With the country facing tough coronavirus restrictions you might be feeling like January is never going to end.
Fear not, we’ve come up with a few tips and tricks to keep the whole family smiling through the first month of the new year.
Put this year’s Christmas cards to good use
When you take the decorations down this year, put the cards to one side. You can keep your brood busy for a few hours with a fun crafting session.
Lay out safety scissors, pens and some glue sticks, then gather the family round the kitchen table and give them a brief to create gift tags for next year’s Christmas presents.
You might need to help younger children, especially with the cutting, but it’s a great way to reuse your cards, especially if the recycling bin is full from the festivities! Remember, cards which have glitter on them can’t be recycled at all, so this way you’re getting extra use out of what would be single-use plastic.
Have a musical marathon
Many of us had to miss out on a trip to the Christmas panto in 2020 – the usual school trips or family weekend outings cancelled due to the pandemic. But if you and the kids fancy a bit of a sing-along while you wait for your local theatre to reopen, why not spend a Saturday afternoon cuddled up on the sofa with some family-favourite musicals?
You could opt for golden oldies like Mary Poppins and the original Wizard of Oz, or choose modern classics like The Greatest Showman, or something like Trolls World Tour if you’ve got littler ones. And carry on the theme once the sprogs have gone to bed, with grown-up greats like Bohemian Rhapsody.
Studies have shown that singing can benefit both our physical and mental health and wellbeing – from strengthening our lungs to reducing stress levels. What’s not to love? Get the popcorn!
Bring the outside in
While the weather might be a bit too cold and wet to get out in the garden, that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own mini indoor version.
Houseplant Week UK (yes, it’s a real thing) runs from the 11th to the 17th January and you’re invited to join in the fun. Pop your local garden centre to buy some compostable pots and seeds and see what you can grow. For little ones, try something fail-safe like cress.
If you’ve got slightly older children, why not buy some small succulents and get them to design a mini rockery or terrarium? Don’t forget to take some pictures and share them on social media using the hashtag #HouseplantWeekUK.
Join the RSPB’s Birdwatch
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) run their annual Birdwatch every January and this year’s event takes place from the 29th to 31st so it’s a great way to end the month on a high.
But what do you have to do? It’s pretty simple really – just spend an hour counting the birds you see in your garden, from your balcony or in your local park, then report back what you saw. It’s completely free to sign up, and when you do, you’ll be sent a free guide to explain what to look out for.
This year they’re making it extra special, with experts sharing photos and fun facts, live quizzes you and family can get involved in and there’s even a personality test to find out which kind of bird you are.