Your public holiday plan
Use all the extra days off in March and April to have some fun and stay on top of your home organising
✱ Spend a morning sorting out your children’s books. If there are special books that they’ve outgrown, pack them away safely for the grandchildren. If there are books you can let go of, donate them to charity or a friend with younger children.
✱ Wash all your children’s soft toys on a sunny day. Run them through a gentle cycle in your machine, and then hang them up to dry. Your children will love helping with this. More delicate toys can be washed by hand.
✱ Identify a door or wall in your house that you can paint with blackboard paint. It’s available at most hardware stores. Paint it while the little ones sleep, and the next morning they will be delighted when you invite them to draw and decorate with chalk. You can also leave messages there for your partner, or notes about things you need to remember. The blackboard wall will also make a great backdrop for photographs.
✱ Collect all the pens, pencils, crayons and khokis from all the rooms in the house, and set up a sharpening and sorting station at your dining- room table. Throw away all the dry and broken pens, or the pencils and crayons that are too short. Organise the rest into sets.
✱ Ask your little ones to help you sort out the plastics cupboard. Try to find a lid for every container, and repack that section of your kitchen, so that it makes your life easier.
✱ Go for a walk in the park to look at autumn leaves. Take some old bread along to feed the ducks. Ask your children to pick up one green leaf, one yellow leaf, one orange leaf and one brown leaf.
✱ Make a simple bird feeder for the garden. Make a hole in the bottom of a small yoghurt container, and thread a piece of string through it, knotting it on the inside. Mix some fat with wild- bird seed, and smear this in the container. Place in the fridge overnight. Next morning, cut the container away to expose the seed mixture. Hang in a tree, and enjoy watching the birds feast on the treat.
✱ Tell your children about April Fool’s Day, and come up with some practical jokes to play on Dad.
✱ Go for an outing to a second- hand bookstore, and buy a book for each member of the family.
✱ Sit in your garden at dusk, and sip on a mug of something warm and soothing such as Milo or Horlicks.
✱ As the evenings get longer, get out the puzzles. How about a family challenge? Buy a 500- piece puzzle, and build it together. Make it a rule that every family member must build at least one piece a day. Once you get started, you won’t want to stop.
✱ Make the most of the last warm days by swimming as much as you still can. And when the cooler days roll around, don’t become housebound just yet. Put on a jersey, and go play outside. Climb trees, go fly a kite or kick a ball.
✱ Have you joined the slime- making craze yet? Watch a tutorial on Youtube, and do it with your children. You’ll be mom of the year!
✱ Collect a stone whenever you go on an outing, and then, at the end of the month, see if your children can still remember where each stone came from.
✱ Plant broad beans, beetroot, radish and spinach now for a wonderful winter crop in a few months’ time.