Do you need to talk to someone? Donegal Parent Support Line launching on Thursday 14 May

A new free Parent Support Line will be available to parents in Donegal from Thursday 14 May. The Donegal Parent Support line is being co-ordinated by the Donegal Family Resource Centre Network in association with a wide range of community and voluntary organisations involved in family support. The service will be available from Monday to Friday 9am – 3pm.

Many parents are feeling stressed and need a listening ear at this time. There are extra pressures with home schooling, working from home, anxiety about Coronavirus and a sense of uncertainty about what the coming months will bring. Parents are encouraged to avail of the opportunity to talk through those issues which are causing them stress. The Donegal Parent Support line will offer this, with a range of experienced and specialised family support and youth workers available to call parents back. The service will offer sign-posting, advice and the opportunity to talk through whatever is causing a parent stress – no matter how small the issue may seem.

Here is an interview with Leona from the Mevagh Family Resource Centre and Martin from the Moville and District Family Resource Centre on the Greg Hughes show on Highland radio today about the new service

This initiative has been developed in partnership with the Tusla Prevention Partnership and Family Support team in Donegal as part of the ongoing strategy to develop and fund early intervention community supports and initiatives for families in the county.

The number for the new Donegal Parent Support Line is 1800 112277 and the service will operate Monday to Friday 9am – 3pm – phonecalls to the number are free.


When the school year disappears – children dealing with loss

The world has changed utterly – or at least that is how it feels. Our children are experiencing the same sense of upheaval. For children who were due to move on from nursery, primary or secondary school this year the sense of loss may be even greater. Normally there would have been some process to help our children move on and make the transition. This may have been ‘graduation’ from nursery, special trips, the Leavers’ Mass, prom. Our children may be experiencing a sense of ‘ambiguous loss’. This is where we feel we have no control over the loss and we can’t resolve it easily. Certainly at the moment there is an ongoing sense of “I don’t know” in response to questions about when life will feel any way normal again, when schools will re-open, how that will be done. So in the midst of all this ambiguity or unknowing, how can we help our children to deal with their feelings of loss? Here are some ideas from Geoffrey Greif. You can read the whole article on the Psychology Today website at

1. Discuss the ambiguity. In Pauline Boss’s writing, she emphasizes that coping with ambiguous loss often requires us to recognize that it is not possible to be in control of the situation or to resolve the sense of uncertainty. Instead, we can learn new ways to live with both the virtual presence of people (e.g., teachers, friends, extended family) and their physical absence. We can agree that we are missing milestones while, at the same time, accepting new opportunities.

For children, sitting with this ambiguity and uncertainty is often a challenge (as it is for many adults). But families can talk about it with their children and acknowledge a range of emotions that may ensue, including a sense of loss, even as we build relationships and traditions in new ways. More celebrations will come our way.

2. Explore opportunities for gratitude. Researchers have repeatedly found that expressing gratitude is associated with improved mental health, well-being, and stronger relationships. Parents can model for children opportunities to identify things they are grateful for, even in the context of unpredictable change and loss. A small moment, like connecting with a school friend on FaceTime, can be something for which to be thankful. Showing gratitude towards others can build on this.

4. Approach yourself and your children with love. There is no blueprint for how to manage this time. A nonjudgmental lens of love and support may be the best way to enhance your connections and build feelings of value and worth.

As painful and as ambiguous as these losses are, we are going through them together. And with this shared experience, we can look to ourselves and to others for ways to build communities inside and outside of our homes.

3. Engage your child in decision making. While there are many issues that children and teens don’t have control over right now, there are also things that they can control — such as the order in which they do their schoolwork, which friends they talk to in the evening, and how they want to spend free time. Work with your child to identify decisions that they can make, so in moments when they feel vulnerable, they can focus on what they can do.


Interested learners – top tips for parents of 10 – 12 year olds

By the age of 10-12 years our children know what they are interested in. If we can tap into this we can help them learn in all sorts of ways. Ordinary everyday tasks also help them to learn. You can find lots of learning activities on

Ages and stages

At this age children use language in many different ways – to explain, describe, question and share. They ask questions and discuss ideas and information to communicate and develop their thinking and learning.

Ages 10 to 12

At this age children use language in many different ways – to explain, describe, question and share. They ask questions and discuss ideas and information to communicate and develop their thinking and learning.

By the ages of 10 or 12 children are able to listen for longer and they notice the way people say things. They discover deeper meanings from this both in conversation and in reading. They know that meaning includes information and feelings. They can talk in detail about things that happened in the past or are planned for the future.
They know that some words have two meanings and use them correctly. They know basic grammar rules and can explain them to you or to younger brothers and sisters.
They are starting to think and make judgements about where information comes from. They can consider how writers put across their thoughts and ideas. They can start to see how the media works and how it communicates certain ideas through both words and pictures. At this age some children start to see how some kinds of reading and writing have more power in the world than others.

Children of 10 and 12 are beginning to understand and use large numbers. They can see the patterns and relationships between numbers. They are learning and using their times-tables. They are learning to multiply and divide whole numbers, fractions and decimals.

Most children now understand when it is suitable to estimate and when it is important to calculate an exact answer. They are often good at estimating. They are familiar with notes and coins and can use both to give change.
At this age many children have good IT skills and use computers for both leisure and learning. They are developing a clearer understanding of the strengths, limitations and risks of the internet. They know that the information they find on the internet may, or may not, be reliable.

Your child might enjoy discussing books, newspapers, magazines or TV programmes. They might like to tell you why they like certain books or programmes. They can explain what they think will happen next and what makes them think this. They can discuss different characters and relationships. Some children now read a lot, others may still find it a bit of a struggle. Your support and encouragement help, whatever stage they are at. You might want to ask your child’s school to give extra help with their reading if they are finding it hard.

Creativity is still important but varies a lot by this age. Some children start to do their own plays or concerts. Many like to draw and paint. Some make complicated structures with lego or create items with wood. Others are creative in their cooking or gardening. These activities are important for learning and should be encouraged.

Top Tips

  1. Chat to your child – ask them to show you something interesting they have learnt at school, from their friends or on the internet.  Talking and listening helps build their communication skills particularly when they feel that you listen to them.
  2. Involve your child in maths you do every day – shopping, discussing time and dates, budgets, DIY and cooking.
  3. Be encouraging about what your child is reading and try not to be too judgemental. If they are not reading much, go to your local library for ideas about books. Your child is most likely to read and write about things they are interested in.
  4. Encourage your child to write – shopping lists, cards and messages for friends – and to use calendars to record what they have done and for planning.
  5. Find out about what they are doing in school. Talk to your child’s teacher about how to support their learning at home.
  6. Play board and other games with your child. Games such as Scrabble, the TV programme Countdown and card games.

Find out more plus get lots of activities and resources at

Learning in everyday life – top tips for parents of 8-9 year olds

Here are some more ideas from this time for parents and guardians of 8-9 year olds. Children learn in so many ways in everyday life. There are lots of learning activities available too, for talking, playing, reading, writing and counting.

Top Tips

  1. Listen to your child. Encourage them to tell you about things that interest them. Help your child to make decisions by discussing their ideas.
  2. Discuss with your child how reliable information is and whether the television, newspaper or website is trying to sell you something.
  3. Involve your child in everyday literacy and maths – making a list and check prices for shopping. When you are doing DIY in your house – seeing if there is enough space for a piece of furniture to fit.
  4. Encourage your child to enjoy reading by having a variety of books around your home – storybooks, poetry, factual books and books about topics they enjoy like animals, music and football.
  5. Listen to your child reading in short regular sessions. Encourage your child to read with expression. This will help them read more fluently.
  6. Encourage your child to write in their daily lives – birthday cards, telephone messages and keeping a diary.
  7. Play word games – ‘Stop the bus’ and ‘I spy’ with a letter – board games – Cluedo and Junior Scrabble and card games – Old Maid, Rummy with your child.


Helping the introvert child to flourish

Having everyone at home full-time could be challenging for our introverted children. Here is a good piece from the Center for Parenting Education which helps us understand what it is to be introverted and how we can connect with our introverted child.

Two Different Ways of Being

Sarah and John, seven year old twins, are just home from a school trip. Sarah, excited to tell her mother about her adventure, rattles off the details of her day and enthusiastically exclaims that she had “the best day ever!”

John, on the other hand, stands in the background, does not share anything about the outing, and quietly goes into the kitchen to get a snack.

This scenario may be all too common in some households. What is happening here? Did John not enjoy the trip or is something else going on?

Part of the answer might lie in understanding the differences between introversion and extroversion.

  • Introverts get their energy by focusing inside themselves and need alone time to recharge themselves.
  • Extroverts, on the flip side, seek stimulation outside themselves and prefer to be with others to get their energy.

John, being more of an introvert, may have preferred some time to regroup before sharing the highlights or lowlights of his day.

The Research and How to Help

Research has shown that 75% of individuals are categorized as extroverts. More often than not, their qualities are valued more than those of introverts. Consequently, extroverts like Sarah receive more positive reinforcement from those around them.

Introverts like John may often feel out of place, and as a result may need to develop extra coping skills to help them feel good about who they are.

Parents and educators can play an important role in helping children embrace their inner selves. Since introverts tend to need time to process their experiences and do not readily talk about what they are thinking, the adults in their lives may need to reach beyond the surface to discover their many hidden gifts.

Research indicates that there is a strong biological basis for where people fall on the introversion – extroversion continuum. So while you may find ways to neutralize the more extreme positions on either end of the spectrum, you will not be able to change your child from an introvert to an extrovert or vice versa. It is hard-wired.

Introversion vs. Extroversion

There are significant behavioral differences that distinguish how introverts versus extroverts respond to the world.

  • Introverts prefer internal thinking as a way to cope with the world. Extroverts focus on their social connections and actions as an approach to dealing with life.
  • Introverts can be overwhelmed by sights and sounds and tend to narrow their experiences, but go deeply into those areas they have chosen to focus on. Extroverts tend to be less sensitive and can take in a broader range of input.

Introverted Children

Introverted children typically:

  • Communicate best one-on-one
  • Are strong listeners
  • Seek solitude for renewal
  • Need time to ponder questions before answering
  • Often prefer not to share their emotions
  • Have high self-awareness
  • Learn well through observation
  • Are quiet in large social settings
  • Prefer to watch a game or activity before joining
  • Concentrate deeply
  • See inner reflection as very important
  • Select activities carefully and thoughtfully

Introverted Children, Play and the Art of Creativity

Reaching introverted children can be as simple as adding opportunities for creative expression throughout the day. This is a great way to encourage and build on their area of natural strength: being innovative. It can be an incredibly positive experience when children are exposed to many forms of art, music, science, literature, and various physical activities.

However, since introverted children are very sensitive to people, places, and things around them, it is important to not exceed their threshold for outside stimulation. Provide time for them to process each experience before moving on to the next one.

Creative people in many fields are introverts because they are comfortable spending time alone; solitude is a crucial ingredient for innovation. Embrace creativity and reach for the stars.

Daily activities to enhance your children’s imagination

  • Suggest they read something new and unfamiliar, such as a book on a new topic or new genre.
  • Ask the question “what else?” often.
  • Have them come up with five new uses for familiar objects.
  • Play creative word games and puzzles.
  • Fill creation box with everyday items to use as art supplies.
  • Instead of buying a new game, have them make one.

Success at Home with Introverted Children

Supporting introverted children at home may be challenging at times, especially if you are an extrovert.

  • Typically, they see their room as a safe haven. Allowing a private space for them should be at the top of the list.
  • Build quiet time into their day so they can recharge their batteries, especially if your household is loud and filled with many activities.
  • Share with your children your own personality needs as a parent. It can be that you are an extrovert parenting an introverted child. Share the uniqueness and positive attributes of both approaches.

Courage in the Face of Adversity

Introverted children may be a little more on the sensitive side and not always open to sharing their struggles.

  • You can help your child realize that hardship and bumps in the road are part of life.
  • Practice patience and understanding when your child does not make the best choice.
  • You can face the music together. Introverted children make good use of “me too” or “I’ve been there” stories, if they are told with a “we’re in this together” attitude.

Social Matters

Introverts typically experience more intimate connections and tend to have fewer close friends than extroverts.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, introverts are not always shy. They do not necessarily experience social anxiety as some shy children do. Usually, they have good social skills and enjoy people – just in smaller doses and smaller groups, such as one or two people.

Introverted children need their parents to accept their preferences and communicate to them that there are different types of people – some who enjoy being in large crowds and some who do not. Either way, it is okay.

Parents can gently encourage introverted children to go a little beyond their comfort zone in social matters. For example,

by teaching them how to manage crowds and other highly-stimulating situations.

by carefully selecting the number of activities you do, limiting the length of your stay, and building in down time between events.

Introverts may benefit from assistance in recognizing when they need a break. For example,

You can help them find words they can use to excuse themselves from a group, find a quiet spot in the midst of a busy mall to decompress, and develop strategies to re-enter without generating undo attention.

Delight in a Slow Pace

For the sake of your introverted children, and for your own good, slow down. Children can’t think or talk unless they feel they can enter a pressure-free zone. A relaxed, patient pace is just one wonderful goal to have when raising introverts. A rushed and tense atmosphere will drain the oxygen right out of them.

Slowing down will allow your children to bring more of their world to you. Since they are so attuned to their perceptions, they can come up with astonishing insights and perspectives that are really humorous and creative. Let their more observant nature teach you to “stop and smell the roses.”

In Summary

Awareness and support can be half the battle in educating and protecting introverted children. Parents can help their children accept themselves by talking to them about how they react to the world. Let them know that there is incredible value in being an introvert, as well as in being an extrovert.
Finding empathy and understanding in one’s family, developing useful strategies for making it through a full day, and gaining knowledge of why individuals do what they do will help your introverted child be more comfortable in an extroverted world.

By Nina Gallegos, Certified Parenting Educator

You can find more articles and resources from the Center for Parenting Education here

Has Sibling Rivalry Gone Next-Level During Lockdown? Solutions for dealing with conflict between your kids.

In this article by Claire Lerner a child development and parenting expert, she explores how we can help our children learn skills to deal with conflict. The article is reproduced below and can also be downloaded here

“Haha—you lost!” “Stop singing that stupid song. You’re hurting my ears!”

Sibling rivalry is maddening enough under normal circumstances. Now that kids are home all day with no escape hatch for anyone, what seemed like constant conflict before the COVID-19 lockdown has escalated, driving parents to next-level stress.

There are some great articles on decoding the sibling relationship that I note at the end of this post. They are worth reading as they provide important insight into the complex psychology and dynamics between brothers and sisters. For the purposes of this post, I am going to cut right to the chase and provide some guiding principles and actionable strategies for responding supportively and effectively when your kids are causing chaos.

It is not your job, nor do you have the power to, make your kids love each other and get along. That is something they need to figure out. Trying to control the sibling relationship often results in more, not less, rivalry.

It is not your job to solve your children’s conflicts. If you put yourself in the position of fixing everything, your kids will constantly come to you to be the arbiter, missing opportunities to learn to work things out on their own.

What you can control are the ground rules to keep kids safe. Let them know that it is their job to figure out how to play and be together. Your job is to be sure everyone is safe emotionally and physically. You will not let them be harmful with their words or their actions.

Avoid being a referee. Taking sides, or protecting one child from another, plays right into and escalates the rivalry. It also creates a dynamic where one child is the “aggressor” and the other the “victim”—roles kids internalize and that get solidified, defining the sibling relationship into the long term.

Don’t fall into the bottomless pit of trying to untangle what transpired—the “he said, she said” black hole. Instead, listen to each child’s perspective. Then paraphrase what they share instead of correcting or fixing: “It’s hard for you when your sister has a different idea about how to build the tower.” “You thought he was done with the superhero cape.” When you restate each child’s experiences without judgment, it helps them put themselves in the other’s shoes.

Institute “pause-and-problem-solve.” Explain to your kids that when they are having a hard time, you will help them by using a handy tool called, “pause-and-problem-solve.”  When you hear unkind words or see people using their body in harmful ways, you will clearly announce, “Pause, people” to cue them to freeze. Then you will name the problem: “I see you are having a hard time sharing the trucks.” Or, “You have different ideas for how to build the castle.” Ask for their ideas. Suggest other options if none of theirs are viable, but be clear that you are not going to solve the problem for them. You are just helping them think through the situation.

One great strategy I have been using with kids, age three and older, is to give them five minutes to conduct their own “meeting” to figure out a plan for how they can solve the problem. (Kids love this concept, especially now that they are constantly hearing that they have to play on their own because mommy/daddy has a meeting.) Then, they present their solution to you. If it’s acceptable, they can go on their merry way and continue playing. The beauty of this strategy is that in order to keep playing together or have access to a desired toy, they need to collaborate.

If your kids can’t agree on a solution, you can:

  • Take away the object they are fighting over for a period of time. Let them know when they will get it back and have a chance to work on sharing again. Once they have experienced the consequence of their actions, children are more likely to change their behavior and make a better choice.
  • Physically separate your kids for a set amount of time to give them a break to calm down if they are getting too physical. This is not punishment. It is to keep everyone safe. “It looks like you are having a hard time keeping your bodies in control. It’s time for a safe-space break. Then we can try again.” Situate them in different areas and provide an activity that they find soothing, such as: Play-Doh, threading beads, or cuddling up in a kiddie tent or fort.

Don’t shame the “perpetrator.” “Why would you want to hurt your brother?” “What’s wrong with you?” This kind of response usually makes things worse  as it reinforces the reputation of the shamed child as the “difficult” one, making her feel resentful and more likely to act out toward her siblings, and others. Further, shaming results in kids shutting down and becoming evasive which interferes in their ability to learn better ways of dealing with conflict—the ultimate goal. It does nothing to support their ability to ultimately make better choices as they grow.

Focus on what you want your child to do, not on the infraction. While this may seem counter-intuitive, focusing on the wrongdoing tends to backfire and only increases negative behavior. Imagine that your 4-year-old grabs a rattle from her baby brother. You might say: “Oh, remember, it’s not OK to grab. Do you want to give the rattle back or should I?” If one child gets too rough with another, try: “It looks like you need a way to get your energy out. Here are some soft balls to smash, throw or bang.” Providing an option for solving the problem versus spending a lot of time on the violation tends to put children in a more positive state of mind and makes it more likely they will make a positive course correction.

Create a “cueing” system for kids who have a hard time with self-regulation. For example, a family I am currently working with has a 5-year-old, Jake, who adores but is also very jealous of his younger sister, Maeve. He taunts her a lot. His parents have acknowledged to Jake how hard it can be to share attention with Maeve and that jealousy is an emotion we all struggle with. At the same time, they have made it clear that it’s not OK to express those feelings in ways that are hurtful and they will not let him do that. To be his helpers, together with Jake, they come up with a word (he chooses “hippopotamus”) that they say when they see him heading down an unacceptable path. It is a loving and supportive way to throw a monkey-wrench into the behavior that is brewing. This often enables Jake to halt his haranguing or other unacceptable behavior.

Role-play. Have the kids pretend to have an altercation—something most kids find very amusing. Then proceed with using “pause-and-problem-solve” so they have a chance to practice conflict-resolution strategies and get a preview of what will happen when their actions require adult help. Play out a range of situations so they can experience the difference in outcomes when they can come up with a solution versus scenarios when a toy might need to be taken away or they need a full break from each other to calm their minds and bodies before they can peacefully come back together.

The sibling relationship is the testing ground for building all sorts of skills for getting along with others: how to share, take turns, cope with envy, build empathy, learn to collaborate, and to jointly resolve problems. So, don’t fear the conflicts that arise among your children. When you position yourself as a facilitator of this process, versus a solver of all problems, it can reduce conflict and make it more likely that your children will ultimately learn to respect, value and even adore each other.

Here is a great article on sibling relationships and rivalry. And another.



Health & Wellbeing Information Pack – Coping with COVID-19 Isolation Collated By Donegal Local Development CLG – April 2020

DLDC – Donegal Local Development Company – have pulled lots of useful information and links together in this handy booklet available to download here DLDC Health Wellbeing Information Pack April 2020

At the moment we are all stuck at home self-isolating or in confinement, many of us are away from our families and definitely away from our friends which can be particularly hard mentally. Children are home from school and they also need activities to help them cope with what must be a very bewildering time for them.
To get us through this stressful, boring and worrying time a wide range of agencies and individuals have put together some excellent videos covering cookery, food & nutrition advice, exercise programmes for all ages mental wellbeing and general advice on how to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic.
DLDC has put together this pack to try and help you navigate through some of these wonderful resources.
Areas covered in the booklet include
1. Mental Wellbeing
1.1 Parents/ Families
1.2 Women
1.3 General
2. Exercise & Fitness
2.1 Children & Youth
2.2 General Age Groups
2.3 Older People
3. Cookery & Nutrition
3.1 Kids
3.2 General Age Groups
4. General Information
4.1 Training
4.2 Supports
4.3 Farming
4.4 DLDC Support Team
4.5 Donegal County Council Helpline

Just click on the link to access the booklet which has all the information and live links DLDC Health Wellbeing Information Pack April 2020



Coronavirus: how to keep children happy, learning and entertained at home

We know it can be hard work keeping children occupied at home these days but here is a good article originally published in the Irish Times, on keeping children happy, learning and entertained. John Sharry (Parents Plus) shared it on his website which makes me think it is well worth sharing here!

You can download the original article here:-

Coronavirus: How to keep children happy, learning and entertained at home

School work, baking, exercise, online resources… Help is out there, even if you can’t go anywhere

A little planning and imagination will help to maintain harmony in your home over the coming weeks

A little planning and imagination will help to maintain harmony in your home over the coming weeks.

In a previous incarnation, just before my first child was born, I left my job in the media and trained as a Montessori teacher. The plan was that I would be able to incorporate my work and home life without too much upheaval, and this proved to be true.

Three sons later, I returned to my writing role and began working on a freelance basis – with three children under the age of six at home with me.

So as parents up and down the country are facing, with trepidation, the prospect of at least two weeks at home with their children – indoors for much of the time and without the welcome distraction of playdates or playgrounds, as we are being advised to avoid these to slow the spread of coronavirus – I want to share with you some of the entertainment tricks I have used while working from home for the past 15 years.


Toddlers like feeling useful, so clear some cupboard space and fill it with your child’s plastic eating utensils, wooden spoons and an inexpensive, pot, pan and mixing bowl. Make sure it’s at child-level so they can access it at will, along with some pasta they can ‘cook’ with. Leave cloths, dustpan and brush within easy access so they can ‘help’ you clean and allow them to ‘wash’ clothes in a basin.

Toddlers: Let them loose with some pots and pans
Toddlers: Let them loose with some pots and pans

This age group has a keen eye for the smallest things, so if you are not self-isolating, a trip to the park, woods or beach will keep them amused for hours as they hunt out shells, bugs and other treasures. If you’re staying closer to home, the same can be done in the garden.

Another curious toddler interest is sorting stuff – laundry into piles, different coloured/shaped pasta into groups, toys into categories, cutlery drawer, shoes into pairs – so root out (or create) jumbles of items and get them to order it.

And when the TV needs to be turned on, you can’t beat old favourites like Sesame Street and The Muppets and the more recent The Best of Toddler Fun Learning (all on You Tube).

Top tips for toddlers

  • Allocate jobs
  • Use educational TV
  • Keep them active when indoors by having jumping, skipping, dancing sessions – it will tire them out and give you a bit of a workout too.

Ages four-six

This age group is still wonderfully curious and aside from the usual baking activities, my guys also “helped” with dinner – with plastic utensils, they chopped and peeled, stirred and mashed. This not only kept them busy and by my side while I was cooking, but it also gave them a sense of achievement and the motivation to eat what they had prepared.

Ages 4-6: Now’s the perfect time for making dens and forts
Ages 4-6: Now’s the perfect time for making dens and forts

I would encourage everyone to relax the rules over the next few weeks and allow kids to spread out their playing space – setting up various worlds involving dinosaurs, soldiers, dolls, trucks, farm animals, whatever, can take hours and even if the actual game only lasts 30 minutes, trust me, they will spend forever setting the scene.

Dens in the living room or bedroom are always fun and once set up can be a magical place to bring books and treats.

Drawing pictures, or printing outlined images off the internet for colouring in are always good for keeping busy, and when you need a solid hour to finish some work, there are some great educational programmes on Netflix and You Tube such as The Magic School Bus and Ask the Storybots.

Top tips for ages four-six

  • Making dens and forts
  • Colouring in/creating worlds for their toys
  • Help with meals

Ages seven-nine

Bill Nye the Science Guy and Octonauts are good shows for this age group but of course there’s only so much screen time they can and should have. I found that “nature/treasure hunts” were a big hit, and wrote lists of things to find in the garden, such as “2 long twigs, 4 daisies, 3 smooth stones” (Substitute words with drawings for the younger age group). This, armed with a “picnic” (some snacks) will keep them busy for ages.

Ages 7-9: Have a treasure hunt and use the spoils in craft projects
Ages 7-9: Have a treasure hunt and use the spoils in craft projects

If you haven’t got any outdoor space, get them to find different things around the house and bring to you for inspection (make sure it’s a long list).

The nature haul can be turned into an art project (outdoors if possible but with newspaper over the kitchen table, if not). Stones can be turned into ladybirds, twigs painted to make a display, flowers pressed and bugs photographed and returned to the wild.