Newspaper Dress Up
This is a great one to do in teams, so works well at children's parties for example, but you can easily do it at home with one or more children too. The basic challenge is that you have newspapers only, no scissors, no sellotape, and you have to create a costume on someone. The 'model' can also help with the creation, but must be wearing a newspaper outfit by the end.
Much ripping, tearing and folding ensues and it's all great fun, even if everyone is covered in newsprint by the end of it! To make it easier, a roll of sellotape can be introduced halfway through, and it can be adapted for older children by introducing a planning and designing stage.
Indoor Scavenger Hunt
Write a secret list of 5 to 10 items on a piece of paper that can easily be found in a room (e.g. a pen, a comic, a toy). Ask the children to collect the same number of items, but don't tell them what you chose. They have one minute to gather that number of items. If they bring an item from the list, they win a point.
If you have accumulated leaflets, photos, postcards and other souvenirs from your summer activities, buy some cheap scrapbooks from the pound shop or The Works and get your children sticking. They could do a chronological account, maybe with writing and/or drawings, or make a collage. Either way it's a lovely record of what they did, and a great habit to get into.
Outdoor Activities Indoors
Just because the sun has disappeared, it doesn't mean you have to abandon all those lovely outdoor activities. Camping or having a picnic in the sitting room can be just as much fun as outdoors! So dig out the play tent, or better still get the kids to help you build a den; or throw down a tablecloth or picnic rug and prepare a feast. Great fun!
You must remember this one! Pretend the carpet is awash with harks and the only way to get round is by climbing over the furniture. Build a course to keep you safe, and make sure there's a nice comfy sofa in the mix for everyone to pile on for a big cuddle too.
Fun with Junk
Keep assorted boxes, egg cartons, bottle tops, and other bits and bobs, pair it with some cheap craft supplies (again pound shops and The Works are your saviour), paint, felt tips and glue, and let the children get stuck in. You could provide a theme - e.g. build a monster or an imaginary bird or animal. You can also include a drawing and planning stage if you think you can hold them back for long enough to!
Get children to rehearse and perform a little play. If they are older they could write a script too. For younger children, reading a familiar and much-loved story and then acting it out works best. Favourites for this include The Gruffalo and We're Going on a Bear Hunt. You could even provide (or make) props and costumes. This is also a brilliant one to get ready for the parent coming home form work, or visiting grandparents descending in the afternoon. If there is a true performance to come, children can get really motivated.
Work with Nature
When the weather is nice, get out for a walk and collect leaves of different shapes, sizes and colours, berries, conkers, twigs etc. Keep the treasures safely in a basket, then on the next indoors day the children can make collages, create displays, or do leaf printing. Or challenge them to mix the exact shade of four items. Fold a sheet of A3 into four, and paint each quarter one of the nature colours they found.
Engage all their senses with materials like play-doh, pasta, sand, then get the fingerpaints and some sugar paper out and let them go wild. Mix cheap shaving foam and sand together to make sand foam. See more sensory play ideas on Pinterest.
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