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How to beat boredom on rainy days

The summer holidays are a glorious time for children - after all, don't some of your favourite memories date back to those halcyon days when the weeks stretched out ahead of you with no school in sight?

Unfortunately though, summer holidays don't always mean sunshine, as the recent storms and torrential rain we've been getting in Britain prove. And rainy days can herald the comment every parent or grandparent dreads: "I'm bored!"

Rather than tearing your hair out, try coming up with some easy games and activities that can be enjoyed indoors and that will leave kids feeling like they've had a great day even if they never set foot in the garden.

In case you're having trouble, we've put a few ideas together below to help you out.


1.    Make a movie

Children will love the idea of emulating their favourite stars of the silver screen by starring in their own movie or TV programme. All you need is a camcorder or even a camera phone and you can play director and get that camera rolling. If they want to go into detail, try writing a short script and gathering some props first. When you've finished, they can even have fun editing themselves on the computer. Don't worry if you haven't got a camera or PC with the right software though - kids will enjoy putting on a play in a cardboard theatre just as much.


2.    Start a scrapbook

We've all got photos we never look at, so why not create a keepsake and ensure youngsters are occupied at the same time by laying them out on pretty papers in a display book? Supplies are available from craft stores, or you can make your own using coloured paper from junk mail, crayons and accessories like scraps of fabric and buttons (take care with small pieces though).


3.    Do crafts in general

It's a well-known fact that little ones love cutting and sticking of any sort, so set up a craft table and really go to town. There's fingerpainting if you want to get messy - the results can make surprisingly good artwork for your walls too; we know someone whose child created something that looked so much like abstract rhubarb, it was revered for ever after. Printing also serves as a reminder of tiny hands in years to come. If you don't fancy it, there's also macaroni pictures, making your own play dough and creating a time capsule to consider, none of which will break the bank.


4.    Share a book

The simple pleasures are often the best, so don't rule out just sitting down and reading together as the rain pours outside...


5.    Write a story

...Or if you've got a budding author, fold some paper and get them to come up with their very own story. Prompts such as a selection of objects might help, or writing aids like Rory's Story Cubes. This is not only fun, but it helps them to practise their National Curriculum activities without them even realising.


6.    Pen a letter to a celebrity

Forget Twitter - get youngsters to pick their favourite celebrity and then write them a letter on real paper. They're likely to have a fan club you can send it to later - and their jubilation if they get a reply will be priceless.


7.    Dig out your old board games

There's nothing like playing a real game like Operation or Hungry Hippos, so look in your cupboards and see what you can find. Children will love the novelty after swiping away at apps on screens and you'll enjoy some quality time together while boosting their communication skills.


8.    Do some baking

This is a classic, as little ones just adore getting messy in the kitchen. Cakes are always a good option, but you can try making healthy treats too - Sainsbury's has some good recipes at the moment for making apple crisps and fruity yoghurt buttons, for example.


9.    Dance like nobody's watching

Get them to burn off some steam during long periods cooped up inside by putting on your favourite songs and dancing together. You can even make up routines if you're so inclined - but you might want to close the blinds if you're on the shy side!


10.    Bring the outdoors in

Don't feel as though you can't use 'outdoor' toys when it's raining - okay, it might not be plausible to bring in the entire jungle gym, but a junior trampoline or seesaw won't take up much room and can keep them active in the living room.

Hopefully some of these tips will prove useful when you're in charge of children's entertainment this summer - and if all else fails, you can always give them a duster and get them to help with the cleaning!

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