Whenever the school holidays roll around, i find myself thinking of innovative ways of keeping the kids entertained. Modern life has turned the television into the “ultimate entertainer” and i must admit, on dull rainy days, it does seem tempting to tell the kids : “ok then, go and watch your favourite programme”. And while i have occasionally resorted to this tempting method, i do recognise the need to find alternate avenues for entertainment. Here are a few ideas i have gathered along the way, and i hope it helps all you other parents out there to make school holidays a more enjoyable time for both your kids and yourself.
* Join the kids in playing board games.
No matter how busy a schedule you might have, try and squeeze out half an hour to sit down with your kids, and play a board game with them. I find that when i make the effort to join them in these games, they seem a lot more motivated to play then if i were to simply pause in the middle of my phone conversation with a friend and direct them to “go play!”
* Who’s the quickest at folding laundry?
Turn household chores into fun and games. This not only helps the kids remain busy in a useful manner but even better, helps you get the chores done. Divide the laundry that is just brought in from the clothesline and create a game out of it. This can be done in any way that catches your fancy. Eg: you could see who finds the matching partner to a lone sock first, or who’s the first to find daddy’s white hanky with blue checks from that higgledy-piggledy pile in the basket. Before you know it, there will be a neat pile of folded clothes staring at you. One big chore out of the way, and guess what, every one had fun doing it.
* Painting, art and Craft.
No matter how old your kids are, they are never too young or too old for a spot of painting or indulging in some creative art and craft. This does not need to be an expensive hobby. Stocking your home with some A4 size paper, a few paints and brushes, a kids-safe pair of scissors is often all that you need. Ask your kids to look outside the window and draw something they see there. It could be an old lady walking her dog, or a red car parked in front of your gate, or a little girl in a raincoat splashing her legs in the puddle. This is a good way to spark their imagination and they don’t have to be future famous artists in order to have a good time putting their observations of the outside world on paper. Another great idea is to keep stacks of old magazines. Get them to make a collage by cutting out pictures and sticking them on chart paper.
* Easter Egg Hunt or Treasure Hunt
Another great way to keep kids entertained is to have a hunt. I find that an easter egg hunt (which can be easily replaced by any other thing like old pencils or crayons) is just as much fun at easter or at any other time of the year. Instead of easter eggs, you can try hiding other things around the house. Another option is to have a treasure hunt. While this might require you to spare a few moments writing out the clues, it is well worth the trouble. Make the hunt as easy or complicated as you wish, depending on the age of your children.
* Photo Albums
If you are anything like me, there will be loads of gorgeous photos of family holidays that are sitting in an old box in your desk drawer waiting to be placed in their albums. Use school holidays as the ideal time to get this done with the help of your kids. Give them a specific task eg: one can put together all the Goa pictures, the other can organise the ones taken on your trip to New Zealand. Encourage them to go down memory lane as they place the photos in sequence. You will be amazed at how much they remember about the holiday. By the end of the school holidays, enjoy looking at your updated albums 🙂
Involve your children in some simple baking or cooking exercises. My little seven year old enjoys making cupcakes. Yes, the kitchen does look like a bomb site at the end, but the wafting smell of gorgeous choc-chip cookies is well worth all the cleaning and washing that follows.
* Weave a story.
Story times can be turned into off-the-beaten track scenarios. Instead of picking up a book and reading to your child, get everyone involved. Write the first paragraph and show your child just the last line. Then encourage him or her to write the next paragraph and so on. The end result may well be a hilarious tale that gets you all laughing.
I hope this article helps in a small way towards making the school holidays a FUN time of the year. Enjoy!!!