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BEAT THE HALF-TERM BLUES

February 20th, 2013
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BEAT THE HALF-TERM BLUES

Make Time 2 PlayMake Time To Play app has hundreds of ideas to keep children occupied over the holiday.

Stuck for new ideas to keep the children busy over the February half-term holiday? The Make Time To Play campaign offers some great free and low-cost play ideas to engage children both indoors and outside. Make Time To Play promotes the value of play as an essential part of a child’s healthy development, through its website at http://www.maketime2play.co.uk and its free-of-charge mobile app which has a different play idea for every single day of the year, suitable for children of all ages.

With the weather so unpredictable it can be difficult to fill the days with a varied diet of play, whether you have just half an hour to spare or the whole day is stretching out before you.

Here are some tips from Make Time To Play for keeping children occupied over February half-term:

If you have some leftover wallpaper lining paper from your last bout of redecorating, unroll a long sheet and tape to the floor – preferably a hard floor rather than carpet. Then get out all the crayons and felt-tips and let the children loose creating a collaborative artwork or their own individual areas of the sheet. You can set a theme if they need inspiration. Results can be displayed as a mural.

A full-blown treasure hunt requires a bit of forward-planning with clues, but you can make it less labour-intensive for the adults by making it more like a paper chase.

Hide a few objects – 10-12 is probably about right – in your garden, or in the local park, or if the weather is awful and you’re not houseproud, at home. (Don’t hide anything valuable.) Give the players a list of the objects hidden and set them off looking for them. Whoever finds the most wins a prize or perhaps just hot drinks all round at the end.

If you’re prepared to supervise, you can make your own volcano – and give the children an impromptu chemistry lesson at the same time. The most basic recipe for a home-made volcano is to put some baking soda (not baking powder) into a container with a narrow neck. Then add vinegar and watch the reaction of this with the baking soda.

Once you’ve seen how it works, you can get the children to create their own volcanic mountain using dough, modelling clay or cardboard for even more realistic eruptions.

The volcano may not be edible, but simple recipes can be put together under adult supervision. Snowy Crispies, take the standard Choc Crispies idea (melted plain or milk chocolate mixed with crispie cereal) but add a twist by using white chocolate instead of dark. Dust with icing sugar for an extra snowy look, and for even more pizzazz, sprinkle with edible glitter.

 

Make Time To Play has many more inspirational ideas for engaging children, and not just over half-term holidays. Suggestions on the website and the Make Time To Play app cover all weather conditions, for both indoor and outdoor settings. The app, for both iOS and Android, is ideal for those times when parents need a fresh response to ‘But what can I do now?’ or “I’m bored mum!”

“A whole week of half-term can be challenging to fill without spending money on expensive outings,” says Natasha Crookes, director of communications for the British Toy and Hobby Association, the people behind the campaign. “The Make Time To Play app gives parents a valuable source of ideas to help them try out some different activities, whether they have just five minutes, or five hours, to fill.”

Not only does play keep children occupied but it also helps them to learn about the world around them, test boundaries and develop the physical and mental skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.

For these and other ideas for playing over February half-term, download the app, or visit Make Time 2 Play’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/maketime2play, and join in the discussion. Further details on the campaign and its objectives can be found at http://www.maketime2play.co.uk.

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