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How to keep your little ones busy this half term

Wondering how to keep the kids entertained this Bank Holiday and half term? Child therapist, teacher and mum-of-two Alison Harper has some great ideas for how to beat the boredom below.

And in case you’re planning a family walk, why not bring along our printable Tree Walk activity sheets? It includes fun things to do like a leaf-spotting game, bird bingo and a quiz about British trees. Head to the bottom of this post to download the PDFs.

Top tips for boredom busting with Alison Harper

This past year has at times been pretty tedious, and most of us have had our patience tested – children and teenagers included. Living with bored kids can quickly become stressful and tiring, with parents often feeling under immense pressure to provide a constant stream of enriching activities and entertainment. Bank Holidays are a great opportunity for doing fun things as a family, but they can also feel daunting for this very reason. Here are a few ideas to help you keep everyone busy.

Reframe it

Evidence suggests that boredom can help foster self-reliance and develop imagination. It’s easy to take childrens’ cries of “I’m bored!” as a sign of failure, but it’s important not to always jump in with a distraction. Reframe boredom by talking about what they’re experiencing positively: “oh I love having time to just sit and do nothing” or “I know that feeling – it always comes just before I have a really nice creative idea.” 

Model it 

Show your kids that you’re able to enjoy your own company as well. Try introducing 30 minutes of quiet time every day, where everyone chooses their own activity. Seeing you doodling or reading a book will help them see the value in it too. 

Make an ideas jar 

Sit down together and write down fun activities on individual pieces of paper and put them in a jar. You could take an online tour of the Great Barrier Reef, make a treasure hunt for another family member or design a menu for dinner that night. They can pick out something to do whenever they’re lost for ideas. 

Give them a focus 

Providing a starting point for play helps spark imagination. Our family walks have benefited hugely from thinking up a purpose for each outing. These are always simple and easy to plan.take a stick wrapped with double-sided tape to make a flower-covered wand; a clipboard and pens to draw what you see; or – the most popular – a camping stove to make hot chocolate on. Or take along the lovely Tree Walk sheet (below) for spotting and collecting leaves. 

Drop the guilt 

Parenthood is already piled high with reasons to feel guilty – don’t add anything else to the list! As long as you protect quality time together, sessions in front of the TV, a film or PlayStation are OK too. Join the kids if you can – you will learn more about their world and find that some great conversations come out of it. 

Outdoor activity sheets

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