Life

Leona O'Neill: Top tips for keeping your kids and yourself sane during a wet summer

As the rain teems down outside and six more weeks of school summer holidays loom, Leona O'Neill has some tops tips for keeping kids of all ages occupied when it's too wet to enjoy the great outdoors....

When boredom sets in due to wet weather this summer, it's time to get creative
When boredom sets in due to wet weather this summer, it's time to get creative When boredom sets in due to wet weather this summer, it's time to get creative

HOPEFULLY, all you parents out there are enjoying this fabulous Northern Irish summer. I think if you love apocalyptic wind, biblical rain and ceaselessly complaining children who are perpetually bored, you'll be in your element. But the rest of us might be finding our nerves are wearing a little thin, two weeks into this epic eight-week school holiday adventure.

When our days are marred by Irish rain, and the usual outdoor pursuits you might have planned to keep the kids occupied are a wash out, it can be very challenging to keep them entertained. But a little imagination goes a long way and there are still plenty of activities that will keep them busy as well as keeping your sanity reasonably intact. Here are a few ideas.

INDOOR GAMES

Board games can be a good boredom-killer
Board games can be a good boredom-killer Board games can be a good boredom-killer

Gather board games, card games, or puzzles that are suitable for your child's age. Engage in friendly competition and spend quality time playing together.

ARTS AND CRAFTS

Set up a dedicated arts and crafts station with supplies like colouring books, crayons, markers, cardboard, glue, and scissors. Encourage your kids to unleash their creativity and make various artworks.



MOVIE OR TV SHOW MARATHON

Make some popcorn and let the kids binge on TV and films
Make some popcorn and let the kids binge on TV and films Make some popcorn and let the kids binge on TV and films

Choose a series of age-appropriate movies or television shows for a cosy indoor movie marathon. Get a theme and run with it. Perhaps Harry Potter, Jurassic Park or the Indiana Jones movies? Prepare themed food, maybe popcorn, snacks, and drinks to enhance the experience and bring the cinema to your living room.

COOKING OR BAKING SESSION

Home baking can be a great family activity
Home baking can be a great family activity Home baking can be a great family activity

Involve your children in the kitchen by planning a cooking or baking activity. Find a child-friendly recipe and let them assist with measuring ingredients, mixing, or decorating.

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INDOOR FORT-BUILDING

Gather blankets, pillows, and chairs to construct an indoor fort. Kids can use their imagination to create secret hideaways or cosy reading nooks within the fort.

INDOOR TREASURE HUNT

Create a treasure hunt with clues hidden throughout the house. Designate small prizes or treats at the end of the treasure hunt to add excitement.

SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS

Home science experiments - messy and fun
Home science experiments - messy and fun Home science experiments - messy and fun

Conduct simple science experiments using household items. Look up age-appropriate experiments online and be sure to check the final outcome, you don't want a huge mess to clean up afterwards.

INDOOR CAMPING

Set up an indoor camping experience by pitching a tent or creating a makeshift one with blankets. Tell stories, play shadow puppets, make and enjoy camping-themed snacks.

VIRTUAL TOURS OR EDUCATIONAL WEBSITES

Take advantage of online resources that offer virtual tours of museums, zoos, or landmarks. Engage your kids in learning while exploring the world from the comfort of your home.

Remember, rainy days can also be an opportunity for kids to engage in imaginative play and quality family time. Be flexible and open to their ideas, and don't forget to make the most of the break from the usual routine.

And it's not just the younger kids who get bored when the weather's bad. There are plenty of activities teenagers can enjoy during summer holidays when it rains without spending money. Suggest a few of these. If the eye-rolling isn't advanced and intense in response, they might just try it out.

INDOOR EXERCISE OR YOGA

Yoga can be a fun family activity
Yoga can be a fun family activity Yoga can be a fun family activity

Look up exercise routines or yoga videos on platforms like YouTube and create a workout session at home. Engaging in physical activity can boost mood and energy levels.

LEARN A NEW SKILL OR HOBBY

Utilise online resources to learn something new. Whether it's playing a musical instrument, painting, coding, or cooking, there are numerous free tutorials and courses available on the internet.

DIY PROJECTS

Tap into their creativity by engaging in do-it-yourself projects. They can upcycle old clothes, create jewellery, make room decor, or experiment with various crafts using materials available at home.

MOVIE OR TV SHOW MARATHON

Watching television together can help pass the time until the sun re-appears
Watching television together can help pass the time until the sun re-appears Watching television together can help pass the time until the sun re-appears

Similar to the suggestion for younger kids, teenagers can have a movie or TV show marathon as well. They can binge-watch a series they've been meaning to catch up on or discover classic movies from different genres.

VOLUNTEER WORK

Look for local volunteering opportunities that align with your teenager's interests or causes they care about. This could include helping at a local shelter, organizing a community clean-up, or assisting with a charity event.

ORGANIZE AND DECLUTTER

Try a de-cluttering session to kill some time
Try a de-cluttering session to kill some time Try a de-cluttering session to kill some time

Use the rainy days as an opportunity to de-clutter and organize their living space. They can rearrange their room, sort through clothes, books, or other items, and donate or recycle what they no longer need.

And to the parents, I say this: Hang in there. There are only about six weeks of this left. The school bell will toll before you know it.