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10 winter holiday activities

 
Free things to do with your children during the winter holidays.
By Karen Meyer

Pic: Shutterstock

Article originally in Parent24
Winter is upon us and the school holidays are just around the corner, long hikes up the mountain are not always possible when it’s pouring with rain. So here is a handy list of things you can do with your child to help curb the boredom:

1. Raining outside? Make paper boats

Each family member can make their own boat and have boat races. You can either go down to a nearby stream or watch them float down your road when the gutter has overflowed. If going outside is too challenging weather wise, fill up the bath or a big basin with water and have boat races there. You can decorate your boat to make it unique.
How to build the perfect paper boat

2. Have a tea party, or a baking day

Find an easy recipe or two, grab those aprons and get baking. You could make some cool cupcakes, get the kids to decorate them with different colour icing and invite granny over for tea.
Recipes for baking with kids

3. Have a science experiment day

There are dozens of different activities involving science that you could do with children of varying ages, they are not just fun, but educational at the same time. The best part is that most of the ingredients needed for these experiments are found in your home. One of my favourite experiments to do is the non-Newtonian fluid, once you have made it, kids will literally play with it for hours. Here is the recipe.
Fun science experiments

4. Awesome arts and crafts

You could whip out the wax crayons, glue and paint brushes for this one. Be creative; let them paint on different surfaces. Find shoes that have patterns underneath and do rubbings with wax crayons then paint over them with food colouring. Finish off the masterpiece by adding a material border. You could even use macaroni and glue! Have some glitter handy to make your art piece sparkle. If you have very young ones get them to draw (scribble) on a white piece of paper with a white crayon and then paint over it with blue food colouring that has been mixed with a little water. The wax crayon stands out. Now watch your toddler be amazed by his magic picture. No need to spend money on expensive paints, just mix a few bottles of different colour food colouring and voila you have water paints.
Awesome art ideas

5. Board games

There are many different board games you could play with children and most will take up a good portion of the day to complete. Some really cool ones are; monopoly, Junior Scrabble, Cluedo and or Cluedo Jnr, Snakes and Ladders and Ludo to name a few. For those who are a little too young to read, there are Jenga, dominoes and card games. Teach your child how to play rummy or snap with just a deck of cards. If he is still too young to match the dots on the dominoes, you can build a domino structure. Lego is also a big hit with building things.
Top 10 family board games

6. Games from your imagination

If you don't have any board games handy you could always play games with each other using nothing but your imagination. 'Eye spy with my little eye' is a great game to encourage visual discrimination, pick a room in the house and spy all the things in it. Charades is a great game to play with friends or family members, even little ones can try and act out a movie character.  Who am I? Think of someone your kids will probably know and get them to ask questions until they can figure out who it is. Write a book together, start a story with one line and have each child continue the story. Each child can add a chapter or two until the story has finished. You write the story on paper and each child can draw the illustrations to their chapter. Staple it all together and you will have your very own story book.

7. Play dough and Clay

Play dough is fairly easy to make and can be played with for hours on end. You can also make salt dough that can be baked in the oven to preserve their precious creations. There are many different types of play dough so you could really do this activity twice a week. 
Make your own play dough

8. Movies and popcorn

Not what you think, yes it's very easy to revert to the DVD player as a baby sitter and there is nothing wrong with allowing your children to watch movie to pass the time, provided that is not the only thing they are doing all holiday. Want to do something different? Make your own movies. If you have an old camera recorder or most smartphones have video recording capabilities, you can use those. Let your child be the director of his own movie. Show him how the video recorder works on your mobile or camera and let him walk around filming things. Later on in the day you can all sit back and watch his various short films together over a bowl of popcorn. You could even post some of the funny ones to YouTube and send links of them to family members who are overseas.

9. Scavenger hunt

Write a list of things found around the house that your child must collect for you, they are not allowed to come to you until they have found all the things on their list. They can work together as a team or you can have two children with their own list. If you need a little time to yourself this game will keep the children busy for a while (depending on how long and how difficult the list is). Typical things to put on your list are: 3 buttons, a toothpick, two blue pens, a round bowl etc. You can even give them a reward for the most things found, like a leftover cupcake from yesterday’s tea party.

10. Build a fort

You can use blankets, sleeping bags, umbrellas, chairs, cupboards etc. to turn your child’s room into a cavern of fun. Help him construct a fortress where he can play freely without feeling like he has messed up his bedroom. Throw a few toys under the blankets or make it really dark, let him try and find things that glow in the dark. Give him a torch and allow him to make shadow puppets. After a few hours of fortress fun, you could show him a fun game called fold-the-blankets and pack-everything-away.

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What are your fun winter holiday ideas?
Read more on: school  |  behaviour  |  winter  |  development  |  holidays  |  crafts  |  arts
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