Make a rice pit... "Buy 10kg of rice and divide it into four or five portions. Apply a different natural food colour to each portion and allow the rice to dry. Then fill a large tub with the rice - an old baby's bathtub works well, or a small inflatable pool - and give your child a selection of scoopers, plastic cups and old baby bottles. For slightly older kids, you can give them funnels and empty plastic water bottles. This is a good sensory activity for toddlers which also teaches them about volume."
Get scrapbooking... "Pre-schoolers and primary grade children enjoy creating scrapbooks of the year gone by, or of their summer holidays. They can use coloured paper for different pages and paste in pictures of their friends, artwork and school worksheets and tests they are proud of. Ticket stubs and boarding passes are great for creating a timeline."
Set up camp... "A great way to kill a day inside during the hot summer months is to create an indoor camping site, complete with tent, flashlights, sleeping bags, picnic food and story books."
Play shop... "Ask your kids to set up a restaurant, or retail shop, at home. Tell them they can use toy kitchen items or non-breakable things from the kitchen. Just setting up will take at least30 minutes. Then ask them to role-play being the waiters or the sales people, while you play at being the customer. This is great for confidence building."
Invest in one-off items... "When travelling by plane, buy some cheap, new one-use toys especially for the trip. Some of the best toys for travelling are Play-doh, Lego (if you don't mind losing a few pieces), sticker books, activity books, colouring pages, mosaic art, stamp-and-ink-pad sets and matchbox cars. If you have noisy toys, stick some masking tape over the speakers to dampen the sound. And, of course, new movie downloads and interactive games on the iPad are lifesavers!"
Start a hunt... "Organise a scavenger hunt at home, or when you are on the road. At home, draw toddlers pictures of household items, or for older children write lists, and ask your children to collect them in a basket. Then ask them to put everything back where they found them. On the road, ask your children to look for certain buildings, places, or signs, which will force them to look out the window."
Convert your house into an activity zone... "When trapped indoors because of the heat, organise an obstacle course, with different activities, or challenges, in each room. For example, hula hoops, skipping ropes, a floor puzzle, star jumps and so on."
Set Timed trials... "When stuck in an airport departure lounge, create timed competitions, such as how many times your child can hop on one leg in one minute, or how many times they can say their name in 30 seconds."