It's important for them to have some time when they're not being given structured activities, to encourage their own developing interests and to use their imagination. But it's also nice to arrange some simple activities and outings, which you might want to spread over the holidays to keep costs down
Mini sports day go to the park with some basic sports equipment such as a soft ball, skipping rope, plastic set of skittles or badminton racquets and shuttlecocks. Take turns to challenge each other to games, and keep score. Organise simple races between the children, for example weaving in and out of trees along a certain length of the park, a hopping race, a three-legged race or an obstacle race. These work best when there are several children, but if there's a wide age gap you can give the younger children a head start.
A DIY picnic preparing for a picnic is a whole morning's activity in itself. Your child can help plan the picnic menu, and get out all the ingredients such as bread, butter, cheese, ham, fruit, squash etc. Then it's time for you to step back and be on standby as your children make the sandwiches and organise the rest of the food themselves. It may help if you've written out a checklist for them to follow, ticking off each stage as it's done.
Make a tent - recreate the thrill of being under canvas by pegging old sheets or blankets over the washing line or rotary dryer and weighting them at the corners to create a tent. Put a blanket on the ground and let your child take a favourite book, a few snacks and toys inside.
It's Showtime - set the kids a theme (reflecting their interests, for example, The Pirate Invasion, The Lost Fairy or The Magic Cat) and send them off to create a show. You can make it into a big event by making tickets, putting up a makeshift curtain and preparing interval refreshments. Alternatively, liven up a video by making popcorn, sitting in semi darkness and making it feel like a real cinema.
Memory lane - spend an afternoon making up a book with pictures of your child growing up. It's a lovely way to talk about each stage of their life.
Wonderful water - water and sand have lots of appeal for primary school children. To liven things up in the paddling pool, rinse out old squeezy bottles and let the kids squirt each other. Little ones will enjoy bathing dolls in a washing-up bowl, or using a little detergent to clean down their bike or trike.
Visit a farm - animals work their magic on kids of all ages, and visitor farms are usually fantastic value-for-money outings, especially when they have playgrounds and rides to enjoy after you've seen the animals.
Get crafty - stock up on basics like paper, felt pens and paints, and buy some simple activity and puzzle books to bring out when there's nothing to do. Other craft activities can be all-day affairs, like making peg dolls, or a 3D landscape for toy soldiers. And music and story tapes are a great way to pass some time.
For more ideas visit: www.childrens-express.org - www.bbc.co.uk/parenting