The thought of two weeks of arctic condition Easter holidays is enough to strike fear into any parent - but if you are feeling like this - perhaps we can help. We've picked the brains of some of our customers who are also the proud owners of school-age children for their top tips for holiday entertainment on a budget. 1. Wrap up warm and go for a nature hunt in the park. Once the children have collected their treasure they could have a go at making some stuff with it. For a start, lots of feathers and twigs are good for an Indian headdress when combined with card or fabric to tie round your head. Or you could make a nature mobile using strong thread or string. And there's always leaf printing with poster paints on paper or fabric paint on cloth.
2. Dad tip #1: Make a home cinema. For an authentic cinematic experience on the cheep, get a dvd the kids haven't seen before (Bedford Central Library have a good selection you can hire for a week for just £1.40, or Blockbusters in Kempston is a good place to look for newer titles you can hire,) draw the curtains and get the popcorn in! Invite friends and add beanbags for a really great (easy) afternoons' entertainment.
3. Enter the Kiosk at the Park drawing competition! All you have to do is draw and colour your very own Easter Picture using felt tips, crayons or colouring pencils on a sheet of A4 paper. Write your name, age, email address and a contact number on the back. Hand it in at The Kiosk before April 12th, and you will be in with the chance of winning a hamper of Easter goodies. The winner will be announced on April 14th, and will be judged by members of the Circus of Illustration! There will be paper and colouring pencils available at The Kiosk throughout the holiday - so come and do Colouring at the Kiosk!
4. Take a well-wrapped-up walk around Mowsbury Woods, which are just behind Mowsbury Park It's perfect boy-and-stick territory, and if you take wellies and a jam jar, you can wade about in the stream, and bring home some interesting stream-life. (Or some precious pond weed.)
5. Dad-tip #2: Visit Priory Marina. Ideal for slightly older children, the new(ish) adventure playgound near the car park features a flying fox! Other attractions at Priory include a labyrinth, a walk around the finger lakes, and the best stone-skimming destination in all of Bedford.
6. Dye some eggs. Well, it is Easter, after all. For a simple approach, dip boiled eggs into bowls of food colouring for a beautiful coloured effect. Accessorize with soldiers! For more advanced egg decorating, see here.
7. Go egg rolling. You're in good company if you do - it's the Easter day activity at The White House, no less. For this, you just need hard boiled eggs, and a hill. You may also need chalk for marking out the points that your contestants' eggs reach. Refereeing skills are preferable.
8. Do some baking. Let's face it, any cake looks better with the addition of some decorative chicks/mini eggs/foil-wrapped bunnies. If you want to make an Easter Victoria sponge, have a look at the tips here from one of our awesome baking team, Karen.
9. Take a day trip to Watergate Farm near Leighton Buzzard to see some newborn lambs! Admission really is cheep - £3.50 for adults, £2.50 for kids, and you can also take a tractor ride, see baby pigs, or have a pony ride. Wellies are a good idea.
10. Come to Russell Park, grab a warming drink and some sustaining snacks from The Kiosk. You are bound to run into other owners of small children. As well as our colouring competition, we will have Face Painting duo Sophie & Millie on hand to create artworks like this:
At least the kids might sit still for ten minutes!
We'd love to hear any of your ideas for keeping kids busy over the holidays! Comment on the blog, or leave a post on our Facebook page.