4 Keeping the grandkids entertained this winter By The Bower Team / In Family It has certainly been a wet winter so far, as many of us know only too well following the floods over the last few weeks. In fact, according to the Met Office, despite it being the warmest December since records began in 1910, it was also the wettest of any calendar month on record. All this rain makes it especially difficult for those of us tasked with childcare for our family. Research by Age UK revealed one in four grandparents look after their grandchildren while the parents go out to work – and how the time goes faster when we can take them out for leisurely walks on pleasant days! But finding new ways to keep the grandkids busy indoors needn’t be stressful, here are a few suggestions for entertaining the little ones that won’t break the bank. National Trust day trips If you don’t already have a National Trust membership, then it might be worth having a look. With a huge variety of day trips to choose from and special events on throughout the year – many of them targeted to families – there is plenty on offer to occupy children of all ages, in all weather. You can read about their current rainy day events here, and remember, kids go free! Pottery painting rooms Kids love arts and craft, but what most grandparents don’t love so much is the mess painting can make in our homes! Pottery painting rooms, however, are great fun for little ones and they will love making something you or their parents can treasure forever. Find out your nearest one, pop them in an old t-shirt of yours to cover their clothes and enjoy watching them discover their inner Picasso as they let their artistic talents take over – without any risk to your walls or floors! Baking Who doesn’t love whipping up a batch of cookies or some delicious buns that the grandkids can enjoy decorating? Arm yourself with a stock of fun shaped cookie cutters, some different shaped icing tips and disposable icing bags, food colouring in bright colours and some kids sized aprons – and you’re ready to go. The great thing about home baking is that once you have the tools in stock, the ingredients are things we tend to have in already, so very little prep is needed to pass a fun hour or two in the kitchen. Swimming What better way to get the grandkids out of the house on a rainy day than with a trip to the local pool? Splashing about in the water is a great way for kids to get some exercise after being cooped up inside over the winter, plus it will pass a decent amount of the day and tire them out nicely for mum and dad. Just remember the armbands if they aren’t apt swimmers, most swimming pools will sell them at reception if you forget to pack them Museums We love museums because they’re packed full of educational things to see and do – and grandchildren can pass hours looking around them for free. The Eureka Children’s Museum in Halifax is an award-winning attraction, voted the #1 hands-on museum in the UK by The Independent. And of course our world famous Natural History Museum in London is packed full of incredible sights and activities aimed at all age groups. Or why not visit your local museum? You might be surprised to learn how many free events they put on for kids throughout the year.