It is great to catch up with family members you haven’t seen for ages and these gatherings are often an excellent way to catch up one all the news and enjoy each other’s company, but when the adults get talking, kids can often feel a bit bored and left out.
Boredom and small children are not normally the best combination, which is why it would be sensible to find some things to keep them amused while you catch up with your aunts, uncles, cousins and all.
Here is a look at how to anticipate the potential for boredom at family gatherings, some not too messy arts and crafts ideas to keep them happy, plus suggestions for toys and games, as well as an idea for keeping kids all in one place.
Sitting still for hours
You really can’t expect young kids to sit still for hours on end while you catch up on all the latest family stories and gossip and there are plenty of young children who can quickly find it difficult to keep their emotions and behavior under control once boredom sets in.
Head that potential disaster off at the pass by anticipating their need for entertainment and providing some activities to keep them amused while they watch the grown-ups chattering away to each other.
There will be points when they are involved in the activities of course but the suggestion is to plan some activities that your child can jump in and out of throughout the day.
Arts and crafts can work
Kids often enjoy some simple activities like coloring and drawing, so pack plenty of ideas and suitable accessories so that they can set to work on a drawing or coloring project as soon as the boredom starts to creep in.
You can even load a solution on your phone with the mandala coloring book app for Android smartphones, so even if you forget to pack the crayons, you have a suitable alternative that you can put in their hand to keep them busy.
Pack some toys and games
If you are catering for a variety of different age groups at your family gathering, talk to some of the other relatives who are attending and organize between you a range of suitable toys and games that will keep all the kids happy and amused.
Infants and toddlers are happy to spend time playing with dolls, building blocks, and picture books. Older kids will obviously want something more challenging and stimulating, like puzzles and games.
Older kids will often get together and play a suitable board game or gather around a video or computer game if you have the facilities to set a console up.
A place to call their own
As long as you think about it beforehand you should be able to find plenty of things to keep the kids amused at a family gathering, and you might also want to organize a space at the venue that you can designate as a kids zone.
If the family gathering is at someone’s home, you might be able to find a suitable room that works as space the kids can have exclusive use of, and if you are outside, pick a space that is not too close, but not too far away so that you can’t keep your eye on them.
About guest blogger: Sophie Horton is Auntie to 5 kids ranging in age from 1-15 years. She writes about keeping kids occupied when they are away from their home environment.