I love that there’s absolutely no rush in the morning and the only person I need to get out the door is myself but on the other hand Mum’s that don’t work full time are expected to answer the hourly question of ‘what can we do Mum?’. Before iphones, Wii, PS3, ipads and computers what did we actually do? I can recall packing my bag on numerous occasions to run away from home during the holidays. I only ran away as far as the tree out the front of our house. It was with great difficulty I would pack my back back complete with sleeping back and lunch box (that Mum had packed for me) and I would spend hours in that tree with a walkman as my only friend…..ahh. those were the days. Nowadays if I challenged my kids to run away from home, I think they would actually do it but……they’d take my iphone with them and that just doesn’t cut it with me.
I am SURE we drove our mother’s mental with this question back in the ‘olden days’ (80’s) but the invention of new technology has made life a little too comfortable for our little ones. Nowadays kids seem to be way too happy to spend hours in front of a computer or a video game. So rather than giving out advice on what you can do to ease boredom, here are a few ideas that can help you from plonking the kids in front of the Wii for 2 weeks straight:
Day 1 of Holidays – Monday – Make a Cubby House
Yes Mum, give away all your anal retentive ways and let the kids pull every single sheet, blanket and pillow out of the linen closet. Clear out the living room or their bedroom and let them make the world’s biggest cubby house. Give them torches, help them make it their own secret cave.
Day 2 of Holidays – Tuesday – Picnic, anywhere
If they’re going to eat lunch, put our a picnic rug (at the park, in the front yard, on the balcony, even in the living room) and call it a picnic. All kids love eating on the floor and using any excuse to have a picnic. Let them make the sandwiches, pour the drinks and sort it out themselves. Let them make the decisions and you’ve stretched a normal 20 minute lunch into a 1 hour adventure. You don’t need to cut up the BBQ chook and pastrami to have a good picnic – a couple of bread rolls and poppa’s and you have a lovely and different lunch.
Day 3 of Holidays – Wednesday – Put on a concert
In this day and age I’m surprised more kids don’t do this as mine do it all the time. Prepare a concert for whoever is coming home that night or a special grandparent. All kids know a few songs either old school or a bit of Beyonce but girls particularly can spend an entire day putting together a dance routine. The little ones are often great at acting out little red riding hood or a similar fairy tale. The wolf can wear a brown towel as his costume, pop a red scarf over red riding hood’s head and use a doll as Grandma in bed and you have a great play to put on at the end of the day (same applies for Three Little Pigs). Make sure you film the kids efforts on your iphone/video camera – kids LOVE seeing their faces on TV after they’ve performed.
Day 4 of Holidays – Thursday – News Bulletin
This is a great activity for kids about 7-12 years. Get them to write the news and prepare it and then pretend they’re a newsreader and read the news (all whilst you film it). This can involve reporting the weather in your local area today and something as mundane as what they are having for dinner tonight. The point is, once they write the story, prepare the backgrounds (big sheet of cardboard needed for a map of Australia to report the weather) you have a full newscast at the end of the day and a few happy newsreaders.
Day 5 of Holidays – Friday Cook with the Kids
Masterchef is on the tele so get the kids into cooking. Everything from cupcakes to pancakes are easy to whip up and can keep the kids occupied for hours. I know the team who make the Junior Masterchef Cooking Kits and we have them at home and as someone who cannot cook, I have to say that when I bring these out, the kids get SO excited at the thought of whipping up a pancake or batch of cookies as it’s all their own cooking gear.
I’m ignoring weekends as generally everyone has plans sorted for weekends.
Day 6 of Holidays – Friends and Park Day
Ok, I know that the thought of rejection from other Mum’s stops most Mum’s from doing this but if you’re at home with kids driving you slightly crazy, the LIKLIHOOD to that other Mum’s are being driven crazy as well is very high. Put yourself out there on Day 1 of the holidays, pre-organise a massive play date at a park where ALL the kids can bring their bikes, scooters and roller blades, take a few sausages a loaf of bread with some tomato sauce and voila – a simple play date with the kids all looking after each other.
Day 7 of Holidays – Who needs an expensive ski trip when you can go ice skating
I could have fed a small African country with the amount of money I spent on our ski-ing holiday last year. This year am seriously contemplating a trip to the ice rink. Remember that? Yes most kids are completely un-coordinated but they’re fearless too. By the time you add on a special treat after ice-skating it’s probably an expensive day out but what a treat it was in the olden days to put on sweaty shoes and shuffle around the ice. Find your local ice rink and try to get your boots on yourself, it may just be like riding a bike and you may have a few of the old tricks up your sleeve!
Day 8 of Holidays – Swimming
Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean the kids need to forget how to swim. Most indoor pools are heated over winter and there’s no greater way to get rid of that pent up energy than a good swim and it’s cheap too.
Day 9 of Holidays – Movie Day
There’s a reason that movies are launched during the school holidays, Mum’s are driven batty by the kids by the second week and so a trip to a movie is always a special treat. These holidays Mr Poppers Penguins, Cars 2 as well as Kung Fu Panda are all showing on the big screen. www.hoyts.com.au
Day 10 on Holidays – Jump on a bus, ferry, train.
It doesn’t matter where you’re going, the shops, the zoo, the beach, instead of jumping in the car, jump on public transport and take the kids on a ride somewhere. For our kids, fish and chips at the beach is one of the biggest highlights we can do and it’s a good one hour away on public transport so the adventure via bus and ferry to Manly beach can take an entire day. If you live close to the beach, and you’re in Sydney, why not jump on a bus out to Castle Hill and go to Koala Park for the day.
If all else fails, throw your iphone at them……works every time….