27 ways to keep your kids entertained during the school holidays

Looking for some cheap and fun ways to keep your kids entertained and mentally stimulated during the school holidays? Look no further! Here are 27 ideas that will engage your children and promote learning: 

  1. Create an obstacle course in your garden using toys, balls, hoops and cushions. This is a great way to keep your little one active, while learning spatial awareness and problem solving – building their confidence with every challenge. If you don’t have a garden, you can head down to one of Oldham’s great parks and green spaces 
  1. Create a treasure hunt with clues to solve. Depending on their age, you can tweak the difficulty of the map or clues. You can use questions to build your child’s learning and puzzles or riddles to test your youngster’s problem solving ability. If you have more than one child, this is great for boosting communication skills and encouraging good teamwork. 
  1. Make paper boats, then race them in the bathtub or go together and try it in a nearby stream. Remember to be extra careful when near water. Even the smallest puddle of water can be dangerous so don’t leave your little one alone, even for a minute. 
  1. Sensory play is fantastic for smaller children and youngsters with additional needs (SEND). The sensory room at Oldham Library has sessions most days for just £3. There’s a musical touch wall, LED interactive bubble tube and an interactive infinity tunnel. Head to the Oldham Libraries web pages to book a sensory room session 
  1. Bake or cook together. This is an excellent way of building communication skills, learning about numbers and practical skills like mixing and pouring without spillage. It’s also a great way to learn together about nutrition
  1. Visit an art gallery like Gallery Oldham. Most art galleries are free to enter and there are some excellent exhibitions that give you a great opportunity to build your child’s knowledge and feed their hungry minds. Talking about the art, the images and the colours is a great way to build communication in little ones. You can even check out the exhibitions online beforehand and see if your children can do a hunt to find the real-life exhibits. Find out what’s on at Gallery Oldham 
  1. Have a board game tournament. This is good for bonding as a family but also a great way to build cognitive function, patience and taking turns. For older kids, this can also improve general knowledge through trivia-style games, learning geography, history, and science by listening and answering questions. 
  1. Visit a local farm or take a walk around the countryside and see what animals you can spot. It’s fun to learn about animals while you can spot them and talk about them. Smaller children can learn their names and the noises they make, while you can make a bingo card at home and get older children to mark off any they can spot. Introduce broader wildlife and animals if you need to, like birds, foxes or dogs. You may not spot everything but you can have a lot of fun while on the lookout.  Lancaster Park and Animal Farm is a family-run children’s petting farm located in Chadderton near Oldham. Tickets are £6.50 for adults and children and infants (under 1s) go free. Head to Lancaster Park and Animal Farm 
  1. Create a family recipe book full of your favourite meals and treats. Draw pictures of your favourite foods and remember the ingredients. This can be a really good task for fussy eaters and It’s also a great way to learn about nutrition <Link to nutrition article> 
  1. Plant seedlings together and learn about plant life cycles. This helps your child learn about science – specifically biology. You can do this in your garden and learn about how sun and water help your seedlings grow into strong plants, fruits or vegetables. If you don’t have a lot of outdoor space, you can grow them in a small yoghurt pot. You can even make some cracking cress egg heads 
  1. Make homemade play dough. Playdough is great for hand-eye co-ordination and building gross motor skills for little ones. They can learn about the colours and the names of shapes as they create them using their hands. For older children, it encourages creativity and social skills as it’s a chance to be really inventive together. Can they use the dough to build a colourful castle or a pirate ship? Even if smaller children put it in their mouths, you can make sure its safe by making your own play dough  
  1. Go on a walk in nature with your child and collect different items, such as leaves or rocks. Talk about the different colours, shapes, and textures. Use the things you collect to make a memory book or as materials for craft activities. 
  1. Have a family photo shoot where everyone gets dressed up and poses for pictures. Let your child try on your clothes and dress up like mum and dad, or create costumes out of things around the house. Find something fluffy for a foxes tail or a shirt into a doctor’s coat. 
  1. Go on a picnic. You don’t have to go far and it can be as expensive as taking a cold lunch out into the garden or a local park. Younger ones can bring their teddies while older children can bring balls, play rounders or skipping ropes. Find a picnic spot near you 
  1. Teach your kids basic coding principles using resources like ScratchJr or Hopster Coding Safari. Let’s face it, the world is never going to get less digital and building these skills from a young age could lead to great learning and employment opportunities in a fun way.  
  1. Make paper airplanes and host a competition to see which design flies the furthest. Use recycled paper from junk mail or newspaper, and find out how to make a paper airplane 
  1. Create a family storybook, where everyone contributes a page. Use it for your memories or go on a walk and make up some stories. Write them down when you get home and draw picture. It’s fantastic for sparking imagination and improving recall. 
  1. Set up a science experiment station in your backyard and explore different concepts. Encourage your child to predict what will happen and talk about the results. You can do this using early years experiments or try out some experiments with older children 
  1. Go on a walk or bike ride and explore a new area. Oldham has some of the best parks and outdoor spaces in the north west, and best of all, they’re free to visit. Find somewhere new to explore using the interactive map of Oldham’s parks and green spaces 
  1. Create an art gallery with your children’s drawings and paintings. Have fun creating them together and then put them up. Stick them on windows if you’re struggling for wall space.  
  1. Provide your child with different materials, such as paper, paint, or markers. Encourage them to create a piece of art based on their favourite subject, such as animals or outer space. This is a great activity for children with additional needs (SEND). 
  1. Build a fort and have a family sleepover in it. Do it in your garden or even in your front room. If it’s outdoors, be sure to sleep out with them and take lots of blankets to stay warm.  
  1. Make your own musical instruments using household items and have a jam session. Put some rice in bottles to make maracas or a make a tissue box guitar 
  1. Create some DIY sensory play. Fill containers with different materials, such as rice, sand, or water. Encourage your child to touch and explore the different textures. For older children, hide familiar objects in it and see if they can guess what they are from feeling alone. 
  1. Have a dance party and learn new moves. Have a dance off with a ‘prize’. This can be as simple as a drawing or an elastic band guitar using a tissue box 
  1. Join a local library. There are libraries across Oldham and being a member makes sure you can foster a love of books in your children, learn about lots of things in the world and enjoy storytime together. Best of all IT’S FREE. Join a library today 
  1. Create your own sports day. Have an egg and spoon race, three-legged race, or see who can throw the furthest. Make a trophy to take with you as a crafting activity and see who can win it. This is a great way of making physical activity fun and it doesn’t have to cost a penny. If you don’t have a garden, you can do it in a local park or green space 

There are so many cheap and entertaining ways to keep your kids engaged and learning during school holidays. Don’t be afraid to get creative, and most importantly, enjoy the time with your kids!