30 Ways to amuse your kids these school holidays


School holidays can be stressful for parents if you don’t know how to keep the kids busy. We rounded up some exciting ways to bond with your children while they learn and play. 


  1. Build an ant farm from glass jars and be as amazed as your children  
  2. Let your child write someone a letter/card, write the address, stick a stamp on and post it themselves. 
  3. Plant a vegetable or herb garden. Now explore cooking with your fresh vegetables and herbs together.
  4. Set up a treasure hunt in the garden with age appropriate clues and treasures for your children.
  5. Get cooking or baking together. Click here and here for fun, kid friendly recipes. You might also want to read about good nutrition for kids.
  6. Make your own play dough: Mix ¾ cup of salt, 2-3 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons cream of tartar. In a separate jar mix 1 teaspoon food colouring in 1 cup of water. Slowly add the water until the desired consistency is reached and knead.
  7. Buy chalk and let the children decorate the pavement or stepping stones. The next rain will wash it of creating a clean pallet to start again.
  8. Let your children prepare a concert/show for you, give them dress up things and props. Sit back and be entertained … Now get up and plan a concert/show for them, with you and your partner as the stars. Your kids will never forget this!  
  9. Blow up a balloon and play a game of volleyball across the room.
  10. Line a big plastic container with plastic wrap, fill with water and small toys and freeze. Tip it out, remove plastic wrap and let your kids work on the block of ice with a toy tool set to get to the toys. 
  11. Download a stargaze app, camp in your garden and identify the constellations together.
  12. Build a tree house.
  13. Make a doll house from everyday items. 
  14. Switch of the television and play some board games.
  15. Get modelling clay that you can bake in your oven and paint. Your kids can make jewellery, doll furniture, gifts etc.
  16. Buy a big canvas and acrylic paint and let the family sit around the canvas together. No talking or criticising, no right or wrong, just give everyone a chance to add whatever they want and continue with the process until everyone feels it is complete. A beautiful work of art will emerge as you complete a few rounds of taking turns. 
  17. Make photo paper dolls. Print photos of your family on an A4, cut around the outlines of the people, laminate them and cut out. Play with your child, you might learn something about yourself in the way they play with the members of the family.
  18. Teach your child (and maybe yourself) a new skill like knitting. Visit grandma or a lonely pensioner for this if you don’t know how. You will have loads of fun, stimulate your brain and make someone’s day!
  19. Make hand or footprint art in paint on canvas or brown paper that you can use as wrapping paper. Visit Pinterest for more ideas.   
  20. Put different coloured paint, glitter and any other art pieces in a Ziploc bag, close, stick to a table with tape to secure and start having fun mixing something beautiful.
  21. Visit the theatre. Check out the Joburg Theatre or the Pretoria Theatre to see what’s on. 
  22. Visit the zoo and participate in the once-a-month 5/10km fun run. Call the Pretoria Zoo on 012 339 2700 and Johannesburg Zoo on 011 646 2000. It usually starts at 07:30 and children, picnic baskets and prams are welcome! 
  23. Visit the Kids’ Corner at Ushaka Marine World in Durban or the Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town for a fun and educational day out.
  24. Both the Johannesburg Zoo and Pretoria Zoo have educational holiday programmes in which your child can participate. Details are usually posted on their websites. 
  25. Picnic under the stars after walking the Elemental Maze in Honeydew. 
  26. Take a train trip with a heritage locomotive and coaches from Magaliesburg.
  27. Visit your local library with your children.
  28. Visit or volunteer at an old age home, children’s home, SPCA or any other institute where your children might make a valuable contribution.
  29. Visit the National Museum of Natural History in Pretoria.
  30. Take a hop-on hop-off bus to sight see Johannesburg, Soweto and Cape Town like a real tourist. Two children under 18 for free over weekends. You will be surprised at how much you will learn.
What’s your favourite way to spend the school holidays with your children?

You might want to read about how you can take your pet away on holiday with you.