Five minute fun activities for busy people to do with little kids

Advice + Tips

School Holiday Tips and Ideas

Time to buckle up, school’s OUT! When they are at school the day seem to speed by uncannily quickly.You’ve only just waved your cherubs off before you’re back on the playground collecting them. But now suddenly the days have slowed to a halt. They go at snails pace because your kids are off school for a long block of time (lockdown flashbacks anyone?!) and it’s up to you to keep them busy. Eek. But don’t worry, I can help!

What I like to do is a couple of weeks before school breaks up is get myself ready. Like a warrior planning for battle. I need my armour and weaponry on point! I jest of course, but it does really help to get some shiz together so I’ve got activities ready to pull out in five minutes that might buy me a bit of peace or give them a bit of much needed non-electronic stimulation.

Now if you’re coming to this page midway through the holidays in a ‘HELP ME I’M ALL OUT OF IDEAS’ way then don’t worry, there’s stuff in here for you too. But I’m gonna tell you how I get ready because it might be useful for next time.


A lot of the links I am going to provide in this are from my Amazon Affiliate shop. Obviously you don’t have to buy any of this stuff from Amazon you can get it from anywhere you like - I’d recommend pound shops and supermarkets for the cheapest deals. But if you do buy from the links below I make a small percentage. It doesn’t cost you any more, it just makes me a bit of dosh so I can keep up the running of this website without ads popping up every two seconds.

My entire ‘school holiday stock up’ Amazon list is HERE if you want to skip to that. I explain why I get the stuff I do below.


As you no doubt know, usually all my five minute games use stuff you might already have at home. All the games in my books are designed so that hopefully anyone can play them with just usual household stuff. However some of those typical household things I stock up on for the holidays can be found below:

I also start to save some of the stuff from recycling in a separate bag. Cardboard boxes, egg boxes, plastic scoops or bottles - good for potions play or random crafting (always in the garden - I cannot be doing with the mess in the house!)

Bought Activities

I have also listed some of the activities I’ve bought. Things we’ve tried and enjoyed - or I got five minutes peace out of!

  • Water beads - mesmerising. We all played with them for about an hour, then later Ewan used it as a pool for his hot wheels cars to fly into off the end of a ramp he made.
  • Bunch O Balloons - super easy to fill water balloons. I did a game with these that’s here.
  • Bath crayons - perfect for writing in the bath. People always ask if these stain but they haven’t ever stained my bathroom. I’d perhaps keep it clear of white grouting though.
  • Baking kits - I’ve got a couple from the supermarket but Zac & Lily do fabulous ready made ones too
  • Galt Rainbow lab - this kit is fun to do anyway but the pipettes, tubes and little pots are brilliant for basic potion play afterwards using the food colouring.
  • Water magic books - good for long journeys
  • Gellibaff - we had a lot of fun with this during an afternoon bath in lockdown, I’ve got some slimebaff to try too. It has a powder you put in to dissolve it afterwards so the mess was minimal. Yay! But put old towels down just in case.
  • Some more kinetic sand and kinetic rocks as these are always a hit with my two.
  • We love Orchard Toys so I often have a new one in the cupboard to pull at times of need. This is a current favourite - Bus Stop. But we have swapped with friends in the past too. Doing a game swap is a great way to introduce new exciting games without spending any money!
  • Light up T-Shirts - great for a rainy day at home. Switch out the lights, shut the curtains and have a glow disco. Glow Sticks are ideal for this and can be used for hoopla after!
  • Colour in T shirts - our friends got the kids these and Ewan LOVED them. You wash them and they go blank again too so they’re reusable. They’ve done them so many times.
  • We love the I Saw It First games and have a couple of them. It’s great for very little ones about 3 and up.
  • A sprinkler - don’t bother with a paddling pool. It takes AGES to set up and they play in it for 3 minutes. A sprinkler can be set up in seconds. Always a better option for a cool down!

Food and Drink

Is it even the holidays if you don’t get asked for a snack every 14.7 seconds? Here are a few of the things I’ve tried to combat the constant requests.
As well as seriously stocking up the snack cupboard I also buy a few of these things as treats or activities too:
(It goes without saying that Mummy and Daddy’s secret chocolate cupboard and wine/gin/tequila stash is generously contributed to of course.)

  1. Make up a daily snack bag or box. Do one for each child and explain that in there is ALL their snacks for the day. It is up to them when they eat them. When they’re gone, they’re gone!
  2. Stock up the fruit bowl. If there is a healthy option they can easily reach then it saves you having to get up and if they refuse it, they aren’t actually hungry anyway 😉
  3. My nan always used to cut up carrots into sticks and put them in a bowl on the side for us. The novelty of it meant we munched on them. I’ve tried this with my kids but they don’t bother. But if you want to give it a whirl say ‘cheers’ to my nan if it helps!
  4. Fill up a jug or water bottles for them at the start of the day. This saves constantly putting more cups in the dishwasher or them asking for a drink the second you’ve sat your arse down - always the way isn’t it?!
  5. Use the plastic punnets that fruit from the supermarket comes in to organise your snack drawer or cupboard. This helps the kids see what goes where so when they help themselves it doesn’t become a massive mess.

As well as seriously stocking up the snack cupboard I also buy a few of these things as treats or activities too:

  1. We always have in popcorn for a ‘movie’ day. Sometimes its the stuff we make ourselves or just ready made bags. I put them into bowls with some sweets and we stick a film on the TV.
  2. Nesquick powder to make milkshakes as an afternoon treat! The Kids LOVE this milkshake “maker” - which just moos and stirs it. I think it’s pointless but they will happily ‘make’ milkshakes for ages.
  3. Juice to restock the ice lolly moulds - you can also buy yoghurt to make smoothy versions too.
  4. Digestive biscuits, icing sugar and sprinkles for a quick and easy biscuit decorating session.
  5. I always have Northern Dough Co Pizza dough in my freezer because they have loads of great recipes and you can defrost their frozen dough in the microwave. Making pizza is an activity and a meal! Winner!

(It goes without saying that Mummy and Daddy’s secret chocolate cupboard and wine/gin/tequila stash is generously contributed to of course.)


There are some other bits and bobs on my shopping list too like suncream (this is the best one I’ve found that means we can actually apply once in the morning and it lasts all day plus the least amount of staining) and of course I use Myriam’s (@mothercould) hack of applying with a foundation brush so I have those on my list too.

Baker Ross have some fab crafting kits which I also got, as these are perfect for rainy days at home.

And don’t forget if you’re going on holiday and need ideas for long journeys, to keep kids entertained in restaurants or ideas on what to pack then my book ON THE GO has it ALLLL!

So happy hols everyone. There will undoubtedly be moments of blissful family joy and moments where you check your calendar to see how many days until they are back in school but either way I hope these ideas mean at least there might be a few more of the joyful moments. GOOD LUCK!

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