One of our expert Youth Workers, Leah, shares her tips to enjoy quality time with children. From DIY projects to adventures outside, these will help you take a moment with the children in your life and create some positive memories together.
“One of the most crucial parts of my job at Chance UK, supporting children who are going through a tough time, is finding activities we can do together to develop that bond between us. This bonding time is crucial – it helps me make my mentees feel safe and comfortable around me. And it helps us have difficult conversations, too, which means we can work together to find ways to brighten their days and help them thrive.
One of my absolute favourite activities to do with the children is a nature scavanger hunt. The concept is simple – get outside with the child and challenge them to find 10 nature treasures! Tailor these to the outdoors around you, whether it is a small park or a big forest. My top ten treasures to find are: A spider web, a bird feather, a conker, a beautifully round pebble, a small white flower, a short stick, a row of ants, an intact fallen leaf, the largest stick you can find and a small patch of moss. This encourages children to explore and focus on the task at hand, while you both get some nice fresh air.
If the outdoors is not an option for you, or the weather is not cooperating, why not try an afternoon of cooking together? BBC Good Food has a great selection of easy, kid-friendly recipes. A hit with my mentees usually involves pizza in some way – and my hack to make quick tortilla-based pizzas works great when you don’t have the time or energy to whip up pizza dough! Grab a tortilla wrap, load it with some tomato sauce, a few veggies (bonus – great way to get the children to eat healthy and delicious food), some cheese… and pop it in the oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes! Dinner sorted, and children of different ages can get involved chopping the veggies, placing them on the pizza, or helping you keep an eye on the oven timing. This is a great activity to teach children to carry a task through, and they get to enjoy the delicious fruits of their labour!
Crafts are a tried-and-tested way to engage young people, and DIY Craftsy has a lot of ideas to create a fun puppet. This activity combines a lot of great things: you can recycle materials and give them a second lease of life, children get to exercise concentration, finer motor skills and perseverance, and you end up with a fun toy that they will enjoy playing with…. and which you can keep for years to come!
Whichever activity you decide to try out, just remember to have fun and spend quality time with the children. It is a great opportunity to check in, ask questions and listen to what is going on in their lives. Enjoy!”