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Holidays for Everyone!

All family members deserve a summer holiday

by Janice Ross (revised, originally published in 2009)

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider how we can help to give those who care for us a holiday, too.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the book, Mrs Lather’s Laundry by Allan Ahlberg, one of the Happy Families series published by Ladybird.

  • You will also need to prearrange for a staff member to share about the chores that they need to complete during the holidays.


  1. Ask some children to share their plans for the summer holidays. Then, ask the same question of the staff member, who should be ready to reply with a list of household tasks. Comment that this does not sound like much of a holiday!

  2. Explain that you are going to read a story about a family who own a laundry business. Check that the children know what goes on in a laundry.

    There was someone in this family who needed a holiday. Ask the children to spot who it was. Read and enjoy the story.

  3. Ask the following questions from the story.

    - What sort of things did Mrs Lather wash at the beginning of the story?
    - How did Mrs Lather feel about washing all the socks and vests and pants and shirts and dresses and tablecloths and hankies?
    - How do we know that Mr Lather was often more of a hindrance than a help?
    - How do we know that the children probably added to her stress?
    - We are told that Mrs Lather enjoyed washing the first baby. Why do you think she was sick of washing babies by the end of the day?
    - Who washed the dogs? Who got sick of washing the dogs by the end of the day?
    - Why was Saturday the worst day of all for Mrs Lather?
    - Why was Sunday a good day? What do you think Mrs Lather did on the Sunday?
    How do you know that Mrs Lather was feeling cheerful on Monday morning? Why do you think this was?
    - What did Mrs Lather not know as she served up the breakfast that morning? Do you think this Monday might be fun, or will Mrs Lather go crazy?

    Perhaps, during the long school holidays, there will not be quite as much washing in your laundry basket as in Mrs Lather’s. But there will still be some washing and ironing to do, beds to make, shopping to buy and meals to make. Not everyone will be on holiday in your home.

  4. The children in the story might have thought it funny that their mum was going crazy with all the washing. They certainly got in her way. But they soon learned when they had to help with the work, too!

  5. We want everyone in our family to share the lovely, warm days of summer and be able to get out of the house and enjoy some holiday time. Let’s all try to be helpful this summer so that everyone can be cheerful, like Mrs Lather was that Monday morning . . . before she saw the six elephants, that is!

Time for reflection

Does your mum, dad, or carer ever say, ‘I am sick of doing the washing/tidying up this mess/picking up your schoolbags’?
Do they ever go crazy like Mrs Lather because they have too much to do and they are really tired?
What could you do to help? Think of one thing that you will do every day, but don’t tell them that you are going to do it.
Now watch and see if it makes a difference and helps to give your mum, dad or carer a holiday, too!

Dear God,
We thank you that it is holiday time and we have weeks of fun ahead of us.
Thank you that we will be able to go outside and play games in the lovely summer sunshine.
Thank you that we will be able to stay up late, and maybe sleep in late, too.
Thank you that we might even be going for a holiday.
We thank you for all those who look after us.
Thank you for all the hard work they do to care for us.
Help us to be appreciative and thoughtful of them during the holidays.
Help us to try, where we can, to give them a break from their daily work, too.


‘The best gift’ (Come and Praise, 59)

Publication date: July 2016   (Vol.18 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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