As we enter the final furlong of this grand national experiment in homeschooling, there's a dawning realisation among parents that another set of key workers are due our intense gratitude - teachers. Part psychologists, part mentors, part crowd control, part inspirators and all heroes, schoolteachers deserve a shout out of their own because we've collectively recognised that teaching is... challenging. But with the smart money now on a return to school on Monday the 1st of June, help is at hand for the last few weeks of lockdown in the form of another - hopefully more fun and creative - challenge: our Home Holiday challenge. Read on to find out more...

child fancy dress

The Challenge

From now until the 8th June we're asking families to create and post an Instagram story of an imaginary holiday. It could be a recreation of a family trip you were meant to have taken at Easter or May half term; or a flight of fancy bucket list blow out that you imagine doing when we can travel again. Cook the national dish; dress up in national costume; use Lego, the wonders of the Web, pets, arts and crafts and, above all, the children's imaginations to recreate the 'destination' in your own home. Hell, the children might even learn a thing or two about the country in question along the way, which has got to be a win. And on the subject of winning, the family we deem to have created the best Home Holiday will win access to ten live learning modules of choice (worth £200) from our new friends at Oppidan Education, whom we praised to the heavens in a newsletter the other day. Here are some more details…

girl dog paddling pool

How to Create Your Insta-Classic

Pick the place or places you're going to 'visit', do a bit of research (we're here to help, naturally) into things you might want to see or do in that destination, and then let the children's and your imaginations run wild! Use all the toys and fancy dress at your disposal; rope in the family pets (this is one holiday they can come on, after all); use the internet to research photos of places and people and create an Instagram story to wow us with. Record each 'scene' as an Instagram story, using the hashtag #HomeHoliday and tagging @originaltravel and @oppidaneducation, save them and you can then create a Highlight (one of the circles below your bio) and call it #HomeHoliday.

lego people mexico

Tom’s Top Tips

Our founder Tom Barber and his family were meant to be on holiday in Mexico at Easter but were instead grounded at home in Norfolk. Tom suggested the children brought theYucatan Peninsula to the UK instead, as a home holiday, and the idea was born. Cue much Lego building, pet wrangling, dressing up, Mindcraft Mayan temple building and general mayhem, resulting in this #HomeHoliday. Tom's top tips? 'We made a plan at the beginning of what "scenes" we might want to create from the trip, but that pretty soon went out of the window and we just ended up filming stories of anything and everything. We made guacamole, designed Day of the Dead masks, channeled our inner Frida Kahlos and much more. If you have social media savvy children who know the Instagram and Tik Tok tricks of the trade that can also vastly enhance the action. Also, use the excellent Stop Motion app to create mini movies within your movie. No idea is a bad idea, basically, but you might find that children are natural directors, actors or editors. Who knows, it might be the start of a movie making career!'

How to Enter

When you've finished filming/editing/tagging/saving your Hollywood-worthy movie you can click 'More' in the bottom corner of the Highlight (remembering to call it #HomeHoliday) and send to @originaltravel. We will let you know when we receive that, and if you are the lucky winner.

Eyes on the Prize

As above, the family we deem to have created the best Home Holiday Instagram story will win access to ten live learning modules (worth £200) of choice from our new friends at Oppidan Education. In the meantime, Oppidan have also created ten more modules of popular family-friendly destinations. The online modules are aimed at children aged 8-13, cost £20 a pop and will really bring a destination to life and spark the imagination for the Home Holidays challenge. The ten lessons will be hosted on consecutive Saturdays and Sundays from the 9th of May to the 7th of June, covering May half term, and including:

Tanzania - Online: Saunter the Serengeti in the footsteps of the Big Five, or brave the climb up Kilimanjaro; Offline: Why not set up a stuffed toy safari?

Egypt - Online: Prowling the pyramids, tiptoe with Tutan-K and get savvy with the

Sphinx; Offline: Write a secret message in hieroglyphics?

Sri Lanka - Online: Pile into your tuk-tuk - surf's up in Sri Lanka; Offline: Take a blindfolded smell test of Sri Lankan spices?

Eastern Cape - Online: Mingle with Mandela and master the music of the magical Eastern Cape; Offline: Give a speech on something you believe in?

Argentina - Online: Steak, Spanish, Mountains, Gaucho riding and more; Offline: Learn how to cook the perfect steak - and dance it off, Flamenco-style!

Romania - Online: Travel-mania in old Transylvania, learn about this gorgeous green region; Offline: Learn about the healing properties of plants?

Sicily - Online: Stroll the streets, gelato in hand, and marvel at Mt Etna on Persephone's Island; Offline: Experiment with flavours of homemade sorbet?

New Zealand - Online: Extreme sports and sprawling magic landscape ... It's time to begin your kiwi-tastic exploration of famous New Zealand; Offline: Create your own teddy bear zipline adventure!

Jordan - Online: Peruse Petra, and dabble in the Dead Sea on a brilliant Bedouin EDventure; Offline: Make a Lego version of the 'Rose City'?

Borneo - Online: Monkey around in Asia's vibrant and exotic island rainforest; Offline: Make a sock puppet monkey?

Antarctica - Online: Paddle with the penguins and waddle in the waves of coldest place on Earth; Offline: Make your own Antarctic scene?