Can you believe it’s almost the end of the year again? It honestly feels like only yesterday that all the beaches around the country were closed, as the second wave of Coronavirus replaced traditional Ho Ho Ho with a more unfamiliar Co Co Co-vid. Thousands of unfortunate South African families, who flocked down to the coast for some well-deserved fun in the sun, had to do a miserable migration U-turn and head back home.
That was almost twelve months ago… fingers crossed that any of you who are lucky enough to be heading down to the coast, will not have your annual summer vacation cut short.
Are you going away this December or have you decided to stay at home?
Most people who have a little leave due to them and who can afford to load up the SUV with the kids, a couple of suitcases and the family dog, will be chomping at the bit to head out of town for a change of scenery and a break from work.
But there will also be those of us who simply don’t have any leave due or the ability to afford to get away this December.
Regardless of your plans, the one thing anyone with kids knows for sure, is that when the rug rats aren’t at school and you need to fill their daily roster with activities, it’s very difficult to keep coming up with interesting ideas that aren’t going to be shot down in a nanosecond and also won’t cost an arm and a leg.
The good news is that the team at Wise About Life have been trawling the web looking for fun and new ideas to help you keep the kids entertained, regardless of whether you manage to get away or stay at home.
Create a time capsule
A time capsule is a container (could be a simple shoebox) that you fill with all types of personal stuff from 2021. You could include a few items that remind you of the year like a newspaper that you were keeping from a very important event that happened in SA or around the world, a copy of any of your kid’s artwork, packaging from your favourite snacks or a copy of some family photos. You can also include a written letter from each family member stating what their favourite things are (to eat, play, read, listen to, watch etc), what they hope for the coming year, etc. You can also include what the price of certain things are (a loaf of bread, a litre of petrol, a movie ticket, technology items etc) Then you bury it/put it away with the hope to open it up same time next year and see what has changed. There are no rules – you decide how long you want to hide it for and who should open it. Just make sure you remember which section of turf you pulled up to conceal it…X marks the spot, right 🙂
Arrange a Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt is great for all ages, and children can work alone or in teams. All you need is a list of things for them to find (we’ll give you a few ideas) and to make it even more fun, you can time the kids so they have to come back to you with the completed list before a timer goes off!
Here are some different Scavenger Hunt tips and ideas to get you started:
Do a list of things for the kids to find in the house – for example; find something that’s made of plastic, find something that turns on and off, find something that has a pattern on it, that’s made of metal, something to eat with, something that is a square, something that smells etc. Or you can do one for the older kids – for example; something I like to wear, something that is in my favourite colour, something that tastes good, something I am thankful for, something I like to share etc.
You can also go on a walk as a family and have a list of items for the kids to check off as you go along: find a blue car, a green light, a dog, a bicycle, a bench, a post box, a flower etc.
You can do one that involves finding items of certain colours or things that start with each letter of the alphabet. The easiest way to kick things off is to create a list using the alphabet and divide it up evenly between all the family members participating. Then head out with your item lists and see who can come home with all the loot. Here is an example: A – maybe dad finds an aerosol can, B – mom finds a biscuit, C – Theo finds a crayon.
Camp in the garden (or in the house)
Every person reading this has at some point set up a “camp” in their bedroom or garden as a kid. It’s still one of the most fun activities a family can do together. If you have an old camping tent you haven’t used in donkeys’ years, consider dusting it off and putting it up for an evening or two.
Have a bake sale
The “littlies” with love this idea. Pull down a basic muffin or cupcake recipe from the internet and let the kids know you are going to have a bake sale. While you are happy to invest the money into the ingredients, the profits of the sale are theirs to keep provided they help you knock out a couple of dozen delectable treats. An entire day will whizz by as you knock out goodies that you go and sell in your neighbourhood.
Be a scientist for a day
The wonderful thing about the internet is that we have so many wonderful resources to tap into. Just pop this sentence directly into your favourite web browser “Age-appropriate science experiences” to find hundreds of ideas that you can grab for free. Get the kids together and let them know that the family is going to don a few white laboratory coats and plastic goggles for the day.
Arrange a toy exchange
This is a nifty idea that will keep your kids entertained for at least an entire day. A toy exchange simply means you arrange for each child in the neighbourhood to bring a toy to the exchange and every kid leaves with a new toy they are effectively borrowing for a period. Your kid might bring a skateboard and leave with a swing ball (and then get the skateboard back tomorrow) 🙂
Play a memory game
Memory games are cool, and they will keep the family entertained for hours. Visit a website like this that offers free printables that the kids can colour in/paint and play with. The idea is to use two of each shape/design and to place them upside down and muddle them up. Then the family needs to take turns turning over the prints until you find matching pairs. Have loads of fun seeing which of your family member have the best memory.
Play recycled bottle bowling
Grab a few old bottles (like coke or juice bottles) and fill each bottle with a bit of water so they have some weight to keep them in place. You can decorate the bottles as you wish or to personalise them, you can attach an image of each family member to a pin. For nighttime fun, you can add glow sticks inside. Then use a ball to take turns bowling and have a lekker time working out who is the “King Pin”.
Create a laser grid
Do you remember the Mission Impossible movie with Tom Cruise dangling like a spider between all those lasers in the vault? One wrong move and he was toast. Well, you can recreate this with some wool and a little imagination.
All you need for this ingenious activity is some string or wool (preferably red), sticky tape, and a hallway. You need to create a grid using the string/wool that the kids will then attempt to pass through without touching the string or “laser”. Anyone who does touch the laser has to return to the start line again. You can begin with an easy grid and increase the level of difficulty with age and ability. It will occupy them for hours! And you may want to have a go yourself!
Did you like our ideas? Perhaps you have some of your own you would like to share with us?
Here is a list of great art and educational websites worth looking at to get some more inspiration and ideas on what to do these school holidays:
These virtual field trips are a great idea as well – https://kidsactivitiesblog.com/135714/virtual-field-trips/
Until next time.
The Wise About Life Team