I suspect we must be like every other family when it comes to unexpected free time or the need to find rainy day activities. We have lots of discussions about what we could do, followed by M complaining that “there’s nothing to do” or “I’m bored” or “you won’t let me do what I want anyway, so there’s no point in asking” and eventually finishing with a decision that at least 3 of the 4 of us agree on, sometimes, if we’re lucky. This past weekend was no exception. Amazingly, there was no football training or game for M, no parties for either child and no school events to contend with as it was the start of the May half-term.
Chalk Wall Snakes & Ladders – this was invented by M and Mike and has been the source of hours of fun for all the family. One wall of M’s bedroom is painted with blue chalkboard paint and they decided to create a gigantic Snakes & Ladders board on the wall. It featured some individual-looking snakes as well as ladders of varying lengths and can be changed and adapted as the fancy takes M. Once designed, they played the game using a dice and coloured chalk to mark their progress on the board.
Board games – I doubt we’re the only family in the world to indulge in a board game or 2 on a weekend afternoon. The kids have been obsessed with two games recently: the Game of Life: Fame edition, where you’re a fledgling celebrity trying to make it big; and Bananagrams, a game that’s similar to scrabble, but each player works individually to create a crossword grid from their tiles. The latter has become a new and firm favourite in the household, although M struggles sometimes with the challenge of creating words from his letters. Even though he won’t always play on his own, he is always more than happy to give suggestions to anyone else playing.
Egg painting – this is an activity usually associated with Easter as the photos show, but I see no reason why you couldn’t do this at any time of the year. M was fascinated in seeing how exactly you blew the eggs, whilst G quickly learnt just how delicate the resultant egg-shells were. They were occupied for a good half an hour or so before they had had enough and had run out of eggs to decorate. G decided to go for 3 unrelated designs for her eggs, whilst M themed his eggs around a Matador, bull and red cape – don’t ask me, I have no idea where he gets his ideas from, though I’m guessing it must be something to do with his father. Mike identified the eggs from 3,300 miles away via Skype: I can only assume he saw something I didn’t.
Light Saber battles – nothing overly original, though G, M and Mike appear to have created their own battleground, almost Hunger Games style, called “Schwing Schwang”. This involves each having their own Light Saber of different colours and indulging in a series of highly complex fight moves as well as striking what I can only describe as their best battle poses. This is all accompanied by hysterical giggling from G and ear-piercing shrieks from M.
Washing Line volley ball – This offering is an alternative to regular volley ball. It involves the use of the washing line strung up between the garage and house, a space-hopper and a sense of humour. We played in teams, had 5 lives each and had to catch and throw the space-hopper from side to side without dropping it or letting it bounce out of the poorly indicated boundary lines. Challenging, but great fun for a sunny afternoon.
Family film night (or morning, or afternoon) – Finally, there’s sometimes nothing to beat sitting down as a family to watch a film together. Our biggest problem was agreeing on which to film to watch, with M and G inevitably choosing the same 5 films over and over again, whilst any suggestion from Mike or me to watch something different usually ended in tears. So, I came up with a rota system that keeps everyone happy and has seen the children enjoying some films that they never thought they’d like. Now we take it turns to choose the film and no one film is allowed to be chosen again until we have worked through everybody’s turn twice. I drew up a grid on a piece of paper that lives near the TV and faithfully record who has chosen the film and what it was. So far we’ve enjoyed a mixture of Disney, Pixar and classic films and would be hard pressed to say which has been our favourite.