It’s the Winter holidays, 3 weeks of unscheduled bliss. Really?! For some parents the thought of a 3 week Winter holiday put’s panic in their eyes. Here are our best suggestions of play-based activities to do AT HOME (no crafts!). Simple things that they can do at home with a bit of adult input, either a parent, grandparent, nanny or other caregiver. These activities can be altered and adjusted easily to almost any age child. Pick the ones that might peak your child’s interests best.
1.Fold paper aeroplanes, decorate and have aeroplane races. There are loads of examples online. We found www.foldnfly.com really useful! You need: a pile of paper, scissors, koki’s
2. Set up a mini version of their favourite sport (inside if it is raining or outside if there is a gap in the weather).You can use household items for example, set up a small hockey field and use an old cardboard roll as a stick and a small soft ball or rolled up socks as a ball. This CAN work in a small area. Use buckets or plastic cups turned upside down as field markers. If your child has no playmates around. Then set up a mini skills course, dribbling, passing, throwing, batting and let them time themselves, ‘How many can they complete in a minute? Or how many can they get in a row’. You need: sports bats, balls, cardboard rolls, plastic buckets or cups
3. Pretend houses and forts. Most children LOVE the opportunity to turn up your lounge cushions and created their own housie. Let them! I have also used a sheet draped over an table, a blanket draped over 2 chairs or those quick pop up kid’s tents. I also love the look of these sweet fabric tee-pees! Find them at www.mylittleteepee.com .They will love making their home their own, send a snack their way and it will be a hit! You need: Blankets, pillows, sheets or pop-up tent or mini tee-pee.
4. Obstacle or gym course. Part of the fun is letting them help set up the challenges. They need to help you set out sequences of challenges and then all participants can have a turn. This can also work well for a spread of ages as the activities can be adjusted to the abilities. Jumping from square to square (tile to tile),tumble turns on a mattress, balancing along a carpet line, climbing over a couch etc! You will need: any combination of the following; carpets, pillows, furniture, floors!
5. Big Lego build. When is a better time to haul out all the Lego you own? Be it Duplo or small Lego pull out those boxes! Set up an space that won’t be disturbed or need to be packed away. Help them rebuild their sets or let them free build and create a large Lego world using all the pieces! A great idea which we plan to try is to use pieces of colourful felt as the building platform to create different areas such as green for grass and blue for ocean. Cardboard sheets can also be drawn on and decorated to create your own Lego worlds! You can also purchase Lego building plates at Plastics for Africa (stock medium sized plates) or check out www.Kiddiwinks.co.za stock the very large building plates or order a few new sets! If there are multiple children get them to each be in charge of their own ‘sections’ and combine later. You will need: All the lego you own and possibly felt or other flat coloured material or cardboard, Lego building plates.
6. Music concert or show. Yes this may be noisey! Let them loose on your old CD collection (within reason), download some new tunes via Itunes or haul out some kids music CD’s. Let your kids be the DJ and let them enjoy either listening to, dancing to or creating a dancing show for you. Older kids will enjoy putting a structured mini show together and younger ones can be part of the audience or play smaller roles. Younger children will enjoy spontaneous dancing especially if you rock along with them! Music is one of our favourite past times. In fact letting them loose on whatever musical instruments you have at home is also a great activity. You will need: Music , some instrument.
7. Dance party. Ok- not ALL children will enjoy this but, put on some tunes- we promise you will enjoy it as much as them! Pre-School children may enjoy practicing their own dance and then giving you a show. Younger children will just enjoy free dancing. Some of our favourites include classical ballet tunes, traditional Disney songs and Hillsong Kids.
8. Mini-shop. Help your kids set up a proper shop. Many of our households have recently been swamped by animal cards and Checkers mini shoppers. Now is your chance to lets them actually use these. Set out a ’till’, a shop ‘shelf’, some baskets etc. Slightly older kids can make money by writing our amount son slips of paper. Prepare wallets and let them loose one at a time! An old calculator or an old laptop can work as a shop till. The important thing is to get the kids engages in an imaginary world of shopping and spending!