In my experience, the first half of term is always the most difficult because it’s when the troopers are most tired, as getting back into a school routine can be a huge shock to the system. But this year, we have the stresses of COVID-19 restrictions to take into consideration too.
Here are some ideas that are either free or great value that you can do near home.
Get out and about in a local wood
The local woods are a great place to go with your troopers with trees to climb, forts to build and games to play there is always plenty to do! You’re nearer to a wood than you might think. The woodland trust has a locator that can find your closest wood, just in case you’ve misplaced your OS maps: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/visiting-woods/find-woods/ if you’re in need of some ideas for what to do while you’re out adventuring, Commando Dad: Mission Adventure will definitely come in handy.
There are many things your troopers can get up to in their household. Children, being naturally creative, can make fun out of most things so here are a few ideas for entertainment you can provide without even having to leave your home.
Mood boards can be fun for all ages, all you need is a piece of cardboard or paper, scissors, glue and a printer. Help your troopers with ideas, printing pictures of their favourite TV characters, animals, foods etc. and sticking them to the cardboard or paper. When they’re finished, they can put it in their room and add to it whenever they like. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to do an online version with the troops, google ‘online mood board creator’ for free templates.
Dress up is always a good one for younger troopers too. We’ve all got old clothes hidden in drawers or cupboards which to our troopers can seem like magical costumes, let them run wild and dress up! Clearly, it’s not an age-based activity as my teenaged troopers Sam and Jude still pinch my clothes now!
If your troopers are creative, you might want to make modelling dough – you only need oil, salt, flour, water and food colouring. It will need to be storied when you’ve finished to stop it drying out (plastic food storage containers do the job well).
Get stuck in down in the garden
There’s always plenty to get up to in the garden, no matter what age your troopers are. Activities such as leaf drawings and building bug hotels are ideal for younger troopers while tasks such as mowing the lawn and picking bulbs to plant for next spring are good for the older ones.
If you don’t have a garden worry not! Picking plants to grow in pots can be just as rewarding and there is a wide range for you to choose from. Hyacinth are a good choice because you’ll have wonderful smelling flowers for Christmas!