It seems the UK weather often doesn’t get the memo about the school summer holidays.
There’s nothing more depressing than a washout picnic or trip to the park, so you might want to plan some activities that aren’t dependent on an optimistic weather forecast.
We’ve rounded up nine sure-fire ways to keep the kids entertained without braving a drenching.
1. Plant A Mini Herb Garden
This might sound like an outdoor activity, but actually you can set up a beautiful little herb garden in your kitchen just by filling an old bin, washing up bowl or tin bath up with soil and lots of herbs.
The kids can help you plant them (they can’t go far wrong, unlike with more delicate flowers which they might damage) and when the herbs grow and you use them in your cooking, it will encourage kids to try new flavours and foods.
2. Fruit And Vegetable Printing
Admittedly, it isn’t the best activity if you are trying to keep the house tidy, but in terms of a free afternoon activity, fruit and vegetable painting is a no brainer.
Everyone has some potatoes left lying around that can be sliced in half and used for printing shapes. Citrus fruits also make a nice pattern on the page. You’ll even have something to put up on the fridge afterwards.
3. Cook As A Family
Cooking with kids can be something that parents try to avoid because of the mess and having to constantly supervise.
But it is the best way to use up an afternoon together, teach your child new skills and maybe even get them to try a new food.
If you’ve been struggling to get your child to eat a certain vegetable or other food for a couple of months, then use this as an opportunity to integrate it into a recipe and let them prepare the food themselves.
4. Room Tidying Competition
Ok, now admittedly this one might be pushing your luck. But we know that anything where there is a prize involved normally gets children’s attention pretty quickly.
Instead of just sending them to tidy with no time constraints, make it fun and set them individual challenges, which you can time on a stopwatch and then reward them at the end.
5. Play Dates
Just because you can’t get out and about to see friends, it doesn’t mean you have to spend time alone with your kids. Get a friend to pop round for an hour or two and hide from the rain together.
Also worth timing the room tidying competition just before they turn up…
6. Pizza-Making Competition
This works particularly well with a bigger group, so if you do have friends come round for a play date then suggest a pizza-making competition.
Entertaining for both adults and children, and it means everyone is fed and entertained for one price. Bargain.
7. Building A Den
Everyone has fond memories of building a den as a child, and your children are no different. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, just get together some chairs, blankets and pillows and make a cosy nook in the corner.
If it’s raining outside, there’s nothing nicer than having a little space to retreat. You can even let them watch the iPad inside once they’ve built it.
8. Fruit Popsicles
It might be raining outside, but that doesn’t mean children aren’t still thinking about ice cream and lollies.
The ice cream van probably isn’t going to be out and about in the rain, so instead make your own fruit lolly at home – pop small chunks of berries and other fruits into a squash and water mix and then put it all into a mould to freeze. A guaranteed crowd pleaser.
9. Visit A Museum
Lots of children might roll their eyes at the idea of going to a boring museum, but you need to make some plans outside of the house or else you’ll get serious cabin fever if the rain lasts any longer than 24 hours (which is likely).
There are plenty of museums that offer free entry, or at least to certain exhibitions, so it’s worth looking around for deals.
Then it means if you only spend 20 minutes in there before they have a tantrum, at least you didn’t lose any money.
Mumsnet have collated a great guide to kid-friendly museums and galleries across the UK.