On Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa ordered the closure of all schools until after the Easter weekend due to the coronavirus.
This has left many parents scrambling for ways to entertain their kids while at home. Here’s great advice for parents seeking to keep their kids occupied over the extended school holidays.
Take into account the weather forecast for the week ahead and start a daily planner to jot down suitable outings and activities. Even writing down simple things such as “have a play session” or “walk the dog” will help you feel more in control.
Get cracking in the kitchen
Kids are always hungry, so get them to help prepare meals.
Kids of all ages can get involved. Here’s an easy recipe for three-ingredient brownies: 1 cup Nutella, 2 eggs, 10 tablespoons flour. Put the ingredients in a bowl, mix well and pour onto a greased baking tray or lined muffin tin hollows.
Top with hazelnuts if you like, then bake at 180 °C for about 30 minutes. For more ideas, go to you.co.za, click on “Food” and choose from the hundreds of recipes on offer.
Read and watch
A trip to the bookshop or watching a movie at home is always a treat.
You’re spoilt for choice on Netflix these holidays as The Secret Life of Pets 2, Mary Poppins Returns, Christopher Robin, Dr. Suess' The Grinch, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse are all an option on the platform.
Indulge your bookworm by spoiling them with one of the top-selling children’s books of the moment, including the Tomorrow I’ll Be Kind by Jessica Hische, Just Like Me by Vanessa newton and The Box Turtle by Vanessa Roeder. For older kids A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer, Chosen by Kiersten White and Loveboat, Taipei by Abigail Hing Wen.
Head into the garden
Set aside a small patch for the kids, then check with your local nursery to find out what grows best at this time of year in your area.
Choose plants that grow quickly so your little ones won’t wait too long to reap the fruits of their labours. Check out kidsgardening.org for tips on how to prepare soil, a list of which seeds to plant when and interesting ideas such as what to plant to attract butterflies.
Keep a record
Encourage your children to start a journal or scrapbook of all their holiday activities. Let them take and print photos of what they get up to and write captions or little stories about each one.
This is also a good way to help them wind down in the evening. Older kids who are more tech-savvy can try the online journaling website penzu.com where they can customise their diary and even add images to posts. Penzu is also available as a free app in the Android and Apple app stores.
Set up a treasure hunt by hiding treats around the house or garden and leaving the kids little notes with clues on where to find the spoils. Or spend time making crafts using plastic bottles, old toilet rolls, egg boxes and cereal boxes. For ideas on what to do with your recyclables, visit the YouTube channel Recycled Bottle Crafts at youtube.com/ user/recycledbottlescraft or go to Pinterest and search for “toilet roll holder ideas”.
Don’t overdo it
Stick to one main activity a day to avoid over-stimulating little kids. And take their regular routine into account – for example, if your eight-year-old’s regular bedtime is 8 pm, stick to it. You’ll be ready for some adult time by then anyway!