This is how I keep myself going through the long Summer break – it sounds lots of work and I can’t in all honesty say I don’t curse myself on a Sunday night when I suddenly remember I have to re-do the boxes, but to keep the kids occupied and focused as well as entertained is well worth the effort. Of course they have now got used the idea of themes and enjoy working them out with me, as the surprise element is a little lost I get them to help with sorting through the DVD’s and stickers etc to fill the boxes on a Sunday…

So – the idea is that we split the holiday into one week topics or themes – originally I decided on them based on the activities I was planning to take us on, so there was a Pirate Day at Newstead Abbey last year and we had a Pirate Week the same week… but this year the kids have come up with their themes – the current list is on our kitchen cupboard! This year the boxes have also changed, they have a wicker tray each for school related things, but I can’t find room for the boxes so we are just going to clear out their trays for the Summer (two jobs in one!).

I rarely buy anything for this exercise, but once I know the themes I can check out the local charity shops and ask around for any new DVD’s, books, toys or games that fit. I use the cut up magazines, print out wordsearches, find Lego instructions, add DVD’s/CD’s, books, print a recipe, stickers, colouring in sheets and add a few educational tasks as well – this is mostly stuff we already have around the house!!

One week you can add a load of Lego/Duplo, one week some face paints, one week some science tasks with the bits you need, one week some chalks for outside, one week some china pens etc, whatever you have is exciting as soon as you call it a topic and make it relevant. I store up bottles of bubbles that we get in party bags and refill those with added glitter or something smelly and I’m the best mum in the world for a while there… Have Fun!


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