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Simple Tips to Make School Holidays Fun For Everyone

Simple Tips to Make School Holidays Fun For Everyone

How many times have you looked forward to the weekend or holidays and can’t wait for them to come around, only to find you’re tearing your hair out within the first few hours?! Are the kids arguing and complaining of boredom? The weather’s turned bad, your home is messy and you need a break but can’t. Try these simple tips to make weekends and school holidays fun for everyone.


Although I don’t believe in just living for the weekends, I always forward to them. It’s a welcome break from the busy Monday-Friday routine of school, work, after-school clubs, homework and so on. The same is true of the holidays. I love having more freedom in my schedule, a chance to relax and unwind, re-charge my batteries. These are times spent as a family – having fun, enjoying being together and creating new memories and sharing experiences.

However, the problem with weekends and holidays are that they can be totally unstructured. When the whole family are used to structure because that’s what school and work dictates for most of your time, you’re just not used to having time to yourself.

Kids are often better with a bit of flexible routine and structure to their day and I think adults tend to work better like this too. Or, at least, I know I do!

We benefit from having a definite start and end point to our day, some kind of plan (even if it’s a loose plan with plenty of chilling) and some direction and a simple routine daily routine.

When weekends, and particularly, holidays come around, we often struggle with a lack of structure and routine, even though it’s nice to begin with!

  • You may notice that the kids argue and fight more often, they say they’re bored, that there’s nothing to do.
  • They may want your attention more than usual, ask you to do stuff with them all the time, asking for yet more snacks and drinks (partly through boredom).
  • You may end up spending a fortune on unwanted stuff at the shops or going out to places with expensive entry prices because you’ve run out of ideas or haven’t planned for other ways to occupy the kids.
  • The house may look like a tornado has whipped through it.
  • There might be toys and stuff everywhere and the kitchen surfaces might be piled high with dirty plates and cups and the remains of the last meal you prepared.

Do any of these sound familiar? I know I can relate to some of them!

If you’re finding that weekends and holidays aren’t going quite as well as you’d hoped and you’re reaching your tipping point, then read on!


Here are 10 simple tips to make weekends and school holidays fun for everyone!

1. Meal plan and meal prep for main meals and snacks

This will mean you’ve always got food in the fridge and cupboards and you won’t have to spend time and effort deciding what to cook and then have to buy the ingredients before you can even start cooking. Plan and prep for snacks too as we often get caught out when we’re hungry and just need something to keep us going. It’s too easy to grab a chocolate bar, biscuit or packet of crisps when, with a bit of planning, we could be reaching for healthier alternatives. Try this article on how to simplify meal-planning and meal-prep for some ideas.

2. Keep on top of laundry

Do a load of laundry as often as your household requires. I do one load per day and make sure that it’s all dry, folded and put away before I go to bed. This way it never gets a chance to build up even if I do miss the odd day because we’ve been out and about. Read more about how to set up simple household routines for your home and get the free workbook with that article too to help you set up routines of your own.

3. Prepare for wet weather with some home-based activities

Make sure you’ve got some ideas up your sleeve for when you’re stuck indoors. This could be board games, art and craft activities, recipes that children can follow with your help and the ingredients in your cupboards to make them. List some activities that are relevant to your children and that they might enjoy so you can prepare beforehand in case the weather turns and so you don’t get stuck deciding what to do.

Tips to make weekends and school holidays more fun

4. Plan for when you’re desperate!

Keep some latest films back that the kids haven’t seen (or some tried and tested favourites they love) so they can have a movie session during times when you’re desperate! Let them have snacks and drinks and make a real treat of it. You’ll have some time to yourself whilst the film is on to get yourself back on track and feeling refreshed for when it’s finished! Too much screen time isn’t a good thing, but using screens and devices intentionally and in moderation is perfectly ok I think, but that’s entirely personal choice for you and your family.

5. Reset and tidy regularly

Forget about expecting your home to be show-home material and it probably won’t ever be spotlessly clean or tidy with kids around. But, having a quick whip round with a laundry basket before every meal time will keep it reasonably presentable without too much effort. Try these ideas on how to reset your home quickly.

6. Maintain regular morning and bedtime routines

Try to keep regular morning and evening routines and timings, even if they’re a bit different to normal. Maybe the kids don’t have to get out of bed so early in the morning and can go to bed in the evening a bit later when they’re not in school? Still try to keep these routines at consistent times, so it doesn’t impact on nap times, for example, and your days still retain a flexible structure. A morning routine and evening routine are also important for adults, not just kids, especially when you want your body and mind to be ready for the challenges of parenting! You probably need energy, stamina and maybe some coffee!

7. Stock up on supplies

Ensure you’ve got plenty of art and craft supplies including paint, pens and pencils, glue, card and anything else your kids normally use so there’s always materials to hand and you don’t need to go to the shops just for this. Consumable items like these probably won’t hang around long enough to contribute to your clutter if your kids regularly enjoy and make use of them.

8. Create a ‘places to visit’ list

Come up with a list of ten places you can visit or places you can go that are close by and are within your budget. Keep the list handy so that you’re never stuck for ideas when you’re ready to go out, but you can’t decide where.

9. Try to keep structure to your day

This can be centred around wake up and bed times, meal and snack times. Work out which times of the day are the best for your children. When are they in their best moods? When are they least likely to get frustrated or kick off with each other, maybe through hunger or tiredness? Pick their best times for when you need to go out and about, run errands and go places that you generally require and expect good behaviour. Think carefully how you’re going to manage the times of day when your kids are more like to be grumpy, tired, hungry, or needy for your attention.

10. Quick fixes

When it’s all too much and you’re just about to lose the plot, try these quick fixes to get you back on track:

  • Get the kids occupied, make a cup of tea and sit still whilst you drink it. Don’t do anything else at the same time. Just enjoy your tea and pretend you are on an island by yourself!
  • Go for a walk and enjoy some fresh air. The kids can bring their bikes or scooters so it’s fun for them and they’re not clinging to you as you walk. Stride out and see where you end up!
  • Turn the music up, sing and dance around the house!
  • Go for a drive. The kids are in the back, strapped into their car seats, so they won’t be able to wriggle or fight. Turn the music up and enjoy the scenery!
  • Probably the last thing you feel like doing but following a yoga workout on YouTube might get those endorphins flowing.
  • Find a quiet corner of your house and practice a 5-minute meditation or mindfulness exercise. Put the Calm app on your phone or You-Tube for ideas.
  • Take the kids to the playground. Pop in your earphones and listen to an inspiring podcast whilst you watch your kids play.
Tips to make weekends and school holidays more fun


In a nutshell, the best ways of getting the most out of weekends and holidays with your kids come down to three main things.

1. Planning

The more you can plan and be prepared, the easier it will be for you and your kids.

  • Plan for bad weather and activities indoors
  • Plan for good weather and activities outside
  • Plan for meal times and snacks
  • Plan for times of the day when you just need to make sure the kids are occupied so you can get 5 minute’s peace or knock out some work from home.

Plan your day but also plan for some flexibility and just going out or doing something on a whim. Plan and be prepared.

2. Let the little things go

If your home runs like a well-oiled machine for most of the time, then don’t worry if a few small things slip during the weekend or holiday. You can’t be 100% on top of your game 100% of the time.

It’s ok if you didn’t get around to putting a load of laundry on one day, or you ended up getting take-away for dinner because you didn’t have time or couldn’t be bothered to cook, and you weren’t organised enough to have a nutritious home-cooked lasagne in the freezer ready for times like this.

You’re not perfect and who cares anyway!? Think of take-away as a special treat that you’d planned for ages and the kids will love it!

Just take a deep breath and repeat to yourself that you’re doing the best you can. Cut yourself some slack and keep in mind some tips and tricks to help you all enjoy your free time!

3. Take a clutter-free, minimalist approach

As this is a blog about living a clutter-free and intentional life, my last suggestion would be to have less clutter in your home, schedule, heart and mind.

Less clutter in your home means less stuff to look after, tidy, clean and clear away. In turn, this means more time, space and freedom for making the most of your children, your weekends and school holidays without worrying about everything else that you need to do.

You might enjoy these tips on how to declutter toys, how to create a minimalist family home for calm and fun or this article which explores the benefits of minimalism in motherhood.


Here are some other articles I’ve written which you may find helpful: