Holiday time, play time!

Parents know all too well that doing ‘nothing’ only keeps children entertained for a day or two. When the “Mom, I’m bored�? kicks in, you want to be prepared.

Here are some ideas of activities to do with your children during the holiday. Pick the ones that suit your budget and your child’s age and you are set for a holiday filled with fun and laughter.

  • Cooking and baking – make one day in the week a baking or cooking day. Let the children choose from a variety of recipes. If the child can read, allow them to read and follow the recipe independently and assist where needed. Provide more assistance to younger cooks and bakers.
  • Make an obstacle course – use furniture or boxes or toys to create an obstacle course. Weather permitting; this could be done outside as well. Children can go over, under through and around. Time them; let them do it while crawling or leopard crawling.
  • Spider passage – use string, wool or ribbons to make a spider web between the walls of the passage. Children need to get from the one side of the passage to the other side without getting stuck in the web. Older children are not allowed to even touch the web.
  • Gardening – dedicate a small piece in the garden to the children. Let them plant flowers or vegetables (something that grows quickly). This also teaches them responsibility, as they need to remember to water their garden and take out weeds etc. I read recently that gardeners are the happiest people. Apparently there is a form of bacteria in the soil that makes you happy… Not sure of the scientific value of this, but it’s worth a try as we all want happy and healthy children.
  • Camping – no need to go somewhere to camp or to use real tents. Let the children build their own tents with sheets and chairs. Have a picnic in the tent and if the tent is inside they can even have a sleepover in the tent.
  • Picnics – in Johannesburg we are privileged to usually have lovely and warm days. We also have parks that are safe enough to go to for a picnic. Some even have jungle gyms etc. for the kids to play on.
  • Visit the library – holidays are the ideal time to get the children into reading. Make an outing of going to the library and take out some books for yourself too.
  • Play dough – play dough is one of the timeous activities that can entertain young and old for hours. Don’t just stick to the ordinary. Make it fun by using play dough to transform toys, build galaxies, squash it into a balloon and use it as a stress ball, build a farmyard or a game park. Add flavouring or spices to the play dough to make it edible and enjoyable. Use various recipes to make the play dough. The web is filled with interesting recipes.
  • Make a worm-farm – catch some worms in the garden, put them in a plastic container with some soil. Make holes in the lid and feed them bits of leftover food or peels. Watch the soil turn into lovely compost that they can use in their garden.
  • Play board games – there are copious amounts of board games. Something for every age and interest.
  • Play paper games – join the dots, noughts and crosses, word searches, and Sudoku to name but a few.
  • Take them bowling or zip lining.
  • Teach them to knit, crotchet or to do embroidery.
  • Learn origami.
  • Build puzzles – puzzle building can be a family activity for young and old. Teach the little ones to sort the pieces (put like colours together or find all the pieces that belong to a certain part of the puzzle). Help them to find the correct spot for the pieces. The feeling of accomplishment is amazing once the puzzle is done and everybody has played a part in creating it.
  • Play with boxes – use the boxes to build tunnels or houses. Draw roads in the box and play with cars. Transform the inside of a box into a house with furniture drawn on it etc.
  • Draw on the driveway or paving with chalk – ideas with this is limitless. Children can create their own cities by drawing roads, shopping centres, garages etc. they can also try to trace a friend’s shadow and then draw clothes on the image.
  • These are just a few ideas to get your thoughts going. Let’s have fun with our children during this holiday and fill their ‘nothing’ with ‘something’.
Read more about how to make your own compost.