Top 10 Free Things To Keep The Kids Busy

LondonMums tips for the bank holiday

Related links  

Register for your local newsletter:

The May bank holiday is almost upon us and, whilst we love spending time off with the kids, it does help to have a plan in place so that the children are suitably occupied during the (hopefully) sunny long weekend – and to ensure there’s a plan b for when the weather isn’t up to scratch.

Balloon modeling

Michal Kahn, the most extravagant balloon modeller in the UK, has single-handedly raised the bar of balloon modelling beyond all expectations. Your children can meet her on Saturday from 12pm-4pm At Westfield Stratford City in the World Food Court.

Using never-seen-before techniques and a lot of laughter, Michal can create the perfect balloon for each child. From impossible hats to fabulous fairy wings, hilarious pets to balloon toys, a unique balloon is created for every child (and sometimes for you parents too!)

Michal has also appeared at Harrods as well as on TV, including ‘Today with Des and Mel’ – so chances are, your children might even recognise her.

Create your own egg people
First you’ll need to blow out the egg from the shell. This involves pricking the egg carefully at either end with a needle and blowing out the gooey contents, so oozingly gooey in fact that the children will love it! Although the best part is reaching for the paints to create a masterpiece (or just dollop the contents of your paintbrush on splodge by splodge). Whichever way you choose it equates to hours of enjoyment, a rather sticky mess and some wonderfully colourful eggs.

Feed the ducks / horses

If you are lucky enough to live close to a pond, lake or field, gather stale bread for the ducks, or soft apples for the horses and head to their habitat. If the sun is shining you could take a picnic and blanket to make an afternoon of it. Alternatively, why not visit your local wildlife shelter for some close encounters with animals, from small birds to hedgehogs?

Enjoy arts & crafts with sticky fingers
Recent news reports suggest the UK will have the coldest May in 100 years with rain and freezing temperatures forecasted’. If you can’t face staying indoors though, don’t fret because from 12pm-4pm on Saturdays the team from Sticky Fingers will be opening a world of arts and crafts in the World Food Court at Westfield Stratford City. Children can enjoy making crowns, masks and other fun things, without making a mess at home!

Whilst at Westfield Stratford City, make sure to drop by the Playworld, a specially-designed play area for children five years and under. The two Playworlds are located on the lower ground floor adjacent to Waitrose and in the World Food Court on the first floor so find yourself a pew and relax with a refreshment whilst the little ones let off steam.

Do a treasure hunt

You don’t necessarily need budget for this – either use painted eggs or opt for a cheap variety bag of sweets, or some small toys from your local pound store. Go to your local park, it’s fun to do this with a group of families so the treasure discovered is more random. Distract the children while you hide the eggs/goodies and then let the search begin.

Watch some Morris Dancing
The start of May wouldn’t be complete without some traditional morris folk dancing. Head on down to the Museum of London Docklands on 7th May 2012 where the Belles of London City will be performing between 1-1.30pm and 3-3.30pm. If you can hang around until 3:30pm to watch the May Day procession keep your eyes peeled for a ‘Jack in the Green’ character – someone wearing a large, foliage-covered garland which might even cover the whole body!

Bake a Cake
Baking a cake can be lots of fun. To be in-keeping with spring, go heavy on the spring-coloured icing by using daffodil yellow and blossom pink. Or you could make edible birds’ nests using shreddies and mini chocolate eggs – a simple option which is fun and just as delicious, if a bit messier.

Design a May Queen crown or posy

Depending on your child’s preferred interest, set them the task of picking flowers from your garden to create either a May Queen ‘crown’ or pretty posy. You may need some ribbons or sticky tape to affix them together. Typical spring flowers include daffodils, cherry blossom, crocuses and tulips – see how many your little ones can recognise.

Face Painting
Children adore face painting because they are transformed into their favourite animal or character for the day, whether that’s a tiger or Spiderman. Face paints can be picked up cheaply from arts and craft stores, or raid your unwanted make-up for colourful lipsticks and eye shadows. It’s easiest to apply with brushes and sponges and you can easily find designs via a quick search online.

Now you have a list of activities there’s just one more thing to remember – keep wellies and an umbrella at the ready just in case. Enjoy the long weekend!

Monica Costa

Image credits: Egg People image – Credit: Flikr, 4lfie; Feeding Ducks image – Credit: Flikr, j_lozinski; Face Painting image – Credit: Flikr, Cobalt123


May 1, 2012