Wow, we are half way through the Summer Holidays already. And I'm doing ok! In fact I'm doing more than ok. I'm having a really lovely time with my four children. There are tricky times, of course, mainly because little Rudi is only four months old and still needs plenty of feeds. But we are having a pretty great time.
We are not attempting anything too crazy and I'm very realistic about what's achievable each day. When the holidays started I had a million and one things I wanted us all to do. I saw the six weeks stretched out in front of me and panicked a little bit (a lot). There were a couple of days at the beginning of the holiday when I wanted to do lots of activities and the children just weren't that in to it. I quickly realised I needed to change my plan if we were all going to have a happy time.
Before the holidays started I put together a Summer holiday Pinterest board and I've continued adding it to it during the holidays as I've seen what the children have liked making best. It's been fun looking at it together with them and working out what we will make next. What I love about the holidays is that we have the freedom during the day to take our time over things. To do a little bit of something and come back to it later or the next day. Or to do a bit of it and not finish it at all. To just simply enjoy creating together, whether that's making the same things, different things but around the same table or all building one thing together. Our family motto is 'create something every day' and my children really do embrace this!
A few people have been asking me how I manage to do so many craft activities with the children during the Summer holidays, so I thought I'd share some of the things I do with you in the hope that it may help!
Firstly, when I get a moment I put a few things in a box for an activity. If my moment is a little bit longer then I package the things up in little bags for the children to make it a bit more exciting. Then I put it to one side and wait for the right time to get them out. The right time isn't always when you think it will be, so be prepared to be flexible! There are so many things children have to do at certain times and I think the way to keep arts and crafts happy, exciting and enjoyable is to do them when the children want to do them. Sometimes it might take a little encouragement but if the time's right then it shouldn't take a lot.
Next I am always prepared to go with the flow. You might have seen a great picture on Pinterest or in a magazine. You might know exactly what you want everyone to make. Your children may have other ideas. Go with it. Be inspired by their creativity. Work together on things and remember you are all able to be creative. I love showing my children a picture of what I've been thinking we should make and then watching them run free with it and add to it, change it and sometimes do something completely different instead. The main thing is to have fun!
If you usually do craft activities around the kitchen table then have a think about what you could do somewhere else instead. You could take some craft supplies to the park, you could paint outside. You could go to a gallery and sketch a famous art work. Or you could get a giant piece of paper on the floor and all do one big picture together.
A final little idea is to start making something yourself and wait to see if they will join in. I love making things and being joined by my children. I love finding some of my things that they can have. They enjoy nothing more than to have a rummage through one of my craft boxes and use a few of my things. One of my favourite things is to fill one of my boxes with things they can have and putting it in the middle of the table and seeing what they create. There's something so special for them about being allowed to use my craft supplies. It's the same when they draw with Stef and he lets them use his special set of pens. You don't have to have anything special or expensive but they fact that you are sharing you things with them is a big deal to them. And a really lovely thing to do.
I hope that gives you a little spark of inspiration and that however the first few weeks of the holiday have gone that you enjoy the next few. Have fun and keep smiling! x
PS - we made these yesterday! So chuffed that we won.