10 Children’s activities for summer!
I made the life changing decision to accept an exciting new role as a Governess in Moscow in November 2012. Previous to this, I had tutored children in English, was a part time Nanny during my University studies. l was also a football coach for boys and girls between the ages of 8-15. I was a keen footballer myself for many years and felt that passing on my knowledge and skills was one of the most rewarding things I could do.
Summer holiday fun!
It’s that time of year again and I know it’s not just parents who worry about how to entertain their children all summer long, if you’re in the childcare field you’ll be having similar feelings too. Ok, that is your job of course, but it’s never a bad idea to have a go-to list of fun children’s activities just in case you or the children are having ‘one of those days’ it happens to the best of us. I guarantee you, there’ll be something on this list for all of you and you don’t have to be a Delia in the Kitchen or a Leonardo Da Vinci with a paintbrush. We’ve made sure this list is accessible to anyone, parents, nannies and governesses alike. Do let us know if you find any of these summer activities particularly useful and whether you have some ideas to add, we’d love to share the <3…
And, in no particular order ladies and gentlemen…
Treasure hunts are super fun and it gives the children an opportunity to be creative and come up with ideas too. You can go ahead and make the first one and then help them along with their own so their siblings, parents, grandparents etc. can get in on the fun a little later on. The gifts don’t need to be fancy or expensive; after all, it’s the taking part that counts. Some ideas for presents could be a small hot wheels car a bargain at around £2.50 or a Disney frozen Kite £1.99. The prize doesn’t even have to be a gift, it could be an ice cream IOU or a free pass to ten minutes extra iPad time, that will give them something to look forward to.
Treasure hunts are great fun to do when you know what someone likes. Here are your first few ideas to get you on your way, I personally love them in rhyme, it’s not essential.
- Look under the place where you rest your head at night dreaming of flying a beautiful kite…
- Now you’ve found me under here, go ahead and find me behind your favourite soft toy’s ear…
- You are doing well! Next I’ll probably be close by to the shower gel…
Indoor/Outdoor Play Homes
We all did it as kids didn’t we? And how fun was it making your own Castle, Den, Pirate ship, Palace, Hotel, Spaceship the list goes on! Oh, the joys of having a little hide away to yourself in your house or in the garden and the pride you feel once it’s built – not to mention the annoyance you feel when the sheet/blanket keeps slipping (you don’t have to mention that one to the kiddies, they’ll soon figure it out). This is perfect with one or five kids; numbers don’t matter assuming you have enough space, chairs and blankets. Let them take their toys inside and a small torch. The fun doesn’t just stop at building them either, it only just began! You can play improvised games. I’ve played princess games, whereby, that’s their castle and I am the prince or the servant or the delivery person. I’ve also played pirate ships and been trying to sneak past with treasure. Not to mention hotels, you make different spaces and they choose which type of room and you act as their caterer. NB: Rod for your back if you leave the kiddies with a bell!
Super hero/heroine capes out of pillow cases
This is so fun and easy peazy lemon squeezy! It’s really nice for the children to make their own capes as their favourite superhero or one they make up themselves. You get to be a big kid too and relive your superhero days! I don’t like tying the strings around necks for safeguarding reasons so I usually attached it to the back of a t-shirt, kind of like a ponytail. Try to remember to make one for another important family member; it’s only fair they’re able to get in on the fun on their return.
- Cut down the long sides of each pillowcase.
- Cut along the shorter edge that doesn’t have the folded part that usually covers the pillow to detach a piece of fabric that will be used for tying the cape.
- Cut in between the folded side about an inch so that you can feed the detached piece through.
- Decorate the cape as you wish with other pieces of material if you have or simply grab some Sharpies and make it as simple or as complex as you wish.
A better explanation with pictures can be found here http://www.howweelearn.com/diy-superhero-cape/ credit to Sarah for this wonderful idea!
Just a side note, make sure you get yourself an inexpensive pack of pillow cases if you aren’t the home owner otherwise you’ll need your cape to fly out of there if Mother comes home and sees you’ve cut up her favourite pillow cases!
Cool Finger puppets made from washing up gloves
This is way more fun that it should be! Ok, we all know washing up gloves come in different colours and that’s just perfect for this task! My personal favourites are yellow, because it’s so easy to make Minions. Everyone loves a Minion, they stick by their friends and do silly fun stuff together, perfect for the Puppet Show. All you need to do is use some scissors to cut the fingers away from the glove, grab a black marker then draw on your faces and let the show begin! Make sure you don’t leave the child unattended with a marker! I once came back to a fully bearded young lady! However, coconut oil was a savior.
Pink gloves are pretty fun for pigs and green for aliens.
Pebble hunt and paint
Close by to a pebbly beach? Or do you have a garden that provides you with smooth pebbles? This is a great way to entertain the children outdoors. Choose your pebbles and set up some paint, the more colourful the better. For those of you teaching your kids to read or the alphabet (especially useful for governesses teaching English as a second language) paint the letters of the alphabet on and play snowman – the new more child appropriate way to say hangman. Draw a snowman with buttons, scarves and hats etc. Just make sure the pebbles are dry otherwise it will be Mr. Slushy…mmm… Who remembers those? Slushy, the perfect refreshment to accompany your game, well it was in my day!
Write a book together
I absolutely love this and the kids really enjoy it too, just make sure it’s about topics that interest them, even if they don’t want to do all the writing, you can help with that, get them to be your animators. For older children who are happy to write it themselves, I’ve done this activity whereby you put something in between you on the table, like a shoe box, so that neither of you can see the others so that at the end you can surprise each other with your magical stories. If you’re brave enough you can get someone to judge them out of 10. Just make sure the judge knows the rules, the kids book always wins. 😉
Paper aeroplane parties
I love a paper aeroplane party and so do the kids! Ok, firstly, it’s a party so put some music on whilst you create your planes, you can make them from good old white printer paper you have at home and get creative with personal designs, if you don’t know how to make a paper aeroplane check out this easy tutorial – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-rBmbBSGlA
But, if you fancy yourself as a bit of a paper aeroplane pro, you should look into buying a ready made pack with designs on, check out these cool star wars ones https://www.amazon.com/Klutz-Star-Wars-Folded-Flyers/dp/0545396344/ref=pd_sim_21_1?ie=UTF8&dpID=51brl1oKXWL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL480_SR402%2C480_&psc=1&refRID=NVRVZ60KKQ97ADN3CQ56
Now your planes are made you are ready to set the boundaries, you’ll need a few household objects. A bucket or a basket is a great place to try and land your planes around the basket, you can create zones separated by string or wool. If the plane lands within those zones you can give different point scores depending on the zone it lands in. My personal favourite though, space permitting is trying to land the planes on a table, beware, this takes more skill than you may think, great for teaching all involved patience.
Have an indoor or outdoor picnic or a tea party
Why not do something different for lunch and treat yourself to a picnic or a tea party? It’s so much fun for the children to prepare everything and get involved in making it look nice with napkins, table cloths, cups toys etc. This really brings the magic to your home! Who needs to watch Alice in Wonderland when you can have your own tea party? Actually, that’s a lie, everyone needs to watch AIW, in fact to apologise I’ve added a nostalgic quote for you from the movie. “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” And another, just because I can. “If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.” You know what? I say, movie afternoon after your tea party ??? such wise words of wisdom above, it would be rude not to!
Take a discovery walk
Get your walking boots on and take the kids on a mini adventure. Take a bag to put your goodies in. You can look for flowers, plants, rocks, pebbles and anything else that may interest them. If like me you aren’t quite the botanist, I rely on Google to help me with the “What plant is this?” questions. It’s a great time to get active, enjoy the outdoors and spend some quality time away from the Internet… that’s if you aren’t googling which plant is which. If you’ll be walking close by to the ducks don’t forget a little bread.
Comedy with teddies
Assuming you have a video recording device in your computer or phone you can have so much fun, I love Photobooth on Mac but any software will do. The children and I love to get different toys or soft toys and create funny two minute show for each other to watch after. This is a great way for the children to learn to express themselves and learn a little about drama in a no pressure atmosphere because it’s their toys that are performing and nobody is watching whilst they film, so they can express themselves. This is truly adorable and so funny when you watch your videos back! We once had Oleg the Meerkat fall in love with Bella the Build-a-Bear over their shared love for chocolate muffins, what a story!
Happy summer to you all!
Perhaps you’ve come across some of our job vacancies and wondered what working for a high profile family. Whilst the customs and expectations of each private household differ somewhat, there are some key cues to jot down in your nanny notebook ahead of starting a new position.
Teaching children an attitude of gratitude involves helping them to view their reality from a perspective of appreciation and abundance. If we are able to nurture this skill within the mind-set of children from a young age their quality of life will forever be enriched.
Drawing is an especially important outlet for children who do not yet have the verbal skills to communicate their feelings. Through your child’s art you are able to catch a glimpse into their rich internal world whilst conversely they are able to develop concentration, thought-processing and motor skills.