We hope that you and your children will enjoy our NICHS Ready Set Summer packs, sponsored by MACE.
The packs have been designed for 7-11 year olds, full of kid’s summer activities for during the school summer holidays. There is a mixture of indoor and outdoor activities, as well as activities to do with friends, family or just by themselves. Also, every one of them involves physical activity – even the craft based activities involve moving around. And that is the point – exercise can be fun and something they do every day, maybe even without realising it.
The packs are free and are available from selected MACE stores. Click here to find your nearest store.
The packs contain:
More information about the Activities
NICHS’s Wake Up Pyjama Walk
Who doesn’t love a pyjama day?
Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke is holding its Wake Up Pyjama Walk on Saturday 29th September at Stormont Estate in Belfast, kindly sponsored by MACE. However if you can’t make it to Belfast, you can organise your own Wake Up Pyjama party or walk! Click here for more info on how you can get involved.
Make Bugs out of Hearts
Love your park and the insects that live in it by making beautiful heart shaped butterflies and bees!
What you need:
- Different colours of paper (preferably yellow and black if you’re making bees)
- Black marker
- Pipe cleaners
- Glitter (optional)
- First cut out four hearts from the paper (This is easier if you use a pencil to draw the first heart, then use it as a template to draw around it to make the other!) Be careful when using scissors.
- Next glue the hearts in a row together.
- After that,use different coloured paper to cut out two bigger hearts to use as wings.
- Then cut out smaller hearts for the antennae and glue to the pipe cleaners.
- Once you have done that, draw a face on the top heart.
- Then glue the antennae on to the top heart.
- Next glue the wings on to the main body.
- Finally, you can decorate by adding glitter!
Build a sandcastle or sand sculpture
Be the King or Queen of the Castle, or make a seaside sand sculpture!
What you will need:
- Plastic shovels
- Various sized buckets, cups and bowls.
- Tools for carving such as plastic knives, forks, spoons and spatulas.
- Pieces of string for shaving and shaping.
- A large plastic spray bottle filled with water (this should not be salt water as salt will clog the nozzle)
- First of all, decide what you are going to build – be as creative as you like!
- Next add sand to water, not water to sand. Build up a pile of wet sand and begin packing it as high and wet as possible. If blended properly, it will pour like mud and start to firm up within a few seconds. You are now ready to mould the structure into the basic shape you’ve decided to create.
- After that, carve from the top down. Imagine what you want to build or sculpt as you start to carve or build. You can create bricks or stones by cutting lines then blowing out the loose sand with a straw (make sure your eyes are covered to prevent getting sand in them).
- Preserve your creation for awhile longer by spraying bottled water over the entire castle or sculpture.
Make a Fort out of Boxes
Let your imagination run wild and build your own fort! Use old boxes or blankets to create anything you want – it could be a castle, a spaceship or a mansion. Anything you can dream of!
Decorate the outside with paint, coloured paper, flags and balloons, or hang up some battery powered fairy lights or bunting. Then grab some pillows and blankets and make the inside nice and cosy.
The real fun starts when your fort is complete, and you can start your adventures playing inside!
Picnic in the Forest
Embrace the wild and have your lunch in a forest – just watch out a bear doesn’t steal your picnic basket! Pack your picnic with a healthy feast, find a trail and go exploring!
Here are some recipe suggestions for your picnic basket:
Balloon car race
Your afternoon will race by making this balloon powered race car!
- A balloon
- A paper cup
- Two plastic drinking straws
- Four cotton reels (or drink lids with holes in them)
- Four small
- Rubber bands
- Scissors (with adult supervision)
- A pencil
- To begin with, using scissors, carefully cut the cup in half lengthways, to create the car body.
- Next, using a pencil, poke two sets of holes through the length of the cup. One set near the top of the cup, and one set near the bottom. Poke another hole through the bottom of the cup.
- After that, insert a straw through each set of holes. Then, slide the cotton reels or lid wheels on to each end of the straws.
- Wrap a rubber band around the end of each straw; these will keep the wheels from sliding off.
- Then push the neck of the balloon through the hole in the bottom of the cup. The balloon should be lying inside the cup. Make sure the hole is big enough to let the air out.
- Finally, blow up the balloon, place on a hard surface. Release it and watch it go!
Tin Can Bowling Alley
It’s not how you bowl, it’s how you roll! Make your own Bowling Alley for indoors or the garden.
- 10 or so empty tin cans, washed and with the lids fully removed. Please be careful of the edges of the cans. The ring-pull cans are better as you are less likely to be left with jagged edges than if you use a tin opener.
- Wrapping paper or plain paper
- Tennis or rubber balls
- First, ask an adult to help you make sure there are no jagged edges on the can.
- After that, turn the cans upside down so the open end is facing down.
- Peel off the label from one of the cans and measure it. Cut your wrapping paper or plain paper to the same size.
- Glue along the back of the paper.
- Finally, wrap the paper around the can and stick it down. You can use paint or anything you’d like to decorate the cans!
To play, stack your tins in a pyramid formation and then take turns bowling the ball and keep score to see who wins. You get a point for every can knocked over. Strike!
Have a Dance off
Turn on your favourite tunes and show off your moves in a dance off! Can you out dance your opponent?
Jump to it! How many different styles of jump can you master? If you are really up for a challenge, try completing 15 different jump variations!
Note: A ‘revolution’ means each time the rope goes round.
|1. Basic Jump (Single Under)||Swing rope forward over-head, jump over the rope with both feet for each revolution.|
|2. Side-to-side Jump||For each revolution, with feet together, jump a few inches to the left and on the next revolution to the right alternately.|
|3. Backward Swing||Swing rope backward for each jump.|
|4. Front-Back Jump||For each revolution, with feet together, jump forward a few inches and then on the next revolution to the back a few inches alternately.|
|5. Rocking Horse||
This is similar to the ‘Front-Back Jump’ except jumping on only one foot at a time.
Jump forward on your right foot for one pass, and on the next pass jump back on your left foot.
Keep alternating as so.
|6. Single Leg Jump (Left)||Jump over the rope on left foot. The ‘Side-to-side’ and ‘Front-back’ jumps can also be applied to a single-footed jump.|
|7. Single Leg Jump (Right)||Jump over the rope on right foot. The ‘Side-to-side’ and ‘Front-back’ jumps can also be applied to a single-footed jump.|
|8. Alternating/ Running Jump||Jump over rope on one foot and then the other, alternating each time.|
|9. High Knees||Similar to the ‘Alternating/ Running Jump’ but for each jump raising the free leg so knee is at a 90 degree angle|
|10. Butt Kicks||Again, the same principle as the ‘Alternating Jump’ but this time kicking the heel back each time.|
|11. Cross Step Jump||Alternate between crossing one foot in front of the other on one revolution, and on the next landing in a basic jump position. Alternate the foot that lands in front for each cross jump.|
|12. Plyo Cross Step||Similar to the ‘Cross Step Jump’ but without the basic jump in between.|
|13. Jumping Jack||Jump over the rope with your legs together on one turn, and on the next with your legs apart.|
|14. Twisters||On each jump, twist your lower body from side-to-side from the waist, so each time the feet land pointing towards the right, and then the left etc.|
|15. Criss-Cross||This one is all in the arms. Do one basic ‘Single Under’ revolution, followed by one revolution crossing your hands over one another. Keep alternating.|
|16. Single Heel-to-Toe||Alternate landing foot between left and right. As you land, lightly touch the heel of your free foot to the floor.|
|17. Scissor Jump||Land with one foot forward and one foot back, alternating front foot each time.|
|18. Double Under (complete for 30 seconds) – advanced move||This requires a higher jump, so that you can pass the rope under your feet twice for each revolution. It can take some practice.|
|19. Endurance||Complete 5 minutes of either the basic or alternating jump without stopping. To build your way up, try resting for 30-60 seconds after every minute of jumping.|
You can play at home anytime – here are some of the basics to get you started!
- Ultimate Frisbee is a game for two teams. You can have up to seven players in each team.
- The pitch can be as big or small as you like, according to the number of people on the team.
- A goal is scored when you throw the frisbee to a member of your team standing or running in the ‘endzone’ your team is attacking.
- Players cannot run with the frisbee. When a player catches the frisbee, they must come to a stop. A team can therefore only move the frisbee upfield by throwing it from player to player – you can’t run with it to the next player.
- The defending team takes possession if the frisbee touches the ground, or if they make an interception by catching the disc or knocking it to the ground while it’s in the air.
- The game is non contact — when contact between players does occur, it may be deemed a foul.
- The winner is the first team to reach a previously decided number of goals, usually fifteen or seventeen.
Field Dimensions: An ultimate field is 100m by 37m; the endzones are 18m deep. You can adjust the size of the pitch to match the number of players, or to suit the space you have.
Swim like Nemo
Make a splash at the pool or in the sea!
There are lots of games you can play with family or friends in the water. Visit Swim4Life for game ideas.
Always make sure to be safe around water. If you plan to visit the seaside for a paddle or a dip, don’t go out too far in the ocean and stay clear of strong currents. Also, always make sure there’s an adult around to supervise.
- 4 or more Koosh balls
- You can use any kind of soft ball if you don’t have a Koosh ball.
How to Play:
- Start with small groups of about 10 people or smaller. Form a circle.
- One player starts with the Koosh ball. He/she names a particular person in the group and throws the ball to him/her.
- That person must catch the ball, then name another person of the group and throw the ball to him/her.
- Each player must always throw the ball to the person that they named at the start.
- This means the players get used to throwing the ball to a particular person after a few throws. When the players have gotten used to it after a few throws, add another ball into the mix. Now there’s two balls in the air – don’t let them fall!
- Continue until there are 4 balls in the air – and watch the mayhem as everyone tries to keep them in the air!
Go Fly A Kite
Make your own kite and then watch it float in the wind!
- A heavy-duty plastic bag, such as the kind designed for garden rubbish.
- A roll of electrical tape. Pick a colour that goes well with your bag!
- Two lengths of thin hardwood dowel, at least as long as your plastic bag. Aim for around 5mm in diameter. These can be found in most DIY shops.
- A line. A roll of fine nylon knitting yarn will do the job here, or some other light but strong synthetic thread, such as a fishing line.
- A piece of wood or cardboard for the winder. (You can also buy line and a plastic winder online for a few pounds from specialist kite shops).
- A ruler
- Scissors (get adult supervision for this!)
- A black marker pen
- A small wood saw or a carving knife (to be used by adults only)
- Draw your kite shape on the bag.
First lay your plastic bag smoothly down on a flat surface, with the opening at the bottom. Mark three dots on the bag: one in the very top-left corner (closed end), a second on the left edge 100cm down from the first dot, and a third 25cm down from the top and 50cm in from the left edge.Using the ruler, draw a straight line from dot one across to dot three, then back down and across to dot two. The dots should form an uneven triangle. Now flip the bag over, and on the reverse side trace over the original pen line to make a matching triangle shape. Now carefully cut along top fold and the fold side fold that isn’t drawn on. Open it out to a form a large flat sheet which – hopefully! – will now have a recognisable diamond kite shape marked out.
- Cut out the sail
Grown-ups only: Take the scissors and carefully cut out your diamond. Don’t throw away the scrap pieces of plastic bag!
- Build your frame
Next take a length of dowel and lay it down the centre of your kite shape, from the top of the diamond to the bottom. Get a grown up to saw it so it is exactly the length of the kite. Cut a roughly 5cm piece of tape to stick each end of the dowel to the plastic. Tape along the length of the wood and fold the tape over a little at the top and bottom to firmly secure it.Take a second piece of the dowel and lay it from the left to right corners of the kite shape, to form a ‘T’ with the first piece. Saw and tape exactly as you did before.
- Attach your line
Grown-ups only: Turn the kite over and, using the end of the scissors, poke a small hole in the plastic where the two dowels cross. Thread one end of your line through the hole and firmly tie it to both pieces of wood, add some tape to the middle over the knot to make sure it is firmly in place.
Tie the other end of the line to a small wooden block or piece of board that you can hold comfortably. Get an adult to make a slit or a hole in the cardboard or wood near to the edge. Tie the line to this and wrap the remaining line around the block or piece of card.
- Make a Tail
From the leftover pieces of plastic bag, make a long, narrow tail for your kite. The tail should be around 5cm wide and about twice as long as your kite.
You might need to tape pieces together and may need to use a second bag if you don’t have enough left over. Tie the tail to the bottom of the longer length of dowel, just above where it is taped to the plastic.
- Fly your Kite!
Wait for a windy day (when the leaves are rustling in the trees, not when it’s blowing a gale!) and then take your new kite out for a spin.
A smaller, lighter version can be made using the same technique, but with a kitchen bin liner instead of a garden waste sack, and 30cm bamboo barbecue skewers instead of dowel. Happy flying!
Bounce your way into the summer! You can use your own trampoline if you have one at home, or visit a trampoline park. You’ll be flying high in no time!
Be a detective in your local park and hunt down the most wanted list!
15 Most Wanted
- Bumble Bee
- Nettle (don’t touch!!)
Make a Lava Lamp
You will need:
- Empty clear plastic drinks bottle
- A large bottle of Vegetable oil
- Food colouring
- Alka-Seltzer tablets (with adult supervision)
- A torch
- First fill the empty bottle ¾ full with vegetable oil.
- After that, top it off with water and about 10 drops of food colouring.
- Next break an Alka-Seltzer® tablet into pieces, and add pieces of the tablet to the bottle. The mixture will bubble.
- Then put the cap on and gently tip the bottle back and forth. This will cause the tiny droplets of coloured water moving around inside the oil to join together, making bigger blobs. Do not shake the bottle.
- Finally, shine a torch into the bottle from underneath, illuminating the bubbles.
Pogo, Bounce, Slide, Skate, Wheel or Scoot
Pogo and bounce like a rabbit: How many jumps can you do?
Slide: Find the slides in your local park!
Skate: Get your skates or heelys on!
Wheel: Get on your bike and go for a cycle!
Scoot: get out on your scooter or fliker and see how long you can scoot for!
Piggy in the middle
What you need:
- A ball
- Open space
- At least 3 players
- Two children should stand 10 metres apart. The third child goes in the middle – they are the “piggy in the middle”.
- The two players on the outside throw the ball to each other while the player in the middle tries to catch it.
- If the ball is dropped at any time, any of the three players can grab it.
- If the person in the middle catches or grabs the ball, the person who was the last to throw is now the “piggy in the middle”.
Doesn’t matter how big or small you are, keep calm and sink the putt! For some family fun, find a mini-golf or adventure golf course near you.
Bottle Rocket Challenge
- Plastic bottle
- Thick paper or cardboard
- Duct tape or electrical tape
- Baking soda
- Toilet or kitchen roll tube
- Cling film
- Rubber band
- Bamboo skewer
- First attach a cone to the bottom of a small plastic bottle. The cone will become the tip of the rocket and will help the bottle travel faster. To make one, roll a piece of thick paper or cardboard into a cone, cut the bottom so that it’s even, and tape it to the bottom of the bottle.
- Next attach fins to the rocket. Cut 3 or 4 triangles out of thin cardboard, bend “tabs” into the sides so that they can easily be taped to the side of the bottle, and attach them around the neck of the bottle pointing down where the fuel will explode out of.
- Use a toilet roll or kitchen roll towel tube. Have spare ones if you want to launch your rocket more than once, because the cardboard will get soggy when the rocket launches.
- The tube will be used as the launch pad. It will sit underneath the bottle to hold it up, so it should be long enough to keep the mouth of the bottle off the ground but not so long that the rocket doesn’t sit stably inside it. Cut it to the perfect size.
- Place the launcher in a good location. Ideally, place it on a hill (for extra height), on a slight slope (so that the rocket will launch at an angle), and pointing with the wind.
- Fill the bottle about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way with vinegar. Any kind/type will work, but white vinegar will make the least mess.
- Wrap the baking soda on a square of cling wrap, fold the corners up, and twist the wrap several times to hold the powder. When you put this in the vinegar later, it will unravel slowly.
- When the time comes, you’ll need to cover the mouth of the rocket to hold the fuel inside. To do this cut a piece of balloon that fits over the mouth and neck of the bottle. Make sure it’s big enough to cover the whole neck, but don’t use the whole balloon; save the extra for other launches. With a marker, draw a dot in the centre of the piece of balloon. Poke a tiny hole in the centre of the dot with a pin. The dot will let you know where the hole is later. Set the balloon aside (along with a rubber band). You’ll need quick access to these when you launch, so don’t lose them.
- Carefully put the baking-soda container inside the bottle. Try not to shake the bottle, which will make the cling wrap unravel faster.
- Put the balloon over the mouth of the rocket and secure it around the neck with the rubber band. The dot help you make sure the hole is in the centre of the bottle mouth. The hole may drip a bit, but when the rocket launches, it will allow the fuel to shoot out.
- Place the rocket on the launcher or stand it up on its fins. Placing fins on your rocket that sit lower than the mouth will allow you to use the fins as a stand.
- Finally, stand back and wait for the rocket to launch. If you’ve made the baking-soda container properly, it should take at least a few seconds for the baking soda to release into and react with the vinegar.
Get moving with a console
There are lots of great consoles and games to get you moving – Wii/X-Box Kinect/PS4 Camera. Challenge your friends to a game and see who can get the high score, or play on your own and beat your top record.
(By the way, we see you sitting on the sofa waving the Wii Remote in air…it might work on the console, but it doesn’t count if you’re not up on your feet!)
Hide and seek
Traditional Hide and Seek is a great game for a summer’s day, whether it’s raining or shining as you can play it inside or outside. Here are some fun twists on the game to make it a little more tricky!
Aim: To find all of your friends without losing them again
How to play:
As in traditional hide and seek, one person counts while others hide. Once the first person has been found, they follow the seeker around as they continue their search. If the found person spots someone hiding that the seeker doesn’t see, they wave. The hidden person waves back, allowing the found person to run off and hide again.
It is up to the seeker not just to find everyone who is hiding, but also not to lose them again once they have. Eyes in the back of your head are an advantage in this game!
The other popular twist on hide and seek is to give players the mission of getting back to base (wherever the seeker did their counting) without being caught. If the seeker spots someone making a dash for it, they give chase.
Build a Den Outside
Build your own Den in your garden or backyard! You can use anything you can find. Try building a fort out of sticks, or use your washing line to make a tent out of a blanket!
Make healthy treats
Could you be Northern Ireland’s next top chef? Cook up a storm with these healthy, yummy treats. Make sure you ask an adult to help with any slicing or using the oven, hob or blender.
- Breakfast Muffin
- Spiced Chilli Popcorn
- Cranberry & Raspberry Smoothie
- Avocado & Strawberry Smoothie
Visit a farm
Go visit Old MacDonald and have some fun on the farm. Hang out with the chickens, cows, sheep and pigs. Click here for a list of Open Farms across Northern Ireland.
This is great fun in the sun! Get out your paddling pools, water guns and water balloons and fill your seaside buckets – the aim is to soak your opponent, and get soaked right back! Only for outside!
It’s best to play this on a warm day when the sun can help you dry off, and make sure to ask an adult for permission.
Can you jump higher than the frog, run faster than the green tiger beetle, jump longer than the grasshopper or throw further than the Himalayan balsam? Take part in Wildlife Olympics and see if you can compete against the insect champions of the park.
If you can’t make it on the above dates, you can try this at home!
- Jump like a frog – bend your knees with your hands and feet on the ground and leap as high as you can. Did you know a frog can jump 20 times its own height? How high would that be for you?
- Run as fast as you can like a beetle. Tiger beetles are the fastest insects in the world. They can run 125 times their own body lengths in a second! For a child who is 1m tall, that would be 450 km per hour!
- Fly like a butterfly, flap your arms and run as fast as you can around the area. Are you as fast as a butterfly? They can flap their wings over 500 times per minute!
- Throw further than a Himalayan balsam- this is a plant that can “throw” its own seeds 4m so that a new plant doesn’t grow right beside it. Throw a soft ball or a Frisbee as far as you can, if a friend is around throw to them and every time the other person catches the ball, take a step back. Need an open space.
- Hop like a rabbit. A rabbit can hop at 25 mph. If a rabbit was hopping down a 20mph street, it would get a speeding ticket!
For this game you need a wall with a flat area in front of it. You can use a large ball or a small ball.
- Players stand behind each other in a line, about three or four metres from the wall.
- The first person throws the ball against the wall, so it bounces on the ground in front of her.
- As the ball bounces, she runs in and jumps over it with her legs apart, without letting the ball touch her.
- If the ball touches her, she takes the first letter of the word DONKEY. The second time it happens she takes O, the third time is N, and she keeps going until she has spelled DONKEY. When this happens she’s out of the game.
Swing like a Monkey on the Monkey Bars
- First of all go to your favourite park with monkey bars and ask an adult to go with you.
- After that, climb up to the top of the monkey bars and hold on tightly with both arms.
- Swing one arm to the next bar and hold on tightly and bring the other arm across.
- Swing like a monkey until you get to the other side.
Visit an adventure playground/activity centre
Life is one big adventure – climb, explore and let your imagination run wild at a playground or activity centre!
Find out about playparks and activity centres near you!