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Keep them entertained this Christmas

Entertaining your kids can be a tricky business at the best of times, and it's even more difficult during holidays.

• Get them into the kitchen. There are loads of simple recipes you can try out with your children. If you’re concerned about them getting things in and out of the oven, then why not try making chocolate crispy bars, which have to be chilled in the fridge. If they really love it, then why not challenge them to come up with different sandwich fillings? They may not particularly enjoy the results, but you’re teaching them about taste, as well as having fun.

• Make paper planes. Use up all that scrap paper that was destined for recycling and build a fleet of paper airplanes. Then you can launch them from an upstairs window, or in the back garden. You could make different kinds and see which one flies the furthest.

• Write a story. Use your imaginations and write a story together. It doesn’t have to be original; the kids could write down their favourite fairy tale and just change the ending if they feel like it. Another great idea is to write chain stories with friends. Each person writes a paragraph and then shows only the final line to the next writer. Once the final person has written their section, read the whole story out loud.

Also read: Toys R Us predicts what kids want for Christmas

• Tire them out. Indoor play centres are becoming more and more popular. They’re great fun, safe and allow you to relax while your kids run riot without fear of injury. Activities include bouncing on trampolines, going up foam staircases and then coming down slides, and jumping into ball pits.

• Make a scavenger hunt. Come up with a list of odd and fun items for your kids to find. They can hunt around the house or your garden or go to a park. Suggestions are a pine cone, a worm, a bug, a white rock, something red, or a feather.

• Get them gardening. Growing plants is great fun and it’s even more fun if they can watch their work growing bigger and flowering in front of their eyes. There are lots of plants that even a young child can grow without too much trouble, from small trees to herbs and vegetables.

If you don’t have a garden, then a window box or small pots are the answer, and it won’t matter what time of year you plant them.

Try growing herbs like basil or parsley; that way they can eat them once they’ve grown.

• Build a den. All you need is a large blanket or sheet and some cushions and let them pretend they’re in a tropical rain forest or somewhere similar. A large box is also a great idea for a cave; this is likely to entertain them for hours.

• Make a family tree. How much do your kids know about their family? Do they know anything about your parents’ parents? Not only is drawing family trees fun, but it also teaches them a bit about history. You may unearth some really interesting stories about your own family that you never knew.

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