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Awesome Free School Holiday Activities to do at Home

Home > Everywhere > Rainy Day | School Holidays
by Shannon Meyerkort (subscribe)
Writer. Storyteller. Mother. Find out more at or join me at
Published September 5th 2012
So much fun you won't want to leave the house
Yay – school holidays, say the kids. Oh joy – says mum. Then one of three things happen – the kids get sick, it buckets down every day for two weeks, or you run out of money. Now what do you do?

Fear not! Getting stuck at home during the school holidays need not be a slow descent into insanity. Try these awesome – and free – things to do at home.

Get your golfing gear on. Fore!

Build a Mini Golf Course
Step outside and have a look around your yard. See those leftover lengths of decking your husband was meant to get rid of. And that pile of bricks. And that bit of white polytube the plumber left behind and no one bothered to chuck out. Gold, all of it. Pretty much anything solid can be used as edging for your mini golf course – the house, a fence, the dog.

Make the surface variable by adding carpet scraps, bits of false turf, empty the sandpit, or nick next door and pinch some of the neighbour's chunky mulch.

Depending on how willing you are to let the kids dig up the garden, you can create water hazards (one of those clam pools), slopes (split open a nappy box and wedge a brick under one end) and bunkers (the sandpit).

Use large rocks, pot-plants or rubbish bins as obstacles, submerge some empty pot-plants or disposable cups for the hole.

It's up to you whether you sit down first and 'design' the holes, or whether you just let the kids run riot with their imaginations. The good thing about this, is not only can they spend a day building the gold course, but then they can play with it for the rest of the holidays.

Here's how the Boy Scouts do it

Build them a cubby

Build a Cubby House
So it's raining outside, and the golf course is now a sodden mess. Are you prepared to give up your lounge room for the sake of some peace and quiet? Did I say quiet? My mistake.

Grab a pair of the largest sheets you own. Turn the couch around, and move the arm chairs so they make 'walls'. Drape the sheets over the top to form a cubby (or cave, if you prefer).

If you have some camping mats or a fluffy rug, chuck them in. A couple of pillows, a flashlight and an 'adults not allowed' sign should about do it. If you're feeling really brave, let them have a sleepover in there.

This is also really good to quarantine sick kids.

Here's an old Weekend Notes article on the finer points of making an indoor cubby.

Let's switch room! Okay!

Switch Rooms
Not for everyone, and certainly not for the faint-hearted, but have you considered making the kids switch rooms? This is good if the kid's bedrooms are drastically different in size and someone is always moaning that 'it's not fair…'.

You can decide if the furniture stays or whether everything is getting switched. The good thing about this idea is it can take up a few days, you can give the rooms a really good clean (when was the last time you vacuumed under the bed?), and you can have a massive 'chuck out' while you are at it. If the kids keep moaning just remind them of Mary Poppins… 'just a spoonful of sugarrrrr…'

Have a Garage Sale
Whether or not you have forced the kids to switch rooms, there is no reason why you can't make them go through all their toys and books and clothes and JUNK and collect things for a garage sale. The bonus of this is it takes time for them to go through all their stuff, and if you let them keep the money, they are motivated to really get cleaning.

You might want to double up with friends or the neighbours and have a bigger garage sale. Don't forget to advertise in the local paper as well as making signs for nearby streets. You will definitely need an adult to supervise the sale, and it's not a bad idea to see what the kids are chucking out, just so they don't sell your Royal Doulton tea set for $2 or your hubby's 'private' collection of magazines to the local kids.

Here are some Top Tips for Garage Sale

Get glam for High Tea

Hold a High Tea
If all of that sounds a bit drastic, muddy, or exhausting then perhaps you might prefer to spend the day baking for a High Tea. Depending on how old your kids are, you can either leave them to it, or you might need to supervise. Scones are pretty easy [here is my Grandma's pumpkin scones recipe], mini quiche are always popular, finger sandwiches always appeal and cupcakes are easy.

Hello? Would you like to come to High Tea?

For a really authentic High Tea, you really should serve them on one of the tiered stands (they sell them at Ikea), oh and provide tea. You can invite Grandma around, have a play-date with school friends, or encourage the kids to use it as a fund-raiser and donate the money to their favourite charity.

Some hints on setting up
Some recipes to get you started
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Why? Because one kid always gets sick over the school holidays and needs to stay home
When: School holidays
Where: Your place
Cost: Free
Your Comment
great ideas- thankyou
by rache (score: 0|6) 2316 days ago
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