Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Summer Holidays

Well its that time of the year again, the kids are off school, the suns out, and my stepchildren are visiting for 2 weeks.

This time i'm even more stuck for activity ideas as I have my 2 and a half year old and my youngest is only 5 months old.

Including my stepchildren there are 5 children from 5 months to 10 years to look after, and including me and my husband there will be 6 eaters for 2 weeks, (newborn not included).

I would like ideas for:

1. Family activities that we can all do together inside the home and outdoors.

2. Simple recipes that i can cook for all 6 of us without spending all day in the kitchen.


Umm Zaidah Nusaybah said...

six eaters, try having 10-16 eaters over the summer!!! I have had guests over from the beginning of the holidays. What I do is cook big curries so that I don't have to cook everyday. curries are good because it stays for longer. you can eat it with rice, naan, pasta etc

Umm Maymoonah said...

Lol. I'm not complaining love. Just not used to bulk cooking that's all. Curries are good, but I have to add lots of tomatoes to make it less spicy without loosing the flavour. Their mum is Nigerian so they are not really used to Asian curries.

Their older sister - who is not my husbands daughter has also come down. She is 15 mashaAllah. So that's 7 eaters!

Anonymous said...


Umm Maymoonah said...

This is a response by sister 'm' on sisters magazine Sisters speak forums, I thought I would share it.

Quote "AA,

Do you have access to public parks and libraries?

If yes, plan a day for each location. If the hubby is unavailable, are there any other relatives of friends who may want to join in?

Maybe you can go to the library soon. That way you have opened the door for specified reading times during the next two weeks. Once in the morning, then again after lunch and before bedtime.

Read various stories to them, from Islamic materials to other subjects that the child is interested in. If the child likes cars, get a car/truck book from the library. Or animals. If the children are readers, look for readers to their level and ask them to read to the younger children while you fix them all a snack.

Pack a lunch for the park, have the 10 year old and other kids who are old enough to help out. Make it easy type of foods, sandwhiches, fruit, water bottles. Ask the children what they would like on the menu for the picnic. Healthy junk though.

Make salt dough with them one afternoon. Paint it and bake it too.

If you have a back yard area with grass and a hose with a sprinkler, turn it on low one afternoon for all to help water the grass. Make sure this is done when the hubby is home to have fun too.

Have the hubby read to the children during one of the designated reading times. If his work schedule is too hectic, at least every other day, possibly?

Do your best to limit the TV time. The step children will remember these times with you as they grow older and will look forward to spending time with you, Inshallah (God Willing).

Ask the children what they would like to do too. If they have playmates, ask them over for an afternoon.

As for food, spaghetti is usually a hit with children. Maccaroni and cheese. Burgers with fries. Maccaroni salad, fruit salad.

Bake cookies with them another afternoon.

If you can afford to eat out one time, do it, even if it is some kind of fast food place that is not too terrible. Because the point is, you are taking the kids out for a treat and you need a break too. If it is too much financially for a dinner then how about going out for ice cream?

Do you have access to any children's museums where you live? If so, plan a day for this too. Hopefully with your hubby, the more the merrier.

Here's the salt dough recipe:


If finances allow, buy a large pad of blank paper or even computer paper and a box of crayons and or markers. After you read them a story, afternoon time I would guess, ask them to draw a picture of their favorite part of the book. Hang the pictures up on the refrigerator.

Place a small vase or other decoration piece on the kitchen table and ask the older kids to draw it as they see it. You and hubby join in too. And/or ask all the kids to join in. Various art projects, with visual techniques are so great for their learning skills of observation.

Make sure you take some time to zone out too. Do nothing. Let them play with one another, whether you have books to have them read on their own, or various toys around the house. Blocks or board games. Oh Yeah, board games for the family are very nice too.

I hope this helps.

Let us know how it goes.

And never be on short supply of hugs and kisses for them all. Enjoy these times.


Umm Maymoonah said...

And also this:-

Quote "AA,

Another idea you may want to consider...

Depending on your living arrangements.

Have a family sleep over. If outdoors works for you, use the back yard. If not, in the home.

Use blankets or sleeping bags and take over the living room for the night.

It's a change of scenery for the children. In the morning make a special breakfast for them and with all activites.

Do your best to have them help prepare the food and clean up afterwards.

Same with the household chores. Give a 5 year old a duster and they are fine. Have the 10 year old vaccuum. Etc., what works for what age the child is.

Remind them the sooner this stuff gets done the sooner you get to the park or library or museum.


Umm Maymoonah said...

And this :-

Quote "AA,

Sorry to bug you with more ideas.....You must have your hands full enough as it is.

Since you have a teenager in residence and the older child, 10 years?, keep in mind they may need some time to themselves.

The 15 year old will be watching you like a hawk I imagine too. If she talks about her tastes in music and movies I would respectfully suggest that you listen to her most of all. If it is music and movies that you do not approve of, keep it light with the comments but add in your views of music and movies that you do like. (Speaking from experiences here, because to lay it on to thick with them will usually backfire on us.)

Remember, those lovely teenagers seem to know everything in their advanced years. They have an opinion on everything and everyone. They are a blessing and a challenge at the same time.

One more idea or two. Near the end of their stay, have a family party. Since they will not be at your home for Eid (I am guessing) make it a pre-Eid party if you like.

One activity my children loved on Eid day was a scavenger hunt I made for them. If you have little ones who do not read yet, draw a picture of where you have left their hidden gift.

Gifts can be so many things, not necessarily store bought. Write out a free from household duty of doing dishes coupon, (if you have the party before they leave), write out something funny, that reflects the child's personality, maybe from something nice that happened while they stayed with you, write them a personal note of your thoughts on this visit. Make sure your hubby signs the notes too.

If you can afford to buy some small gifts too that would be great. Decorate the house with streamers, balloons, homemade signs, have the children make cut out decorations from construction paper.

I have a cardboard box that I constructed into a masjid 20 or so years ago. I used butcher paper for the outside, cut out strips of Qur'an type printed from old magazines (that was way back when we had to do it ourselves), or cut up Eid cards to paste to the box. I used a paper towel roll for the minaret. I also used a lot of felt cut to shape the entrance door with a small plastic cup with a fake tiny flower inside. To this day, my adult kids pull the worn out box with missing flower pots, etc. out of the closet when we prepare the home for our Eid decorations.

You are making precious memories during this time, enjoy. Thanks for your post, you brought back a lot of nice memories for me.