1. Penny toss
Provide pennies and bowls, mark a shooting spot on the grass, every penny in the pot wins a prize.
2. Peanut hunt
Buy a pack of monkey nuts, mark some ‘winning’ nuts, and then hide all the nuts. Give prizes to any kids who find winning nuts. [from Having Fun with Kids by Marilee LeBon]
3. Home-made skittles
Fill old water bottles a third of the way up and provide some balls
4. Face painting
Make it even more fun by getting the kids to paint each other!
5. Short tennis
You can buy children’s sets relatively cheaply. Get set up with some strawberries and cream and pretend you’re at Wimbledon.
6. Bike rides
Pack a picnic and make it an all day outing.
7. Build sandcastles
In a sandpit or on a beach, make flags from paper and straws for the top.
8. Make homemade birthday cards
Most supermarkets have pre-packed sets for a few pounds, which usually include card, glue, stickers and glitter. Set them up and let them make all the cards for the coming year.
9. Make chocolate fondue
Melt a few bars of chocolate in microwave and cut up a load of fruit, marshmallows and brioche.
10. Day camp
Set up a tent, provide picnic food, and have a day camp in the back garden
11. Karaoke competition
Hold a karaoke competition, or go one further and host an X Factor style audition (vote off optional!)
12. Blind taste test
Blindfold each child in turn and provide a few different foodstuffs, mark down which ones they get right. Provide a small prize for the winner.
13. Egg and spoon races
Not just for school sports days, and quite good entertainment for the adults too.
14. Visit a science museum
We like the Glasgow Science Centre.
15. Put on a play
Provide a good story book and get the children to choose parts and act it out.
16. Cookery class/Bake off
Hold a cookery class, or a bake off style competition.
17. Visit a farmers market
Give every family member a budget and let them choose something for a picnic tea.
18. Sponge painting
Provide a length of plain wallpaper (outside is best!), some sponges and some paint.
19. Build an obstacle course
Build an obstacle course in the back garden and time each other. Use any play equipment you have, for example; tubes, climbing frame, bikes, hula hoops, skipping ropes with household items like sheets as scramble nets.
20. Build cardboard robots
Provide different size boxes, glue, lots of tin foil and anything else that you have lying around that looks remotely robot like.
21. Fondant icing characters
Provide a few different colours of fondant icing (colour with food colouring) and let your children make animals and characters from cartoons.