And they’re off – children around the city and indeed county are pretty much all done with school for the next six weeks. What about us; the parents, the guardians, loyal grandparents and brave childminders alike?
Let us not forget the heroes manning nurseries, soft play areas and tourist attractions. What are we supposed to do with this band of over excitable hobbits for over a MONTH?
Last year my children delighted in spending hours on our giant trampoline, this year and a couple of ripped tendons later… not so much. As I type this my four year old son is… well actually it’s gone quiet. Ah, a jigsaw. I suspect that’s aided by the chocolate spread on toast he’s got to munch by his side, mind. My daughter meanwhile is watching Netflix on her tablet.
Yes, the well versed technology debate. I’ve met people who proudly declare their kids have minimal contact with technology, and good for them. They usually have a child under three, part custody or a lifetime supply of valerian root. I’ve seen many set specific times for their wee one’s tablet/computer/television usage, which personally I think gives the best of both worlds.
Children need to be tech-confident, and for the next six weeks, gives them a chance to find out about the world around us and stop us turning to Pimms every evening.
For example, my youngest has decided he wants to go to every park in Lincoln, finding them with a combination of Google maps, hearsay and good luck. This sounds like the perfect mystical adventure to me.
His big sister on the other hand has plans to take us geo-caching; if you haven’t heard of this, it basically involves an app on your phone that uses GPS to find your location. It then gives you a list of all the ‘caches’ nearby, and you can go track them down – like a treasure map. Some are merely pencil and paper in a well-hidden Tupperware box, other’s contain little gifts that you must replace.
Hiking boots shall be donned then, I think. Aside from this we’ve sorted out the vegetable patch recently, a few hundred seeds turns into one tomato plant; actually four in total. Four saplings drowned in water from a monkey cup each morning and evening, which actually provides a good amount of fun with the daily photographs, diary entries and wildlife watch.
Lists are also your friend if you’ve children under 10, writing things you want them to find whether a nature hunt, bear hunt or which furniture came from Ikea hunt.
When all is said and done though, at some point they will get bored, everyone will get tired and grandparents may or may not answer the phone. At those points… well at those points we must remember that though they may be small, they still just want to have fun and explore. As William Mill once said, ‘Make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.’