We all know how difficult it can be to keep the children entertained when we’re busy and to do it on a budget. Here are a few ideas of things you could try.
- Plant cress seeds on wet tissue or cotton wool and watch them grow. Then eat them in an egg and cress sandwich! Or plant bulbs in a bowl or pot ready for the spring.
- Let your child build a “den” with a couple of chairs and an old sheet or blanket. Any toy suddenly seems more interesting inside, or give them a torch to play with in the dark.
- Go out for a walk and let your child kick in the leaves.
- Make “gloop” for your children to play with: This is just 2 cups of cornflour to one cup of water. Mix together in a bowl and a strange substance emerges – It is liquid when you let it run through your fingers, but solid if you press, punch or squeeze it! Weird! Add food colouring or glitter if you want. Or buy inexpensive shaving foam and spray on a plastic tray. Children can have fun making marks and patterns and it washes off easily.
Let your child loose with the contents of your recycling box! Plastic pots, cardboard tubes, boxes, paper and Sellotape are all that is needed for your child to make a car, a rocket, a house or anything else their imagination can conjure up!
Sometimes just the process of sticking things together is enough for your child and they will have fun doing just that!
- Cooking – two simple recipes for you to try: meringues and shortbread. The shortbread could be iced and used as Christmas tree decorations if you like by making a small hole in the dough before baking and threading ribbon through it to hang the biscuits.
- 225g (8oz) plain flour
- 140g (5oz) butter
- 55g (20z) caster sugar
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees/gas 4 and grease a baking sheet.
Sift the flour into a bowl and add the butter cut into small pieces. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and continue to mix until the mixture comes together as a ball of dough. If necessary add a little water or milk to help bring the dough together. Flour a rolling pin and roll or press the dough out. Use cutters to make biscuits and bake for around 10 minutes. Do not allow the biscuits to brown. Cool and then ice with a runny icing made from icing sugar and a tiny amount of water, or buy tubes of ready made icing.
- 4 egg whites
- 225g (8oz) caster sugar
- 1tsp cornflour
- 1tsp white wine vinegar
- 1tsp vanilla essence
- Whisk the egg whites until they are stiff and then add the sugar a bit at a time, whisking between each addition. Fold in the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla to incorporate and then spoon the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. This mixture will make two large meringues or you could spoon into individual meringues if you want. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees for 5 minutes and then turn down to 110 degrees for a further 45 minutes. Cover in whipped double cream and fruit of your choice once cold.
Write a letter to Santa! The Royal Mail will deliver all important letters to Father Christmas as long as they are addressed to:
Father Christmas/ Santa Claus
Enclose you own name and address and attach a stamp to get a reply.
- Help pass the time on Christmas Eve before bedtime by tracking Santa on his way around the world delivering presents. Log onto “Norad tracks Santa” and it will show you where Santa is, his next destination and also includes videos of him on his travels. (This site is run by NASA!!)
- Decorate a paper plate for Santa’s mince pie on Christmas Eve.
- Make tree decorations from felt, fabric or card and paint, colour or stick on tissue paper, glitter and sequins. Christmas chocolate wrappers can also be used!
- Cut out Christmas pictures from all the leaflets which come inside the free papers and make Christmas pictures with a tree, decorations, food on the table etc.
Enjoy a family treat without breaking the bank by going to the £1 cinema showings on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Log onto the Cineworld website to see what films are showing each week.
Get children to help at this busy time for a small reward – pairing socks from the washing or doing some dusting.
Why not take photos of the things you do and put them in your “Special Book” to show us?