FREE Printables: Learning about Bees

As spring turns into summer my garden is buzzing with insects. Like many people we are particularly keen to give our local bees a helping hand and a bit of love. Gone are the days where we pull up dandelions with abandon. Now we’ve got a scruffy, weedy, wild flower patch at the bottom of the garden; complete with a bug hotel, bird box and hedgehog home. It might take a year or two for them to be populated, but we are doing our bit.

How to create a wildlife garden with your kids

We are always on the look out for bees buzzing about the place and we have been learning a little bit about them too. Did you know that there are over 20,000 species of bee in the world and around 270 species of bee in the UK; but only one of these is a honeybee. People can be frightened of bees because they sting, but usually only if they’re being attacked or feel threatened. The are 600 species of stingless bees in the world. They’re all worth looking after and encouraging, so what can you do to encourage bees into your garden?

  • Grow plants with nectar and pollen
  • Create bee hotels and bee friendly habitats
  • Don’t been too keen to weed
  • Grow some wildflowers
  • Leave a patch of your garden unattended and let it run wild
  • Stop using pesticides and weed killers

You don’t have to have a big garden to make the world a bit more bee friendly, a window box or a couple of pots of flowering plants by your front door can all help. If we all learn a bit more about our bee friends, together we can help to support them and create an environment where they can thrive.

learning about bees

The free to download sheets include pictures to colour in and a few facts about –
  • Bees
  • Beehives
  • Honey

It’s enough to keep the kids occupied for a while and a good place to start if you’re going to start learning about bees with them.

Download your FREE learning about bees worksheets here

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FREE Printables: Learning about Bees

Recipe: Really Simple Mocha Cake

When all the coffee shops are shut and you’re missing your favourite mocha, what’s a girl to do but bake a mocha cake? This week there were two birthdays in our family; for the first, I produced a rocky road and for the second I whipped up this delicious mocha cake.

I looked all over the Internet for a mocha cake recipe I liked, but I couldn’t find one. The ones I’d looked at seemed a bit faffy for what is essentially a coffee and chocolate sponge cake. I do make good sponge cake, so I made up my own mocha cake recipe and thankfully it turned out well, much to the delight of my family.

Recipe: Really Simple Mocha Cake

Simple Mocha Cake

Ingredients

225g soft butter or baking margarine like Stork
225g caster sugar
200g self-raising flour
25g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 large eggs
4 level tsp instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water

For the coffee icing
150g soft butter
300g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
20g cocoa powder
4 level tsp instant coffee, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C. Butter and line the base of two deep 20cm sandwich cake tins.

Beat the butter (or margarine) and sugar together until pale and fluffy. I used an electric hand whisk, but you can use a wooden spoon if you prefer. Add the eggs, cocoa powder, vanilla and coffee mixture and mix together. Gently tip in the flour and baking powder and combine until it’s all smooth.

Divide the mixture evenly between the two greased and lined baking tins.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes until cooked through. I tend to open the oven door and leave my cakes in for five minutes so the shock of coming out of the oven is less. Maybe I just bake sensitive cakes.

Turn your cakes out onto a wire rack and leave to cool fully. If you’re in a rush, you can pop them in the fridge for half an hour or so.

Recipe: Really Simple Mocha Cake

To make the buttercream icing, sift the icing sugar and mix with your softened butter in a mixing bowl until smooth. Beat in the dissolved coffee and cocoa powder with the vanilla essence.

When they are cool, put a blob of the buttercream icing on your cake plate or stand; place the first layer of your sponge cake on top. The blob of buttercream will anchor the cake in place and stop it from sliding about. Smother the top of your first layer with about half of the buttercream, then sandwich the second layer on top of that. Swirl the rest of the buttercream on the top layer. I topped that with some grated chocolate, but you can leave it plain if you prefer.

I was very generous with the buttercream. If you think it’s far too much, then use what you want and put the rest in the fridge for topping cupcakes or whatever at a later date.

This mocha cake is really light, but rich. Full of lovely coffee chocolate flavour and a great family bake. To make mine even more family friendly, I made mine with decaf instant coffee, so there should be no sleepless nights in my house!

Recipe: Really Simple Mocha Cake

Party Recipe: Jam and Cream Sponge Cake

This week sees the 75th anniversary of VE Day and many people across the UK and beyond will be marking the date. We will be taking part in a community zoom celebration, so I’ve been busy baking a lovely Jam and Cream Sponge Cake to have with a nice pot of tea.

I baked this deliciously light sponge cake filled with lovely purple (the royal colour) mulled wine jam. I’d like to think the Queen would approve of my simple but very yummy jam and cream sponge cake.

Patriotic Jam and Cream Sponge Cake

To find out how to make my Jam and Cream Sponge Cake, read my recipe below…

Patriotic Jam and Cream Sponge Cake

Serves 16
A classic Victoria Sponge layered with Mulled Wine Jam and Chantilly Cream.

Ingredients
300g caster sugar
300g softened butter
6 eggs, beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp milk
300g self-raising flour
1.5 tsp baking powder

For the filling
1/2 Jar Mackays Christmas Preserve (mulled wine jam)
200ml double cream
1 level tablespoon of icing sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Instructions
Heat your fan oven to 190c. Butter three 20cm sandwich tins. In a large bowl, beat your butter and sugar together until fluffy (I used a hand mixer). Add the eggs, milk and vanilla and combine, then add the flour and baking powder and mix together until you have a smooth batter.

Divide the mixture equally between the three tins, you can weigh them to make sure they’re fairly equal if you’d like. Bake in your pre-heated oven for around 20 mins until golden and they’re cooked through. Remove from the tins and leave to cool on a cooling rack.

To make the Chantilly cream, beat the cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy. I used my hand mixer for this and it took just a few minutes.

To assemble the cake, choose the most attractive of the three sponge cakes and save that one to go on the top. You may need to cut the top of some of your layers to make them flatter so they sit more comfortably on each other. Put the bottom layer on your serving plate or cake board. Put a teaspoon of jam on the plate and put your bottom layer on that. It will help it stick to the board. Cover that first layer with your jam and put the second layer on top. Gently press the layers together. Top your second layer with the cream and put your top layer on top, sprinkle with icing sugar or decorate as you wish.

Notes

The cream is fresh so the cake will need to be eaten fairly quickly or refrigerated. If you want to keep it for a few days it might be best to not have the cream in between layers, maybe kept in the fridge to indulgently dollop on the side.

My Patriotic Jam and Cream Sponge Cake would make the prefect addition to a celebratory street party or a refined afternoon tea round at Buckingham Palace. It’s so quick and easy to make, it’ll leave you plenty of time to make a few plates of cucumber sandwiches and mix up a jug or two of Pimms for the party!

Patriotic Jam and Cream Sponge Cake

What’s your favourite celebratory bake?

Patriotic Jam and Cream Sponge Cake

I have to say, this sponge recipe is absolutely magic, I use it as the base for all my sponge cake bakes now; from butterfly cakes, cupcakes, sponge puddings and good old Victoria sponges, it’s light every single time. I can’t fault it.

Jam and Cream Sponge Cake

Recipe: Wild Garlic and Parmesan Focaccia

Being in lockdown isn’t easy. Some days I find myself going a little stir crazy, some days I’m listless in bed, other days I’m bursting with energy. I’m trying, where I can to just go with my mood rather than force myself to do things. Over the weekend the sun shone a little and I managed to leave the house and take the dog for a short walk on the field by my house. Along one shady side of the field is a path which in the spring in fringed with wild garlic. I can never resist pulling a few leaves and taking them home to make wild garlic scones or something equally lovely with them. Whilst it was quiet, I grabbed a handful of wild garlic, then headed home to bake some wild garlic and Parmesan focaccia, because everyone else is baking bread during lockdown, so why shouldn’t I?

Recipe: Wild Garlic and Parmesan Focaccia

Focaccia is a pretty simple bread to make, it just takes quite a lot of time. From picking my wild garlic, to pulling my bread out of the oven took the best part of five hours, but it was five hours very well spent. Before I began I checked in with my lovely Italian friend, Sherwin. He is a keen baker and gave me some top tips for tip top focaccia. His advice was as follows…

Focaccia is a high hydration dough so it is sticky and wet. Use oil instead of flour when hand kneading the dough on a work surface and preferably a slow first rise of 12 hours in the fridge, but an hour at room temperature will do. Use well oiled hands  when transferring and shaping the dough into a baking tray making sure not to knock out too much of the air. You can put rosemary, olives, cherry tomatoes, courgette or cheese. Enjoy!

I followed his excellent advice. I chose to prove my dough for an hour in the warmth of my bedroom and then topped it with wild garlic and Parmesan. The result was like the best garlic bread you’ve ever had.

Wild Garlic and Parmesan Focaccia

Ingredients
500g strong white bread flour
1 and a half teaspoons of salt
2 sachets dried easy blend yeast
Olive oil, lots
400ml cold water
More olive oil for drizzling
20g wild garlic leaves, washed and finely chopped
30g finely grated Parmesan
A sprinkle of sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Recipe: Wild Garlic and Parmesan Focaccia

Method
Place the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and the water into a large bowl. Gently mix together with your hand to form a dough, then knead the dough in the bowl for five minutes.

Next you need to stretch and knead the dough by hand in the bowl for about five minutes.

Tip the dough onto a very well oiled work surface and then knead some more for about five more minutes. Put the dough back into the bowl, cover and leave somewhere warm to rise until doubled in size, this takes about an hour. I put mine on my bed as my bedroom is the warmest room in the house, but whatever works for you.

Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Tip the dough out of the bowl and flatten the dough onto the tray, push the dough into the corners, cover with a large plastic bag or cling film, making sure it does not touch the top of the dough, then leave to prove for one hour.

Preheat your oven to 220C or Gas mark 7.

Using the tips of your fingers, dimple the focaccia all over, so it is covered in little dents. Sprinkle over the wild garlic and Parmesan, adding a generous twist of freshly ground black pepper and some sea salt. Drizzle over some more olive oil and then put in your pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.

Once it’s baked and out of the oven; drizzle with a little more olive oil and it’s ready to eat, hot or cold.

It is the most delicious bread I’ve made and if you can get your hands on some wild garlic, it’s well worth making yourself.

Recipe: Wild Garlic and Parmesan Focaccia

FREE Printable: Rainbow Reading Log

Help to motivate your kids to read with this handy rainbow reading log. Just colour in a cute little rainbow for every book they read, or for every 20 minutes they read for and reward them with a little treat for completing the sheet!

If you’re the parent of a primary school aged child you will probably be tasked with listening to them read each night. I love listening to my son read and I love reading to him too. I think of it as a special quiet time where we sit together and get transported to another world.

FREE Printable: Rainbow Reading Log
It’s not all sitting on a magic carpet happily listening to a child read. Sometimes it’s a bit harder to get him to read, especially if he’s not interested in the books he’s been sent home with. In those situations I usually promise him that I will read a favourite book once the less exciting school reading has been finished. That way we get the best of both worlds.

My son is very motivated by rewards, it doesn’t have to be big; a sticker or 20p for his jar is very well received. If he reads for 20 minutes he gets to colour a cartoon rainbow in. Or if he finishes a book within those 20 minutes he colours one in too.FREE Printable: Rainbow Reading LogOnce he’s completed a sheet he gets a treat. Again it’s nothing huge, he might get to choose a Netflix film for us to watch with some popcorn; or he might get a trip out to his favourite local museum.

Download this Rainbow Reading Log for FREE here

I’ve found that this reading log really does help to motivate and encourage him to read. I hope it helps you too.

If you enjoyed this, you might also like this simple children’s book review template or this FREE Pokemon Reading Log or this Dinosaur Reading Log.

FREE Printable: Rainbow Reading Log

Recipe: Easy Easter Chocolate Tart

One of my favourite (and incredibly easy) things to make is an indulgent chocolate tart. Made with dark chocolate it is a delicious and pretty adult dessert. If dark chocolate isn’t your thing, you can swap it out for milk chocolate and enjoy a more family friendly pudding. I’ve jazzed up my usual chocolate tart for Easter and, well it was so popular that is disappeared within the hour!

Easter is undoubtedly a time for chocolate. If you can’t indulge your sweet tooth now, then when can you? This chocolate tart is really very simple to make, especially if you cheat and buy ready made pastry, and would be fun for kids to join in with too.

Recipe: Easy Easter Chocolate Tart

Easy Easter Chocolate Tart

Ingredients:
For the pastry –
4oz plain flour
2oz butter, cubed
A pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons of cold water
-or- a packet of ready rolled shortcrust pastry

For the filling –
150g single cream
2 tablespoons of sugar
150g good quality dark chocolate, or milk chocolate if you prefer

2 bags of mini eggs to decorate, 3 if you’re a nibbler!

Recipe: Easy Easter Chocolate Tart

Method:
Tip the flour, salt and butter in a large mixing bowl. Using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs. Use a knife and stir in just enough cold water to bind the dough together. Do this gradually as you don’t want your pastry to be too wet. Once you’ve made the dough, cover the bowl and chill it in the fridge for 15 minutes or so before rolling out.

Or if you’re using shop bought, ready rolled pastry, take it out of the fridge about half an hour before you want to use it.

Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 5 or 190°

Take your pastry and roll it out to the thickness of a pound coin. You can either roll it out on a floured surface, or between two pieces of baking parchment. I find the baking parchment method quicker and a lot less messy.

Grease a 20cm tart tin and carefully put the pastry in the tin, pressing it against the sides. Let the pastry hang over the sides of the tin, you can trim it later. Prick the base all over with a fork. Top the pastry with a sheet of baking parchment and cover with baking beans, bake in your pre-heated oven for 10 minutes.

Remove the baking beans and parchment and pop back in the oven for another 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Once cool, carefully with a sharp knife trim the pastry so it is flush with the top of the tin.

While your pastry is cooling, warm up your cream and sugar in a saucepan. Finely chop the chocolate and once the cream is simmering, turn off the heat and add the chocolate to the pan. Leave for a minute and stir until the mixture is smooth, like really thick hot chocolate.

Carefully fill the tart case with the melted chocolate mix, level it off and make an artistic swirl or ripple on the top if you want. Decorate with your mini eggs however you want. Put your tart in the fridge for a minimum of two hours, or overnight if you wish.

This chocolate tart is very, very rich, so a little goes a long way. It also makes an excellent pudding for Easter!

If you enjoyed this recipe, you might like these mini egg cookies or these peppermint crunch slices!

Recipe: Easy Easter Chocolate Tart

Toy Review: Outdoor fun with Gazillion Bubbles

AD/Gifted. After a drab and dreary start to the year, this week, our first week in coronavirus isolation was full of blue skies and sunshine. It seemed a bit of a shame to spend all day indoors, slaving over worksheets from school, but as a reward for hard work, we spent our afternoon in the garden enjoying the good weather and playing with some Gazillion Bubbles we’d been kindly sent by Tesco.

Toy Review: Outdoor fun with Gazillion Bubbles

If you’ve not heard of Gazillion Bubbles before, they’re a range of bubble making toys. We were sent the following products from the range; Gazillion Bubbles Tornado Machine; Gazillion Incredibubble Wand; the Gazillion Megabubble Blaster and the Gazillion Giant Bubble Solution 2L.

Toy Review: Outdoor fun with Gazillion Bubbles

All of the Gazillion Bubbles products were heaps of fun. We started off by setting up the Gazillion Bubbles Tornado Machine (usually £12, currently half price), which needed 4AA batteries (not supplied). It comes with a small bottle of bubble solution and once it’s switched on, it blows out about a gazillion bubbles. This was so much fun and would be really great for parties and get togethers. We cheerfully aimed the bubbles over the fence towards our young neighbours and they enjoyed them too.

Gazillion Bubbles are available from Tesco.

Toy Review: Outdoor fun with Gazillion Bubbles

The boy was super keen to get his hands on the Gazillion Megabubble Blaster (usually £10, currently half price); a bubble blowing gun. This needs 3AA batteries (not supplied) and is lovely fun and great for angling over fences to delight other young children. He loved chasing us around and firing bubbles at us and the dog!

My personal favourite was the Gazillion Incredibubble Wand (usually £8, but currently £6). If you’ve ever watched people blow those huge bubbles and wanted to try this for yourself; this is the kit you need. It’s really simple. It’s just a circular reservoir for the bubble solution and a large hoop which you dip in, then waft through the air. It produces the biggest and most beautiful bubbles and we were all fighting to get our hands on it to try it out for ourselves.

Toy Review: Outdoor fun with Gazillion Bubbles

Each of the sets comes with a bottle of bubble solution to get you started. If you’re serious about bubbles; then I suggest you also get the 2 litre bottle of Gazillion Giant Bubble Solution (currently 2 for £10 at Tesco). The Giant Bubble Solution is a giant version of the little bubble pots. It comes with a big wand for you to blow bigger bubbles with. It’s also ideal for topping up the little bottles in your other Gazillion Bubbles sets.

We had so much lovely fun with Gazillion Bubbles. It was lovely to get outside in the sunshine; run about a bit, laugh a lot, be silly and forget our worries. We really like the Gazillion Bubbles sets, and we’re looking forward to more bubble filled sunny days this summer!

Gazillion Bubbles are available from Tesco and Amazon.

Note: We were sent these toys in exchange for this blog post. All images and opinions are our own.

Vegetarian Recipe: Aubergine Bruschetta

AD/Complimentary ingredients. Aubergine is probably one of my favourite vegetables. Admittedly it took me a while to warm to it, if it’s not cooked properly it can be pretty disgusting. These days I am probably cooking with aubergine once a week. My recipe for imam bayildi is a firm family favourite, as well as the delicious dip, ikra, but I’ve also added Aubergine Parmigiana to my repertoire.

If I’m cooking a casual lunch for friends, I like to make a few simple things to go with a big salad. One of my favourite things to make are these tasty aubergine bruschetta. They’re packed full of vegetables, they’re pretty healthy and they always go down a storm.

Vegetarian Recipe: Aubergine Bruschetta

This week I ordered a Local Box from Creamline Diaries. With the Creamline Best of Local Box scheme, you can get brilliant locally produced food from independent producers delivered to your door. The meat is from my local butchers, the bread is from a fantastic local baker and fresh fish from the fishmongers. The fruit and veg are fresh from the market each day and you can even stock up your store cupboard. 

Vegetarian Recipe: Aubergine Bruschetta

My Creamline box was brilliant and contained pretty much everything I needed to make this delicious aubergine bruschetta. It’s just the thing if you want to shop local, but don’t really have the time to visit all your local shops, or if you just can’t carry all your shopping home. 

Aubergine Bruschetta

Ingredients:

1 large aubergine
1 medium onion, finely diced (I prefer red, but a white onion works too)
2 cloves of garlic
1 pepper, finely diced. It’s traditional to use green, but I used red for colour
Olive oil
12 ripe cherry tomatoes, quartered
Big handful of chopped parsley
Tomato purée, if you think it needs it
1 teaspoon of sugar
Salt & pepper
Ciabatta bread
A ball of mozzarella cheese.

Method:

I find it best to chop all the veg before I start cooking, so finely dice your onion and pepper, quarter your cherry tomatoes and put to one side while you prep the aubergine. Cut the aubergine in half lengthways and finely dice one half. With the other half, slice lengthways it in thick, 1cm slices.

Add a generous glug of olive oil to a deep sided frying pan, add the onions, pepper and aubergine and begin to soften the veg. This should take around half an hour on a low heat, stir occasionally. Add a splash of water to help the veg soften. After you’ve been cooking this for around 15 mins, add your tomatoes, garlic and a generous amount of salt and pepper. It’s cooked when all the veg are soft and the aubergine is melty and isn’t woolly. Once cooked, throw in a handful of chopped parsley and stir.

Vegetarian Recipe: Aubergine Bruschetta

As ever, taste the aubergine and add more seasoning if you think it needs it. I sometimes add a little bit of chilli sauce to add a bit of spice, but that’s up to you.

Meanwhile, take your aubergine slices and put them on a baking tray, add a very generous amount of olive oil and cook in a 200c oven, loosely covered in foil until they are soft and floppy, this will take about half an hour, turn them over about half way through.

To assemble your aubergine bruschetta, toast or griddle thick slices of ciabatta brushed with olive oil, top with your aubergine and veg mix, then artfully decorate with your slices of aubergine, some torn mozzarella and a sprinkle of chopped parsley. You can eat this hot or cold, though I like them still warm, but not piping hot.

For more information about Creamline Dairies, visit their website.

Vegetarian Recipe: Aubergine Bruschetta

Note, we were sent this box in exchange for a blog post mentioning the box scheme. 

Cooking with Kids: Quick Herby Flatbreads

When school finished on Friday, my son was sent home with a pack of work to keep him busy while the schools are closed. The pack was full of maths and English worksheets, instructions for projects and lots of serious academic stuff. He’s in Year 4 and the emphasis right now is getting them up to speed for a big times tables test. In amongst the serious stuff was a copy of the curriculum for the rest of the year, tucked away in a dark corner were the words “bread making” so I’ve decided to break up the hardcore academic stuff with a series of bread making sessions, starting with these herby flatbreads.

I think that learning to bake bread is a pretty essential life skill. Where I live I’ve been struggling to find bread in the shops, so we’ve been mostly going without. I reckon being able to knock up some simple bread at home will tide us over. Bread making isn’t just about feeding ourselves, you can learn other lessons too, like maths (measuring out) and science (how yeast makes bread rise, etc).

Cooking with Kids: Quick Herby Flatbreads

Lunchtime was nearly upon us, so bellies rumbling we put together these really simple herby flatbreads. You can make them without the dried herbs if you prefer, but they were so much nicer with them. We ate them with hummus and carrot sticks, but they’d be brilliant with a curry or stew. They’re more snappable than bendy, almost like an Armenian lavash bread than a tortilla. Delicious.

Cooking with Kids: Quick Herby Flatbreads

Quick Herby Flatbreads

Ingredients
200g plain flour
¼ teaspoon of salt
100ml warm water
2 tablespoons of oil, I used vegetable, but olive or sunflower would work too, plus extra for cooking
1 teaspoon of dried mixed herbs
Ground pepper

Method
Put the flour and salt in a mixing bowl, make a well in the middle and trickle in the warm water, mixing as you go. We used a metal knife to mix with, but if you don’t mind getting messy, you can use your (very clean) hands.

Once the flour, salt and water are all mixed together, add the oil, the dried herbs and some black pepper and knead the dough with your hands. If the dough is too sticky, add a some more flour, if it is too dry add a drop more water.

Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough for five minutes. Try stretching the doings and folding it back on itself, my son loved punching the dough. You knead the dough to develop the gluten in it, this is what makes the bread springy and nice to eat.

Cooking with Kids: Quick Herby Flatbreads

Divide the dough into six balls, and on a clean, floured surface roll out each ball of dough using a rolling pin. Try and roll them into circles, but don’t worry if they aren’t perfect. They need to be as thin as you can make them; that way they will cook all the way through and be crispy and delicious.

Heat a frying pan, if you have a pastry brush, brush some oil over the pan; if not, dribble a tiny bit of oil in the pan and swirl it around. Once your pan has heated up a little, put your first herby flatbread in the pan. Cook each flatbread for about two minutes on each side, flip it over with a spatula. Ben said it looked like a bit like a pancake.

Cooking with Kids: Quick Herby Flatbreads

Once each side was cooked, we gobbled them up with some hummus. Ben said they tasted like the kind of bread we had with curry. If you wanted, you could try making your own butter to go with your herby flatbreads, it’s easy and lots of fun too!

These quick herby flatbreads are really easy to make with children. They’re quick, tasty and are a good introduction to bread making. We have plans for soda bread, focaccia, a crusty loaf and maybe some brioche. He will be a bread making genius by the time he goes back to school!

Cooking with Kids: Quick Herby Flatbreads

30 Screen-free ways to entertain kids at home

With the prospect of the schools potentially closing for any number of weeks, and the thought of trying to keep my lively son entertained for the duration weighing heavily on my mind, I thought it was a good idea to get a list together of ideas to keep him busy, things which are screen-free and reasonably wholesome.

As tempting as it is to arrange a heap of play-dates and days out to local attractions, that defeats the object. If the schools have closed to help slow the spread of the virus, then it makes sense for us to stay at home for much of that period. My healthy, strapping son would likely be hardly touched by the effects of the virus, but older family members which complex heath needs could be hit very hard.

I’m not wild about him spending hours watching the TV or playing computer games all the time. I won’t ban them completely, but limiting his time in front of a screen is a good thing for us. With the prospect of so many days at home to fill, I’ve made a list of 30 screen-free ways I can fill his days.

30 Screen-free ways to entertain kids at home

30 screen-free ways to entertain kids

1. Baking, learn how to bake bread or cakes.

2. Set a Lego challenge.

3. If they’re in Cubs, Brownies, Beavers or Rainbows, have a look on their website and pick some badges to work towards.

4. Play some board games, or create your own.

5. Crafting, why not make some Easter crafts or something for Mother’s Day?

6. Print off some worksheets and work through them.

7. Find out what topics they are doing in school and do some work around that, we like history subjects like Vikings.

8. Create a cosy reading corner and get a stack of books for them to work through.

9. Put up a tent in the garden and make a camp.

10. Learn to knit, crochet or sew.

11. Paint portraits of the family.

12. Make clay hand prints and paint them, or try these clay faces.

13. Do some junk modelling.

14. Make your own ice cream from scratch.

15. Have a room tidying competition, the tidiest room wins a prize!

30 Screen-free ways to entertain kids at home

16. Make a den in the living room.

17. Create an indoor treasure hunt.

18. Make your own pizzas or these pizza hot dogs.

19. Play shopkeepers, get them to set up a shop and they can learn more about money.

20. Create some sensory fun.

21. Have a disco party and a dance off.

22. Learn to meditate, there are lots of CDs and apps for kids which are great for this.

23. Kick a ball around in the garden, get a swingball set and burn off some energy outside.

24. Do a scavenger hunt in the garden.

25. Write your own story and illustrate it too if you like.

26. Do some STEM activities at home, like jelly bean architecture.

27. Get some seeds and start to grow some vegetables or flowers for the garden.

28. Have an indoor picnic, or one in the garden, get them to help make the food.

29. Learn some life skills, like tying shoelaces.

30. Give the dog a pamper day, bath her and brush her and learn about caring for her.

If all else fails, you can always ask them what they want to do. If you’ve got any great ideas for things to do, please comment below.

30 Screen-free ways to entertain kids at home