What to do with the kids when school’s out and time for holiday?
It seems as if these 11 weeks has flown by since the Easter school holiday. School’s out and time for holiday again. As the mid-year holiday is upon us; what are we as parents to do? When I was a kid, I swear my parents never use to stress or make a fuss of working out a holiday programme to keep us entertained. Growing up surrounded by family living in close proximity to us made school holidays fun. It would be a time to play with cousins and kids from the neighbourhood.
I have fond memories of spending the holiday at my granny’s house; although she had strict rules we had the freedom to play outside till late and unsupervised. We would ride our bicycles for kilometres sometimes venturing outside of the neighbourhood without our granny or parents knowing. The Wimbledon tennis tournament would normally set the tone. All the kids would play tennis matches in the road (drawing the court with chalk and making our own wooden bats – yes we didn’t have rackets).
Even though the boys never wanted the girls to join in with their street cricket; we were always there to cheer and to be third umpires. Games like “Rover, rover, come on over”, “kennitjie” and “hide and seek” were favourites. We got up to so much mischief, re-enacting school scientific experiments with some almost causing major destruction. We would play outside for hours only to be called inside to have a quick bite of a peanut butter sandwich and off we would go again. Yip as a kid growing up in the 80’s and 90’s; we created our own entertainment and therefore the word “bored” was seldom used.
Today we living in a different era and kids simply don’t know about unsupervised carefree play. With the dangers lurking outside it is sad that they will simply never experience our type of childhood. These days it’s all about play dates, holiday clubs and workshops under strict supervision. Therefore school holidays become an extra headache for parents and costly on top of it. Although we raise our girls to think outside of the box and to find ways to entertain themselves; this still needs to be done under our supervision.
Being on a 3 week break is long and the words “I’m bored, there’s nothing to do” will surely be uttered. So it’s up to us as parents to find some sort of entertainment to keep them busy. Most places are busy and full during school holidays. They expensive and sometimes just plain overrated. That’s besides stocking the cupboards and refrigerator with extra food, beverages and snacks. And once the holiday is over, we as parents normally feel as if we deserve another holiday from the holiday. Not forgetting that with school holidays comes untidy rooms. They tend to discover books and toys that they long forgot about. The uncountable number of sibling arguments. Demands and basically parents ranting and negotiating trying to survive the weeks that lie ahead.
Since our daughters started school, my husband and I kept on falling into the same trap. By going way over budget. Well this year we promised ourselves it will be different; we will stick to a very strict budget that we set aside for the holidays and we will keep it low key but still make it enjoyable for them. So we came up with a 3-2 strategy to approach this holiday. Out for three days, home for two days not counting the weekends of course as that will consist of spending time with family, friends and doing the usual weekend routine. We will avoid shopping malls at all cost – you tend to spend more money when going there during school holidays. We’ll probably venture there for a movie but that will be late afternoon when the madness has died down.
Free activities are on top our list which will include outdoor activities like hiking, playing in parks, definitely riding their bikes on the Promenade (as these has now become white elephants in the garage) and visiting the Company Gardens (of which they’ve never seen – I know call me a bad parent) and just exploring the Winelands and Overberg areas. Packing in snacks and even lunch for these activities will be a must.
Outdoor activities will be weather permitting of course and I’m hoping that we will have a few non-rainy days (even though we need the rain) but to keep me sane the weather needs to hold up. Visiting a few museums, a scratch patch, going on the Sightseeing red bus (3 for 1 deal) and Winter Wonders at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are also on the cards. For rainy days we will be indoors snuggling up with movies and popcorn, craft activities that they are planning to do and of course this is the ideal time for them to organise their cupboards (yes even during the holiday period there will be chores).
Rounding it all off, we will also be doing our bit of community service towards the end of the holiday. At the end of the day you don’t have to plan fancy activities that will cost you an arm and a leg – there are so many things that can be done that are free and does not cost a lot. It’s all about the enjoyment that the kids will get out of it and the most important thing is that you enjoy the time that you get to spend with them.
So here’s to surviving the school holidays – bring it on.