School Holidays Activities: Plan Your Pins

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School Holidays: The Great Entertainment Challenge

The school holidays can be a daunting prospect for parents. Whilst we love having our kids at home and having the time to chill out as a family, the thought of having to fill all those empty hours can be quite overwhelming. And of course it doesn’t help that all the normal things the kids do, (swimming lessons, stay-and-play sessions, youth groups) are usually cancelled through the holidays as well.

The Usual Solutions

There are generally two approaches to this challenge:

  1. Sit the kids in front of the TV / Electronic Device and wait it out
  2. Spend a fortune on taking the kids out here, there and everywhere

Now I’m not particularly a fan of either of these, and I don’t really know many parents who are; it’s just a way of coping. Being transfixed on a screen all day is unsociable and unhealthy. Going out on numerous day-trips is expensive and doesn’t allow time for creativity or rest.

So now I’ve painted a wonderfully bleak picture and got you all completely dreading the summer holidays starting in a few weeks (!), let me reassure you that I have a TRIED AND TESTED method to solve all  your school holiday woes!

The ‘Pins’ Solution

Now I’ve been a full time mum to two children for the last five and half years, so I KNOW about the trials of keeping children entertained. I know the irritation of hearing the words, “I’m bored” for the six hundredth time today. I know the temptation to stick them in front of the TV and be done with it.

But a few years ago, I hit upon the idea of ‘pins’.

That sounds weird! Let me explain…

school holidays paddling pool

When the older ones are at school and I’ve just got little Charis at home, I have specific events to ‘pin’ my week on – Mondays I do my errands in town, Tuesdays I go to Toddler Group, Fridays I go to the school’s Celebration Assembly. They are fixed events that add some regularity and structure to my week. The events are mostly term-time only, so I really struggle when the school holidays roll around, until I had the brainwave of creating my own ‘pins’!

Now, I divide each holiday up into weeks. Then I give each week a theme (we have had Fairy Week, Pirate Week, Music Week, Chinese Week). Then each day (Mon-Fri) I plan one activity which ties into the theme. The activity can be anything from 15 minute craft to a 2 hour film, as long as it fits the theme. It breaks the day up and gives the children something to look forward.

Here is an example of Creepy Crawly Week from our summer holidays last year:


Tuesday Wednesday Thursday


Take photos on a Bug Safari Baker Ross Bee Craft Butterfly Face Paint Watch A Bug’s Life

Visit the Butterfly House

Activities Baker Ross Bee Badge

Using this method means that you can plan things around whatever your children enjoy. If they’re into Spiderman, have a Spider Week. If they like running around, have a Sports Week. The possibilities are endless.

Hints and Tips

I generally keep the activities secret until we’re ready to do them so that the anticipation is there. This also means that I can be flexible (e.g. a bug safari would not have been much fun in the rain, so if Monday’s weather looked bad, I could’ve swapped the activities around).

Keep costs down by using resources that you already have. So if you’re doing a Princess Week, and your kids have a Princess Jigsaw, timetable that as one of your activities.

Have a look on the internet for free events going on around you. Libraries and tourist attractions often put on special events in the school holidays. Then build your week around that trip. Our library hosted a Gruffalo picnic at half term, so we had Forest Week and learnt about all the different creatures that live in the forest. Then the trip to the library fitted in perfectly.

I generally aim for about 1 trip out a week. This can be as simple as a visit to the park for Sports Week, or a full on day trip to the beach for Seaside Week.

Over To You…

So now I’ve given you some ideas, get planning. I’d love to hear what you come up with.

Or feel free to use some of mine. These are the posts that contain plans:


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The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback
Dear Bear and Beany


Add yours
  1. 5

    Wow, this is completely and utterly genius! I’m always at a complete loss for what to do with my toddler and I get in a right muddle trying to come up with activities so this seems such a godo way of organising things and not feeling so guilty about too much TV! Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo

  2. 9
    Louise Pink Pear Bear

    This is a fab idea. I think forward planning is the key to it. I’m not great at that. I think my daughter is so used to a timetable now that she can’t cope on a free and easy day so I’m thinking of trying to ‘timetable’ our holiday days too. Thanks for joining us at the #bigpinklink

  3. 11
    Louise (Little Hearts, Big Love)

    I like the idea of having themed weeks for the summer holidays and structuring activities around that. We’ve done similar things with crafts which has helped give me ideas for craft activities, but not for more general activities so might have to give this a try. We have a summer bucket list this year with quite a few simple activities on it which should also help find things to do over the summer but this is definitely an idea I’ll be keeping at the back of my mind for the future! 🙂 #sharingthebloglove

  4. 12

    Love this. I think my pins are often based around people – most of my pals work part time so I know who I usually see on certain days…mixed up with a few groups we regularly attend. People pins also go skew over summer as everyone is busy doing ‘other stuff’! I love the idea of a theme week – I want to host a kids festival in the garden – maybe I should make a week of it 🙂
    Thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub

  5. 14
    Laura - dear bear and beany

    This is a great idea to split it into weeks and do a theme. I’m the same have different things on set days during term time and then suddenly nothing is on during the holidays. I love simple days out, taking a picnic to the local park. Thank you for joining us for #SharingtheBlogLove Laura X

  6. 15
    Petite Pudding

    This is a fantastic idea and one that I certainly need to get into! I dread the looming 6 weeks in front of me but you have given me some great ideas! Thanks you 🙂 #sharingthebloglove

  7. 18
    Mess and Merlot

    I’m a big fan of planning the entire summer holidays in advance for my own sanity more than anything. That includes ‘free’ days where we don’t have any specific plans except to chill a bit, walk to the park or do craft,baking etc if weather isn’t good. I love your idea of themed weeks I think the kids would really enjoy the novelty of it all! Also I have bookmarked the Baker Ross page- some really reasonably priced bits on there thanks! #sharingthebloglove

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