then use the tweezers to focus on pincer grip. If you don't have the child friendly tweezers then you can encourage the same movement squeezing pegs instead.


playing with playdough
playing with playdough
Playdough Bugs
Playdough is brilliant for little hands and helps to build up strength. Squeezing, stretching and rolling the playdough can help with fine motor skills. Using playdough cutters to create shapes can enhance play. Make playdough bugs such as worms which will encourage your child to roll or a ladybird were your child has to squeeze a playdough ball to create a body. If your child is confident using child friendly scissors then cutting playdough is also great for the muscles in the fingers.

Wash the Car
Children love water play and washing the car or something very similar is a great way to build up strength in the fingers, hand and arms too. Using a big sponge ask your child to dunk the sponge in to a bucket of water. Once the sponge is wet it will become heavier so they will need a tighter grip on the sponge. Get then to use lots of arm motion to wash the car and then to squeeze the water out of the sponge back in to the bucket, and repeat until finished.

Threading
Depending on the age of the child threading is a great way to get those fingers and hands moving. It takes a lot of concentration but can help enhance tripod and pincer grip. You can create your own threading activity my punching holes in to a piece of card using a hole punch. I would recommend using something strong like a lace to thread as string or wool can be too flimsy. You can also thread a lace through a trainer too.

Song Time
Action songs are a great way to get the fingers, hands and arms moving but are also lots of fun. You may already have some favourite action songs but a few of our favourites are Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Wind My Bobbin Up and Tommy Thumb. This activity should be done daily for at least 10-15 minutes.

squishy toys
squishy toys


Squishy Time
Squishies are everywhere at the moment so you will probably have some somewhere in the house. Squishies are really good for helping develop fine motor skills. If you can get your child to squeeze a squishy or something similar for 10-15 minutes a day it will build strength in both the hand and arm too.

You can make the activities as fun as you like whilst still helping to develop those fine motor skills.

Michelle
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