THE school holidays are coming up again. That’s six weeks of having your kids at home! For some, it may be a time to take that family vacation or spend time with cousins. For others, it’s time for parents to crack their heads over what to occupy their kids with.
Here are some ideas:
1) Sign them up for classes
No, not tuition or leadership courses. How about a cultural, dance, arts, music, drama or even cooking classes? Something that is fun and enjoyable while creative and will teach them a thing or two.
It could just be one of those short-term classes that lasts a few weeks. They will make some new friends, have a good time, learn a few things and get out of the house for a few hours. Plus, they won’t be on any gadgets or staring at any screens!
2) Get them a project to work on
It could be a crafts project like making something big for the house. Or it could be a photography project or even painting. Entice them by saying if it’s good enough you’ll frame it and hang it on the wall. Kids love it when they know their work is being recognised.
You might also use this opportunity to teach them about saving the environment by making it a creative project using recyclables found around the house.
This ought to keep their creative juices flowing for a while.
3) Volunteer your child
Why not get your child to help out at the SPCA, home for the elderly or to read to the blind or even visit the sick in the hospital?
This might involve more planning and supervision but it’s worth it because it teaches your kids empathy, compassion and how to help others. It also gives them a bit of insight into the world of the less fortunate and teaches them to care for others.
Empathy is a great thing to teach them while they are still young.
4) Visit all the museums and art galleries around town
This sounds boring, but it can be highly educational. If you can get a group together by asking other families along, you might even take turns to drive and supervise. This means, not all parents need to go to all museums and art galleries – giving everyone a break for at least one visit.
You can turn it into a fun activity by quizzing them afterwards on what they saw and learnt. You can even ask them to write about it or draw a picture about what they saw.
5) Read, read, read
How about visiting a library to borrow books and read? Not fun enough? Okay, how about giving them one gold star for each book read (yes, you will need to check) and once they have collected a certain number of gold stars, they can trade it in for a voucher so that they can buy books.
This won’t work on all children, of course; only for those who love to read.
6) Teach them to cook, sew and clean
Why not use this opportunity to teach your kids a bit about cooking, sewing and cleaning. Yes, it may seem like getting cheap labour and they will probably not do as good a job as you would, but this exposes them to independence and learning to take care of themselves.
You will be amazed at what your kids pick up just being in the kitchen helping you to peel potatoes and onions and garlic.
Plus, if you train them well and they enjoy it, you will in future have the benefit of an extra pair of hands around the house.
7) Animal grooming
If they are big enough, ask them to offer to wash the neighbour’s cat or dog for a small fee. They will learn to take care of smaller creatures, while they pick up some responsibility and independence skills. It also teaches them entrepreneurial skills which will come in handy as they grow up and need a bit of extra pocket money.
8) Computer skills
You can learn anything online today. So, why not let your children learn to develop their own websites or a bit of coding?
Some PHP, CSS codes? You never know. Your child may be able to pick up these things pretty fast and impress you with what they can do.
Why bother? Because it will keep them busy, they will be able to show you what they have learnt and in the long run, it will make them multi-skilled. If they’re really good, they might also start charging a fee to develop websites!
9) Help out at the school library
The school library might need help re-organising and what better time to offer to help out.
Yes, this too will take some organising and supervision, but if your child is in the upper primary, it can be done and you might not have to be there all the time to supervise either.
10) Visit a farm
If you don’t mind driving out a bit, why not take them to a farm to see real animals and fruit trees so they know that chickens and bananas don’t come from the supermarket.
It can be educational and fun. While they learn, you might learn a thing or two, too! Plus, it will present lots of photo opportunities and the kids will remember those visits for a long time.