Easy Holiday Games from the experts at Sharky & George

”Mummy. Daddy. I’m bored...”

School holidays are lovely but, once the novelty has worn off, you’ll more than likely hear all about being "bored". Whether you are off and away on holiday, or are planning a staycation at home, it’s helpful to have a few easy games and activities at the ready to keep the kids absorbed.

We’re in the process of moving and have a 4-week gap between homes, so have taken to the road for a trip across France (we live in Switzerland). I needed some ideas for brilliant, fuss-free, activities that I could fall back on to keep my sons entertained whilst their toys were in boxes and we were away from their friends.

In swoops George, from the purveyors of fun at Sharky & George, with a wealth of fantastic ideas for easy activities that don’t need lots of kit and are seriously fun!

Here are five of our favourites, or listen to the full conversation about travel games for kids.

1. Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger hunts are brilliant for getting the kids out, whether that’s discovering a new place on holiday or re-discovering the garden or park at home. They can sound like a lot of work for the less creative amongst us, but they really don’t need to be fancy. Opt for a memory scavenger hunt and there’s not even any writing or drawing involved! You can spend five minutes popping a few things on a tray: a handful of sand; an orange leaf; a round pebble; a snail... give the kids 30 seconds to look at the tray and then see who can come back with the most things from it. If the children are younger, they could bring one item back, have another look and then go again.

A location-specific scavenger hunt can take a bit more preparation, but is a lovely way to get to know an area on holiday. We’re looking forward to trying this one at campsites with lots of space for the kids to roam safely, or you can set a strict perimeter to the hunt. You might ask the kids to bring back a petal from the red flowers that bloom where they wash; or to get a picture under a specific sign; or to bring back a black pebble from the path to breakfast; etc, etc. Your hunt can be as innovative and creative as you are feeling on any given day. The aim is just to get the kids running about!

2. Mini Beast Safari

We absolutely love this one. Nothing required but an old log or large stone, and possibly one of these helpful bug pots with a magnifying glass lid. Carefully overturn the log or stone and let the kids see how many different little beasties they can find. If you’d like help with your bug identification this minibeasts sheet from the RSPB is great.

Grab a net and a bucket, and the same works for rock-pooling or pond-dipping.

Two kids searching for bugs and crabs on the beach on holiday

3. Alfresco Cooking

Whether a campfire on holiday, or a BBQ  in the back garden, there’s something wonderful about cooking and eating outside. Although it can feel a little brave getting the kids involved (especially if it’s over a fire!), doing so often sparks a whole new level of interest. Here are some great alfresco recipes from incredibly easy, to a little more ambitious.

Banana Pancake

Ask the children to crack an egg into a bowl (fun in itself); squish in a ripe banana; then help them cook spoonfuls in a hot pan. Eat plain or drizzled with maple syrup. Delicious and easy peasy!

Damper (Australian Campfire Bread)

Take 250g (about 2 cups) of self-raising flour, add a pinch of salt, then rub in 25g of cold butter. Stir in 175ml of milk to make a soft, but not sticky, dough. Divide between the kids and ask them to roll into a fat sausage. Carefully wind the dough round a suitable stick and then toast over the hot embers of a fire. Once golden brown, gently remove the stick and they’ll each have a lovely tube of bread to fill with honey or chocolate spread. 

Fish in Paper

Buy or, if you can, catch a whole fish. Gut and clean it (or a fishmonger will do this for you). Fill it with butter and herbs and then ask the kids to roll in newspaper. Once the fish is covered, they should dunk the whole parcel in water and roll in more newspaper. Dunk and repeat 6-7 times. Bury the fish package in the hot embers of a fire to cook for 10-12 minutes. Carefully unwrap the charred paper to reveal perfectly cooked fish. Amazing!

4. Trick Photography

If you have an old phone or digital camera, setting the kids photo challenges is brilliant fun and gets them thinking about angles and perspective. How can they make themselves look like a superhero flying down the sand dunes? Perhaps they're drinking from a fountain; pushing over a mountain; or holding the setting sun in their hands? Put “trick photography for kids” into the search bar on Google Images and there are hundreds of images for them to recreate.

Trick photography shot of two kids on the beach on holiday

5. Team Tie Dye

I deliberately remove the whites from our holiday packing (saves the need for a ’whites’ wash) but I can’t think of a better way to use those old t-shirts festering at the bottom of my gym drawer. You’ll need tie-dye paint, a bucket or washing up bowl per child, plenty of elastic bands, and some space outside that won’t mind a little brightly coloured water slopped over it. Then let the kids unleash the 1960s – and make sure to set-up a fashion parade for afterwards!

Bundle Dad will be taking the lead with this one having already shown his expertise in this arena... 

Tie dye shirt for the holidays

What are your favourite boredom busting activities for the holidays? Please let me know in an email or on Instagram – and do send over any of your trick photography shots or tie-dye creations.

If you have a holiday planned for this summer, take a look at these easy games to play with kids on a long car journey and our tried and tested top ten products for toddler adventures.

You can watch my chat with George in full on Instagram. Sharky & George are party experts who find the fun in everything. They are a creative events company that specialise in immersive experiences for both kids and adults.