During the long stretch of summer school holidays, keeping your kids occupied can be a full time job in itself. Whether you’re fresh out of ideas or lacking in local attractions, there’s plenty of easy ways to keep them busy without elaborate planning or putting a dent in your wallet.
The first place to look is no further than your own backyard. There’s a lot more fun to be had there than you might imagine. Try teaching your kids about how plants grow by using their old gumboots to grow adorable little gumboot gardens. Let them help you plant and water the seeds as they grow. You can also try growing Grassheads. Fill up a stocking foot with potting mix and some grass seeds at the base, flip it over and fill in the eyes, nose and mouth. Keep it damp and in the sun and watch the ‘hair’ grow over the next few days. Even something as simple as making daisy chains will help develop your kids’ fine motor skills, and they’ll have something to show for it, too.
Fun that can be contained indoors could include teaching your kids about osmosis – how water travels up plants. Dip a bunch of celery into a clear container of water coloured with food dye. The next morning, the colour will have travelled up the celery and may even have coloured the leaves. It’s an easy trick to make vegetables a whole lot more interesting, too.
Try setting up a workbench full of paper, paints, crayons, glitter, glue, and whatever else you can think of. Allow your kids to get creative without worrying too much about the mess. One great project you could try is flower printing – using real or fake flowers to paint with.
It’s very tempting to let your kids just plonk down in front of their favourite movies if you need a break. But you could make it more of a social occasion by inviting a few of their best friends around. This way they can enjoy the benefits of spending time with kids their own age, while still enjoying the movies they love.