It isn't easy to entertain kids on the school holidays, let alone entertain them on a budget! With families battling tough times it is torture trying to keep the kids amused over the break, especially when everything seems to cost a fortune! It can cost over $50 for three children and one adult to see a movie, that doesn't include snacks which will bring the entire cost of the movies closer to $100, for two hours. It is hard, which is why this article gives you some ideas to keep everyone happy without breaking the bank.
The Christmas break is a great time to spend together as a family, it is fun to go bowling and to the movies, but no-one can do that every day, especially when bowling is about $40 for a family of four and an extra $25 for food, but what can you do if you hear, "MUM, DAD, I'm bored...!"
Try a home-cooking class, as the parent you can be the 'teacher' or even chose an older child to be the 'teacher.' As a group, cook a Christmas treat that kids can then give to their friends or family as Christmas presents. This will keep the kids entertained and for each biscuit or cake they can take it in turns of being the instructor. It is also fun decorating gingerbread men and other biscuits. Then host your own tea party with special treats! This is a great game for grandparents to play with their grandchildren!
Make-Your-Own-Pizza makes meal times fun, spread out all the ingredients needed for pizzas and then let everyone make their own and watch their pizza cook. It makes meal times and eating dinner a lot more exciting!
You can also teach your children how to make their own lemonade. Another great idea using cut-up pieces of fruit you make fruit faces or fruit people, get creative!
For many young kids using public transport is an adventure, going outside the house on a train or even a tram can be exciting! This is a cheap activity as children under the age of four can travel for free on public transport in Victoria and it isn't very expensive for an adult ticket. You can choose to travel all day on different types of transportation or even choose a location and bring along a packed picnic!
Whilst travelling there are many games you can play to keep kids from becoming bored, 'I Spy' is an old classic, number plate games are great too, when you see a number plate you have to create items using the letters on the plate, for example BMM could be 'Big Mean Monster'. On the train you can write a list of all the places you see as you go past, hospitals, flower farms, truck yards, department stores, at the end you count up who has the most and they win!
Encourage your kids to write a story, and then later turn it into a play. Provide dress-ups, make-up and props, support lots of rehearsal time and then bring family and friends together for their performance. Dance and sport performances are also a hit, dressing up without performing can also be really fun.
Get Crafty! Drying flowers, it is easy. Let everyone choose their own flowers and then place the flowers between layers of paper, newspaper is a good option, add a tissue between the paper and flower and then place them between the pages of a heavy book and stack weights on top! The hardest part is waiting the two weeks for them to be ready! If your kids are a bit older and more patient try Origami. Origami instructions are available online or you can borrow how-to books for the local library. Paper plane contest are always enjoyable, see whose can fly the furthest or crash the best.
Paper Mache is one of the most versatile crafts around! You can make anything. You can cover balloons, cardboard, toilet rolls, cups, juice cartons, masking tape and shoeboxes with Paper Mache. The Mache recipe is fairly easy it just flour, water and some salt/sugar mixed together, then u dip your newspaper in the mixture and paste it onto your chosen object. One of the favourites is the Paper Mache volcano, when it is completed you mix vinegar, bi-carb soda and red-food-die to replicate a volcanic explosion. Paper Mache can be an activity that continues over a couple of days, as it requires drying, layers, painting and then the final presentation.
Play dough can easily be made at home, check out the internet or local craft shops for the best recipes then create a your house and community with play dough!
Drawing provides endless hours of interest, how about drawing your house? Or your dream house? Or even your Family trees, family trees' are always interesting; together create on big pieces of paper, your family tree. Colour it in and give it to grandparents for a Christmas gift.
In the warmer weather we want to be outside, don't forget the hat, sunglasses and sunscreen though! Pitch a tent outside, pretend you're camping and have the torch ready for when the sunsets. Whilst outside feed the birds with the crusts from old bread or even go on a trip to the local park to feed the ducks there.
Holidays provide many hours of fun why not write a family holiday diary? Take it in turns of writing the days and sit together and decide what you are going to write. Include photographs and drawings, this is a perfect for Show and Tell when school goes back.
Don't forget old favourites too, Hopscotch, Hide and Seek, Card Games, Memory Games (use a deck of card if you don't have anything else) Chess and Charades.
Take a trip to an art gallery, they are often cheap and provide hours of entertainment and the local library is free! Also phone your local council offices, they may run school holiday programs that are free or cheaper in the local area. www.asg.com.au