School holidays. Two words that are likely to incite excitement and dread in equal measure. The upside of the school break is that our kids get a much-needed break from the busy days of school. And let’s not forget about the parents who get much-needed respite from making lunch boxes and the endless school drop offs, pick ups, readers and extra curricular activities!
But, often our fantasy of such a break and the reality of the break are diametrically opposed. When my kids were little I wrote this post about my attempts to keep them entertained with my sanity in tact. I managed to entertain them, but the sanity part is debatable! Now they are a bit older, I look forward to the holidays with a fair degree of enthusiasm. The school term is so harried and I welcome the down time and slow parenting. But, after weeks of anticipation, four days of bliss, the “Mum, I’m booooored” line will inevitably echo around the family walls.
So, for many of us (honest) mums, the school holidays comes with a certain amount of dread. How will we keep the kids entertained for two entire weeks with our sanity and bank balances in tact? I like to mix up the holidays with a good balance of slow, at-home days, and activities outside the home. Here are my top tips for keeping the little ones entertained:
Low-cost activities for kids
Sometimes the best things in life truly are free and I think it’s particularly easy to entertain younger children with free activities.
– Beach trip: If you live close to the coast why not take the kids to the beach for the day! Pack up a picnic lunch, bribe them with an ice cream along the way (to curb the whining) and enjoy frolicking in the sand, or in the sea, depending on the season.
– Bushwalk: If the beach isn’t your thing, or you live to far away, take the kids on a bushwalk. Google ‘bushwalks’ in your area and choose one that isn’t too long but ends in something spectacular, like a waterfall. Take snacks and plenty of water and ensure everyone is wearing comfortable shoes. Blisters could kill the joy otherwise!
– Park play: I went through a stage where my life revolved around playgrounds and I suffered from park fatigue. But if your kids are at school now you probably don’t spend much time at parks anymore, so the school break is a perfect time to visit a few new parks. There are SO many amazing parks in Australia so wherever you live you can make the most of this free entertainment.
– Library time: Local libraries are pretty awesome these days with cool kids’ zones, comfy beanbags, and plenty of BOOKS! During school holidays the weekly free story time and rhyme time sessions are often replaced with activity sessions for school aged children. Sessions are often free or low cost.
Shopping centres: Don’t forget about your local shopping centres – they often put on free school holiday entertainment. Meet up with a friend so you can squeeze in a coffee and chat at the same time. Win/Win!
At-home activities for the kids:
Get them in the Kitchen
It is often hard to find time for cooking and baking during the school term. If you have younger kids, they will love to help you bake. If you’re looking for some baking inspo try these yummy banana muffins, lemon brownies or this delicious and easy coconut cake. For older kids, get them to cook dinner for the family. Many recipes are easy enough that you can let them do it without too much supervision (or interference). The kids will love the cooking part, though they may not be as enthusiastic for the washing up!
Arts And Crafts Day At Home
A dedicated arts and craft day at home is a fun way to let your kids unleash their creativity. Set aside a day and prepare a room with arts and crafts supplies. Let them go nuts and say yes to the mess. It is a small trade-off for keeping them entertained and helping their brains thrive.
Create a YouTube movie
This is a good one for older kids who have a keen grasp on technology. Get your kids to get creative and and make a movie. There are loads of great ipad and iphone apps to create professional looking movies. This could easily take an entire day and the result will be something to treasure.
But there’s also another fabulous option for entertaining kids on school holidays. And it’s a corker!
Send them on a holiday camp!
One of my fondest childhood memories is of heading off to a holiday camp in Victoria with my sisters during the school holidays. It was the best experience as we got to hang out in nature for a few days, making elaborate tree houses out of wood and moss, and helping out in the camp kitchen. It was the best! I have since learned that it was pretty good for my folks too who enjoyed some time away from us!
If you’re looking for a camp that offers a safe, fun and entertaining environment for your kids, consider Crusaders and their CRU holiday camps. Since 1930 Crusaders has been providing school students with safe, fun and affordable camping experiences that they’ll never forget!
Here is some more information about the CRU Camps::
- Camps are divided into Daytime only camps (K-6) and week-long residential holiday camps for kids and teens across NSW
- CRU Camps offer a diverse, with a range of outdoor & adventurous activities available, such as canoeing, rock climbing and abseiling. With over 70 CRU camps, each camp’s daily program is different.
- Every CRU Holiday Camp has at least two Senior First Aid qualified leaders.
- Camps are run by a team of young adults, all with child protection training and a current Working with Children check.
- Activities are designed to help kids develop their teamwork, cooperation and communication skills – all whilst challenging them to step out of their comfort zone.
- The camp environment is designed to help kids build and strengthen their confidence, character and social skills.
- All CRU camps have exceptional standard of care with at least one leader for every five campers, meaning your child will be well looked after.
- The camps are FUN! The kids will have a fabulous time and you can feel comfortable knowing they are in safe hands.
Click here for more information about CRU camps, and if you need further convincing just read the Testimonials section – the feedback from campers says it all!
I hope this list helps inspire some school holiday fun!
How do you keep your kids entertained on the holidays? What are your survival tips?
*Disclosure: NASD partnered with Crusaders on this post.