1. Go “shopping”
Let the kids go “grocery shopping” in your kitchen. All you need is a basket (or similar), and something they can use as currency to “buy” whatever snacks they want to eat that day. A fun and delicious way to inject a little Maths into their holidays.
2. Learn something online
With school and most extracurriculars on hiatus, now’s the ideal time to learn something new. Why not encourage the kids to enroll in an online photography class, take a virtual museum tour, learn another language; the options are endless. Whatever it is they want to learn, the internet makes it accessible and convenient.
3. Become a street artist
Every driveway, balcony or foot path is a potential artwork, game of hopscotch or racetrack for toy cars. And because it’s winter, their masterpiece will most likely be washed away by the rain, leaving a blank canvas for tomorrow.
Reading has many benefits beyond entertainment. As well as decreasing stress and increasing vocabulary and conversation skills, reading is done in silence, which is probably hard to come by in your house these days. It doesn’t really matter what they’re reading—comic books are books too—and the little ones may need a little help, but for a few peaceful minutes, it’s worth it.
5. Grow your own veggies
Kids can learn a lot from gardening. Starting a veggie patch is an opportunity for them to learn about different species of plants and what each of them need to grow. There’s also the sensory experience of touching and smelling soil, seeds and flowers and the physical strength-building that comes from digging, planting and watering. Plus, a little fresh air is never a bad thing.
6. Play a game of cards
Swap their joystick for a pack of playing cards. Card games are a fabulous form of entertainment, and they promote a range of wonderful skills like patience, strategy, focus, and decision-making. Most of the classics are little-kid friendly too.
7. Take a colour bath
A few drops of food colouring (don’t worry; it won’t destroy your tub) can turn bath time into a science experiment. Fill old soap or shampoo bottles with different coloured water and watch as their mini brains observe, predict and compare what happens when they add colour in varying amounts.
8. Bake something
Baking your best biccies can easily turn into a day-long activity. Spend the morning creating DIY aprons out of old t-shirts, then bake and decorate in the afternoon. Measuring/weighing ingredients is another sneaky way to encourage mathematical thinking outside of the classroom.
9. Put on a puppet show
Grab your craft box and your bag of odd socks (we all have one)—sock puppets are an easy activity for little hands. Puppet shows encourage creativity and imaginative play and watching them bring their home-made puppets to life can be pretty darn adorable too.
10. Guilt-free screen time
Screens can be used for a whole lot more than just mindless binging; video-chat book-reading sessions with the grandparents, online yoga classes and virtual playdates with friends are just a start. For something more educational, keep their minds sharp with Cluey’s online tutoring sessions for kids in grades 2-12.
11. Watch the sunset
If you can see it, that is. The sun sets so early this time of year, making it the perfect activity to do with the younger ones. There’s nothing like a little family bonding and a majestic display of nature to bring the cortisol levels down, helping everyone unwind before bedtime and another frenzy-filled day begins.