School holidays! It’s a time of excitement for the kids – and a degree of stress for parents, particularly when the inevitable rainy days arrive. Here are a few quick ideas for keeping the kids amused that shouldn’t break the bank.
- Make salt dough Christmas decorations. Or after Christmas, any kind of creative design. Here’s an easy recipe if you need one:
1 cup salt
2 cups of flour
¾ cup of water
Mix the salt and flour together in a large bowl. Gradually stir in the water and mix until it begins to form a dough. If you want add in a few drops of food colouring and / or glitter. Turn out onto a bench and knead with your hands until the dough is smooth and completely combined.
Once the masterpieces are made (leaving a hole to thread through ribbon if they’re for the Christmas tree) preheat the oven to 180C. Baking times will depend on the thickness of the dough – they should be dry. Leave to cool and, if you’ve left your dough plain you can paint them at this point. Unbaked salt dough can also be stored in air tight container for a few days.
- Movie days. Movie get togethers can be a lot cheaper thanks to online providers such as Netflix. Make some home-made healthy popcorn and settle the kids and some friends down in front of some family friendly classics. You can even go all out and theme it with some face-painting and costumes.
- Another old school classic – create a blanket for with a bunch of blankets and chairs and fill it full of comfy cushions and pillows. It can make a great makeshift theatre for the movie days – or dust off some jigsaw puzzles and board games.
- After Christmas gather the kids, some card, coloured pencils and glitter and encourage them to make fun thank you cards to friends and family who gave them Christmas presents.
- Do some research on your local libraries, museums, and galleries as they’ll often have a range of holiday activities on offer, often for only a small fee.
Or shine …
- New Zealand has an ever-growing number of cycleways and bike trails of different lengths and difficulty levels that are suitable for families. Take to Google to find some great ones near you.
- Exploring regional parks can be a great way to discover something new in your local area. Most contain walking trails, campsites, beaches, play grounds, dog walks, and / or historic sites. Your local council website should be able to find good ones nearby.
- For the price of a few seeds and some potting mix, you can introduce your kids to the joys of growing flowers and vegetables.
- Create a teepee in the back garden with a few garden stakes and an old sheet.
- Try making and flying your own kites. YouTube is a great place to start for easy kite designs and the materials required are often as simple as some tape, a sheet of polythene (or a large plastic rubbish bag!), sticks of dowel and some sturdy string.
- Create your own treasure hunt with your smartphone GPS. There are a number of apps and websites that will help you and the find hidden treasures using the GPS features on your phone.