If you’re anything like us, with the school holidays creeping ever closer, you may be wondering how you are going to keep your little ones entertained for eight whole weeks. Help is on hand (or is that paw), in the form of a certain member of the family, who will be more than happy to get involved with some child-friendly activities this summer.
Walk on the Wild Side
Gather the kids, grab the dog and head out in the great outdoors to explore. Through woods, in meadows and over hills, wherever your legs can take you. Find bears, Gruffalos or make like pirates and follow a treasure map. Come rain or shine, wellies or flip-flops, this is something you can all enjoy together. Keeping your dog and kids physically and mentally stimulated keeps mischief at bay and makes that quiet, late afternoon coffee (or sneaky glass of wine) all the more likely.
Playing with Friends
If you think cries of “I’m bored” are likely when friends are on holiday and the children have only their own company for entertainment, don’t forget you have a willing companion raring to go. Dogs benefit from playing interactive games, and keeping the kids busy is just a welcome bonus. Suggest they throw a tennis ball or frisbee for their furry friend and work on those recall skills. Even on a rainy day, a game of tug can be played inside with older children. Or why not play hide and seek with some of your dog’s favourite treats. Get the kids to set a timer and see how fast your dog can hunt out the reward. Ready, steady, go!
Make a Splash
Dogs enjoy water play just as much as the next child. Put the sprinkler on and watch them give their human friends a run for their money. Or why not blow them some Bacon Bubbles? Sure to give a good giggle. Let them get really wet before adding some fresh smelling dog shampoo into the mix and you have a clean pooch into the bargain. Winner Winner.
Looking for a time filler? The little ones can make a pacifying tasty treat for their furry friend. Fill a Kong with canned dog food, wrap in clingfilm or place in a sandwich bag and freeze. Alternative fill an ice-cube tray with water, tinned tuna and carrots and freeze. Perfect on a hot day and ideal for keeping your dog occupied if you decided to head out for an icy treat of your own.
Summertime is all about making memories. Task your kids with taking photos of fun, family adventures with your dog or compile a scrapbook that showcases just how loved your dog is. They’ll have a great time trying to get capture your pooch’s personality (who is likely to be very happy to strike a pose in response for a tummy tickle, game of tug or small treat) and you get a lovely momento of a summer spent together.
Regularly involving your children with the responsibility and enjoyment of pet care will nurture the bond that they share and help them get the most out of having a dog as part of their family. We hope you have fun trying some of these activities as a family. If you have any suggestions of ways to keep everybody, furry and otherwise, from twiddling their paws and driving their parents slightly crazy before the holidays are out, we would love to hear them, please comment below.