The school holidays are here, and these holidays feel very special indeed. The sun is out, the sky is blue, and I don’t know about you but now that winter is over, I am done with being cosy and mooshy. I am ready for… activities!
I remember school holidays very clearly. I remember that full-body feeling of excitement during the last few minutes of school, racing to the car because I knew that I had a two-week ‘weekend’ ahead of me.
I also remember that other feeling, on the very last day of holidays where I reflected on the two weeks I had just had and almost gave it a rating out of ten. Mum was always in a better mood than me that day.
The question is, how do we help our kids get to that last day of school holidays and give their past few weeks a 10/10?
In Western societies, we are experiencing a sensory underload. To put it more simply, our senses are bored. Bored, bored, bored!
We aren’t getting out in nature like we used to, we aren’t using our creativity and imagination – because who needs that when you have Google?! – and we aren’t taking time to stop and smell the roses. So, now the roses are upset too!
Our senses do so much for us. They control everything from our emotions to our choices and opinions. All they want in return is a little love, attention and a smelly flower.
So, what are we going to do about this? We are going to make sure we engage our senses every day – starting these school holidays.
Not only will this ensure that you have a 10/10 holiday with no regrets, but your mental health will also improve. Your senses will even stop whinging – everyone’s happy! A simple way to do this is to create a sensory chatterbox…
How to create a sensory chatterbox:
Step 1: create a regular chatterbox – instructions are on YouTube or on my Instagram @lookingforladybird.
Step 2: like a regular chatterbox, add your colours on the outside and your numbers on the other side (flip it). Otherwise, mix it up with groovy symbols and pictures! Get creative!
Step 3: in the centre, section it off into 8 sections (rather than 4) and write out 8 sensory activities that you could do (keep in mind, there is a reason we have 2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 nostrils, 2 hands and only one mouth).
Here are some examples: (you will need to choose 8 or create 8 of your own):
Smell: bake a cake, pick some flowers and give them to someone special
Taste: try a new food, cook dinner for the family
Touch: try knitting or crochet, hug somebody, go for a barefoot walk on the grass, try a different craft activity today
See: go to the art gallery, paint a picture, go for a bike ride with a friend
Hear: listen to some music and make up a dance, call an old friend
Each day of the holidays, play your sensory chatterbox in the morning to see what activity you will do that day. This is a fun and simple way to make sure you are engaging your senses every day and not wasting the two weeks sitting on the couch saying, “Mum, ‘I’m borrreeeddd!”.
*This article was first featured in Haven Magazine