Guest post by Kirsty Herriot
I love a list, it makes me feel organised and can help keep me on track as well as giving me a sense of achievement when I can score things off of it. I make lists for nearly everything and this one is dedicated to the kids. It’s easy to get distracted, especially when you work from home, so I thought it would be nice to make a list of activities that you can do with the kids in April. They don’t have to be done in a specific order and some are quick and easy to fit in amongst a working day, whilst others are for family days off and out together. I’ve done this before and pinned it to the fridge so everybody could see what was planned and have a say in what we got up to. I found the kids loved seeing that even for just a little while on some of the days that some of my time would be reserved just for them.
Feel free to use my suggestions or to make your own list!
1st – Bark Rubbing: Head out to your local park or woodlands with some paper and crayons and make some bark rubbings on the different tree types. If you want it to be a bit educational too, take a pocket tree book and use the information to identify the trees. The first time we did this it was for a school project but we enjoyed it so much we have done it purely for fun on several occasions.
2nd – Visit the Edinburgh International Science Festival: This is so much fun. We have gone every Easter for the last 6 years and there is always so much to do. It runs from the 26th March to the 10th April, there are so many workshops to choose from as well as drop-in activities. You can book online at www.sciencefestival.co.uk
3rd – Get some fresh air at the Botanic Bunny Golden Egg Hunt: Follow the trails around the garden and discover the beautiful nature and wildlife along the way. The trail is appropriate for all ages and there is no bookings required, just pick up the £1 trail map from John Hope Gateway reception desk or the East Gate entrance.
4th – Make some homemade doughnuts together: This is a great and easy recipe and you can get creative with glazes and toppings.
5th – Build a den: Get some blankets, close pegs and what ever else you have around the house to help and make an indoor den. Doesn’t matter how old you are, this never ceases to be fun.
6th – Finger printing: Painting at home doesn’t always have to be a big and messy job. We use lots of different inkpads rather than paint pots and you can get lots of creative ideas from pinterest.
7th – Let the kids choose and make dinner: Get your recipe books out or trawl the thousands of recipes available online and let the kids decide what’s for tea, make a shopping list and cook dinner. We do this in our house at least once a week and turn it into a bit of a come-dining competition between siblings.
8th – Friday Night Movie Night: Pick a family movie to watch, get your jammies on and make some different flavours of gourmet popcorn to enjoy. Nice relaxing end to the week and start of the weekend.
9th – Find a beach to fish around the rock pools: Take a fishing net and wellies and keep your eyes peeled and you could spot whelks, limpets, crabs, starfish, jellyfish or even shrimp and lobsters. If you can collect some pebbles and rocks too you can use them for another activity later in the month.
10th – Sunday Roast at a Carvery: We’ve been to many. Kids love piling what they like on their own plate and many in Edinburgh are excellent value for money.
11th – Choose a new games app: Every month I let my kids pick a new app for the ipad. They have to read the reviews and pick one and decide which of their previous downloads they are going to delete. Sometimes they are purely for fun and sometimes they are a bit educational too (always a bonus) but they have to critically evaluate to choose anyway so that’s a learning process on it’s own.
12th – Paint monster rocks: Use the stones collected from your beach visit. Paint them bright colours and glue on googly eyes and pom poms for noses. We make little stories up for ours too.
13th – Get a new book from the library: It’s always nice to visit your local library and all chooses a book to borrow. We do this on our way home from school.
14th – Make a no-cook cheesecake: Nice and easy with the only bit of cooking being melting the butter for the biscuit base. Once you have your basic recipe you can get experimental adding different flavours. Our favourites are adding lime and mango or choosing favourite crumbled sweets to add – maltesers and mint aero are delicious.
15th – Star Gazing: It’s almost the weekend again and if it’s a clear night then this makes a great evening outdoor activity. Kids love getting to explore outside when it’s dark. We take a blanket, some warm cocoa in a flask, torches and some print outs of star maps to see if we can spot them. Sometimes we make up our own too.
16th – Adventure Golf: Great family fun at the weekend especially if the weather isn’t kind. We recently visited Paradise Island Adventure in Livingston and had a great time.
17th – Day out in North Berwick: one of my favourite places to visit. We get the train and then depending on the weather decide what to do. You can climb the Law, the beaches are great, there’s the seabird centre, a great play park, a swimming pool, putting greens, lots of nice little shops and we always finish off with dinner in Poon Thai’s beautiful Thai themed garden. They have heaters and shelter so you can eat outside no matter what the weather is like.
18th – Plant sun flower seeds: April is the month to plant your sunflowers either in pots for indoor or outdoors or directly into garden borders. So get some seeds and make it into a competition to see whose grows the tallest.
19th – Make Pasta Mandalas: You need paper plates, glue and pasta and then just get creative and make your designs. If you want to make it even prettier you can use dyed pasta but it’s just as much fun using it straight from your cupboard. If you want to know how to dye your pasta beforehand have a look here http://happyhooligans.ca/dye-pasta-easy-way/
20th – Go ten pin bowling: Nothing feels better than a naughty wee outing together on a school night as an extra treat to get you through the week. Ten pin bowling is a great family activity that doesn’t have to go on too late and you can usually get a bite to eat there too.
21st – Write someone a letter: We use emails and social media so much now that sometimes we can forget about the simple pleasure of receiving a letter. This activity is even better if you arrange with a family member or friend to send the kids a reply. Make cards, include what you’ve been up to and even some photos then head to the post office together to get a stamp and post it.
22nd – Family Board Game Evening: We love a family board game and it’s always a nice way to get together as a family, have fun and catch up with each other. Our favourites are Guess Who, Articulate and Pictionary.
23rd – Pedal on Parliament: Get your bikes out and join a mass bike ride to Holyrood. A fun day out for all the family. 3000 cyclists, young and old did it in 2013. Although they’re making a serious point about making cycling safer and easier, the day itself will be light-hearted, with a picnic at the end. Ride over traffic-free roads all the way to the Scottish Parliament. Starts at 11.30 in the meadows.
24th – Relax at the Dalmahoy: After all that cycling yesterday treat yourselves to some relaxation with a kind of Spa day at the Dalmahoy. The Edinburgh Mum’s app currently has an offer that entitles you to a free leisure pass for up to 4 if you buy afternoon tea for at least 1 person. The Afternoon tea only costs £12, so great value and a nice treat.
25th – Bedtime Hot Chocolate Station: You can buy different flavoured sachets of Hot chocolate and set up a wee bar so you can each create your favourite. Don’t forget the swirly cream, marshmallows and sprinkles. Makes going to be much more fun.
26th – Make a Lego Village: Who doesn’t have Lego or Duplo in their house? But how often do you actually sit down and build it with your kids. Every now and again we tip it all out and sit on the floor together building our own lego village. Your kid’s will love the fact you are joining in.
27th – Bathtime fun: Not for every bath time but nice as a fun treat. You can get bath painting soap, tinted water colours as well as bath kneading soap to make what sometimes becomes a chore, a whole lot of new clean fun. This website has lots to choose from.
28th – Create a Jackson Pollock: So much fun! Hang an old white bed sheet from your washing line and let everyone have a shot of splatting it with different coloured paints. Leave it out to dry overnight and if you want cut it up and frame the next day.
29th – Climb some trees: Go for a nice walk together and find some fun trees to climb. Lauriston Farm has some great ones.
30th – Mary Poppins at the Festival Theatre: Going to the theatre can be expensive but whenever I do go I’m instantly reminded how much more magical and nostalgic a trip to the theatre is which always makes it seem worthwhile. Mary Poppins is on at the Festival Theatre, Edinburgh from 27th April to 21st May. You can book tickets here