Those three words we all dread! It is the beginning of the end; a sure sign that things are about to get messy! And yet, we’ve all been there. It doesn’t take much to cast your mind back and recall those rainy days trapped inside with nothing but a jigsaw puzzle for entertainment.

The school holidays signify anticipation and excitement, so how can you match those expectations and keep your children entertained? Being prepared with a long list of possible solutions will save you from those dreaded ‘I’m booooored’ moments. It might just save your sanity at the same time!

Family Baking

But, it isn’t just enough to make a list of a few games you can play and places you can go, because as we all know, there are many variables that come into play. The weather plays a huge part in the school holidays, and just the sight of a raincloud looming overhead can make previously perfect solutions impossible.

Then there is the issue of cost; you need a good mix of free and low-cost options to make it through the long summer holidays. Many options are turned on their head depending on the number of children you have and whether their friends have come round to play.

And finally, there is the question of supervision, because those moments when you can leave the kids to their own devices and sit down with a cup of tea are priceless!

So let’s make it easy and divide things up.

Rainy Days

These can start out as the most stressful part of the holidays for parents and children alike. All those high hopes of adventures are dashed and the only thing that appeals is the video game console.

As tempting as it might be, avoid video games as much as possible. Save it for a last resort or a treat.

The good thing about being relegated to the house is the money you save and the opportunity to spend a little quality time together. An old favourite of mine that is absolutely timeless is:

The Den – It can be constructed out of just about anything: A pop up tent, a few sheets hung off the back of the sofa, a table.

The opportunities it presents are endless: Snuggle in together with a few duvets and pillows and watch films. Add some hanging stars and turn it into a space-centre. Turn off the lights and share spooky stories.

The Great Bake Off – This is so much fun, regardless of your level of skill. Find a recipe that suits your child’s age and have a competition. Encourage imaginative decoration and see what happens!

Sunny Days

Somehow everything seems a lot easier in the sunshine and encouraging your children to break free and abandon the tablet or games console is so satisfying. An age old favourite, for those wanting to stay at home is:

The Homemade Water Slide – Lay a piece of plastic sheeting in the garden, put the hose pipe at the top and squirt a little washing up liquid and hey presto! There are few people who can resist the allure of a water slide, regardless of their age. In fact, it’s important for the adults to test drive it first to ensure it is long enough and there are no sharp edges. Don’t forget to take a long run up!

Discount Days Out – If you keep an eye on the discount sites online you can usually find a few coupons for days out. They significantly reduce the price of amusement parks and heritage centres and these trips always guarantee a good night’s sleep at the end of the day.

Multiple Children

If you have several children of your own, or often play host to your children’s friends then sometimes you need a little something extra to make the holidays memorable.

Go on a Holiday – It’ll be nice for your family to go on a holiday trip especially when your children are bored. So, the antidote to that would be for them to be rejuvenated and the best time would probably be when your kids have school holidays. Maybe they had enough of exploring the same old places and now, they are hungry to explore the outside world. Going on a trip, especially overseas, is a complicated affair most of the time given the resources and time that goes into it. And the more exorbitant destinations may tend to have travel packages that aren’t interesting to a family. In that case, it might be a good idea to look out for cheaper and family-friendly holiday deals where you and your spouse can wind down and relax while your children have their fun. Look for cheaper, family-friendly holiday deals where you and your spouse can relax while kids have fun. Search for “Bargain Holidays from Edinburgh” or destinations suitable for your location.

Themed Party – You don’t always need to have a special event to throw a party. A sunny day is a good enough reason. The size of the party and number of children is up to you and if you want to keep it to just the family there is no reason not to.

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Make it special by sending out invites. You can sit down with the kids and make these together, keeping them busy for a few hours! If you’re keeping it in the family then give each family member another person and keep the designs secret. That way the invites will all be a surprise.

If you love dressing up you can assign costumes to each other as well. The preparations for the party alone are enough to keep everyone busy for a few days. Spend time making party food, costumes and decorations. You could even push the boat out and hire a chocolate fountain. On the day you can invent new games, have a dance competition and take loads of photos of the special day. Fun for everyone!

These are just a few ideas to get your imagination flowing, but when it comes to entertaining children imagination is key. Try something different and use your own childhood memories to make it fun for everyone.