We Love to Surprise our Children and they love Surprises!
So how can you surprise your children? During the summer there is so much going on! What child today doesn’t enjoy at least one of these events throughout the summer holidays?
- Holidays abroad.
- Theme parks.
- Spontaneous trips to the seaside.
- Fun fairs.
All the above are wonderful adventures for our children and make fantastic surprises! But they’re so expensive!
Holidays are fabulous and make wonderful family memories, but they aren’t cheap.
The latest Pixar Movie at the local cinema, great fun, but fiver for a bag of microwaved corn?
A trip to a theme park can easily cost £200.
And what’s happened to the price of a Ninety Nine? It’s now £1.50. “Can I have a One Fifty with a Flake please?”
And don’t get me started on Fun Fairs – Helters Skelters!
But we want our children to be happy and after all, life is meant to be full of surprises.
Now here’s a surprise!
Children can enjoy the emotion “surprise” cheaply and in a fun and safe way at home. Children love the thrill of the unknown, the unexpected and spontaneity. Even as tiny babies they enjoyed peek-a-boo!
Here are 6 tips from Surprised Star to give your children the surprise(s) of their lives!
Surprised Star’s tip No.1
Children love to be outdoors and it’s so good for them. Not only because of the physical benefits, but research shows that physical activities benefit children’s cognitive function too.
Find something to hide, anything random lying in the garden, a ball, plastic spade, a willing child!
Someone has to shut their eyes and count to ten. Another child or you then guides the finder to the hidden object using “you’re hot” “you’re cold” as the child gets nearer or further away from what’s been hidden.
This is such a fun game as the children love to exaggerate “You are SO cold that you have ice all over you!” “You are SO hot that you’re in a furnace!” This really increases children’s vocabulary, humour and sense of the ridiculous!
Surprised Star’s tip No.2
Is to go on a treasure hunt! It doesn’t take long (unless you’re a budding Helen Mirren) to write out some clues on sticky notes. Depending on the ages of your child/ren you can make them as easy or as difficult as short or as long as you see fit. And of course you’d read it out loud for your very little ones. For example…
- This plant pot has a red flower in it. (This would be the fist sticky note given to the child)
- Look under where you wipe your feet.
- We use this to water the garden.
- This tree is grows apples/pears.
- Here is where we eat outside.
- The grass here is very long.
So lots of ideas there to start a fun treasure hunt.
Surprised Star’s tip No.3
Children love water don’t they? In the hotter summer days (Providing there’s no water ban!) there’s nothing more exciting for children than running through a garden sprinkler or the light spray of a hose!
Here’s a super fun game. The children run or dance around the turned-off sprinkler or hose. When you turn the water back on, the children must freeze (erm, not literally!) until you turn the tap back off again. Any child that moves while the water is on, sits out until their turn again. Or not – this depends on how sensitive your child is – we only want waterworks from the hose!
Surprised Star’s tip No.4
Children love the dark and all things spooky – unless of course it’s bedtime, then everything dark and spooky suddenly isn’t as fun as it was at 3 p.m in the living room!
(That’s another blog right there!)
But switching off the lights and closing the curtains makes a curiously fun play experience for most children who find the imminent shock of bumping into someone or having a sibling roar at them unnervingly satisfying!
Adding torches into the mix is also great fun and may help those children who are a little bit younger or sensitive to enjoy the experience.
Surprised Star’s tip No.5
You don’t have to spent £1.50 on a Ninety Nine! Children love to make their very own ice lollies and it’s so easy. If you don’t have any already, you can pick up ice lolly molds for £1 in your local Pound Shop.
The BBC’s Good Food Guide has the best ice lolly recipes for kids!
I make mine from whizzing up natural yogurt, berries, and a bit of honey to sweeten. The children love to scoop out the yogurt and plop it into the blender, or more often than not all over the counter.
Then they can add the berries (or berry depending on how many they’ve scoffed while you were cleaning the counter.)
And whizzing all that up in the blender with the noise and the vibration are all exquisite fun!
Children do not have a lot of patience and want their lollies now! Now i’m not one for giving into children’s demands immediately, however, I do find it helps to have made a few the night before!
Surprised Star’s tip No.6
A child’s favourite and one of mine too! “Guess What’s in the Bag.”
Great for extending vocabulary, imagination and fine motor skills.
Just pop any random item (not a willing child on this occasion) into a soft bag, cushion cover or pillow case.
Ask the child to feel around the closed bag and guess what’s inside. You can pop in a small toy, some cooked pasta (inside another bag) measuring cups, an apple orange and banana, any safe household item that you have to hand.
Know your child
It goes without saying that some children do not handle surprise very well. The above tips are very useful activities for you to gauge how your child responds to surprise.
There have been times where I’ve been so excited to bestow a huge and not entirely cheap surprise on my children only to have them burst into tears of frustration.
This is where surprise can turn into shock for some children. Others don’t like the secrecy involved in surprises and the feeling of missing out on organising said surprise.
Children with autism need routine and consistency. A surprise event could be very upsetting if it’s out of their normal routine. So a warning first of “We’re going to try this today.” will set expectations.
Emotional well being is key throughout this long period. All children will show signs of angst, worry, fear, and sadness and shock. The key is getting to the bottom of why they’re feeling that way. If you can’t get to the bottom of what’s wrong, try using My Mood Stars
My Mood Stars are an emotion resource with a difference. They are soft, sensory toy Stars depicting different moods and expressions that children find really easy to relate to and talk to.
The My Mood Stars work book is also available to help children who have difficulty verbalising their emotions. With a Mood Stars on each page and a space to write or draw, this work book is perfect for children who would rather relay their thoughts through writing or art.
I hope these tips have been useful – enjoy your children’s company this holiday.