25 things to do with the kids in May half term
Updated: May 21
A round up of ideas for things to do with the kids in May half term while we all continue to be in semi-lockdown.
25 things to do with the kids in May half term
I can't believe we're approaching another school holidays with restrictions on where we can go and what we can do.
The time spent at home for half term feels a little more daunting to me as we won't have a list of school work to complete every day.
To help us fill our time, I contacted local businesses to give us all a few more ideas of ways to entertain the kiddies. I've listed them below and thrown in a few activities Jack and Erin have recently enjoyed too.
Something for the parents
Before I leave you with activity ideas for the kiddies I want to quickly tell you about a new Quiz To Cure book. If you've been taking part in virtual quizzes with your friends, this book is full of 50 questions to challenge them with. Even better, it's only £3 and 90% of the profits go to the NHS. You can purchase a book here.
I hope you all have a great half term. I'm going to be making an effort to switch off from work and will hopefully enjoy a vino or two!
25 ways to entertain the kids during May half term
1. Virtual ballet classes for 2-4 year olds from Nordern Farm
Tuesday 26 May | 10.45am - 11.15am | Price £5
Norden Farm (theatre in Maidenhead) has continued its Ballet Beats class for 2-4 year olds by holding its sessions online. The classes will also run throughout half term. If you have a little ballet fan, you might want to give it a go!
2. Make-your-own scenery for the kiddies toys
I've spent many minutes in lockdown scrolling through Instagram for ideas of things to do with the kids. One Instagram page I've started following is @busyburrows. The page has loads of simple activities to try. A favourite has been creating your own scenery for toys. There's a simple step by step guide on Busy Burrows Instagram page here.
3. Virtual Toddler Sense classes
Wednesday 27 and Friday 29 May | 10.30am | Free trials available
If you've not tried Toddler Sense before, I definitely recommend giving it a go! My kiddies' have both loved this class. Toddler Sense in Newbury will be continuing its classes online throughout half term. If you've not attended a class before you can bag yourself a free trial. Book onto the classes here.
4. Play hangman!
A good friend of mine gave me this tip to help Jack practise his spellings (without realising what he was doing). Jack has really taken to the game and will quite happily play it for 20 minutes. You can be sneaky with the game too and make your 'guess word' something you know your child is struggling to spell. Since using this sneaky strategy Jack's now cracked spelling should, could and would. Something he couldn't do before. He still doesn't realise he's learning while playing the game!
5. FREE daily pretend-play ideas from Pop Up Play Village
Pop Up Play Village for Wokingham, Henley and Ascot hasn't let lockdown get in the way of its usual play activities. It's been sharing pretend play and learning through play ideas every single day to keep families going. Pop Up Play Village will also continue to share fun play ideas throughout half term. So if your little people are into make believe (Erin is big time) it would be worth following them on Facebook here. Basingstoke, Maidenhead and Reading Pop Up Play branches are also hiring out its equipment if you want to borrow some new toys for half term. You can contact them here.
6. Make a Minecraft Steve Mask
Jack asks me most days if he can play Minecraft, but I've not given in yet as I think he's too young. However, we discovered some free Minecraft colouring pages and a colour-in Minecraft Steve Mask that I didn't mind him getting involved in. I have no idea who 'Steve' is, but Jack seemed delighted by it. We printed the mask template, coloured it in, stuck it on a box, cut-out some eye holes and voila we created a Minecraft character!
7. FREE music class for 2 years and under from Corn Exchange
Tuesday 26 and Friday 29 May | 10.15am & 9.45am | Free
Erin and I used to attend Rhyme and Shine at the Corn Exchange before lockdown. She really enjoyed it! The theatre has done a great job keeping the class going by holding its sessions online instead. The online class is free (compared to the £3.50 we used to pay). It runs twice every week and will run throughout half term. You need to make sure you've booked your ticket the day before the session begins to secure your slot. Tickets can be booked here.
8. Make an Elsa Mask
Because we made a Minecraft mask for Jack, we had to make an Elsa mask for Erin! We printed off a black and white Frozen mask and coloured it in. Well, Erin coloured it in. You can probably tell by the picture! To make the mask easier for Erin to wear we attached it to a straw. This meant she could 'put it on' by herself whenever she liked. It's been a hit!
9. Magic and Storytelling with Norden Farm
Tuesday 26 May | 1.30pm - 2pm | Price £5
Patrick Ashe has been holding online storytelling sessions with a twist for Norden Farm throughout lockdown. His sessions involve reading popular children's stories, but he makes the storytelling extra entertaining by performing magic tricks too. What's more, Patrick sends you a 'how-to-video' after the event so you and your child can learn how to perform popular magic tricks. Jack and I took part in one of the sessions and he loved it. We can both now perform a floating pen trick. Magicians in the making! Book onto the half term session here.
10. Make a bug hotel
Small Thatcham-based business, Cranstoun Creations, has creatively diversified its usual picture framing products throughout lockdown and made Bug Hotels with its materials. You can purchase a Bug Hotel for just £20 (£30 if you want it painted). Why not then use May half term to fill your hotel and make it homely for the mini-beasts in your garden. A great activity to keep the kids entertained and something that will continue to provide entertainment all year round! You can purchase a Bug Hotel here.
11. FREE Boogie Mites Live music class for babies and preschoolers
Monday 25 May | 9.30am | Free
Lizzie, who runs Boogie Mites Newbury, is doing an amazing job running her usual classes virtually. It's one of the few online classes Erin enjoys joining in with. Lizzie is continuing to run her classes throughout half term and even better, they're free! You can book onto the Boogie Mites Live class here.
12. Melissa and Doug reusable sticker pads
I originally invested in Melissa and Doug's reusable sticker pads when Jack was about 2 years old. He loved them so much we ended up buying the animal pad, the vehicles pad and the play house pad. It's nice to see Erin now starting to enjoy them. She'll sit for quite some time amusing herself taking the reusable stickers off and putting them back on. Worth the investment if you're looking for a new indoor activity. We bought ours here.
13. FREE Little Learners messy-play classes
Daily Monday - Friday | 10am | Free
Jalpa runs the Little Learners classes in Reading and has been sharing live online classes via her Facebook page throughout lockdown. Jalpa will continue to share her messy-play and mark-making classes every day at 10am during half term. You can access them here. Little Learners also has a Lockdown Group on Facebook that shares home learning and family activity ideas. Worth a join!
14. Homemade sparkly dough
This was another idea I found on @BusyBurrows' Instagram page. Jack and Erin love anything with sparkles in (I wonder who they got that from?) This dough is so easy to make. All you need is 1 cup of conditioner, 3 cups of cornflour and glitter. You can see the full recipe here. Enjoy!
15. BuzyLizzie baby and toddler music and ballet classes
BuzyLizzie normally runs baby-friendly postnatal fitness classes as well as sessions for the littlies such as music, baby massage and ballet. However, like many other businesses in lockdown, BusyLizzie has taken its sessions online and will be running 22 virtual classes in half term. Yes, 22! You can join the Facebook page for the Reading and Berkshire area here.
16. Make animal heads out of cardboard boxes
At the start of lockdown I'd throw cardboard boxes in the recycling bin as I feared they were 'infected'. However, my anxiety has eased (slightly) and I've started letting the kiddies play with them again. After a little googling for ideas I came across Box Yourself on YouTube. There are loads of video tutorials of things you can make with cardboard boxes! We ended up making a tiger and a dog head. Pretty random, but it kept the kiddies amused for a while.
17. FREE printable activities from Usborne Children's Books
Usborne has launched a new web page for the Covid-19 pandemic that has lots of free printable activities and colouring sheets for children. Jack and Erin have really enjoyed having a go at them. If you want to purchase an Usborne Book, our local organiser for Berkshire is Elise. You can access her shop here. Elise also shares book inspiration on her Instagram page @elisepatrick_lovebooks.
18. Let them free with face paints!
A few weeks ago I let the kiddies free with the face paints. We sat in the garden with a mirror and they could decorate their faces however they liked. I'm sure you can imagine their excitement! I did freak out a bit when they asked to come inside. But bath-time wasn't far off, so we survived. Since doing this activity they've asked me every single day to do it again. It was a hit! We used face paint crayons which were really easy for them to use and only cost £7.99.
19. Lego and heroes FREE colouring sheets
We've enjoyed finding printable colouring sheets these past few weeks. The kiddies enjoy choosing a picture to colour in. A friend told us about the Colouring Heroes page on Facebook. It has plenty of Lego characters and other heroes to download and print. All for free too! You can join the Facebook group here.
20. Fly away in aeroplane boxes
We were meant to be going to Costa Adeje and have felt a bit disheartened about missing out on our holiday. So, we came up with an activity to make us all smile. We made cardboard aeroplanes, the kiddies hopped in, and we played Frank Sinatra's "Come Fly With Me" song. It helped blow the holiday blues away!
21. Sign up to toy-lending subscription, Whirli
At the start of lockdown I'd seen a lot of social media posts about the toy-lending subscription company, Whirli. Knowing we had a few weeks at home to entertain ourselves, I signed up for the six month package. You buy a certain amount of credits and can choose toys to borrow. We've had two boxes arrive now and the kiddies have enjoyed playing with the toys. It's nice to know we can send them back and choose new ones too. To manage the "I want" tantrums, I've made sure we only swap toys once a month. You can find out more details here.
22. Make your own Paper Dolls
Julia Donaldson's The Paper Dolls is a big hit in this house. We decided to have a go at making our own Paper Dolls. Well, Jack requested "boy dolls"! The kiddies wanted me to draw a dinosaur too. They then ran around with their paper dolls while I (the dinosaur) chased them!
23. Download Disney's new film, Onward
It's been nice watching new films during lockdown. Something we didn't have much time to do before. We recently treated ourselves to Disney's new film, Onward. We all really enjoyed it. Highly recommended for a family movie night!
24. Homemade car track down the stairs
I enjoy following @create_make_and_play on Instagram. The page has lots of ideas for young children. I mainly find it useful for activities for Erin. I spotted the homemade car track down the stairs and knew the kiddies would enjoy it. It was simple to make too!
25. Wipe clean activity books
It's no secret that I've had battles with Jack participating in school work at home. However, I've recently discovered he's happy to take part in learning if there's a 'wipe clean' pen involved! The fabulous Usborne has a wide variety of wipe clean pen books. A favourite has been Telling The Time. Even Erin likes to have a go.
Right, that's it, 25 activities to get you through half term. Have a good week!
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