Tag Archives: children

Top 20 Could-Do List for the Summer Holidays

Top 20 Could-Do List for the Summer Holidays

For those grandparents, parents, friends and relatives who all pitch in to help with childcare during the endless summer holidays, it can be a real challenge coming up with activities that don’t cost a fortune.

Together with my little helpers, we have come up with 20 ideas for fun and purse-friendly things to do.

I’d love to hear your suggestions too!

  1. On a sunny day and using an old oilcloth tablecloth or plastic sheet, create a garden ‘slide’ with water and washing up liquid.
  2. Find out what exhibitions are on at your local museums/art galleries/National Trust and choose your favourite. We’re going to the portrait exhibition at Attingham Park and the Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition at Liverpool museum.
  3. Create your own artwork or sculpture inspired by your visit. Be as creative as possible with colour and materials.
  4. Travel by train somewhere new (if you get a Friends & Family railcard, this reduces the cost).
  5. Create an obstacle course in the garden.
  6. Climb a hill and take a photograph at the top.
  7. Create a mosaic collage of the picture taken above using different coloured papers and/or cuttings from magazines.
  8. Have a board games tournament. One of our new favourites is Genius Squares – it’s kept my children (and me!) amused for ages and you can’t beat the old favourite Cranium.
  9. Play tennis or badminton at your local park/leisure centre.
  10. Ride bikes along quiet local roads or paths and reward yourselves with an ice cream from a shop on route.Top 20 Could-Do List for the Summer Holidays
  11. Make Chocolate Apples: add a lolly stick to small apples and coat in melted chocolate.
  12. Take a picnic to the seaside. Paddle amongst the waves, play ball, balance stones, create sand sculpture and look for life in rockpools.
  13. Paint faces with a festival vibe.
  14. Take part in the Summer Reading Challenge at your local library.
  15. Put on their favourite tunes and get household chores done together.
  16. Draw ‘alien animals’: each person has a piece of paper. Start by drawing hair/hat then fold over to hide it and pass on, then draw a head etc. Laugh at what curious creatures you create when you unfold each piece of paper.
  17. Create a pot or hanging basket and encourage them to water it and deadhead the flowers over the summer.
  18. Contact your local leisure centre to find out about their planned summer events. They often hold sports activity days and fun swims during the holidays.
  19. Snuggle under a blanket together and watch your favourite family film.
  20. Make Rocky Road Cookies (recipe below).

Gorgeous handmade foodie gifts for Christmas: Rocky Road Cookies

Rocky Road Cookies


This recipe is taken from my favourite of our cookbooks; Fantastic Food for Less.

It’s packed with loads of really delicious meals, which cost little to make.

To find out more click here.

Have a wonderful time creating lasting memories!






Easy meals for fussy children – and they will love them!

Before I became a mum I didn’t realise just how fussy children are!

Despite introducing my children to a wide range of foods, I seem to have raised fussy eaters.

The new Quick After-Work Cookbook has an excellent selection of teatime recipes written specifically with little fussy eaters in mind. Of course, all children are different, but there should be something that appeals to all.

The Children’s Teas chapter features:

  • Fish Finger Tacos
  • Turkey Pittas
  • Tortilla Pan Sandwich
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Mini Muffin Pizzas
  • Veggie Nuggets
  • Pork & Apple Burgers
  • Bacon on Pea Green Fritters
  • Hidden Veg Quorn Bolognese

And all can be on the table within 30 minutes.



Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes

This recipe is a firm favourite in our family – with adults and children alike – taken from Quick After-Work cookbook.


Quick After-Work CookbookTo find out more about this fabulous cookbook click here.






10 holiday activities for the whole family – young or old

10 holiday activities for the whole family – young or

Whether you’re staying at home during the school holidays or enjoying a good old British seaside holiday, there’s bound to be the odd day when you need some new inspiration for things to do.

Having just come back from a fortnight’s holiday in the stunningly beautiful, but rain-prone Wales I feel like I am something of an expert in keeping 3 generations occupied!

So here are a few suggestions for fun – whatever your age!

1 Make a giant map of your location.

Stick large pieces of paper together and draw on a map of where you are using an Ordnance Survey (or Google) as reference. Then draw and colour in landmarks you have visited or activities you have enjoyed. You could even draw in roads or railways and the youngest can use it for model cars or trains.

2 Play a board game.

We love Cranium, Don’t Say It or What a Performance, which are simple enough for everyone to enjoy.

3 Make Stripy Jelly!

Stripy Jelly recipeThis recipe from our fabulous new cookbook, Dairy Diary Favourites, is such fun to make and a winner with all the family. Just make sure you buy additive-free jelly beans or your children will be climbing the walls!!

Custard powder 2 tbsp
Milk 300ml (½ pint)
Strawberry jelly 135g packet
Whipped cream and children’s sweets to decorate

  1. Blend the custard powder with a little cold milk. Bring the remaining milk to the boil and pour onto the mixture, stirring well. Return to the pan and bring back to the boil, stirring. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

2.  Make up the jelly according to the packet’s instructions. Pour a third of the jelly into a jug, stir in the custard and mix well.

3.  Pour half the remaining jelly into a 900ml (1½ pint) glass dish and chill until set. Pour half the custard mixture on top, chill until set. Repeat layers with the remaining mixture, chill until set.

Just before serving, decorate with whipped cream and sweets.

4 Go on a nature walk.

Older members of the family will enjoy sharing their knowledge with little ones and youngsters revel in new discoveries. Children love a challenge, so you could create a list of things to collect, such as:

  • Nature walkSomething round
  • A leaf bigger than the palm of your hand
  • Something that does not belong
  • A fir cone
  • Something yellow
  • A small stick
  • Something rough
  • A feather
  • Something smooth
  • A leaf smaller than your fingernail
  • Something shiny
  • A blade of grass
  • A daisy
  • Something with stripes
  • Something pretty
  • A pebble that looks like an animal

You could even paint the pebble to look even more like the animal when you get home. Or make all of your finds into a collage to keep.

5 Play card games.

Older generations always seem to know great card games, and will enjoy teaching the little ones how to play. You could even make it competitive and give chocolate buttons as prizes.

Treasure hunt crop

6 Head off on a treasure hunt.

This can be as simple or as complex as you like, dependent on the ages of people in the family. You could make clues or just leave a trail to where the ‘treasure’ is. Treasure could be something like a bag of chocolate coins or a few new colouring pens. I bought some pretty but inexpensive stones and hid them amongst pebbles on the beach for the children to find.

7 Go to the cinema or have a DVD night at home.

Choose a good all-rounder family film, buy a big bag of popcorn and relax.


Family photo

8 Pose for a family photo.

Place your camera on a tripod or table, set the timer and say cheese!


Visit an attraction

9 Visit a local historical site or museum.

Choose somewhere with a mixture of activities, such as children’s trails, interesting artefacts or buildings and, of course, a good café!

10 Play rounders.

If there are small children involved, give them a huge racket and use a soft ball, so that everyone gets a chance to be involved.


Dairy Diary Favourites cookbookTo celebrate the 35th anniversary of the iconic Dairy Diary we have created a collection of the top 100 recipes from the past 35 years.

From children’s teas and quick midweek meals to delicious lunches and decadent desserts, there’s something in this book to tempt everyone.

Click here to find out more.

Jar of Fun

50 easy ideas to banish boredom during the school holidays

50 easy ideas to banish boredom during the school holidays


The school holidays are in full swing and the battle to prise my son away from his tablet has commenced.

I do believe that in 2016 technology has its place – it’s important for children to learn how to use it as it’s so integral to work and life. However, it does need to be limited!

After an hour on his tablet my son’s imagination
seems to evaporate and the inevitable ‘I don’t
know what to do’ will follow.

This is where the Jar of Fun comes into play.

The idea of the Jar of Fun is not to limit their imagination – if they’re happily ensconced in a game that’s great. It’s for those moments when they’re ‘bored’ or ‘don’t know what to do’. Let one child choose a paper from the jar and then encourage the whole family to join in.


To Prepare

One evening, sit in front of the television (don’t watch Brian Cox while doing this activity, it needs something that requires little concentration!) with a jar, some paper, scissors and a pen (or laptop and printer).

Snip the paper into 50 pieces and on each of them write an activity (or you can copy and print this list if you like). Note: you DO need to be prepared to actually do these if they’re picked from the jar, so don’t write anything too ambitious. Fold the paper and place in the jar.


Here’s my list – obviously you can tweak these to suit your family/lifestyle.

  • Act out your favourite story
  • Bake biscuits/cakes
  • Blow bubbles
  • Build a Lego town
  • Build/draw a train track
  • Build our house out of recycled objects
  • Chalk a beautiful mural on the driveway
  • Choose a new book from the library
  • Collect nature materials and make a collage
  • Construct an obstacle course
  • Copy a famous painting
  • Count pocket money and take a trip to a charity or sweet shop
  • Create a cafe at home with table settings and make lunch
  • Create a toy car race track
  • Do a jigsaw puzzle
  • Draw/paint a self-portrait and create a family collage
  • Dress up in funny outfits and take photos
  • Explore Google Earth
  • Face paints
  • Fill in an activity/sticker book
  • Find a game and teach someone else how to play
  • Go for a wildlife spotting walk
  • Go geocaching
  • Go on a bike ride
  • Have a disco
  • Hold a teddy bear’s picnic
  • Learn a magic trick
  • Look through family photographs
  • Make a book using your own photos/drawings
  • Make a den
  • Make a film
  • Make animals from Playdough
  • Make bead bracelets
  • Make paper aeroplanes
  • Make sock puppets
  • Paint animals/patterns on stones
  • Plan a treasure hunt
  • Plant bulbs/seeds
  • Play ball
  • Play dominoes
  • Read a book and then create a collage or model of your favourite part
  • Sort through the toy baskets and take a trip to the charity shop
  • Take your dolls/teddies out for a walk
  • Visit a friend
  • Visit a museum
  • Walk to the park
  • Wash the car
  • Watch a film
  • Write a letter to a friend
  • Write a recipe (then make it)

Have fun everyone!


AND as a special Easter treat we have a very lovely competition for you.

Win a Crock-Pot

Here’s your chance to win a fantastic Crock-Pot Thyme Slow Cooker as used (and loved) by our very own managing editor.










Entertaining the kids in the summer holidays

So, the summer holidays are upon us again.

For people with no children this means everywhere is much more annoyingly busier. For us with children, we have to find lots of things to do to keep those immortal words ‘I’m bored’ at bay.

Working from home I can afford to take not quite so much work on over the next six weeks, so my children will be visiting holiday clubs just two days every week. Leaving me with another five to fill.

A holiday planner is already up on the wall with all the big booked-in events written in: the week at their Nan’s caravan in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, the morning going to look after and ride a pony, the cinema trip, the visit to The Deep aquarium and the play centre visit with cousin Emma.

However, there are still a lot of days when I need to think of something to enable us to turn the television off for a few hours: that’s the curse of having too many children’s channels!

Hidden away upstairs I have a few craft kits from the very child friendly Buttonbag company.
If I can keep my patience perhaps we can make knight peg people and put on a show one day? Perhaps we can sew a little felt mouse each without too many pricked fingers? Perhaps I can bear the mess of making my own papier mache again and make some balloon masks?

And most definitely we should get out some of their old-fashioned board games to play.

Just this weekend we were housebound due to the rain so the ‘Junior Monopoly’ came out. And do you know what? It was really great. Better than playing on the Wii. It had been so long since we’d last played it that I was surprised to find my six year old Finley could read the instructions himself, and my four year old daughter Elena could recognise the numbers on the money. Fun and educational!


Seeded Tomato Scones | A Dairy Diary recipeThen, of course, there is always some baking that can be done.
Two chairs squeezed in side by side into my tiny kitchen as we all take turns to weigh and mix. The great thing about the recipes in the Dairy Diary is that they aren’t too long or complicated, so with my young helpers to hand I may well give the Tomato Scones from the 2011 Dairy Diary, page 87 a go.

There’s nothing they like more than getting messy hands and being able to use a rolling pin. And of course the results are bound to beat ‘boring’ old sandwiches.

Good luck.

Karen Perry
Dairy Diary Team


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Win an advance copy of The Dairy Book of Home Cookery

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900+ recipes that you know will always work. This is the cookbook that you will return to time after time.


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