Plan for spring break

The great outdoors: you don't need to stress out these school holidays - plan some activities for your children instead.

The great outdoors: you don't need to stress out these school holidays - plan some activities for your children instead.

These school holidays get your kids outside, away from the TV, iPad and computer.

It’s not the easiest of tasks to come up with interesting activities for kids during holidays, and little people sometimes require a bit of creativity to make the holidays both fun and educational.

Holidays are an ideal time to take children off the television, iPad and laptop to engage more with nature by spending time outdoors with family. Here are some fun and simple activities that will not hurt your bank account these school holidays.

My daughter loves being outdoors, so it will be easy to introduce the idea of a picnic so we will be able to make the most of the spring sunshine in Rustenburg. The plan is to get her involved in the food preparation – get her into the kitchen, put a cute apron on her and allow her to do some of the “big girl” things she has been nagging to do, like mix ingredients for the chocolate muffins she loves so much and pack the picnic basket.

Kids (sometimes) love helping out and getting their hands dirty. It makes them feel they helped out and gives them a sense of accomplishment. So, even if you do most of the work, allow them to help with the simple stuff.

Kids love water. A day trip to the beach, lake, river or pool can be exciting, considering the heat, plus it won’t cost much. Allow them to splash in the water, kick a ball around, build sandcastles and enjoy a few delicious homemade sandwiches. Or you could give your children an experience of spring in the animal world by taking a day trip to a local farm where they can spend time with baby animals, learn how to milk cows or pick fruit.

Get them gardening. Though you might find weeding and planting seedlings a chore, gardening can be fun and relaxing for kids. This will give you a bit of time out, allowing you to grab a campchair and supervise, for a change. So take them to a nursery and let them select the flowers or seeds they would like to grow. Then have them plant them in the garden. They can watch the plants grow and oversee them throughout the holiday period.

My daughter loves watering the garden, but, of course, I have to supervise, unless I want her drowning the flowers. And I have noticed her sense of ownership because she is the one reminding me that she needs to water her garden and see how her plants are doing. You don’t necessarily have to leave your home to ensure your kids have a fun holiday.

Organise a camping trip in your backyard; why not? My 10-year-old nephew has been pestering me for months to let him pitch in a tent in the backyard so that he and interested family members can stargaze and enjoy dinner around a fire. These holidays are a perfect time for that. Camping, anyway, is a budget-friendly way to enjoy the beautiful outdoors together as a family, sleeping under the stars, in the safety of our own backyard.

I’ve also read that camping is good for kids’ health because visual contact with nature increases serotonin levels (the hormone that makes you feel happy), through improved oxygen intake and exposure to sunlight. So even if you are not a fan of camping, you can organise it for your children and a few of their friends.

While you are at it, arrange a scavenger hunt to add to the camping fun. Just give each player a list ofobjects to find and collect within a certain length of time. The list can be made up of natural items found in your garden, like stones, fruits and flowers. The first person to gather all objects on the list is the winner.

Play dress-up. Make it cool by calling it a fashion show. They can use their clothes and yours. Put down a runner they can strut over and play a few nice songs in the background. You play cameraman for a day for some precious memories. It’s simple fun that the kids will definitely appreciate. And they love seeing their parents digging out their inner kid.

Blending fruits and nice ripe veggies into wild fruit juice, with you helping cut the ingredients is equally cool. This is an easy way to get them eating their fruits and veggies while having fun in the kitchen. Give them a station of fruits to choose from and mix them up in the juicer with some ice and yogurt.

Fruits and vegetables don’t necessarily cost a lot. If your kids don’t have sensitive skins, like my little girl, then you can do face painting with them. All you need to buy is the relevant paint and some baby wipes, then the fun begins.

Making good old macaroni necklaces with them. All they need is a packet of uncooked macaroni and string as well as paints and brushes if you want to add a bit of colour to the neckpiece. Simple board games like Monopoly, chess and Scrabble are a few you can play the whole day. Endless fun, I kid you not. It’s advisable to encourage your kids to be creative, and setting up a paint or colouring station might be fun.

Grab some white paper and a couple of pots of colourful paint and crayons and the rest is up to their imaginations. Allow them to show you what they have created and compliment them in their artistic effort, before using their creations as decoration in their bedrooms.

Older kids might enjoy performing simple science experiments, so Google those that use everyday household chemicals that you already have. Then be scientists for a few hours, learning and having lots of fun with the children.

So, there is no need to get too stressed about how to keep the children busy these holidays. A simple stroll in park or a bike ride with them can be so much fun, because sometimes it’s the little things that matter.

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