The weather we have had so far this summer has been atrocious. While we are all looking to the skies and fervently hoping that it is going to stop raining and throw some hot and sunny days our way, here are five ways to turn your kids into James Bond or have fun indoors that are fabulously budget friendly.
1. Make a spy phone
Kids love role playing games and what better way to spin the rainy time away than by pretending you are all top secret spies saving the world. Nab some tin cans from the recycling and make tin-can phones connected with string. If you have no tins (you banned baked beans for some insane reason, for example), then grab some yoghurt pots. They work just as well.
Make sure your devices – be they tin cans or yoghurt pots – are dry and clean. Measure out a long piece of string up to 12 feet in length – kite or nylon string are great as is bog standard string. Punch a hole in the bottom of the can that is only just big enough for the string, insert the string and tie a knot in it to hold it in place.
Stretch the string until it is nice and tight and then start talking.
2. Write in invisible ink
There are several ways you can make invisible ink without having to go out and actually buy some. Lemon juice works really well as does apple or orange juice. These acidic inks will reveal their messages when the paper is held up to the light or heated up in the oven. Try not to set fire to the paper.
Dip a cotton bud into the juice and get writing. Avoid lined paper as this can affect the ink or run into it. Other kitchen bobbins you can use include white wine, honey diluted in warm water, milk, soapy water and vinegar. This is an ace game that can go on for hours and will fit nicely with your spy theme from point one above.
3. Set up camp
I have no idea who it was that made the rule that you can’t pitch your tent indoors but they are wrong. If you have a small tent or a child’s tent lying around the house, sad and unused thanks to the weather, then whip it out and start camping.
While I don’t recommend you actually use the camping stove, there is so much fun to be had. Make sure the door faces the TV, set up the sleeping bags and get comfy while you watch. Make sandwiches, get the binoculars and spot Dad as he stumps around the house wondering why everyone has gone mad. Or use them to spot people on the street and give them silly names.
4. Wear everything
Have you ever tried to put on as many clothes as possible and then walk around? It’s hilarious. Get everyone to put on all their clothes, or as many as they can manage before they get too big, and the pretend you are snowmen or sumo wrestlers. Roll about on the floor, laugh at how mad you look and make a film. While the mess will be atrocious I can guarantee you that absolutely everyone will get the giggles. It is too much fun for words.
5. Larger than life
If you have a big enough kitchen or play area, then this activity will be a winner. Get some really big paper – if you have paper on a roll like the stuff they sell at ELC, that is perfect – lay it down all over the floor and then get out the paint and pencils.
There are two things you can do here. The first is to whip off all the kids clothes, roll them in the paint and let them roll about on the paper. Huge ink blots and paint splobs and all sorts of amazing shapes will appear. These can be framed, turned into wall paper art, or saved to use as wrapping paper for presents to grandparents and other family members.
The second thing you can do is get the kids to lie down on the paper and then they have to trace one another’s outlines on the paper. Then they can colour themselves in and have enormous fun creating life-sized posters of their own body shapes.
And now, after all that activity and laughter (and the tidying up afterwards) you can treat yourself to a cup of tea and 45 minutes of your favourite show. I’m busy rewatching Smallville. You?