Entertaining grandchildren at Easter - on a budget
Children are easily bored. And sometimes it’s not easy to come up with something exciting to do at the drop of a hat – you may be competing with a favourite computer game, for a start. But if you are looking for something that’s different and not going to cost a lot of money this Easter, then we have some simple ideas for easy, family fun…
Plan a treasure hunt
You may think that organising a treasure hunt takes a lot of time. It doesn’t – and (especially with very young children), the ‘treasure’ doesn’t have to be expensive either. An Easter egg as a prize is always a winner. There are some great ideas at http://www.treasure-hunt-ideas.co.uk – including a list of clues that you can copy and use yourself. Easy to plan treasure hunts, that you can set up quickly and easily in your garden, in a local park, or even around the house.
Decorate your own Easter eggs
There are some simple traditions that we’re in danger of losing – do you remember decorating hard-boiled eggs as a youngster? Get out the paints, the pencils and felt tips, some glitter, and anything else you have laying about. Either hard-boil or blow some eggs (teaching young children how to cook scrambled eggs for lunch is an activity in itself), and let them use their imaginations. If they need prompting, try suggesting ‘happy faces’ or ‘draw a pattern’.
Bake a cake
You don’t have to qualify for the Great British Bake Off, to share a love of cooking and introduce young children to the kitchen, safely. Children love making and decorating cakes and cookies, and it’s amazing – children will usually eat almost anything they’ve cooked themselves! Fairy cakes are simple to make, quick to decorate, and just a little bit messy to eat (if you ice them).
Top tip: don’t worry about the mess, plan for it in advance. Tape some newspapers to your table, spread some extra sheets around under the floor. Get young children dressed in an over-sized tee-shirt or long-sleeved shirt, and pull back long hair so it’s safely out of the way. Let them make mistakes, let them weigh things for themselves, let them feel the ingredients between their fingers – and let them take great pride in whatever they bake. It’ll be yummy!
Go back-garden camping
Even now, while it’s still brisk outside, sleeping under canvas is exciting. Even more so if you’re little, and it’s your first time having a big adventure – and it’s not far to the toilet or the fridge. Pitch a tent at the bottom of the garden facing away from the house, and if the children are old enough, show them how to light a fire safely and cook sausages for tea. They’ll never forget it.
Do a bit of gardening
You can almost feel teenagers rolling their eyes! But with a little planning, this is an activity that younger children lap up – just as long as you’re not asking them to prune your roses. Ask which vegetables they like, and get them to help you dig over a patch of garden for very their own vegetable bed. Pop down to the garden centre, let them choose some seeds, and let the children plant their own food. Make individual plant markers – use yoghurt pots, cut into strips; write on them with indelible marker-pens – and get the children to make a note, who planted what, where.
Make a mess together
Yes, why not! This is best done outside, but it’s a great way to show young children how much fun you can have together. Mix some cornflower with water and let them experiment with it – it’s runny when you let it flow, hard when you apply pressure. Or why not drop some bicarbonate of soda into a bowl of vinegar, and show them what happens? (Another good trick is popping a Mentos mint into a bottle of cola – it’s the same chemical reaction).