5 Ways To Keep Kids Occupied During The Summer Holidays With A Few Sheets Of Paper
After 18 months of juggling home working and looking after children, punctuated only by relatively short periods of school attendance, the prospect of keeping the kids occupied for another few weeks is likely to be daunting for even the most resourceful of parents and carers.
Back in 2019, a survey by The Reading Agency revealed that “40% of parents and carers feel stress, anxiety or dread when thinking about the summer holidays”. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to assume that this figure will be higher heading into the 2021 holidays. According to the same survey, 42% of parents and carers also said that they were left feeling cash-strapped after the summer holidays. But how do you keep children occupied without spending a fortune?
The Problem With Screen Time
Phone and tablet screens have an uncanny way of keeping a child’s attention. In fact, we have all become reliant on screen-time to while away the hours whilst confined to our homes. According to research by Ofcom, lockdown saw adults in the UK glued to their devices for more than 40 per cent of the waking day. However, the average daily time spent in front of the screen by our children may be a cause for greater concern.
Source: CHILDWISE Monitor Report 2021
A study in China has revealed an increase in myopia in six to eight year olds over the course of the pandemic. Too much time looking at computer screens has also been linked to poor sleep. So how do parents encourage children away from screens without a barrage of “I’m bored” – and without breaking the bank?
Here, we have 5 great boredom-busting ideas to keep children of all ages amused during the school holidays (or any time for that matter) using nothing more than pen and paper. From origami to puzzles and games, these activities are educational, stimulating, fun and better still, they’re practically free – all you need is a printer, some colouring pens or pencils, and a few sheets of paper.
1. Paper Craft & Origami
Origami is the ancient and beautiful art of folding paper into shapes. Despite the huge advancements in technology over the past thirty years or so, origami is an activity that has been passed on from one generation to another. It’s fun, easy and great for sharing with others. There’s nothing quite like the simple joy of transforming a plain piece of paper into a beautiful bird, flower or other objects.
We’ve created some easy origami ideas with simple instructions and diagrams suitable for children aged 5+. You can download them here.
Ever feel like your young one has the attention span of a goldfish? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Child development experts say that, on average, a 4 or 5-year-old child should be able to focus on a task for two to five minutes times their age. That means a 5-year-old might be able to concentrate on a task for 10 to 25 minutes. Puzzles are a great way to help strengthen your child’s concentration and improve their ability to focus on one thing for a sustained period of time.
We’ve put together a collection of fun crosswords and word searches that’ll not only keep your kids busy but give them a brain workout too. You can check them out here.
3. Drawing and Colouring
We know it can be a real struggle from time to time to think of ways to keep the kids busy. Sometimes though, you can’t beat a return to the basics. Drawing and colouring are some of the most elemental things we learn to do as children but they’re also beneficial; helping to improve our fine motor skills and train the brain to focus. Colouring books for adults have been a huge trend over the last few years, helping us to reduce stress and anxiety levels but children can benefit from this even more.
Here are some fun and challenging colouring designs that you can pull off the shelf on those cold and wet days when the family stays inside.
Mention the word ‘game’ to a youngster these days and their mind probably races straight to their iPad or PlayStation, right? Playing games doesn’t have to involve screen time at all though. Board games are a great example but can also be quite costly and that’s why we’ve come up with over half a dozen creative ways to turn paper into games that are fun for everyone in the family.
Some can be played alone whilst others are two-player or more. We’ve even converted the popular board game Battleships into a free printable version. Perfect for fun on a budget, especially when you want them to disconnect from their devices.
5. Writing Activities
There is always something magical about putting pen to paper and making your words come to life, but when it comes to children, it can be challenging to keep writing fun and interesting. You’ll need to find some stimulating ideas to keep your little ones engaged and make writing fun again, but don’t worry, there are plenty of resources out there to help you out.
Our writing activities not only promote positive thoughts, encouraging children to think about things that they love or are grateful for, but they also engage their imagination, all whilst improving their writing skills of course.