10 School Holiday Ideas – Choose your own adventure

In the style of ‘Choose your own adventure’, feel free to choose the opening line that appeals most to you:

1. Yay, it’s school holidays! (Go to section A)

2. Boo! It’s school holidays! (Go to section B)

3. School holidays don’t mean much to me at the moment! (Go to section C)

Section A

Nice choice. This is what I would choose too. School holidays have always been a part of my life from my own school years, to university, teaching years and now as the mother of a Kindy kid!

I’m well practiced at school holidays. Maybe you are too? Anyhow. If you’re excited because it means more time for fun activities with your school aged kids, please jump ahead to Section D for even more fun ideas for your holidays!

Section B

Urgh. Kids can be pretty exhausting with all that free time on their hands. I feel like you’re probably someone who’s sympathetic towards the teachers who spend 40 weeks a year with 25+ kids each day. It’s certainly hard work!

Thanks for battling out the school holidays with your kids whilst their teachers are hopefully getting a little well earned rest amongst all the other work they’re doing during their ‘break’.

Maybe pop over to Section D to arm yourself with a few ideas to make the time pass more smoothly.

Section C

Sorry, not much of interest here for you this week. Please check back next week when I’ll be sure to be talking crochet projects and gardening again!

Section D

What do you remember from school holidays as a kid? I have a real mixture of experiences that come to mind – vacation care, holidays, going to work with Dad for the day, spending time with friends and cousins, trips to the cinema/park/pool, reading piles of books, watching videos from the video store, doing puzzles and baking biscuits. The long days of relative freedom were so luxurious, and as a kid the school holidays seemed to stretch on forever.

As a teacher? Not quite so stretchy, haha!

I don’t remember school holidays being a big marketing event when I was kid however. Sure there were always kids movies that came out at the cinema during school holidays, but I don’t believe the big box stores were having school holiday marketing campaigns like they do today. Perhaps I was just oblivious to it.

But getting to the point…

TV advertisements, catalogues, newspapers, social media marketing and probably your kids(!) are all telling you that you need to spend big dollars to keep your kids busy and happy these school holidays. They’re wrong. They’re trying to sell you stuff by convincing your kids they need XYZ. It’s frustrating as a parent, with the ability to think critically about advertising but dealing with kids who are in the firing line of these campaigns.

You’re going to need some good ideas and activities up your sleeve!

So here’s my list of free or cheap activities to keep kids entertained and busy these holidays!

1. Visit your nearest Little Free Library. Take some old books that your kids have outgrown to donate, and pick up some new (to you) books to read. Grab some for yourself as well! Find your nearest Little Free Library here.

2. Bake something for a friend or family member and then deliver it. Bonus points for getting the kids to decipher the recipe and measure out the ingredients as well! I’ve discovered packet mix cakes usually have pictures of the ingredients on the box to make it easy for even the littlest helpers. If you’re delivering to Grandparents or elderly neighbours, a quick picture or letter from the kids will go down a treat as well.

3. Make a Jobs chart for kids to work through during the holidays, with the promise of something special (maybe going to the cinema) once all jobs are complete. Some ideas for your jobs charts – wash the car, sort through toys and donate a bag to charity, vacuum the house, cook (or help cook) dinner one night, weed the garden, helping younger siblings, etc.

4. Dance party! This is a great activity for after the sun goes down, but if you’ve got blackout blinds, who’s to say you can’t have a rave at 10am! Find a good playlist on Spotify or YouTube, let the kids dress up, hand out some glow sticks/torches and turn the music up.

5. Go Op Shopping. Grab some coins from the piggy bank and head to your nearest op shop. Or do an op shop crawl! Great stuff to search for – puzzles, board games, books, DVD’s, CD’s, ‘dress up’ clothes & jewellery, blankets & sheets for building cubby houses,craft materials, etc.

6. Have a Craft Day. Make Pom Poms, Tomboys or Gods Eyes, press flowers, make potato stampers, collect sticks and paint them to make ‘wands’, roll paper beads and make necklaces, raid your recycling bin for cardboard boxes/bottles/toilet rolls that could become cities/cars/rockets/puppets. Need more inspiration? Try pinterest.

7. Do a Random act of Kindness. This would be a great tradition for every school holidays and the options are endless. Donate food to an animal shelter, leave enough coin in a vending machine for the next person to buy something, do a ‘knock and run’ leaving flowers or chocolates on someone’s doorstep, pay for the person behind you in the drive thru line, knit and donate a scarf, or even find somewhere to volunteer for a day.

8. Host a Tea Party. Invite guests, or keep it to just yourselves. Dress up in your finery, lay out the tablecloth (or even just a sheet!), pull out the tea cups and saucers, make cucumber sandwiches, bake scones or go shopping for special treat food, pick some flowers for the table, and serve tea, milk or juice in tea cups.

9. Sleepover movie night. This might be a friend sleeping over, or just siblings bunking in the same room. Pull the mattresses on the floor, gather all the cushions, move a tv/laptop into the kids room for the evening, pop on a movie, and let them eat popcorn and watch movies in bed. Our kids have done this once and loved it!

10. And some interesting places to visit for free or cheap:

  • Museum. In our city we have migration/aviation/maritime/railway museums too.
  • Beach – even in winter! Go for a walk and collect shells.
  • Art gallery
  • Botanic Gardens
  • Watch planes by the airport. Maybe take a picnic lunch with you.
  • IKEA – let the kids play while you eat Swedish Meatballs!
  • Library – most will offer school holiday programs.

ALSO (and this is important) please have some days where you plan nothing and offer no activities. Kids need to be bored occasionally. That’s where creativity and imagination lie – in boredom. If you’re hearing too many “I’m bored”s, offer boring housework jobs to do. They’ll probably find something better to do. If all else fails, send the kids outside to play. Tell them they only have to stay out there for 20 minutes. Chances are they’ll find something to do and won’t be back inside at the 20 minute mark.

I hope there’s some new ideas in there for you. Do you have any other good ideas to add to the list? Are you doing anything exciting these school holidays?

I hope the school holidays are kind to you.

I can’t wait to get stuck into ours!

Abby x

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