School holidays are here - well, they are here in Australia - and they are way too long for most parents and especially for stepparents. Stepmothers, in particular, dread these times that come around as regular as clock work. Frequently, and sometimes at a total loss, they wonder “what on earth will I do with the step children for the 1,2 or 3 weeks that I’ll have them in my house?”
Well, the beautiful site assistant I had during the years I operated the original StepStop Liz (aka Wallyburger) was a very busy girl during that time and put together a fabulous list of holiday activity suggestions designed to keep your SKIDS happy and keep YOU sane throughout those weeks. Enjoy her suggestions and, better still, try them for yourself!!!
Thanks to a suggestion made by one of our much valued site members (Meg 2605) I have put together some ideas for the school holidays. All activities have been tried & tested within my household. Many of these are “free” which means that they cost nothing at all! Most are easily changed to suit any age group and those that do cost something will suit almost any budget. Please remember to share YOUR holiday success tips and suggestions with us all! Right now, the forums are a great place to do this. Our new site will have a special niche for ALL your great ideas!
Exploring – Have an adventure in your own back yard. Discover the treasures that are all around you! Collect feathers, find lucky rocks & see how many living creatures have made their home within the grounds of yours. Binoculars add an extra dimension to your exploring.
Mini Olympics - 3 legged races and egg & spoon races are great fun! Egg throwing or a catch the egg game in which you throw a raw egg to the appointed catcher who then needs to throw it back to you and you increase the distance between you until you can no longer catch the egg makes for a lot of hilarity. Hula-hooping or pushbiking through an obstacle course can be a challenge and cause much laugher. How about a pillowcase race for the little ones?
Local Parks – Contact your local Council to find all the parks in your area. Often there are undiscovered bike/skateboard/activity parks that are perfect for stretching everyone’s legs.
IN THE KITCHEN:
I have 2 books that are entitled “Kids in the Kitchen” by Hawker Brownlow Education. One is: “Without Heat”, the other: “Fun Food Activities For Children”. I purchased these books at a book party some years ago but have since discovered their website where they can be contacted at www.hbe.com.au.
Nice Biscuit Gingerbread House – this was a terrific success!
You’ll need a small container that you can build around. Then you ice each biscuit, and use the icing, to glue it to the next. Remember the roof! Once your house is built, decorate with icing & lollies. You can make grass by tinting coconut with food colouring. Just let your imagination run wild and you’ll have a fabulous gingerbread house!
Jewellery – Pasta, beads & popcorn make wonderful necklaces which can also be painted.
Framing – cheap frames are perfect to paint &/or decorate with shells, feathers, gumnuts or whatever else you can find in your home or garden.
Craft Box – Save all your egg cartons, toilet rolls, ribbons, magazines, paper & other bits. Store them in a larger decorated “Craft” box. You’ll need kid’s safety scissors, glue & sticky tape, which can all be bought at discount stores. It’s amazing what you can create if you allow your own creativity to ‘come out and play’.
Calling all Artists!
Real Artist canvases can be bought at discount shops. Discover the ‘Pro Hart’ amongst your kids or encourage them to paint a self-portrait. Once dry, display their master pieces in their rooms …..and be sure to admire them greatly.
Spud Paintings – Cut some potatoes into shapes, dip these into food die and stamp them on to butcher’s paper. This l makes for wonderful gift wraps!
Fancy Dress – Put together some old clothes (big or small), necklaces, gloves, scarves, hats, glasses, whatever else & you’ll have an instant fancy dress party.
Choc-a-block – We love this one! You’ll need a block of chocolate, knife & fork, scarf, hat, glasses, gloves (or similar) & a dice. Each person rolls the dice. When it lands on a 6 you have to - as quickly as possible - put on all the items & then using the knife & fork cut a square off the block of chocolate. Sometimes you get the chocolate, sometimes you don’t because, if someone else rolls a 6 whilst you are getting ready, it will be their turn to have a try. Older kids will love this game!
Board Games – Play some of those games that have been hiding in the cupboard or gathering dust under the bed. If you don’t have any, perhaps it’s time to invest in some games that the kids can play alone & with you, too!
Guess that song – Kids can take turns being the DJ & everyone else has to guess the song they’re playing. For younger kids, play their favourite Nursery Rhymes, Wiggles or Hi 5 CD’s. This is quite entertaining.
Musical instruments – You can make Maracas (rice in a bottle), Drum set (pots & pans), Guitar (cardboard & string). If you fill glasses with different levels of water they make a wonderful sound. Using a bit of imagination you can make loads of other instruments to enhance your band.
RELAX! - Yes it’s possible……read on….
Kids need to recharge too even though they don’t realise it. Dedicate one day a week during which the kids can do whatever they want within the boundaries you set. They can sloth in their PJ’s all day, watch the box, play playstation or Xbox. The whole point is that they get to choose. Make them their favourite snacks. Explain that whilst they are playing quietly you won’t interrupt their day. Believe me, they will appreciate the time off & more often than not (depending on their individual ages) they’ll leave you alone to do what you want too.
“Meg, thanks again for this opportunity to share not only these fun ideas, but also the rewards I’ve received in return. My kids look forward to each visit with me, both, unaware of what new adventure awaits. In return for the time I dedicate to these activities, I always get an appreciative smile, a warm hug and two very obliging and happy children who are more than willing to assist me in any way they can. It’s worth the sacrifice of what was usually considered “MY” time.
Have fun having fun.