Fun is a very subjective thing isn’t it? Some people like building model railways or flower arranging, others like cage fighting or zip sliding down a crevasse in an inflatable Sumo costume. Not everybody’s idea of fun is the same, so why would it be any different for kids?
So remember, this summer holiday, when you’re planning your FUN itinerary of FUNtivities, they may not actually be fun for everyone. Here are just a few supposedly universally enjoyable pursuits that may end in tears…
Family Fun Days
I don’t know about you, but if I wanted to define fun, I wouldn’t say it was crouching over a slippery, mud splattered bouncy castle crash mat trying to put a toddler’s shoes on. Or standing in a rain soaked queue at a burger van while some dead-eyed Deirdre serves your kid a disc of botulism in a bap. Or wondering how you’re going to pay the mortgage because you spent ONE THOUSAND POUNDS at the Family Fun Day. And for some reason, despite being garlanded with Dora balloons and candy floss, your kids will be in a worse mood than if you’d locked them in the coal shed.
Everybody loves cake, right? Cake is brilliant! Plus baking teaches kids some really valuable things, like hand/eye co-ordination and patience, yeah? And it also teaches them that their food doesn’t just come from a packet with ‘Mr Kipling’ written on it. It’s so fun and touchy feely and Hugh Fernley Whittingstally! And then you actually start. Some parents might have great (and smug) successes when baking with kids. But for many of us, baking means wailing, flour bombs, burnt fingers, knife-sharp shards of broken eggs, arguments, sludgey mixture oozing out of the oven and weird inedible cupcakes that look like tits. There’s no way we’re Instagramming THAT.
Painting always seems like something you could do to entertain a child for HOURS on a rainy day. But in reality, it’s loads of preparation for a very short-lived reward. You basically have to cover everything in a large waterproof condom, dress your children as if they’re trying to fix a nuclear reactor, and grit your teeth. Then you sit back and wait for them to ‘express themselves’. What do you get in return? A fugly grey/brown splodge that they insist is a picture of Mummy. Then they wander off and put paint all over the sofa.
Day Trips to Historical Places of Interest
Kids love history, don’t they? They like castles and knights of old and all that jazz. Well, yes. But only if it’s presented in Lego form with some explosions and sword fights in 4D. They have absolutely no interest whatsoever in going to Dumplington Castle and Farm Shop to look at medieval tapestries and topiary for six hours while you yell: ‘It cost a tenner each for this! Look! Look at the effing TURRETS!’
Like Family Fun days, the fun fair has fun in the title, so therefore we will all have fun. WON’T WE? Well, no. The fun fair comes to town via a bunch of unseemly and usually toothless individuals, who demand £10 for 5 tokens then shove your child onto the teacup ride as if they’re pigs going to an abbatoir. There will be screams (of horror) as you helplessly watch your kid navigate the death trap which is the ‘Fun House’, their delicate limbs just inches away from rickety moving steel plates and collapsing staircases. Just when you think you can’t cram in any more ‘fun’, your kid will harangue you to go on the Big Wheel, (last safety check: 1942) where you will have a massive panic attack.
The Amusement Arcade
Slot machines! Teddy pickers that will never pick anything up for as long as you live! Dodgy weirdos who smell funny! Inflatable rubber hammers! Bad moods and crushing disappointment! Teaching your kids that gambling is fun! Yes, the amusement arcade has all this and more. You may as well just ask your child to throw twenty quid’s worth of 2ps into the road instead.
The beach is beautiful. The sea is a vast, glittering expanse, dotted with white surf and sailboats. The sand is warm between your toes, bringing back memories of childhood. All those hours spent burying Dad and messing about in rock pools with your little red bucket. Heaven! Well, that’s the IDEA of the beach. The reality is lashing rain, blustery wind, sand in your crack and the near constant threat of drowning. Will grandma get winched to safety by the RAF? Place your bets now!
So here’s an idea. Rather than subjecting them to ‘fun’ this summer holiday, why not just stay at home? Invite a bunch of friends and let the kids go feral. Just think of all the money you’ll save, and the heartache you’ll avoid! And once that second glass of wine kicks in, you never know – YOU might be having fun too…