Great ideas for keeping the family happy


Here at FAB® we have long been coming up with ideas to help Mums keep the family entertained without breaking the bank. Working with parents, we’ve come up with the following affordable ideas for keeping the family happy.

1. Create your own den

Why not have a go at creating, drawing, building or even sculpting your own dream den.

2. Invite a few friends over for a garden sports day (or head to the park if you don't have space).

Stage running races, create obstacle courses using soft household items – a huge cardboard box to crawl through, a football which has to be kicked around markers, tins to jump over.

Hula hoop, limbo and skipping competitions, bean-bag throwing and egg and spoon races are all popular pursuits to add to the events list. Print homemade winners’ certificates or make medals using ribbon or string and card, so the day can culminate in an awards ceremony.

3. Design a treasure hunt.

Make an ‘old’ map using the time-honoured tea bag trick (wiping a wet tea bag over a piece of paper or painting it with a strong brew). Then simply leave a trail of clues and some party bag type goodies with each one, or only at the end in a ‘treasure box’.

4. Take a kite out.

There are plenty available online for under £10 or search the web to find 'how to make your own kite' for a DIY version.

5. Get soaked.

There are endless possibilities for this as long as the weather obliges: running through a rotating garden sprinkler on a hot day, water pistols and soakers, or a paddling pool and all sorts of containers for pouring and measuring.

6. Race to first base.

Get a group of friends together and head to the park for a game of rounders. It’s a family favourite and if you don’t have a rounders bat, a cricket bat and tennis ball will do.

7. Try some good old-fashioned fun.

If you’ve got a group of families around, how about some favourite games like Stuck in The Mud or Hide and Seek. Do a bit of internet searching to find rules for some variations and different ideas too.

8. Set them to work

It’s very good for the whole family to get used to helping with chores, such as weeding part of the garden or washing the car.

9. Go for a fun walk.

’Let’s go for a walk’ isn’t a phrase met with glee by many family members, so liven things up with a nature trail and a list of things to find – dandelions, daisies, oak tree leaves, stones of a particular shape or colour. Even if you live in a city there are usually walking routes through green belt areas close by.

10. Get some rubbish activities going!

Junk modeling is popular for good reason, it’s free and everyone loves it. Decide on a construction theme together – space rockets, or a royal castle perhaps, then grab glue, cereal boxes, egg boxes, silver foil, and loo roll/ kitchen paper and see what they can come up with.

11. Stage a play.

Indoors or out, it could be based around a favourite book, or simply made up. Raid the charity shop for costumes and props.

12. Make a wormery.

Worms are strangely fascinating so the whole family (unless you are squeamish!), will love creating and monitoring your own wormery. Again a quick internet search will bring up plenty of sites explaining how to create one.

13. Visit a car boot sale.

This can be a surprisingly big draw for families. Give everyone a small budget – just £1 will fund something ‘new’ – to see what they can find and maybe you could even set a competition to find the most interesting object.

14. Create life size images.

Grab some wallpaper lining paper plus paints or crayons, lie down whilst someone draws your outline, creating a life-size portrait! Finish off by taking a photo lying next to it so you compare their real person to the arty version.

15. Go on a bug hunt.

Get hold of a magnifying glass and find creepy crawlies in the great outdoors. Grab a bug identifying book from the library and insect investigations can be educational as well as fun.

16. Get fruit picking.

A pick-your-own farm will cost a few pounds but can be a good value activity given you’ll literally walk away with the fruits of your labour. Towards the end of the summer look out for blackberries to pick for free.

17. Play some rainy day games.

If it rains, hold a board game bonanza. Keep a tally of who has won what through the morning/ afternoon. If you’ve got dominoes, create a domino run, or use playing cards to make a card house – compete to see who can manage the biggest/ tallest/ longest.

18. Hold a paper aeroplane competition

Get the paints and crayons out to paint the planes’ liveries and see whose engineering skills result in the longest flight. If you are struggling for inspiration take a look online for some help with potential designs.

19. Set up your own cinema.

Find a favourite DVD, then task your family with producing tickets and film posters, and close the curtains!


Holiday survival tips:

  • Intersperse bigger events with smaller ones – say, outings on Tuesday and Thursday but quieter days on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • Make a calendar and put it up so the whole family can see the plan for the coming weeks – especially handy if there’s something big such as a week away to look forward to later on.
  • Don’t feel you have to entertain the whole family all the time – it’s important for everyone to learn how to find their own fun..
  • You probably aren’t used to spending this much time together, so be realistic that there will be some squabbles and tenser moments. If you all start getting on each others’ nerves, try having an hour’s quiet time each day.
  • Reiterate any family rules or if you don’t yet have any, set them at the start of the summer.
  • Find some time for yourself if at all possible – childcare swaps with other parents, say a morning a week – one week you have their child, the next they have yours over, can be a godsend in the long summer break.
  • Keep a diary or scrapbook. It will form a running theme throughout the six or so weeks and can liven up all sorts of other activities – go searching for interesting bits and pieces for it, from pressed flowers and tickets to visitor attractions and photos..

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