Holiday survival guide

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10 things to do at home

  1. Take a bird tour. Invest in a simple bird book and go in search of your feathered friends in the garden or at your local park (don’t forget the binoculars!). Make a list of all the birds you see, and keep it to add on to in future.  Tip: To attract birds, cover a pinecone with vegetable shortening or peanut butter and then roll it in birdseed. Hang your homemade birdfeeder by a string on a tree branch. Then back away, watch and wait while robins, cardinals and sparrows come to feed.
  2. Create a family flag. Make this a rainy afternoon project. Gather together supplies like fabric, glue, scissors and dowel sticks and together brainstorm a family flag. Another nice idea is to design your own crest or coat of arms. It gives you a good opportunity to chat about your family, what you are like and what you value.
  3. Explore the neighbourhood. If you are not going away for the holidays, why not really explore your own backyard? Check out interesting architecture and buildings. Check out the funny little shops you never go into. Visit the library. Find out about the history of your suburb and community. Explore on foot and you’ll see more and get some exercise. You can even task kids with recording the information as a project.
  4. Pitch a tent. Take advantage of warm summer nights. Get the kids to invite some friends over and spend a night under the stars. Toast marshmallows, invest in some binoculars and teach kids about the constellations. This could be also be a birthday party idea.
  5. Take a child to work. If you’re working and your kids are on holiday, consider taking an older child (one at a time!) to your office. It’s good for them to see what you do all day, meet your colleagues and get a sense of Mom as a real person, not just a mom! Make it clear that you will be occupied much of the time and make sure you bring a book and perhaps another activity to occupy her. A full eight hour day is probably a bit of a stretch – consider taking a half day’s leave so you can knock off at lunchtime and perhaps go for lunch together or do some of your Christmas shopping.
  6. Be dramatic. Producing a play or show will keep children occupied for hours. Depending on how old they are, they’ll need more or less input from you. It’s not just about the acting – there’s writing and directing, finding and making costumes and props, providing music and creating programmes and tickets. Younger kids will enjoy putting on a show where everyone can use their special talents - singing, dancing, gymnastics or playing musical instruments.
  7. Have a DIY Christmas. Entertain the children, save money and bring an old-fashioned feel-good element to your festivities. Make your own gift tags and Christmas cards. Bake biscuits as gifts for friends and neighbours. Show your children how to make paper chains. Cut used wrapping paper, crepe paper or even newspaper into even-sized strips of about 20cm long. Make the first strip into a circle, gluing the two ends together. Feed the next one through, glue it, and continue in this manner until you have a long chain to drape or hang around the house.
  8. Start a collection. Encourage children to collect interesting stones, leaves, comic strips, marbles, coins, even bugs (within reason!).
  9. Create a craft box. It’s great for long road trips and use around the house when kids are bored. Fill a box with fun and practical items for children to work with. Include crayons, scissors, tape, glue, buttons, felt, pretty paper and so on. Give the Bostik range a try, there have loads of goodies for creative play.
  10. Make mud pies. And bake them!

Try 10 cool car games or 10 beach games

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