So half-term is with us and no doubt many readers of this blog will be trying to think of things to do to keep the young ones happy and occupied over the next week or so. You don’t want them sitting in front of a screen all day, but technology is a part of everyone’s life these days whether we like it or not, so we thought we’d suggest some half-term fun and games that involve tech in creative and physical ways and not necessarily the ‘couch potato’ kind!
- Let the kids become ‘digital animators’ with the free Stop Animator app. Through a super simple interface, this clever app allows you to create stop action videos. You can get creative and paint scenes on large pieces of cardboard, use toys as characters and get the kids to do voice overs as you create an animated video. It’s simple to use and gives hours of fun.
- Make a TV! A bit ‘old school’ for sure but again great, simple fun. Get a large cardboard box and get the children to decorate it like a TV with all the different buttons and so on. Then ask them to create a TV programme to put on for you by getting inside the box or, if it’s not big enough for that, they can put it on a table and kneel behind the ‘screen’ as they talk through it. And the best part? You get to sit down with a cuppa and watch as they entertain you (and themselves!)
- Go geocaching. This is a great way to get out and about and adds some real fun to a walk, which all the family can take part in. It’s basically a treasure hunt which uses GPS or mobile devices to find containers called ‘geocaches’ or ‘caches’ – literally anywhere. A typical cache will contain a logbook and the geocacher enters the date they found it and signs it. After signing the log, the cache must be put back in exactly the same place as it was found. Larger containers may also have items for trading, such as toys or trinkets, so you can take items to swap. There will be geocaching opportunities somewhere near where you live so a search on the internet should provide the necessary details.
- A Powerpoint project for Key Stage 2 children. Come up with a few fun topics that your children would enjoy looking into and talking about, ask them to choose one and get them to find out as much as they can about it. Then ask them to create a Powerpoint presentation on it to show you what they’ve come up with.
- Do a time trial. Weather permitting, take the kids to the park or somewhere similar and set them some timed tasks, like races, obstacle courses or ‘find three red things’ (or whatever) in a minute. Then use the stop watch on your phone to time them. Alternatively, if you have children who don’t do well with competition pressure, then change this to a kids v. grown-ups game – find three red things before me – in which you can control who wins and how often.
- Read a book on a kindle. We all love a physical book but the odd time sitting with your child and reading a kindle book or ibook is time well spent too and a good excuse to use some tech.