Combating cabin fever during summer with crazy kids

Updated 2011-09-06 06:49

Going to a mall just before or at opening time: generally the malls are very quiet at this time with minimal shoppers to be spotted or to annoy. My kids were able to run around in an air conditioned area, play chasings, as well as hide and seek. My oldest son was a little worried when child number three started tearing up the hall, but it felt liberating to say ‘go for it kids!’. We also hung out at toy shops and stocked up on marked down craft items.

Kids shopping list: Under normal circumstances I would never entertain the thought of dragging three unruly kids along on a supermarket expedition, but desperate times, mean desperate measures! In order to get the kids out of the house, and also allow me to food shop in relative peace, I challenged the kids to a 'supermarket sprint'. I wrote out a list of twelve items with one child's name against each (so four items per child ' because one child can't have more than the other can they?!!). My eldest son was given the task of 'shopping list reader' (one ploy to make him read), one was deemed 'trolley pusher', and the third and noisiest child, was given the task of 'nice talker'! They had to work as a team with a team trolley and find all items listed. Some items were very specific, but others were listed as category only, such as 'cereal'. With each item they could discuss what they wanted however the child whose name was next to the item had the final say. Now normally, in our household, cereal choice, to the dismay of all concerned, is limited to the three healthiest on the market, but, being the caring, sharing (aka desperate) summer mother that I was, I succumbed to whatever they chose. Challenge rules were: consider cost, consider how healthy the item was, and if I heard any screaming or carrying on the challenge was OFF and afternoon treats banished!! J I must say, I had a chuckle to myself as I listened to them negotiating with each other in adjacent isles.

Rotating rooms: This activity came at a time when 'screen time' was annoyingly high and my children needed time out from each other. I set up 'activities' in three bedrooms that the kids had to rotate between. One bedroom was the 'lego/block' room, another was 'doll house/toy kitchen' room and the last was 'balloon' room. We had recently purchased oversized punching balloons and our master bedroom gave perfect space to punch away - and get some exercise at the same time, sneaky sneaky! Each child was banished to a room and when they heard the buzzer fifteen minutes later, they rotated rooms. A little parent play was required, but it turned 'boring toys' into something fun and entertaining.

Party Planning: With the last Harry Potter movie released over the summer, I decided to have a 'Harry Potter Party'. This ended up working three fold towards my 'keeping kids entertained' goal: 1. having the kids do internet research with me for party ideas as well as having them write down what games they wanted to play and what food to eat ' helped to increase their excitement as well, 2. creating the materials needed for games, and 3. going on a specific 'harry potter party shopping trip' with shopping list in tow (read by one of the kids of course! J). We invited three other families with kids to keep it small enough and asked each one to contribute a 'hogwartsy' type food item to share. The games we played and which my children spent a few days preparing for were: 'snitch pinyata' made with newspaper pasted onto a blown up balloon, painted yellow with feathers stuck on each side (made over a few days);'sorting hat' ' each child pulled out of a witches hat either a Gryffindor or ravenclaw tag and was assigned to that team; 'planet hunt' ' we printed four sets of planet pictures. Two sets were cut up and hid around the house. Each team had to find all planets in one set then run to the uncut set and stick each planet on the paper. The first team to find all planets and paste on their sheet was the winner. 'Wand making' ' each child was given a bread stick to dip in melted chocolate then into sprinkles. We used candy rocks that pop in your mouth for extra zing!; 'butter beer creations' ' icecream plopped into a cup full of creaming soda or fanta made for a passable potions class and much nicer to drink too!

All in all, this activity yielded 3 days of summer ticked off the list! Not bad at all

Craft days: We threaded cheerios onto thread to make eatable necklaces (great for my fine motor deprived child); bought paint, rollers and paper roll (paper from IKEA) to create homemade wrapping paper for daddy's birthday present; I collected toilet rolls over a few weeks and had the kids create anything they wanted with them.

Learning time:At the start of summer I encouraged each of my children set learning goals to work on throughout the holidays. We attempted to sit down at least two or three mornings a week to work on these goals. My eldest son's goal was to practice his times tables, my daughter's goal was to complete her phonics book and my youngest was to improve his fine motor skills ' well, you could say that was more my goals than his! J. The older two also learnt the piano, by yours truly, and did very well too! Their reward was set from the beginning, that if they did their holiday learning they could all go to kidzania ' and it was a fantastic day out too!

Paid Entertainment ' of course we did our fair share of indoor activity centre's such as Wafi City skate park, Yalla Bowling in Mirdiff City Centre, Magic planet games and Chuckee Cheese - with the Entertainer Vouchers coming in VERY handy. Atlantis even managed to squeeze in there!

Goodbye ten weeks of summer, hello school term!

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