“I’m bored!” How many times have you heard this? It’s an innocent sounding line, but for most parents, it strikes fear into our hearts, reducing us to an anxious blubbering mess.
The April school holidays have arrived and while many people will be planning their getaways and family time, parents around the country will be breaking out in a cold sweat, thinking: “What am I going to do with the kids for three whole weeks?”
To save yourself the exhaustion of racking your brain on how to keep your children occupied during this time, I have a few suggestions for the holidays to stop them from saying those two dreaded words.
1. Visit your library
Many libraries around Johannesburg have become more than book exchange venues. The Sandton library frequently has school holiday IT related programmes that parents could look into. Another opportunity is for both parents and children to both find books at the library and make time to read together. I know it’s easy to download on the Kindle App but that negates the vital bonding time that is so vitally important.
2. Sand art
Have a budding artist on your hands? Sand art can keep them occupied for hours on end and unleashes their creative side. Start them off on a kit for beginners which can be purchased online from around R50 or from your local stationery store.
3. Let’s cook
Get them into the kitchen and start them off by baking cookies from a basic biscuit recipe. Food and drinks writer Megan Baadjies suggests mini pizzas for dinner: “This way they can choose their own toppings and go wild.” Basic pizza recipes can be found easily online.
4. Play with food
It may sound like a nightmare for parents of younger children, but it’s so much messy fun. The best part is that you can make your own play dough, so no need to worry about poisonous toxins in case little Johnny swallows some by mistake. For some recipe ideas in this regard visit kidsactivitiesblog.com/53932/edible-playdough-recipes.
5. Park life
A recent study published in the Australian Journal of Environmental Education showed that allowing your children to play in the open helps them develop a deep love for nature. We’re blessed with pleasant weather this time of the year, so take advantage of it and take them to the park or weekend Parkruns. For the younger ones, take along a ball and introduce them to a new game in order to further develop their gross motor skills.
6. Green fingers
Looking to add some new blooms to the garden? Get them involved under the guise of growing their own garden patch. Your local nursery should stock easy-to-use gardening kits. Once they notice little sprouts shooting up, they’ll be as proud as punch of their project.
7. Fly a kite
If it’s a blustery day, take advantage of the wind and seek out a wide, open outdoor area. The internet is filled with great ideas on DIY kites – both making of your own and the designs thereof – that’s the fun part. Keeping it in the air is the hard part.
8. Pavement art show
Chalk is not only good for the old fashioned chalkboards we so fondly remember. Use the pavement outside your home or driveway to host an art show for the kids. Get the friends around and get them to draw their Picasso-inspired pieces. Oh, and don’t forget to wash the pavement after taking pictures for memory’s sake.
9. Make mud pies
There’s nothing more satisfying than the feeling of wet soil between your fingers. Check your kitchen cupboards for discarded containers and set out a designated area in the garden for them to go wild.
10. Photo shoot
Kids find joy in the smallest of things, from spotting a rainbow to dancing in water puddles. Encourage them to document their escapades by placing them behind the camera and letting them click away.
11. Visit a museum
Expose them to South Africa’s rich cultural history by taking them to the museum, where entrance is free at certain establishments.
12. A day at the zoo
Johannesburg and Pretoria zoos are wonderful places for children to visit, picnic and learn more about animal life. Zoos frequently have school holiday fun days. If your family has never been on a night trip to the zoo, it is a most worthwhile experience.
Principal – Primary School