School holidays, especially the wet and wild winter edition, are a serious exercise in keeping the kids entertained while keeping your cool – and your sense of humour! Here’s a great range of indoor and outdoor games and school-holiday activities to suit every budget.
On a wet and rainy day, sit down alongside your kids and actively get into their favourite game – yes, this probably does mean you’ll have to learn how to speak Minecraft! You may be surprised how much you enjoy gaming with them.
Not into games? Then set up a movie day – popcorn, snuggly doonas and the latest 'epic' flicks. You could even bring out a couple of your own childhood favourites to share. For the same price as hiring DVDs, you can pick up second-hand DVDs and sell them when you’re finished.
We’re not going to lie to you: these places are loud and rowdy, regardless of whether you get in early or not. Come with socks and be prepared to get into the fray yourself. Yes, it costs money to get in. However, you can often find discounts through coupon sites or rewards programs (your energy or health provider), so look around. Bring your own snacks to save even more, but treat yourself to a coffee! Older kids may appreciate an indoor trampoline centre or rock climbing gym.
Planning doesn’t have to be a chore. A fun craft idea is to make and decorate a big ‘What’s on’ poster with the kids. Your local newspaper, library and council website are great places to find free school-holiday events. Collect or print off the events you’re interested in and stick them all on a big piece of poster board.
While you’ve got your crafting boots on, hit up your local discount store and stock up on craft goodies. Two-dollar shops are a good source of everything from glitter glue pens to googly eyes, mini pompoms, pop sticks and pipe-cleaners. Add a ream of printer paper and textas for hours of cost-effective fun! Not sure what to make? Hit Pinterest for #kidscraft ideas, or make your own DIY pet toy for your furry friend, board game or jigsaw puzzle. Which leads us to…
Sorry about the pun, but winter school holidays are the best for all-day board game or jigsaw sessions. Games can easily be sourced second-hand. If you want to spend zero dollars, try a few rounds of charades, or “Celebrity Head” – make a headband using a strip of paper and a stapler, cut an A4 piece of paper into eighths to write names on, and use Blu-Tack to stick them to the headband.
Parenting advice suggests that by allowing kids to get bored, you allow them to really get creative. How so? When kids are not being entertained with outings and activities, they have to come up with their own games – and who can come up with an imaginative, child-friendly game better than a child? Make it clear what’s at their disposal – for example, open the linen cupboard for tent making, and pull out clothes for dress-ups or putting on plays, then leave them to it. You may just see how much kids love 'unstructured' play.
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