Quality parenting that is fun, writes Justine Jowell.

Holidays are coming! And for many of us, we will finally have a bit more time to spend at home and with friends. It is also great to spend time with our own families and children. Without much expense or effort, holidays can be a fun and enjoyable time to connect, but also for children to continue to learn and develop. The best way to do this, is by making lots of time to play, talk and be with our children.

We gathered ideas from SmartStarters for fun ideas of things to do with your children, in and around your home, that can turn holiday time into a great adventure!

Set up your home as an adventure playground. A good idea is to make a treasure hunt in your own home! Pick out a favourite toy or household item and hide it for your child to find. You can help them find it by telling them when they are getting closer or further away. (Hotter! Colder!)

Or you can draw them a simple map.

You can also hide a few of the same thing – like 5 spoons! This helps with building maths as children count them as they find them. (“I have found 3 spoons!”) (“Do you know how many are left to find?”)

You can also turn your house into a playground by building forts together with blankets and chairs. Or a play area with something as simple as a cardboard box for imaginative play! Make a cardboard race track, build a cardboard house, a cardboard car or train; or just give them a cardboard box to play in and decorate.

It is fun to have a project to do together. You can make playdough and here’s a recipe. Then you can both build things out of it. Playdough is excellent because children can be creative and it also builds strength in their hands for fine motor skills. Making things together gives you lots of time and opportunity to learn and talk about new things – like colours, sizes and shapes.

What do I need?
• 2 cups plain flour
• 1 cup salt
• 1 – 3 tablespoons oil
• 1 cup cold water
• 2 drops liquid food colouring

1. Combine plain flour and salt
2. Add water, food colouring and oil
3. Mix until ingredients are combined and
knead well
If too wet add a little plain flour

Take a walk in your community. Before you go decide what you are going to look for – a white car, a big tree, a pretty bird.

Make decorations for the house together. Get your child to help you bake a cake – and talk about measurements and numbers as you do.

There are so many different ideas. The limit is just your own imagination! Hope you have a wonderful Play-Full holiday.