The hours of 3.30pm-5.30pm are what I like to call ‘the afternoon dead time’.
It’s time when the kids are tired from school and would like nothing more to come home and flop in front of an iPad, but because I’m mean mummy I’d rather not let them: we should be learning! Growing as people! Spending time as a family together!
It’s time when I try not to arrange too many crazy energy-expelling activities as, if I do, they just end up more wound up then when they left school.
It’s called dead time because I sometimes think “cor, I’d rather DIE than have to think up another exciting yet calm activity for the children to do for two hours after school” ;)
And so I always try to have an arsenal of fun things to do up my sleeve. Useful not just for the dead time between school and dinner but ALL times you find yourself with a few hours to kill (Sunday afternoons, anyone?), prepare these activities ready to rock out and you’ll never be stuck with a six year old whining “muuuum, I’m booooored”. Promise.
I can’t craft for crap. Not on your nelly. Give me an old loo roll tube and I’ll chuck it in the recycling, not build a space rocket.
But my kids LOVE to craft – and I feel they’re constantly disappointed in my non-ability to see fluffy clouds in the cotton wool I use to remove nail varnish. Sorry guys!
My solution is the Mister Maker craft box: a fortnightly subscription box from everyone’s favourite TV crafter that arrives with everything you need to whip up the most incredible creations. It even includes the glue, which is a godsend because whenever I locate a Pritt Stick it’s invariably dried out or covered in feathers.
This craft box is also the only time you will appreciate Mister Maker rather than find him intensely annoying. Get yours here.
This kills two birds with one stone! My kids love to cook, and if we spend a couple of hours making a lasagne together on a Wednesday evening not only have we made the next couple of days’ suppers, we’ve spent time together too.
But our favourite thing to make together is bread (all that kneading!), and you can find our easiest bread recipe here.
You can’t beat a good old-fashioned puzzle, can you? My two have always loved solving them, and I can sit back and watch and know good things are happening with their fine motor skills while they think they’re having a jolly old time playing a game. We love the online jigsaw puzzles here.
OK, so this one is maybe more of a summer activity, but if you send my children outside with a big plastic mixing bowl and a wooden spoon, instructing them to ‘make some potions’ they will be in the garden for HOURS.
Bear with me on this one. This is an activity we’ve started doing recently, and because we’re using numbers and writing lists I feel massively smug that I’m teaching my kids things while playing with them (yeah, I’ve never been a natural at this). I instruct Elfie to collect things from around the house and set up a ‘shop’, labelling each item with a price. Then Hux and I make a shopping list together and buy things from the shop, making Elfie add up as she goes. Then we swap roles. Education: done. Mummy’s favourite activity: done. BOOM! Supermum!
What are your favourite after-school at-home activities?