Celebrity Families

School holiday survival guide: 25 fun things to do with the kids

Running out of ideas to keep the kids occupied? We’ve come up with 25 sure-fire (and cheap!) ideas they’ll love.

The school holidays always seem to sneak up on us before we've had time to properly plan anything. But before you fret about running out of fun things to do with the kids, fear not - we've got you covered. Here are 25 cheap and cheerful activity ideas to keep the kids happy:

1. Cake stall

Get them to whip up some cupcakes and slices and see if they can sell them in front of your house. Show them how to make some lemonade too and they’ll have some holiday pocket money before they know it.
This is a quick way to make yummy lemonade:
Combine three cups of sugar with 15 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring to boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Then let it cool to room temperature and refrigerate until chilled. You’ll then need to stir in three cups of lemon juice and add another 10 cups of water. Slice up a lemon and chuck in some ice.

2. Play ‘Alphabet wars’.

If you have a group of kids, divide them into two teams. Then, in an outside area like a park, beach or back yard, give them an hour to find one object starting with each letter of the alphabet which they put in an area about a metre squared.

3. Library film night

Most libraries rent out DVDs, so get the kids to choose a film each as well as a couple of books to keep them quiet. Also look out for holiday workshops at the library.
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4. Play Flap The Kipper

Cut out two large fish shapes from an old newspaper and then divide the rest of the newspaper in two, roll each half up and secure it with sticky tape. Then, starting with both kippers at one side of the room see who can get theirs across to the other side by banging the floor behind the kippers so they waft forward! It’ll end in chaos – but fun chaos!

5. The Most Boring Person In The World!

This game is easy. You have to think of something that you haven’t done, that you think everyone else there has done. Everyone starts with five counters or coins, but you have to surrender one every time you have done the thing in question. E.g. ‘I’m the most boring person in the world because I’ve never seen a Pirates of the Caribbean movie’. If any of the other players have seen one, they lose a counter. The most important rule is you have to be honest!

6. Post It Note treasure hunt

Give them a clue to a place in the house or yard. Once they’ve worked it out, they go there and find another note with a clue to somewhere else (it could be an anagram of the place). See if you can hide ten, with a lolly in the final location as their ‘treasure’.

7. Milk carton bowls

Find 10 empty plastic bottles and a ball (tennis or soccer balls are both fine) and you have your very own bowling alley. Everyone gets one throw. If you knock a bottle down, you’re through to the next round, but if you miss, or the bottle doesn’t fall, you’re out. Keep going until the final bottle is felled. It works indoors and outside.

8. Film your own story

Using a smartphone, they get three minutes to make up and film the most entertaining story they can think of. No need for any preparation – the story can unfold in any way they like. The only rule is they have to keep going for the whole three minutes not matter what. The results will be hilarious.

9. Choccy Gloves!

This is always a winner if you have a group of kids (and parents) looking for a laugh.
Buy the biggest bar of chocolate you can find and place it on a table with a knife and fork next to it. Then get a winter coat, a hat, gloves and a scarf and put them in a pile on the floor next to the table. On the other side of the room, everyone gathers round in a circle and takes turns throwing a dice.
Whenever a six is thrown, that player runs over to the table and has to put on all the clothes before they can start eating the chocolate with a knife and fork. BUT, as soon as someone else throws a six, that person runs over and has to start dressing up. You have to be quick if you want a chunk of choc!
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10. Have a book swap party

Agree with the local mums that whenever any of their kids invites a friend round, or go to another’s house, they have to take three books with them to swap. Make sure their names are written inside to keep track of which one belongs to who. After a winter of multiple play dates and sleepovers they’ll have dozens of new stories to read.

11. Make your own photo albums

Many of us have stacks of photos that need organising or put into albums. We probably also have hundreds on our phones which have never seen the light of day. Let the kids make their own photo albums by choosing a selection of their favourite photos, sticking them into a scrapbook and adding their own clever captions. It's a wonderful keepsake that helps you get organised too.

12. Picture story book

If they don’t fancy wading through hundreds of old photos of Great Aunt Betty’s wedding and your husband’s old footie teams, then how about they make their own story – and illustrate it with photos. If they get together with a couple of mates, they could re-enact their favourite cartoons or make up their own thriller or action story.

13. Make a tidy profit!

Have the kids go through and declutter their rooms, putting aside toys or goods they no longer need, then see if you can sell them for a few dollars by holding a garage sale, or on one of the many online trading sites. Look for local Buy/Swap/Sell pages on Facebook. You could make it a competition, to see who can make the most cash. Tip: keep prices down as online bargain hunters like a good deal.

14. Take a walk on the wild side

There is BOUND to be a great walking spot nearby that you’ve never been to. Challenge yourself, or one of the children, to find it and go for an early morning trek.
Try looking at www.short-walks.com.au to find some routes with spectacular views of waterfalls, gorges or rainforests. If you can get the brood up and out really early, you could finish up at a café for breakfast. Remember to take plenty of water.

15. Turn your home into a kids' day spa

Create your own spa at home for a fraction of the price. Get everyone in a dressing gown then paint your kids' nails, do their hair and give them a massage. Then swap and let them provide spa services to you! It’s something you’ll all enjoy and feels extra special.
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16. Become junk artists!

Get a box and fill it with anything the kids can get creative with - old buttons, bottle tops, paddle pop sticks, scrap paper, milk cartons, toilet rolls, coat hangers, old bits of wood, pebbles, wool, Play-Doh and other craft material you have to hand. See what they can create in an afternoon.

17. Build a fort

Rainy day? Well, stop by an appliance or hardware store and ask if they have any spare boxes. If you get a few, you might need to flatten them in the car. Then let the kids loose in them. They can cut out doors or windows, use sofa cushions or blankets as well as clean buckets and side tables. If they’ve stripped the cushions off the sofa, it could be used as a base. Get all your friends to do the same, post the results on Facebook and then vote for a winner.

18. Penne jewellery

A morning making the world’s cheapest necklaces is loads of fun – especially if there’s a fashion parade at the end. All you need is a few 40cm lengths of string, a packet of penne or macaroni pasta and some paints. Make sure they wait until the paint has dried before they thread it on the string. If they want to attempt bracelets, the string needs to be about 10-12cm long.

19. Garden camp

You can buy a two man tent for about $30 from discount stores. Stick in a couple of sleeping bags and a torch and they’re all ready for a special camping trip without even leaving your back yard. If there’s room for a campfire, or if you have an outdoor stove or BBQ, then they can make damper bread r toast marsh mallows. It’s even more realistic.

20. Wear nature bracelets

A great way to get very young kids to go on a walk. Wrap a length of wide packing tape around their wrists (sticky side facing outwards) and then get them to stick small flowers or interesting leaves to it as they go round.

21. Fashion design

Revamp an old white t-shirt with just some crayons and sandpaper – both can be found in the $2 store. Get them to colour a fun picture of their face on the sandpaper. Once it’s finished, go back over the design giving the sandpaper an extra thick layer of crayon. Next, place a piece of cardboard inside the t-shirt and position the sandpaper right side down on the t-shirt. Then iron the sandpaper, on a low heat setting, for about 30 seconds. When you remove the sandpaper, they’ll all have a personalised designer T-shirt.

22. Try flower pressing

Gather flowers from the garden, or from neighbours' gardens (be sure to ask permission first!) and give flower pressing a try. For a quick and easy version, simply place the flowers between two sheets of paper and into a book overnight and after a fay or two, the kids can use them to create their own artwork
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23. Charity Bargain hunt

Take the kids to a charity shop or $2 store, and give each $5. They then have 15 minutes to see what bargains they can find. It might even help them understand the value of money. To take it a stage further, get them to set up a stall outside your house to see if they can sell what thy bought and make a profit.

24. Wooden spoon theatre

Buy some cheap wooden spoons from a dollar shop or super market, draw eyes and a smile on each one and they’re half way to becoming puppets!
Bunch together some wool for the hair and cut clothes from felt or fabric scraps, then glue them on. Soon you’ll have a whole family and can out on a show.

25. Tidying comp

After all this fun, you’ve bound to have created a bit of a mess. So challenge your kids to a room tidying competition. The winner gets a prize.

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