It can be difficult to entertain children in the winter months. (There are only so many trips to a soft play centre your sanity will take.) If you're stuck for something to do this weekend, maybe we can help…
Getting kids out for some fresh air isn't always an easy task, particularly when the weather is a bit miserable. If the promise of puddle jumping isn't doing the trick, these ideas might tempt them into their coats and hats:
· Cut a strip of sticky-back plastic and secure it around your child's wrist, sticky side out. Help them collect leaves to stick on to make an autumnal bracelet.
· Collect autumnal leaves to make a make a woodland picture when you get home. Use the leaves for the body of a hedgehog, owl or Gruffalo.
· If you'd rather not stray too far from the house, why not set a treasure hunt in the garden, with a pirate map and clues to follow? For treasure you could hide some gold coins or a small gift.
Geocaching is popular with children and adults alike. You use a smartphone to find a 'cache' using its GPS coordinates. There are more than 70,000 hidden across the UK and popular walks can have several caches on route. Caches are usually small containers containing a logbook to sign and sometimes a small trinket, which you can swap with something of your own. You'll need to download an app for your smart phone and visit www.geocaching.com to plan your route.
Pokemon Go was a hit in the summer, and there's nothing stopping you giving it a go now it's a bit colder. If you haven't heard of it, it's basically a smart phone app that gets users to search for and collect digital cartoon characters. They can be anywhere, so it's a good way to encourage the kids to head into town with you.
Ah the hours of fun that can be had with an empty washing up bottle and some sticky back plastic. The best craft activities result in something you can use again. (Children tend to get a bit annoyed when their masterpieces end up in the recycling box.) You could:
· Make skittles out of empty plastic bottles. Decorate them with coloured tape or mix acrylic paint with PVA glue and paint them.
· Design a T-shirt, using tie-dye or fabric pens.
· Order some cyanotype paper (also called nature print or sun paper). It acts a bit like photographic paper, but develops in sunlight. Areas not covered turn blue. Place beads, leaves, feathers etc on the paper and put it in the sun to develop.
· Cover a box with cut out photos from a magazine, to keep hairslides, pencils or knick-knacks tidy.
Watch a show
Disney on Ice's Frozen is currently on its UK tour, as is The Nutcracker and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Alternatively, why not check out a smaller, local theatre's production? Matinee tickets often cost from as little as £5.
If film is more your thing, many of the larger cinemas offer discounted tickets for family showings. Odeon Kids shows, for example, are £2.50 or less per ticket.
Why not let the kids entertain the adults with a puppet show? You could make puppets, although we love this Bead Bazaar Storybook and Finger Puppets set, £15.99, and Oskar&Ellen Doorway Theatre, £61.99.