I'm a free lance writer from Perth, an optimistic housewife, a mother of two and a caring vegetarian.
Published September 17th 2015
I am bored! Does it sound familiar? Every parent is generally familiar with this common phrase. Especially during the school holidays it can become the 'mantra' that children repeat constantly throughout the day.
What can parents do to help vanish their boredom?
As parents it is always good to have a stash of ideas and activities ready to engage your children during the school break. As the young and active brains need constant stimulation and learning, parents can aim to combine fun and education together during this time. School holiday fun doesn't need to cost a fortune.
This image is by D Sharon Pruitt, Wikimedia Commons.
Here are some ideas that can help increase the joy of school holidays for both parents and children and are generally free or with a little cost.
* Parks & Gardens Take them out for a play at parks and gardens. Pack a picnic rug, some drinks and snacks, sunscreen, a hat and see the magic. Children need to burn off energy. The best way they do this, is by playing and having fun. Invite their friends, cousins or grandparents for a play date. A simple, but attractive activity.
*Swimming Pools/Beach Especially during the warmer months, one great way to keep children physically active and not 'bored' is to take them for a swim. Arrange for play dates at the pool or the beach. Take your picnic along with your swimming gear, a beach ball and you won't hear from your children for hours. The hardest part would be to take them out of the water. A fun and smart engagement.
*Libraries Local libraries are excellent places for both parents and children. Every parent must become a member at their local library. Most of the libraries have scheduled story/rhyme time activities for young children as well as colouring in, games and other art/craft fun. Call or visit your local library on the web or person before the school holidays as some activities may need a prior booking. While at the library read books to the children and encourage them to borrow books and DVDs for reading and viewing at home. An educational and free activity for the children.
This image is by Andreas Praefcke, Wikimedia Commons.
*Visit the City Take a train ride, bus or drive to visit the city during the school break. A variety of entertaining activities are arranged by the city council for young children. Often the activities are free and run for a couple of weeks. Call or visit the website of your city for further information and any prior bookings that may be required. Visit the city as a family or invite friends and relatives to go along with you. Great fun for the day.
*Movies Generally, new children's movies are released at the beginning or during the school holidays. Arrange movie dates or just go as a family. Take your own snacks or get from the cinemas. It is good to always see the trailer of the movies beforehand on the internet to see the suitability of the movie for your children. Most children's movies are 'G' or 'PG' rated and can be educational and fun. Look out for movie vouchers on back of your supermarket dockets, magazines and newspapers, etc. Renting DVDs from Video stores can be another way to keep children entertained. Look out for holiday or weekly deals at the stores. An entertaining activity with some cost involved.
*Visit Museums, Galleries & Exhibitions
Plan visits to the different museums, galleries and exhibitions in your city. Children are often fascinated by visiting such places. It is a very educational and engaging activity to do during the school break as it nurtures the intellect in children and parents. Most of these places are free or with a small fee entry. A great educational resource.
*Visit Family & Friends
School holidays are a great time to visit family and friends. Children are often looking forward to visiting their grandparents, cousins and their friends during this time. Arrange prior play dates and visits. This is a very helpful activity in building the necessary social skills in children. A holiday must!
Working in the garden is another great way to engage the children during school holidays. All you need to do is give children a pair of garden gloves and a shovel and see them busy themselves for a long time. Weeding, planting, watering the garden, picking flowers, fruits and vegetables from the garden are some of the activities children can be encouraged to do. It is important to supervise the very young children in the garden and ensure it is a hazard free environment. Gardening can be very educational, relaxing and therapeutic activity as we are in close touch with nature.
Given the right timing, opportunity and encouragement, children often like to clean and cook. Helping their parents in the kitchen and doing a general tidy up around the house can be fun and a great learning experience for developing life skills within children. Children, especially the very young will need supervision during these activities. Making homemade popcorn, cookies, ice cream, fruit and vegetable kebabs and cupcakes are some ideas to try when cooking with children. It is full of benefits for both the parents and the kids. A fantastic boredom buster!
Another great way to engage children in fun and educational activities is by encouraging them to volunteer to help others. It is a very satisfactory activity that helps develop empathy and kindness in children. This volunteering activity can include helping a friend or a relative or volunteering at your local church or community centre. If children see that their parents, friends and other significant others in their life are happy volunteering, they too generally are happy to give a helping hand. A soul nourishing activity.
Planning and creating 'Do it yourself' (DIY) projects around the house is another great boredom buster for the school break. Whether is designing a wall or rearranging a room or organising toys in order or anything else in between, it can always be an engaging and fun activity for the kids, especially older children and teens. Beading, Making Jewellery, Creating Art/Craft Projects, Painting, Sewing are some other DIY ideas. DIY projects are very creative and fun engagement.
Before the technology took over our children's minds, children and families spent time together with board games. These games can be educational and stimulating to the young brains. It is one of the easiest way to have fun with family and friends during school holidays. Some classic family board games include Scrabble, Twister, Monopoly, Chess and various card games. An activity that brings the family together.
Some simple but effective miscellaneous ideas for school holidays include, play dough, sand pit, colouring, painting, drawing, making masks, collages, puppets, cubby house play, doll house play, dress ups, face painting music, dancing, balloons, water play, bubbles, blocks, magnets, puzzles, etc.
For older children, it may be worth the time, effort and money to invest in spelling, reading, writing and maths activity books to keep up and refine their learning. Word sleuths and crosswords activity books are other good resources for the school holidays and long driving trips.
Plan picnics and camping trips, sleepovers and other outdoor trips with family and friends.
This image is by Glyn Baker, Wikimedia Commons.
Visiting markets, community fairs, fetes, shows and festivals, sporting events, music and dance concerts, as well as places such as wildlife parks, marine parks and the zoo are some educational and entertaining activities for holiday fun. Look out for information and details from your local newspapers, libraries, shires, community centres and the internet.
So many amazing things to take the kids to. I do hope parents are able to get some time off work to enjoy it as well. At any rate, there's no excuse to waste the weekends with so much on offer. I particularly like your article's emphasis on lower cost options.