Every day I am pretty sure I do at least one thing wrong. Most days I do more. I used to think I was alone, until I talked to other parents who were honest. Here is a place for more parents to feel less alone, and more "good enough".

Thursday, 21 July 2016

A "Plan That Is Not a Plan" For the Six Week Holidays...................

For children who are educated in school, the six week holiday is upon us. For some this is awesome, for some this is worrying, for many it is somewhere in the middle. There are articles telling us all about the top 20 places to go in the UK - mostly high priced. There are articles telling us that kids need to be bored to develop their independence and we should just leave them instead of planning every day. There are articles with summer holiday planners to download and fill in. There are lists of things every child should do before they are 11 3/4. And there are tons of Pokemon Go memes - either telling you that you are the worst parent ever, or the coolest parent ever - it depends on your Facebook friends list ;)

We like a bit of 'middle ground' in this household. There are few planned concreted in things - a small family holiday (we take our main one in October when it's cheaper!), a local charity holiday club, a scout camp, and a few craft days at a local community centre set up via school. Then there are lots and lots of other days with no plans. On some of those days, my children will quite happily potter away at home, in their bedrooms, in the living room, in the basement, in the garden. With an odd request to get something out that they know I need to give permission for, and a few arguments over whose turn on the computer it is. On other days, I will have a 7 year old coming to me every 5 minutes - "I don't know what to do, what can I do, I just don't know what to do" - repeatedly saying this. And all of the usual ideas will be given short shrift. If I leave her to be bored and insist she finds something herself, she will just get louder and more insistent, start pushing everybody's buttons and I will end up with a completely melted down household and a child still asking for something to do.

So, this year, we are going to use the 'Boredom List/Jar' method. When a child is asking for something to do, or needs a bit of a push to get away from Netflix, they can look for ideas on the list/in the jar. At the moment, we have a list written on the computer. I think this may make it's way into a jar at some point, or a pin-board, or some kind of document where the children don't get bored of reading through the whole thing and so only ever do things from the top of the list. I haven't put any of their very common activities on there, because the plan is to use it when they can't think of anything to do, not as a complete replacement for ever making a decision off their own bat. So it doesn't really have any electrical/screen devices on, but this is not because we are particularly bothered about their usage. It's just that they self-regulate pretty well, but equally don't need any extra encouragement to go on them!! There is also not really much on there that costs anything as we are rather skint this summer, and I'd rather have them have a list of things they can definitely very easily do on the spur of the moment, rather than have to wait to do in a few days. We do have a list of 'Plan in Advance' ideas also, which may go up next to the Boredom Jar, for inspiration of a few treat days out.

I created our list through a combination of looking up 'Boredom Jar' on google, cribbing the bits that suited our family best, adapting some to fit, and also thinking about what we have in the house, what they like to do, and things I have in the deep recesses of my brain that break out at these times! I suggest you do the same if you are thinking of making one. There is nothing worse than simply printing one straight from a website, and then your heart sinking when they ask to do something that is really expensive/not nearby/you don't have the stuff for/you just know will cause major chaos in your house. There were some I saw that I just thought, do you know what, I have over 100 things on this list, I really don't need that one on there, they can live without that experience and I will remain a sane person for not providing it!

We also, in our 'Already Planned' section, have decided to do a 'Daily Lego Challenge' which I am going to create using various online resources, take part in the 'National Library Reading Challenge' and create a 'Holiday Scrap Book' where they can put photos in, write in, draw in, whatever they want really, as a record of the holiday. It will also be a good thing for the younger two to take into school in September, as the 7 year old is especially motivated by being able to show her teachers everything she has experienced.

So this is our list. Please, please, remember this suits our location, our budget, our children. My children are aged 3, 7 and (almost) 13. We live near parks, woods, a canal, a river, and a town centre, with really good transport links. This list is mostly aimed at the 7 year old as she is the one who needs it, however most activities are adaptable to suit them all, if they want to do them. And some are aimed at getting them to do things together!

Boredom Jar Ideas
Make a junk-model
Chalking outside
Cook something of your choice
Bake something of your choice
Find out about the human body
Go to the pet/reptile shop
Build up a lego set
Take a picture every hour to record your day
Go on a nature walk
Make a nature scrapbook
Do a page of your memory scrapbook
Play a game with your sibling
Play a board game
Picnic indoors
Hama beads
Make a hedgehog hotel
Alphabet tour with a camera
Make some jelly
Do some maths
Picnic outdoors
Make salt dough
Write a letter
Make a gift
Build a Lego city
Learn the guitar
Visit a family friend
Make flower + leaf prints
Do a magic show
Build a big Playmobil town
Make friendship bracelets
Set up a 'home corner' with your little brother
Do a puzzle
Go to a cafe
Watch a movie
Make a family tree
Make a pirate ship
Have a bubble bath
Do a science experiment
Play a card game
Write a poem
Do some crafting
Find bugs
Trace a picture
Make a card for somebody who lives alone
Make pizzas
Look up places around the world
Learn the keyboard
Make a treasure map
Make a robot
Make sock puppets
Play hide and seek
Make a card for somebody who is ill
Water fight
Play I Spy
Hand + Foot painting
Go to the library
Colouring in
Make fingerprint animals
Ride your scooter
Ride your bike
Go to the park
Learn chess
Do some gardening
Tidy your room
Read a book
Write in your holiday scrap-book
Draw something
Draw an animal
Draw our house
Paint something
Tidy your desk
Make homemade bubbles
Bake cupcakes
Make Gloop
Make something with a box
Write a story starting – There is a monster in my garden….
Write a story starting – Yesterday I went in a spaceship to….
Write a story starting  – There once was a little girl who liked to skip….
Write a story about you
Find shapes in clouds
Create a family flag
Make a musical instrument
Build a time capsule
Play with a toy you haven’t played with in a while
Learn ten words in a different language
Make homemade play dough
Make and decorate paper airplanes
Make a den
Paint your nails
Make a board game of your own
Make a button picture
Draw a picture blindfolded
Draw a picture with your feet
Make a video
Google something to make
Make a card pyramid
Go and collect some stones and make them into bugs
Dance to loud music
Bake cookies
Make a bookmark
Make some homemade ice lollies
Build a marble run
Go on a scavenger hunt
Watch a nature documentary
Vacuum your bedroom
Draw a picture of your family
Plan a garden party
Tie dye a tshirt
Sweep kitchen
Shadow drawing
Make an obstacle course
Make a fairy/small world mini garden
Design and build an outdoor musical area
Design, make and race boats
Sweep bathroom
Go out for dessert

Plan in advance days
Go on a mystery tour
Go to a museum
Go to a farm
Go to a park that isn't local
Go swimming
Go to the cinema - BFG
Have a garden party
Day out with a friend
Play Team sessions
Go to the beach
Complete the sculpture trail
Indoor play area
Charity Shop bargain hunt

Already planned
Daily Lego Challenge
Nana's caravan
7 year old holiday club
13 year old scout camp
Salvation Army Fun Day
7 year old community centre days
Holiday Scrap Book
7 year old Library Reading Challenge
7 year old Park Meet days  - these are events set up via our school facebook page, a few pre-planned days in the local park for the children to meet up during the holidays.

I hope this helps some people................................if not - order more chocolate ;) We stock up our freezer with ice-lollies from Fultons - they tend to have packs of between 8-12 for only £1.00 a bag :D Enjoy the holidays!! We will try and keep up with the blog, recording our escapades over the next 6 weeks :D We also are planning to keep this Boredom Jar as a long-term addition to our house, the 7 year old has been using it after school all week and it has certainly helped retain a sense of calm on what is often a hectic week xx.