10 Fun Activities to Do with the Kids This Winter

Winter can be a tricky time to be a parent. The weather is often poor, the days are short, and money can be a little bit tight after Christmas. So, what are you going to do with the kids at the weekend or during a half term? Well, here are ten fun activities you could try to stave off a serious case of cabin fever…

  1. Go on a treasure hunt

Fresh air is the perfect remedy for children who are feeling little cooped up, so head out into the great outdoors having devised a ‘treasure hunt’ of sorts. Make them a checklist of things to find, such as a spider’s web, a bird’s nest or a frost-laced leaf.

  1. Do some baking

Kids love to help in the kitchen, and getting them involved in a spot of baking is a great way to develop their confidence in the kitchen and start teaching essential life skills. Whip up a batch of muffins (they’re pretty forgiving if your little helpers are a bit heavy handed), or help them make some gooey chocolate chip cookies. Delicious!

  1. Walk along the beach

If you’re lucky enough to live near the coast (or want to bundle in the car for the weekend), why not head out to the seaside? A blustery winter’s walk on the seafront is great fun, and the kids will enjoy leaning into the wind and watching the waves crash on the shore. Treat yourselves to fish and chips after and remember to take photos to capture those happy memories.

  1. Build a snowman

With any luck winter brings a dusting of snow for the kids to enjoy, so if you happen to see any settling where you live, head straight out to build a snowman. Little ones might need some help to roll the snow, and children of all ages will love rummaging round the house for carrots, scarves and pieces of coal (or failing that, small potatoes) to make the snowman come to life. Just make sure you’ve kitted the kids out in warm stylish clothing before they play in the snow – a warm coat, a sturdy pair of wellies and a pair of gloves are essential items if they’re going to enjoy themselves.

  1. Make a winter campfire

Children love to watch a fire crackling as much as adults do, so why not build a winter campfire in your back garden? Be sure to build your fire safely, and then pull up chairs for some quality time as a family. You can swap stories, toast marshmallows and sip hot chocolate together.

  1. Build a fort

Remember how much you loved building forts when you were little? It’s a lovely thing to do with the kids, so sacrifice those just-washed bed sheets and drape them over the arms of the sofas. Pull in some pillows, add a string of battery-powered fairy lights and let the kids camp out there for the day. They can play games, eat their lunch in there and perhaps even take an afternoon nap…

  1. Play in the forest

It’s impossible to get our kids off their computer screens entirely, but you can certainly get them using their imaginations outdoors if you suggest a stroll through the forest. Encourage a bit of imaginary role play: wizard wands have been fashioned from many a twig, and a good branch doubles as a sword to do battle with any roaming dragons or bad guys…

  1. Have a dance party

Having a boogie round the house is a great way of exercising and improving everyone’s mood: no mean feat in the depths of winter! Find a good playlist, turn up the volume and encourage the kids to let loose. You can always throw a game of musical statues into the mix if you want to keep them at it for a little while longer.

  1. Host a film festival

There’s nothing nicer than being tucked up inside on a rainy winter’s day, so why not watch some films together? Add an extra element of fun by theming the films around food – a particularly good trick if you want to get your little ones to try a new dish. For instance, serve steaming bowls of ratatouille while watching the Ratatouille film, or tuck into spaghetti and meatballs while watching Lady and the Tramp.

  1. Get crafty

Finally, there are thousands of craft ideas to do with children if you look online, but one that’s particularly fun and requires little in the way of materials is this one. You’ll need basic supplies such as paper plates, paints, glue and elastic (all of which will be available at a well-stocked supermarket for instance), and so long as you don’t mind the kids making a bit of a mess, you’ll keep them entertained for hours.

So, which of these fun ideas will you be doing with the kids this winter? Let us know!

Featured Post: 5 Alternatives to Cars for Your Teenager

It wont be long before my eldest is a teenager, fortunately its a while yet until he will be old enough to drive. Many teenagers in the UK simply cant afford to own and drive their own car due mainly to the high cost of insurance. Its worth considering a different mode of transport to get them around town – any one of these alternative choices could be just what you are looking for.

1. Motorbikes

Used motorbikes are an economical choice for teens because they use up less gas on the road, saving you tons of cash that would have been used to keep a car going.  Interestingly, motorbikes are now often seen as being a safer mode of transportation than regular vehicles. This is due to the fact that teens and adults alike cannot text and drive at the same time. There is no way their attention can be diverted by a buzzing phone or noisy passengers; it is just them, the bike and the open road. Another advantage of motorcycles is the increased chance of developing better balance and coordination skills. Motorbikes are ideal for both short distance commutes, long distance travel and even off-road driving.

2. Mopeds

Mopeds are basically a smaller version of a motorcycle. They are far less ‘fast’ though and usually don’t go much faster than a normal bicycle. They are economically priced and require little fuel, which means that you have the chance to save a lot of money by using a moped to get you from point A to point B. In order to be able to drive a moped you will need a regular driving license but it is not necessary to have a motorcycle one.
One of the best aspects to owning a moped is its fast ability to find easy parking due to its small size and flexibility.

3. Electric Cycles

Electric cycles are handy motors to have because they can be used on the road and on bicycle lanes, which means that you can easily dodge past the long queue of traffic whenever you please. They come with a higher resale value and are supposed to take up less physical energy on the driver. According to www.atob.org.uk an electric bike can climb hills of 1:10 (10%) with ease and clear a maximum gradient of 1:7 (14%).

4. Electric Scooter

These are similar to electric bikes. They are plug-in electric vehicles that run on electric motors rather than using engines. This results in a quieter journey and because there are no vibrations during travel, the journey is incredibly smooth and peaceful which may appeal to teens. They are incredibly eco-friendly and with no vehicular emission, an electric scooter will give out less air pollution than other modes of transport.

5. Quad Bike

This option is more suited to teens who want to drive about off-road with friends or for the thrill. Quad bikes are basically four-wheeled motorbikes that are particularly popular in farms because of their versatile and tough nature. According to Gov.uk, you must have third party insurance to drive a quad bike on the road and you can only carry passengers if it is designed to do so and has the right number of seats. Although it is not compulsory to wear crash helmets, it is highly recommended.

I hope thats a useful summary of things to consider, I must admit i’m dreading the day when I have to start properly considering transport for my kids with three to cater for its going to cost us a fortune!

Featured Post: Your Chance to Become a Boots Points Millionaire!

boots millionaire pointsOne of the first ever loyalty card schemes I signed up to was from Boots. Its one of those schemes where the points mean that you can genuinely treat yourself. The card has a permanent place in my purse and as Boots is such a ubiquitous and useful shop on the high street it gets frequent action. I tend to go there for baby clothes (we love Mini Mode), make-up, hair products and dental stuff as they have such awesome choice, even in the smallest of seaside stores you can guarantee that you’ll find what you needed. I also like to pop in a grab a copy of their magazine which is always full of great tips. All in all its one of those shops which I couldn’t live without.

This summer there is even more of an incentive to pop in for some Calpol and come out with several new pairs of boys shorts, a new nail varnish, some sparkly mascara and some highlight enhancing shampoo (ahem). Boots are about to make someone a Points Millionaire (that’s £10,000 worth of points). All you need to do is follow these easy steps:

Boots Millionaire Points App

 

Boots challenged me to tell them how I’d spend a million Boots points and to be honest, it wasn’t really hard to agree to the challenge.

boots millionaire points

These are my choices:

Follow zooarchaeologist’s board boots points millionaire on Pinterest.
An electric toothbrush for the entire family (5!). I’ve got my eye on these Philips Sonicare ones.

We desperately need a new Fridge Freezer as the plastic on ours is cracking after 10 years of use. I’d pick another Bosch one as ours has given up brilliant service.

Any left over points would be used on a spree on clothing for little Ned who never gets anything new as he has his siblings hand-me downs. Throughout the years of having children Mini Mode clothing has been a bit of a mainstay, its well made with appropriate sizes and lasts and lasts.

I love to have decent makeup and as I have such bad skin that I need to use specialist make-up to prevent my acne rosacea getting worse. Recently I’ve discovered Clinique (as recommended by my skincare specialist doctor) and it seems very good, the only downside being that its quite expensive. With the points I’d stock up on a good supply and try out some of the rest of the range.

Alongside this to cover up my appalling skin I’d love to invest in some new eyeshadow, lipstick and mascara. I’m slightly ashamed to say that i’m using the same eyeshadow and lipstick that I had when I got married ten years ago so it would be a real treat to invest about £200 in an entirely new makeup set from Lancome.

One of those things which I really appreciate as a mum is a good bath and for a really indulgent treat I’d love to have some Molton Brown goodies. I particualrly fancy this pink body wash. Of course, if I became a points millionaire I might treat myself to the entire range, I mean wouldnt it be fabulous to wash your hands in some luxury soap every time you visited the loo!

One of the other things which I really need as I use everyday is a decent hairdryer. This Panasonic one looks ideal.

Its nice to have a record of those moments when you look truely fabulous and after all this pampering there is no reason why you shouldnt. So, I think i’d treat myself to a lovely new digital SLR camera. I’m a fan of Nikon camera’s and I just LOVE this colour which makes the camera stand out from the usual black ones.

With all this lovely stuff to choose from I think its important to treat others and one of the first things I’d chose is this lovely Crabtree & Evelyn Hand Cream which is an indulgent treat and perfect as a small gift.

Obviously I’d take my mum on a much bigger spree in store and I suspect that as she likes Marc Jacobs perfume she might have her eye on this Oh, Lola Eau de Parfum which is currently on special offer.

It’s quick and easy to take part – all you have to do is download the Boots App (if you don’t already have it), then go to ‘my offers’ between 3rd July and 4th August -then check back on 19th August to see what you’ve been treated to!

If you want some more inspiration Boots are making a big throne out of the products you could buy with a million Boots points. Its going to be at selected stores and if you follow me on Twitter I will be telling you where.

Featured Post: Scottish Friendly, the Titanic and Your Children’s Savings

Scottish FriendlyAs some of you may know I’ve written quite a bit about Scottish Friendly on this site as they offer some great Child Trust Funds and Junior ISA’s and i’m always on the lookout for this sort of thing.

If you have chosen to take out an account with them then this latest news will certainly be of interest. It will also appeal to any fans of the Titanic as Scottish friendly have taken over  Marine & General. M&G is Britain’s oldest company. It’s early customers include several passengers on the Titanic, has the company registration number 00000006. The five firms that were registered with lower numbers than M&GM no longer exist.

If you have any children obsessed with numbers, history and the Titanic this news will be of serious interest! However, its also important if you’re thinking of investing for your children as it means that Scottish Friendly have effectively doubled their assets under management to over £2 billion. Which means that they will have additional economies of scale that can drive further efficiencies and increased value to all of our policyholders. Great news if you have already taken out an account and a good reason to open one if you haven’t already.

If you want to find out more have a look at the  Scottish Friendly report in the Daily Record.

Disclaimer: I received compensation for this post, since I’ve written such a lot about Scottish Friendly I felt that this was of interest.

Featured Post: Reasons To Avoid Traditional Estate Agencies When You Have Children to Consider

Stonehenge roundhouse We’ve been looking at moving house and its a completely different market to the one we experienced 12 years ago. There is a new wave of online estate agents  taking over the market, these are exciting times. These online estate agents make it much, much easier to buy a property when you have children. Here are some reasons why:

Old-fashioned an inaccessible buildings

If you’re trekking the High Street with kids and pushchair in tow the last thing you really need is to navigate small doorways and stairs to just to sit and register your details. Added to that, its a real challenge trying to give your details whilst you juggle children desperately telling you something!

…and methods

Lots of traditional estate agents will still use traditional methods market their houses. This means waiting for a prospectus to come in the post or looking in the paper.

Cost

For us this is one of the key benefits for online estate agents. A High Street Estate Agent will have overheads in terms of staff and premises, this is why they can be far more expensive. Its then an added charge onto already high stamp duty and solicitors fees.

Hidden charges

With an online estate agent  you can customise the services you need, at the start of the transaction. A simple one-off fee is paid, and if you want floor plans, photographs, nine months’ listings, or anything else, you can pay from the beginning.

Speed

Not only can an online estate agent sell your house with much-reduced fees (as little as a few hundred pounds compared to anywhere up to 3.5% of the sale) you may be able to offload it in double-quick time. HouseSimple.com, for example, boasts of average savings of £5, 899 and average sales times of 22 days. This is often ideal as a parent because you might be moving to take advantage of different schools and need a quick solution!

DoorsSocial media

Usually online estate agents are brilliant at using social media. They can be posting a home, for free, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other platform that can gain traction, in the blink of an eye and their staff are usually very savvy about it. When you have children its really important to have a good awareness of social media and also how to use it properly to avoid putting your children at risk.

Physical travel

If your nearest estate agent is a few miles away visits can become very tiresome and draining your petrol tank, especially if there is no progress to report. It can be really tricky to negotiate in the shop  or on a telephone when you have kids dangling off you. It can also be difficult to record what has been agreed.  If you are in contact from your laptop you can keep a paper trail.

Office hours

We’ve already mentioned  the drawbacks of having to visit a physical location, but we didn’t mention that you invariably have to do so when an estate agent is free  and open. An online account may allow you to change some listing details whenever you like. This is a brilliant added bonus!

Trying to do anything with children is challenging and moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do anyway. Anything you can do to make things a bit cheaper and bit more stress free are a great idea so we are making full use of online estate agents!