“Parenting is hard, especially when trying to be patient with little versions of impatient you. ”
SCHOOL HOLIDAYS! The best time for our children, the worst time for parents – especially stay-at-home parents (LOL!). As parents, we all love our kids with our whole hearts, and we love spending all our time with them – they really are our greatest blessing! But sometimes, it can get super difficult to spend all our time with them, especially when we have so much to do! So, parents, let’s talk about how to keep our children busy during school holidays.
School Holidays – 2021 version
“Raising kids is like a walk in the park. Jurassic Park. ”
Our children spent most of their 2020 year stuck in a house. Their entire lives changed so sudden. They all started with school at home, all their playdates were cancelled and the only real interaction they had was with us – their parents! School holidays is probably going to feel like lockdown Level 5 to them all over again! Whether you are a stay-at-home parent or a full-time working parent, having helpful tips on how to keep our children active during the holidays is essential!
School holidays to us and school holidays to our children are two vastly different things! We could go outside and play, our children are not even allowed out without a mask on. Times have changed so drastically. We need to make sure that our children get to enjoy their school holidays and help prevent them from feeling trapped at home.
Keeping toddlers busy during school holidays
“Hakuna Matoddler. It means no relaxing for the rest of your days. ”
Every toddler is different. They can be messy, emotional, clingy, and super busy – but we cannot imagine our life without them. When raising toddlers, sensory play is the first thing that comes to mind. According to Good Start, Sensory play includes any activity that stimulates a young child’s senses of touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing, as well as anything which engages movement and balance.
Toddlers are literally like sponges – they soak up whatever they hear and see. At this age, it is not always great to have them sitting watching TV all day, but a few minutes will not hurt (depending on what they watch of course)! We totally get how sometimes, switching on the TV is the quickest and easiest way to keep them busy and quiet, but we need to make sure that they are keeping active!
Here are some ideas for sensory play to keep our little ones busy, while stimulating there 5 senses:
- Our first idea is called a sensory bag. All you need is a zip-lock bag filled with water, oil and 1 choice of food colouring. Zip the bag closed and give it to your little one to play with. Of course, make sure that they cannot open the bag. This helps them explore their sense of touch and sight. Water and oil do not mix so the image of this amazes them and is sure to keep them busy for a while!
- A simple object for sensory play is something we probably all have in our home – confetti! Grab some long strips and throw it all into a bowl. Let your little one play around them and experience different textures. We advise using one colour of confetti as some toddlers can be visually overwhelmed by many different colours. The only tip we have for this is to make sure your toddler does not put the confetti in their mouth.
- If you have a bit more time on your hands, a great activity is reading to them. Picture books are great, as this stimulates their sense of sight and hearing at the same time. There are tons of great books for toddlers! Like we mentioned earlier, toddlers are like sponges, so reading them books that will teach them is a great place to start.
- This next one might require you to watch over them while they play, but it encourages their creativity and free play. You guessed it-it’s playdough! Playing with playdough encourages our toddlers to play on their own, without needing any other entertainment. It teaches independency, which is so great in the long run!
Our final idea is YouTube videos! When our little ones just are not interested in any toys and just want to chill and watch TV, we can put on educational and interesting videos for them! There are tons of youtubers that are very encouraging to listen to, especially for our children. This helps them learn in an interesting way while they relax!
Keeping our primary school kids busy during school holidays
“I live in a madhouse Run by an army that I made myself.”
This is a fun stage! Whether your child has just started primary school, or they are in their 4th of 5th year of school, it is such an exciting (and exhausting) transition! Our children are now becoming too cool for us and think they can handle it all on their own. Let us be honest, it is great that they can do more things on their own, but it is still important for us as parents to keep an eye on how they keep themselves busy. Our children are getting to know themselves just like we are trying to get to know them. What are their hobbies? It is hard for us to set schedules for them at this age, but we can still encourage activities without making them feel like we are on top of them all the time.
Here are our ideas for our primary school kids:
- For our youngsters (grade 1-4), sensory activities are still super important, like painting! But since they are growing educationally, they can start painting objects from nature like leaves, acorns, and sticks. This will drive their creativity skills and it will get them to spend some time outside in the garden, and not always stuck indoors. It is a cheap, fun activity.
- This is another one for our younger kids (grade 1-4) and it is just as cheap as our first idea! Everyone loves to play dress-up (yes, even our boys love to dress up as superheroes!) so why not excite their imagination by asking them to put on a play? The homemade costumes, the funny accents and the storylines are all kinds of fun! Getting our children to make up a play helps their creativity skills, while understanding the importance of logic order in a story structure. This is a great idea to help with team skills as well.
- This idea is for our young tweens (grade 5-7). We all know that at this age, all they want to do is keep themselves busy with technology, but that is not always good for them! A great idea is to tell them to follow a simple baking recipe. This helps them understand the importance of order, and it is super rewarding when they get to serve everyone what they have baked! (You might want to keep an eye on the oven though-LOL!)
- Another idea for our tweens is to give them a fitness schedule for every day. This will help keep our kids active during the holidays, and it makes it super rewarding when they get to chill in front of the TV after a fun, but exhausting workout!
This idea is for all our primary school children (grade 1-7), and it is by far our favourite, because even we can take part! A simple game night/day with just the kids or even the entire family is always a good idea! Whether it is Pictionary, 30 seconds or Twister, it’s always a fun time! Games like these will help our children to be team supporters and not sore losers! It helps teach them patience as they wait their turn, and it improves their social skills.
Keeping our high school kids busy during school holidays
“Nobody tests your inner gangster More than your teenager’s smart mouth.”
Yes, our teenagers. The best stage of all (said with a little sarcasm). Our teens are all capable of doing things on their own, and do not need their parents as much. It is a bitter-sweet stage watching them grown up to this age. What we as parents know is that they will always actually need us! Yes, they might need their space, but it is okay to check up on them now and then! Besides all the studying they should be doing, they need a break from those books to!
Here are our ideas for our high school teens:
- As well know, teenagers know EVERYTHING and they love to argue because they are ALWAYS right, right? So, a really fun and funny activity is playing “Would You Rather?” with them. Ask them silly “Would You Rather” questions to brighten up their day with laughter!
- Parents, I know this is a hard one, but TV is our next idea. Not just TV, but technology in general. It is not always a bad thing when our teens sit on their iPads, laptops, and TV’s. It can be very educational to them, as well as relaxing. Allowing them to relax and do their own thing is good for their mental health and mood (and we all know how moody our sweet teenagers can be!)
- Family workouts is always a good idea, and it is something the whole family can participate in. Teenagers are raging with crazy emotions and a workout is really helpful is getting out our frustrations! Whether it is just a run or a full home-gym circuit, exercise is always good for us mentally and physically.
- With lockdown, it is almost impossible to go anywhere for a fun time. It is so easy to get annoyed and feel trapped in our homes, especially for teens. Get creative with things to do with them that they will enjoy, not just you! Try an outdoor movie night in the garden or a sibling baking contest-anything that will make them feel like they are not stuck at home.
- Lastly, and my person clean-freak favourite, is chores! Our children still need to be taught the importance of responsibility. Soon they will be living in their own homes! A chore checklist is good to keep our teens on top of things (and it helps us when we are too busy working to clean!)
And that is our idea list for our children of ALL ages! Do you have any ideas you would like to share? Drop them down in our comments section-we would love to hear from you!
The Kikki and Franki Girls
We hope you have an incredible Human Rights Day!
The Kikki and Franki girls