3 weeks of freedom?
3 weeks of freedom?
Parent24 Editor, Scott Dunlop
There’s a book I read once which claimed that the CIA used the Barney theme tune played over and over in order to break down the resolve of suspected terrorists being held in prison. Imagine! “I love you, you love me...” on an endless loop. Well, the school holidays are coming up, and you could be facing similar torture unless you act now.

I’m based in the Cape, so my winter could be a different climate to yours, but whether or not it’s raining, it will be a little harder to keep your kids busy during the cold weeks ahead. Here are a couple of things we’ll be doing to avoid the Big Square Babysitter (and the horrors of repeated theme tunes):

  • Baking and caking: You don’t need a birthday excuse to bake. Most kids love meddling helping with a baking experiment. Why not hand over the food colouring and the jars of hundreds and thousands and let them fill the house with freshly-baked cookie smells? You can have loads of fun making a mess and yet teaching them how to make something delicious at the same time.
  • Beaches, rivers and forests: It’s just rain! If you want to experience the outdoors in winter, don’t worry too much about the rain and cold. Get dressed up and head out for some extreme weather. We love to head off to the beach and see what the stormy seas have washed up- there are stories to be told about that strange piece of driftwood, or that bottle with the odd writing on it.
  • We also enjoy a few rounds of something which should be called “you’re cheating!” That’s the sentence often gasped out after a couple of moves of some board game or other. That said, we do have lots of fun teaming up. Jigsaws are also a great way of getting everyone involved (except the baby, who will chew up that last vital piece of the lion-in-the-sunset puzzle).
  • Crafty kids: Crafts needn’t be expensive. With a few old containers and some help from mom or dad in cutting out holes, you can help your kids to create fantastic moon buggies, crazy castles or even rickety doll’s houses. All you need to do is start collecting some junk now, and keep it in one place.

I could give away more secrets, but, to be honest, I have only one: The secret to keeping your kids busy is looking at the things around you in fresh ways. If you apply a little imagination, you’ll see volcanoes and mountains, cities and cabins, adventure trails and obstacle courses right in front of you.

That’s the way kids have fun- they are able to look at something plain and see opportunities for excitement. If you think too much like a grown-up (too messy/loud/against the rules), you’ll miss the magic which lurks all around you.

Much respect to all of the teachers and daycare staff who manage to do these kinds of things all day- let’s hope they have a great break, and come back full of energy for the next chapter in our children’s lives.

That’s how I go about it - What are your plans for keeping TV time to a minimum during the long winter break? Any special places to go near to where you live, or favourite Green Season hang-outs? Send us a mail to chatback@parent24.com and you could win a R250 kalahari.com voucher.

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