10 easy ways to entertain kids on school holidays (9 are at home!)
Keeping kids who are still on school holidays entertained can be challenging, especially if you’re having to juggle work as well. Boredom often sets in the second half, which is likely when your creativity has been exhausted and the kids are starting to succumb to too much screen time.
The good news is you don’t have to go on big day trips to zoos or theme parks to entertain the kids – in fact, with most of these you don’t even have to leave home.
1. Pizza party
Stock up on some simple pizza-making supplies (cheese, ready made bases, tomato sauce and some mushrooms and ham should do it), stick on some fake moustaches, and create an Italian feast with your kids.
Things can get a bit messy when you combine kids and food (as you already know) – lay down extra paper or even an old sheet to protect your flooring and make clean up super easy and quick.
2. Lounge room racetrack
Got some masking tape and some toy cars around the house? Then you have all you need to create your very own epic racetrack in the living room.
Simply stick the tape down in tracks across carpet, up over couches and down pillows. Better to (literally) stick to soft surfaces like sofas and carpets rather than timber furniture to avoid accidentally peeling off paint or varnish when you remove the tape later.
3. Board game tournament
Pull out some old-school games and play off against one another for a prize of some sort – Monopoly, Uno, chess, Trouble, Operation, Guess Who, Battleship, Mastermind, Cluedo or Connect Four are classics that are suitable for all ages.
4. Fairy garden
A few flower petals or leaves, a couple of miniature toys and a handwritten note – it’s amazing how easy it is to create a fairy garden when you have little ones. While fairies do love being outside (duh!) you can still make a magical garden if you live in an apartment or flat – simply create a cosy nook in a corner of the lounge room or sunroom using pillows and perhaps an indoor plant.
5. Blanket forts
Try to find a child (or even an adult) that doesn’t love creating blanket forts. Use anything you can find – pillows, blankets, chairs, tables, or even piles of books can create something magical in your children’s eyes.
6. Old-school games
Remember those simple but oh-so-fun games you used to play at children’s parties when you were young? Pin the tail on the donkey, paper plane making and egg and spoon relays are just some of our favourites. These games require minimal equipment and space, and can provide hours of entertainment.
7. Creative workshops
Creative workshops like jewellery making, drawing and ‘claymation’ not only keeps kids engaged and entertained but also helps them develop vital learning skills while making new friends.
“Kids who participate in creative workshops are more likely to perform everyday tasks with ease,” says speech pathologist and occupational therapist Samantha Daley. “Drawing, painting and manipulating art and craft materials increase sensory feedback through the use of different textures and colours, which are crucial for a child’s brain development.”
Contact your local council office, community centre or library to see if creative workshops are offered in your area.
8. Bubble wrap and newspapers
Does this even need to be explained? Let the kids go wild with this stuff – simply throw out once they’ve finished. Adult supervision might be required if you have young children, and explaining the importance of not placing plastic over their heads or faces is a good idea.
9. Living room campout/picnic
You don’t have to head to the great outdoors to enjoy a picnic. Lay down a rug and set up some simple snacks like bunches of grapes, biscuits and cheese and sandwiches for a fun family lunch activity.
Go one step further and add a small candle to the mix – you can use the flame to melt small marshmallows like you would around a campfire (of course, keep a close eye on children around flames)!
10. Donate toys
Tackle several issues at once with this holiday activity – ask your bored kids to sort through all their toys and select some that they would like to donate to make another child happy. You can get rid of excess toys, show your children the joy of giving and keep them busy, all at the same time.
Above hero image courtesy of Edie Mayson