Deur Melodie Veldhuizen
The long December holiday is around the corner and this year you are staying at home. Words that parents fear the most during the holiday are: ‘Mom, I’m bored’ or ‘Mom, what can we do?’
There are so many things with which to keep children busy, that you might wish the holiday was longer. Try the following ideas:
- Be tourists in your own surroundings: You aren’t always aware of, or don’t value all the attractions in your hometown or city. Hunt on the internet for interesting places in your vicinity or in surrounding towns or cities, such as museums, botanic gardens, picnic spots, or restaurants you have not yet visited. If possible, travel by bus or train instead of with your car.
- A bit of drama: Unpack some of your old clothes, shoes, jewellery and make-up. Ask Granddad and Granny for donations. Let the kids give free rein to their imagination or dress according to a theme. It might even lead to a concert or role-play. If you can face so many kids in and around your home, let your kids invite friends to join in the fun.
- Mucking about in the kitchen on a rainy day is an ideal way to pass the time. Keep the age and skills level of the kids in mind. Younger children can help to add ingredients, stir batter, or press cookie dough into shapes. Allow older children to handle food processers and whisks. If they are already able to read, give them a simple recipe, such as one for plain cookies, and let them do everything themselves.
- Be creative: Make sure you have enough coloured cardboard, colouring-in pencils, colour pens, paint, glue, beads, buttons, string, ribbon and wooden sticks in the home. There is no limit to the ideas for things that kids of all ages can make: bookmarks, paper flowers, paper dolls, simple jewellery with strung beads, a plaited friendship bangle, a set of stationery, decorated clothes pegs, gift wrap. Make your own clay and paint with which the kids can make beautiful gifts.
- Do something for someone else: Teach your children that people need one another and that it makes others happy if you give them something or do something good. Visit old-age or children’s homes (there are always elderly people who never get visitors, or children who are not going away for the holidays). Take along some of the goodies or gifts you made yourself. Visit your local SPCA and let the children see what happens there. Perhaps they can play with some of the animals.
- Utilise technology: Even though one tries to keep your kids away from technology as much as possible, it sometimes comes to the rescue. Take out age-appropriate DVDs, throw a sleeping bag and pillows on the floor, give them a bowl of popcorn and let the kids make themselves at home in front of the TV for an afternoon or an evening.
- Still more ideas:
– Have a picnic or camp out in your own yard.
– Swim in your own swimming pool or, if water restrictions in your area aren’t too strict, set the sprinkler on the garden hosepipe for a bit of water fun.
– Play board games.
– Let the kids make a scrapbook of all the holiday activities. Older children could even write something about their experiences, paste in postcards, pamphlets and admission tickets of all the places you have visited and add captions or drawings of each day’s activities.
– Let the children help to decorate the Christmas tree and wrap gifts.
- Do everything that was left in abeyance during the term. Start with the less pleasant tasks. Empty school and sports satchels and clean them. Buy new stationery for next year, label and pack them. Sort clothes, throw out those you want to recycle, repair or donate and tidy cupboards and drawers. Sort old toys and decide what you want to repair or donate and tidy up the toy chest. Keep snacks handy and play their favourite music. Or simply make it a pleasant time for hanging out and chatting.
- For more ideas, consult https://www.kleuters.co.za/
With so much to do, make sure the kids and parents also have time to rest before the new school and work year recommences.