Sometimes days with the kids can absolutely fly by, or sometimes they can feel like they’re never going to end. The best days sit somewhere in the middle: so much fun they zip by at such a pace, but by the time you’re tucking the kids (and yourself) up in bed, it feels like you’ve been all over the world.
A free weekend or a school holiday can sometimes sneak up on you, and it can be tricky to find quick inspiration. Especially things that don’t require a large amount of preparation or planning, and will still be fun for you and the kids.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our favourite activities to do in a pinch. So next time you’re staring at a schedule-less day with the kiddies, pick one and get exploring. Without further ado, here’s our list of boredom-busting activities.
Of course it’s lovely to walk through parks and forests, but don’t overlook the concrete jungle to get your imaginations going. Walk past the high street shops, admire the artistic window displays and ask the eternal question: who on earth would wear that?
Swimming is incredible exercise, and if you want to wear you and the kids out, take a dip in a local pool. If swimming’s part of your regular routine, see what other swimming options might be available to you in your area. There might be some open-air swimming, some lake swimming (brrr) or even a few great events. Inflatable obstacle courses and giant floats? You’ll be surprised at what the local sports centre puts on.
As a child I remember being hauled over to a few play dates that I wasn’t overly excited about. But to the family that dressed head to toe in Star Trek outfits to watch The Next Generation, thank you for such a bizarre story I still talk about today. And to Roy, who owned the Ghostbusters HQ play set? With your base and my Ecto-1 car, we made the perfect team. Introduce your kids to new faces; they might just make some great memories outside of their comfort zones. Or see an entire family in Star Trek outfits. Wonderful.
Take a walk through a forest and bring with you some containers - or our awesome Nature Bag - to collect some great natural art materials. Leaves, sticks and seeds can be taken hope and, along with some paper and glue, transformed into incredible animals. To pick up some top tips from Jenny, our product designer, you can download her guide for making leaf animals right here:
Outside + animals + ice cream = too much fun
The kids may be scooting everywhere, and you might not be letting yourself in on the fun. Grab some wheels of your own, and take a family ride.
There might be lots of places on your doorstep that you’ve not explored. Jump on the next bus, look out the window and see if you spot anything interesting. The next fascinating thing you see, jump off and go exploring!
Really, we’re all just in the eternal search for the greatest slide known to humankind.
Make sure you call the home before you just pop in. This is a great experience for your children and maybe they’ll want to come back regularly. It’s a hugely rewarding activity that benefits the local community.
Build a tent in your garden or the local park. See what it’s like to get back to nature for a little bit.
Meet with friends and organise some fun games in the park. A game of rounders, touch rugby or cricket? Don’t forget to pack those orange slices.
Organise a boot sale at your front door: Browse through kids clothes and toys and decide with your kids what you no longer need. Explain how to sell those things, handle money and what to do with the profit.
Teach your kids about the conker battles of yore. Maybe don’t teach them the vinegar trick… just yet.
Devote an entire day to being chill and indulging in a lot of reading. Head over to the local library, pick up a few books and get reading. You can learn something new or read a great story to inspire some creativity of your own.
Head over to the forest, set the timer for an hour, and have a competition to see who can build the best natural fort using your surroundings.
Visit a kid-friendly museum and learn something new. Or, visit a museum that not might be obviously kid-friendly. Pack some paper, pencils and a clipboard, and encourage them to pick their favourite artefact and get drawing.
Create a bird feeder and watch if birds actually come. Our ‘Local Wildlife’ Petite Box gives you all the materials to build a bird feeder, and document the hungry customers that fly by. Available as part of the Petite subscription.
Plant some seeds (ideally flowers or vegetables that don’t take too long to grow) and explain your kids how to water and care for them. Enjoy the results!
Grab some toys that can race, like wind-ups, cars or animals. Construct a track (indoors or outdoors, out of cushions or cardboard or, well, anything!) and organise the biggest toy race the world has ever seen.
Grab some chalk (at toucanBox HQ we love jumbo chalk) and create some beautiful art on the pavement. When you’re done, and you’ve allowed the locals to marvel at your incredible creations, the chalk will wash away with some water. Ready to do it all over again.
If you live in an area without a forest, a nice park or other facilities mentioned, or it’s simply too hot, too cold or too rainy to spend time outside, try to be a bit inventive: think about ways to adjust some of the activities to indoor fun. Ever wondered what your family museum might look like? Get designing indoors!
Why don't you check out our page about fun things to do at home?