Thanks to the pingdemic (although we prefer pingdemonium… or the apingalypse?), many plans for the summer holidays are looking shaky at best. If you’ve been lucky enough to find family-friendly holiday accommodation that’s both affordable and not falling down, you’re officially winning, so you go off and enjoy making all those memories catching crabs and showing off on Instagram that your pride and joy wrote their name in the sand all by themselves, the rest of us will just be festering at home in front of Bluey.
If you’re a festerer, however - whether you’re stuck isolating, you used up all your leave in January or you’ve had your holiday plans cancelled - you might be wondering how on earth you’re going to entertain the kids over six long weeks when you exhausted all the local parks a year ago. So, if you’re seeking fresh inspiration or just a way to stop them begging for the two evil i’s (iPads and ice cream) every three minutes, we can help.
The summer holidays are a great chance to learn something new, and there’s a ton of stuff to learn for both adults and kids on discoco.co.uk, a new platform curating great online courses and injecting some fun into self-development. A lot of the courses you’ll find on Discoco are for grown-ups, but there are a few absolute gems for kids, too, ideal for livening up the looooong break.
Online learning can be a sneaky way of getting kids to do something stimulating while still making them feel like they’re getting their screentime fix - and can even inspire whole new hobbies that take them away from tech entirely...
If you have a budding creative type on your hands, for instance, you could try Aina Gomez’s Little Eyes, Big Stories course, aimed at turning kids aged 7+ (or younger with a bit of help) into decent photographers via self-paced video tutorials, downloadable exercises and live video feedback sessions. It doesn’t matter where you are - they can photograph bugs in the garden or fruit in the kitchen (but ideally not you on the loo) before proudly showing off the results to the grandparents (so definitely not you on the loo…).
Meanwhile, Becky Dixon can provide fun for all the family (just maybe not the neighbours) with the online ukulele courses she runs for both adults and kids. Squint hard enough and you can imagine you’re on a Balearic beach at sunset being entertained by a bronzed, brooding local in a beaded necklace, rather than rocking out to a 5 year old playing Row Your Boat in a stuffy living room carpeted with Lego.
If it’s not so much a creative outlet you need for your little or not-so-little one, but instead you’re seeing the summer break as a good opportunity to work on any tricky issues, former teacher Clara May Warden runs confidence courses for 8-13 year olds, while Dr Andrea Shortland can help primary school children experiencing big emotions. After the rubbish 18 months of instability all kids have had, it could be the perfect time to give them a bit of a boost and a reset (we’d quite like one ourselves, to be fair...). The Headspace app is also great for this: you might well use it yourself already,but did you know they also do meditation and mindfulness for kids? There’s even a Barbie-themed series!
As for doing stimulating stuff in the real world… how about throwing some themed days into the mix? Your dream of an overseas holiday might have been hanging in the balance for 18 months, but you could hone in on your country of choice and plan a day of activities (and food… and drink…) around it that appeals to you as much as the kids. We’d quite like to turn our garden into a Greek taverna... Mamma Mia soundtrack optional.
Family cookalongs are also one of the more more positive things to come out of lockdown - Sarah Alder runs regular sessionsand it’s a great way to start brainwashing your child into becoming the next Ottolenghi so that you never have to cook again (if that sounds far-fetched, Sarah also runs courses for fussy eaters…).
And if all else fails, the weather’s rubbish and you just need an hour or two to yourself… we swear by a cinema day, and we don’t mean going to the actual pictures. Closing the curtains, making some popcorn and declaring the living room a bijou cinema has a way more calming effect on kids than just putting the TV on and hoping for some peace.
Whatever you end up doing, we hope it’s a good one. And anyway, September is just round the corner… right?