School holiday ideas to save your sanity!

[By Claire Chadwick]

Last holidays, I couldn’t help but notice the plethora of Facebook statuses from parents who were loosing their minds trying to keep the kids entertained all day, everyday.

The school holidays always start off with that unreal sensation of freedom. There’s adrenalin and relief and pure happiness. So much hope and anticipation of what the next few weeks will bring.

To start off, the days are slow and lazy. Pyjamas are worn a lot. The TV is kept on. Snacks are in abundance and energy levels are stable. And in return, everyone is fairly happy.

Suddenly, and for no reason, the days start to seem slower and longer, and the kids start to get bored and irritated and in need of focused stimulation. Parents are starting to feel over it, and are yearning for school to return and routine to take place. Patience is running thin, whining is running high and the buzz is starting to wear off.

I even had one honest friend tell me she puts her kids into costly vacation-care for half of the holidays, because she just simply doesn’t have the resources or ideas to keep her kids busy and happy.

Don’t let that happen this school holidays! Some simple planning, and a desire to stay motivated is all you need

Here’s a few ideas to keep your kids busy, stimulated, entertained and on-the-go these school holidays:

No or Low Cost Ideas:

  • Parks & playgrounds these days are amazing. Use them! Kids burn off energy in the fresh air and sun, whilst you get a chance to simply watch and be.
  • Have a teddy bear’s picnic in the backyard.
  • Invite your kids’ friends around for a home-made-pizza session. Provide them with the ready-cut ingredients and let them make some delicious messy fun for lunch.
  • Get your children to write a letter to a friend or family member. Head to the post office, show them how to buy a stamp and how to post it.
  • Check out what your local library has on offer these holidays. Most council-run libraries offer free craft sessions, book clubs, Lego clubs and more.
  • Make a garden bed. Plant some vegetables or herbs. Make a fairy garden or a dirt track for toy trucks.
  • Catch a bus or ride a train. Go anywhere. It’s more about the journey than the destination.
  • Go for a bush walk. Or take a picnic lunch to a riverbank. A change of scenery can make a mundane day magical.
  • Take the kids bikes to the coastline or bayside. They can ride along the paths whilst you walk and enjoy the views.
  • Go and look at the boats at a harbour.
  • Make a board game, puzzle, or photo book.
  • Write a story with them. Let them take photos to illustrate with. Help them print and collate.
  • Go out for milkshakes or ice-cream.
  • Watch the sunset together.
  • Teach your kids how to sew or bake or create with wood.
  • Go on a nature walk / bug hunt. Collect interesting items in a ‘nature box’ or journal.
  • Go to a fruit farm and let the children pick their own. {search Google for local farms who offer this}

Higher Cost Ideas:

  • What’s on at the movies?
  • Head into the city for a walk around and a look. Show them town hall, the main library, the old cathedrals, the train station etc. Have lunch in a café.
  • Go for a ride on a ferry or water taxi.
  • Go on a road trip. Get your kids involved in planning the trip. Research motels, tourist activities and pit stops.
  • When was the last time you went to a Theme Park with the kids?
  • Enrol the kids into a fun holiday course – writing, art, gymnastics, sport etc.
  • Host a ‘holiday party’ for your children and their friends. Organise some activities, or a theme and a variety of games. Some simple party food with plenty of fun! What about hosting a disco or a pool party?
  • Go to the zoo.

Remember, everyday doesn’t have to be jam-packed and costly – create a calendar of ideas and make sure you allow many lazy days at home too. The holidays should be about resting, re-energizing and creating wonderful childhood memories. A lot of this can happen within your family home. But as soon as boredom strikes and your sanity sinks low – spice things up with some fun and creativity!

Happy holidaying folks.

Claire Chadwick is a mother of two, a wife, a children’s Author and a life lover. She was a Primary School Teacher for ten years before she embarked on Motherhood, and freelance writing. She is a lover of summer, coffee, the colour pink and hearing her children laugh. Claire blogs daily about parenting and life from her Brisbane home at and has recently launched a successful and fun children’s book called So Many Sounds. You can find out more about Claire and her book at: Claire believes in living a wholesome life full of rich memories and cherished moments. Her weaknesses: designer handbags, good champagne and a jar of Nutella.