7 Ways To Keep Kids Busy & Happy At The End of The School Holidays

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School holiday activity ideas

Whether you’re the kind of parent who is counting down the days until your children go back to school or you’re the kind who loves hanging out with your kiddos during the holidays – or if, like me, you’re a bit of both! – there’s no denying one thing… The summer holidays are looooong.

I’ve tried to be super organised this summer, and by early July, I had a whole spreadsheet with playdates, activities and trips pencilled in. But now that we’re nearing the end of the holidays, I find myself running out of steam a little. On days where we have no plans, and the eight-year-old chirps, “What are we doing today?” I default to the same things: going to the local park, going to another local park or the really exciting one: getting the train to a not-so-local park. 

But there are only so many park visits you can take, right? So when eBay challenged me to do seven activities that we can get stuck into at home and that don’t cost the earth (because I’ve spent enough on ice creams and days out already this summer) I was well up for it.

If you’re in need of any end-of-summer inspiration, step this way!

  • Make friendship bracelets – do you remember making friendship bracelets when you were a kid? Me and my friends would buy the brightest threads and make really cool designs. Now, it’s so much easier because you can buy handy Friendship Bracelet Kits with wheels that you thread and once you’ve mastered the knack of unhooking and hooking the thread in the right order, it’s dead simple. The eight-year-old got really into this and made me text the mums of some of her friends to ask their favourite colours so that she could make them the PERFECT bracelet. Time Activity takes: All day! Cost: £7.99
School holiday activity ideas
School holiday activity ideas

School holiday activity ideas
  • Plant a herb garden – you might have some pots or planters already but I bought these mini planters from eBayalong with some herbs (who knew you could buy herbs from eBay? Not me until now!) and some garden tools. The eight-year-old did this activity with her dad and she got stuck into it, giving him tips on how to successfully get the herbs out of the plastic pots they arrived in – she’s done a bit of gardening before with her grandmothers, so she knows what she’s talking about! It was lovely to watch.
    Time activity takes: 30 minutes. Cost: £40 (less if you have some of the kit already!
School holiday activity ideas
School holiday activity ideas
School holiday activity ideas
School holiday activity ideas
School holiday activity ideas
  • Have a movie marathon– With the dodgy weather we’ve had this summer, there have been some days when we haven’t left the house. One day, this week, we piled all the cushions on the floor, made popcornand settled down for a Back To The Future movie marathon. We even wore our Back To The Futuret-shirts too(there are loads of cool retro movie buys on eBay). Introducing the eight-year-old to these movies has been one of my all-time favourite mum moments. They’re my ultimate favourite films – there’s something so cool about your children discovering stuff you love, isn’t there?
    Time activity takes: Six hours Cost: £40 (less if you don’t splash out on themed outfits!)
School holiday activity ideas
School holiday activity ideas
School holiday activity ideas
  • Bake healthy snacks– we’ve been cooking and baking lots this summer. The eight-year-old has a couple of kids’ cookbooks and we’ve made marinated chicken, naan bread, roast chicken, pizza – lots of different dishes. But this week, we baked some apple and raisin muffins. We needed a new muffin trayand wire rackto cool them on, but we had all of the ingredients at home already. It was such a lovely activity to do together – I can see us doing a lot more baking in the future.
    Time activity takes: One hour Cost: £8.69
School holiday activity ideas
School holiday activity ideas
School holiday activity ideas
School holiday activity ideas
  • Play garden games – who doesn’t love a game of Giant Jenga? Since having our garden spruced up (it used to be an overgrown mess) we’ve been using it lots for games and just hanging out in, when the weather is good. We’ve bought a few garden games and this one was a lot of fun (not sure our neighbours loved the clattering noise as the tower fell – or the eight-year-old’s delighted shrieks!)
    Time activity takes: One hour Cost: £18.99
School holiday activity ideas
  • Do some nature spotting – Another one for a dry day, but you don’t even have to leave your home to do some nature spotting. If you have a garden, it’s amazing what you can find in amongst the trees and plants. We bought the brilliant Usborne Outdoor Bookfrom eBay and the eight-year-old had a great time spotting things up close from the book, in the garden.
    Time activity takes: One hour Cost: £9.99
School holiday activity ideas
School holiday activity ideas
School holiday activity ideas
School holiday activity ideas
  • Make a scrapbook – This is something we do every summer, and the Scrapbook Making KitI picked up from eBay had so much cool stuff for decorating it  – different patterned paper, stickers, things to cut out. The eight-year-old was in her element decorating her scrapbook. We usually print off photos that I’ve take on my iPhone, on our home printer, and she sticks them onto a different page and writes a little about what we’ve done. We also glue in rail tickets or entry tickets for places we’ve been. It’s such a lovely thing to look back on – last year’s scrapbook has some baby scans from the day she came with us to a hospital appointment!
    Time activity takes: Two hours Cost: £15.99
School holiday activity ideas
School holiday activity ideas
School holiday activity ideas

We had a LOT of fun doing these activities and I was really impressed at how easy and fuss-free it was to find and buy the products we needed, from eBay, for each of them. Of course, the reality is that every family has a different budget so it was good to see a wide range of products at different prices, meaning there’s something for everyone. There was even free postage on lots of these products and eBay offer 30 days returns and click & collect too.

Hopefully you’ll see at least a couple of things here that inspire you in the last week of the summer holidays – failing that, there’s always this Gin Making Kitwhich might help see you through to the start of the new school term…

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3 Comments

  1. September 30, 2019 / 5:05 pm

    Great ideas to keep the children busy, in my experience kids love to help around the house, like gardening, cooking. Also collecting anything like little stones, pebbles and leaves and bring them home to create some “artwork! seems to be fascinating for kids. Nature is giving enough “tools” to build stuff and keep kids busy AND happy!

  2. Mix-Movie.com
    October 21, 2019 / 8:37 am

    If your kids are older, you might be surprised by how much they re willing to help complete a home project that s been on your to-do list, especially if it directly concerns them.

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