School holidays are only a week away and it can be hard to keep your kids entertained and off the games, without spending a fortune. So here are a few ideas you can try to keep your little ones amused these school holidays.
Camping in the Garden
If you’re unable to go away camping these holidays, why not allow your children to set up a tent in the back yard? The weather is still reasonably mild, and they get the enjoyment of sleeping under the stars without having to battle the crowds at the camping grounds. Set them up with sleeping bags and they’ll spend the rest of the day piling teddies, cushions, toys and books into the tent to make it their own special space.
You can also pack them some special “camping” food to make the experience as fun as possible. Small packs of cereal or breakfast bars, fruit boxes, sandwiches, fruit, noodle cups and a packet of Tim Tams are all inexpensive and will keep well in a small esky with a couple of ice bricks. The kids will love managing their own food and eating the Tim Tams for breakfast instead of dessert. Mum and Dad will never know!
Encourage them to use their imagination. They can pretend they’re survivors in a new world, scavenging for food, building fires (just stick piles, no flames), escaping man-eating predators (family pets-sorry guys) and nerf gunning zombies (teddy targets around the garden) before escaping back to their tent-fort for the night. They’ll have hours of fun – get the cousins involved too.
Decorating Easter Eggs
Why not get the kids involved in making some Easter decorations for next week? An easy idea is to use shaving cream mixed with food colouring to create a fantastic marbling effect on hollowed out eggs.
Simply place shaving cream and a few drops of different coloured food colouring into a bowl and swirl around with a straw or toothpick to create a marble effect. Note: take care as the colour may stain, so use an old bowl or disposable container. If you want solid colours, then just use one colour and mix well.
Get the kids to roll one side of the egg in the mix coat well, then flip over and do the other side. Let the egg dry for about 10 minutes and then wash or wipe off.
That’s it. Very simple and the kids are going to love doing it.
Create your own movie night (or movie marathon day) complete with assorted movie night snacks. Forget paying for movies, check out your local library. Many state libraries have tonnes of family friendly DVDs that can be borrowed for a couple of weeks. Another alternative is to swap some of your own movies with family, friends and/or classmates for the holidays.
Popcorn is essential for a classic movie night. You can buy buttered microwave popcorn in the supermarkets as well as coloured popcorn. For a thrifty idea, pop your own popcorn and dust them with a bit of icing sugar. If you like it sweet, make your own caramel popcorn, it’s way better than anything you can buy in the supermarket.
½ cup popping corn
¾ cup white/caster sugar
2 tablespoons honey
Cook popping corn according to packet directions. Set aside.
Combine butter, sugar and honey in a saucepan and melt over a medium heat for 5-7 minutes until sugar is dissolved. Boil, uncovered and without stirring for 5-8 minutes or until light and golden.
Pour caramel over popcorn and mix to combine. Set aside to cool (recipe from taste.com.au).
Note: This caramel popcorn is best made at least a day ahead. The day it’s made it can be a tad chewy, by the second day it’s firm and crunchy and will keep in an airtight container for ages.
Create a Story Book
This is a great idea for 4-7 year olds. Younger children have great imaginations and love to practise their writing skills. Download our free template here, print off a few pages and staple them together. Your child can then draw their own pictures in the box, and write their story on the lines below. They can let their imagination run wild, or retell a holiday experience to take back to school.
Outing to the Beach
If you live within an hour of the coast, then why not plan to spend a day at the beach. Your kids can fill an entire day playing in the sand, splashing in the water, building sandcastles, creating moats and rivers, collecting shells, climbing rocks and burying their legs in the sand. Take yourself a packed lunch to keep the cost down, or buy yourself fish and chips for a classic day out. Don’t forget to pack plenty of water, sunscreen and bandaids for the inevitable slip while climbing a rock. Finish the day off with an icecream treat, then hose them down before climbing back in the car and they’ll be asleep in no time giving you a quiet end to a perfect family day out.
Check your local Council
Our final suggestion these holidays is to check with your local council for kid-friendly events. Most councils will have special activities scheduled during the holidays for children to access, usually at no to little cost. Information can usually be found on their website, or else advertised in the local newspaper. Keep your eyes open at your local shopping mall too. Many of them offer fun holiday activities for kids, check their facebook page or advertising in-store.
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