But Mum, I'm bored!The Easter school holidays have crept up out of nowhere, and with them a splash of Autumnal (read: windy, cold) weather. I swear, it was Christmas holidays yesterday.
If living across the road from a school and marvelling at the ghost-town that is my street isn't a giveaway, I see and hear evidence of 'school's-out' behaviour when braving the shopping centres.
In a day and age where activities are limitless, expensive and abundant, we are struck with almost an option-paralysis when deciding what to do with the kiddies. So why not bring it back to basics?
I have compiled a bunch of ideas that are free or only cost a few dollars, to get your little ones busy doing something 'old-school' and maybe even a little bit FUN.
There will be times, no doubt, (thanks Debbie) where the weather is as awful as morning breath. When iPads, movies and books just don't cut it, the house looks like Debbie's warpath and mama/papa has laundry stacked to the roof, there needs to be a Mary Poppins-esque magic solution (short of a spoonful of sugar) that gets things done.
I know, I know...sounds like the opposite of fun. Introduce some stickers, some music and a pocket money jar, and now we're talkin'! Get the kids to learn that there's a certain order that needs to be followed - a routine - and with their help, it will be done faster, they will get a tip in their jar or a star on their chart. There is something to be said for doing chores mindfully. If you choose for it to be a drag, it will be just that. But if you instil in your children from a young age that it is a necessary part of their day and something that can actually be fun, they will be more likely to take this perspective into adulthood. I remember as a child, scrubbing the bath with brushes strapped to my little feet, Mariah blaring on the cassette (yes I am old) and my sister and I racing to beat each other so we could then watch a movie together.
The thought of cooking with toddlers and little ones give you heart flutters? - don't dismay - there are so many different options for this one to work! Whether you have tiny ones or big kids, there is something safe and fun for you to do with each age group. Whether you want raw, no-bake treats to avoid any kind of heat-related injury, or just a simple cupcake recipe for your little artisté's to decorate or even just a quick recipe for playdough, Pinterest is your guy. Don't get stuck in a vortex of Martha Stewart-like hopes and dreams, just click the relevant age group below to find some simple basics to
- Kitchen for toddlers: age appropriate activities
- Montessori toddler activity: squeezing oranges
- No bake: playdough and peanut butter bars
- Kitchen skills: age appropriate skills
- Baking: mini pizza bites and carrot vege puffs
- No bake: banana sushi and snack bars
There is something so magical about planting and nourishing a seed, and seeing it grow over time. Even now as an adult, the process fascinates me. Weather permitting, get outside with your littles, strap your smallest into a sling or wrap, and get your hands dirty!
There is also something very liberating about feeling your hands in the earth. Acquire some very inexpensive seeds from Bunnings at the beginning of the holidays, dedicate an area of your garden to your kids as their very own, and teach them about how to nurture plants from seedlings to sprouts all the way to flowering plants. You could plant fruit and veggies, flowers or even succulents!
The most hardy plants that can grow easily in any weather, called evergreens, or quick-sprouting plants like radishes or beans are the best choice so your littles don't get disheartened if the seeds don't take. You can find a really handy resource here, which gives a scientific perspective on growing plants for all our little learning sponges, complete with printable worksheet activities!
It is inevitable that you will, at some stage, have to load up all the littles and head to the shops. Fortunately, there are a multitude of free kids holiday programs at local shopping centres, libraries and art centres! Bonus if it is in walking distance, but if you must travel, ditch the pram and wear your babe or toddler in a wrap or sling (new how-to video here) to make shopping and chasing after older kiddies less cumbersome. Search your states below for relevant times and places. In addition to the major state activities, rural areas can find their library activities on their local library website.
SHOPPING CENTRES, LIBRARIES AND ART SOCIETIES
QLD - Brisbane Kids
WA - Kids around Perth
NSW - Children: What's On
VIC - What's on Melbourne
TAS - City of Hobart
RETIREMENT VILLAGE VISITS
There is a wonderful program called the Legacy Project, brought about by an independent research and social innovation group that works to bring the young and old together in a mutually beneficial relationship. From their website:
"We should value all ages in our communities, from the very young
to the very old. But the oldest old
in nursing homes and assisted living facilities often feel isolated and excluded. Developing stronger connections between these older adults and their community can have tremendous benefits for young and old"
The mission of Legacy is to create connection between seven generations, to teach young ones that they are part of the 7 billion people of the world and play a great role in building a community spanning these seven generations.
It is a humbling experience and one that is often overlooked, to spend time with the elderly and learn about their life. You don't need to have a relative to visit, in fact many of the residents of such facilities may not have family to visit them so they are often overlooked. Beginning a beautiful, raw friendship between the youngest and the oldest of our world - something both free and easy - can teach your children the importance of community. Regardless of their age, the residents will appreciate the injection of youth and innocence in the final stages of their life. All of the relevant information about Legacy can be found on their website here.
In a world where we are saturated with technology, gadgets and experiences, sometimes it's best to get back to basics and feel the earth, learn how to nourish your body, find joy in the mundane and learn about your community. Happy Holidays!
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