10 all-weather activities for the school holidays

boys playing pirates half-term

The kids are off school and the've got energy to burn. Tire them out with these tried, tested and weatherproof ideas for half term fun.

Bring the beach to you

sand pit

“We make a beach indoors out of flour mixed with a little baby oil. I put it inside a small toy box, my daughter gets out her Playmobil people and we build sandcastles with them out of small cups. It's lots of fun, albeit a little messy!”

Ditch the consoles

family board games

“We love playing board games as a family. Fun things like Twister are always entertaining and keep them away from their Xbox and iPad for a while.”

Dust off your old photos

photo album

“This sounds really quaint in a digital age, but we like to spend a few hours sorting through our old photos and putting them in some kind of order. On a bleak winter's day, it's therapeutic to look back on some lovely holidays, and days we had out when the weather was better.”

Blanket forts and pillow dens

girl reading in den

“Den-making is a great indoor activity – especially if you then let the kids eat their lunch in the den!”

Get the wellies on and jump in puddles

girl puddle umbrella

“Nothing beats getting out for a good walk in the woods, whatever the weather (in fact mud and puddle splashing makes it even more fun).”

Go wild for the wildlife

bird feeder

“Make fat balls for the birds, especially at this time of year!” (But don't, whatever you do, leave them in the fridge for your other half to eat…)

A loo roll goes a long way

toilet roll dog

“We love having craft days: we save cardboard boxes and cartons, and glue them together to see what we can invent.”

Avast me hearties!

kids playing pirates

“I love doing theme days with the kids. For example, we'll have a pirate day and start by building our boat, raising the mainsail (a sheet) and establishing roles on board. Maybe cook a pirate lunch together, which we eat on board our ship, followed by some more craft activities, like making a telescope, binoculars, treaure chest etc – basically anything that can be made out of egg boxes and kitchen roll tubes. And we play games like 'Captain's Coming' and learn a jig and sea shanty.”

Do the robot

child robot

“We make robots out of stuff from the recycling bin. We use up cereal boxes, yoghurt pots, margarine tubs etc, stick them together and cover them in foil, creating a little army of robots. That keeps them busy for an hour or so…”

You are cordially invited…

tea party

“We often bake a cake for my daughter's soft toys when it's their 'birthday'. We make party hats, blow up balloons and make a card while the cake is in the oven. Once the cake's ready, we have little birthday picnic on the rug to celebrate.”