17 Jan, 2019

Boredom be gone! Creative holiday activities for kids


“I’m bored, Mum.” “What can we do now, Dad?” Sigh. It’s a couple of weeks (or days) into the school holidays and the kids are looking to you for inspiration and fun stuff to do. But you’re all out of ideas.

With the school holidays here, you’re bound to be dealing with the boredom issue at some point. Living Smart to the rescue! We’ve done the thinking for you so that you don’t have to start Googling ‘school holiday activities’.

These activities are inspired by our Living Smart community so they’re eco-friendly as well as fun!

1. Have a zero-waste picnic

Who doesn’t love a picnic? Picnics are fun, inexpensive and can be spontaneous. The location options are just about endless - parks, reserves, the beachfront, along a river or even your own backyard.

Simply pack a lunch or morning/afternoon tea, a picnic blanket, and fill your reusable water bottle and you’re good to go. Here are some quick and healthy picnic-perfect snacks for kids:

  • Carrot, celery or cucumber and hommus
  • Cupcakes or mini muffins
  • Sandwiches or wraps
  • Cooked chicken, chicken pieces or sliced ham
  • Potato salad
  • Canned corned
  • Nuts & dried fruit
  • If you have a little more preparation time, try making this Antipasto Tart from 4 Ingredients which is perfect served cold and sliced into fingers

For a zero-waste picnic, take your own cutlery and water bottle, and pack your goodies in reusable containers.

2. Get back to nature

If you’re struggling to get the kids outside, try combining outdoor activities with craft. Perhaps start with a picnic and go on a nature treasure hunt after bellies are full. Leaves, stones, bark, twigs and flowers can be turned into crafty masterpieces. Here are some ideas:

  • Treasure Map: Draw a map of sorts onto brown paper or cardboard. Make a treasure map by sticking the newly found treasures on with glue or sticky tape.

  • Make a leaf collage: The kids can turn their leaves into mice, birds, animals, faces or just about anything. There are loads of ideas on Pinterest.

  • Press flowers: this can easily be done with items found around the home. Pick some flowers from the garden, press between newspaper and insert into the centre of a heavy book such as a dictionary or phone book. Place heavy objects on top to help flatten the flowers. Flowers should be ready to use for craft activities such as collages or making bookmarks in a week or two.

If you’re looking more more structured outdoor fun, there are some fabulous school holiday activities throughout the region that will encourage your children to get off their screens and back to nature.

  • Get dirty: Put the dirt back into your child’s school holidays with a Summer Holiday Workshops at The Wildings Forest School. Whether your child is adventurous, arty, fun-loving or enjoys building things, there is something for everyone. Activities include building rafts and sailing them down the creek, making a cubby town, eco-dyeing, adventures with ropes and basket making. Workshops are held at Wildings Forest School Burnside until January 25th, 2019. Bookings essential on the website.

  • Story walks: The Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens is always a fabulous place to take the children. Enjoy a story walk these school holidays by following the signs through the garden to read Koala’s Eat Gum Leaves, written by Lara Bunting and illustrated by Phillip Bunting and then choose a book to read from the Little Library onsite. This activity is free. More on the Sunshine Coast Council website.

  • Build a cubby-house: You might like to schedule your visit to the Maroochy Bushland Botanic Garden to coincide with some of the fun Fort Awesome activities. Project Fort Awesome is an experimental architecture and art project that uses the idea of making cubby-houses as a means of community building through creative construction. Help the Fort Awesome team build the funkiest cubby houses imaginable! There are activities all through January including workshops on how to make a ‘garden cloud’ play structure that you can then replicate at home. Check out the Sunshine Coast Council website for all the details, dates and workshop prices.

For more ideas on getting your child immersed in nature these school holidays, check out Living Smart’s article, 5 ways to engage your child in nature play.

3. Build a scarecrow

This is fabulous activity get the kids engaged in the garden. It’s easy to make a scarecrow from items around the house and yard…and such a great way to repurpose old clothing.

Get as creative as you like with your scarecrow - choose a theme and then find clothing and accessories to suit. Don’t forget to draw a face to give your scarecrow some personality!

Check out these articles to get started:

How to Build a Garden ScarecrowGardening - making a scarecrow

4. Visit the local library or check out a local council school holiday activity

Libraries are treasure troves of adventure possibilities. Check out your local library’s program of events for fun school holiday activities, or simply visit and explore. If your children are not already library members, joining in school holidays gives them plenty of time to delve into new books!

Sunshine Coast libraries have loads of school holiday activities on offer. Kids can delve into the world of virtual reality, become a movie director at stop-go animation sessions or build their own creepy creature at a Frankentoy workshop. Check out all the details at Sunshine Coast Libraries School Holiday Activities.

From music theatre to cake decorating, lego workshops, chocolate making and having fun with robots, the Redland City Council School Holiday Activity Program is the perfect antidote to school holiday boredom. And the great news is that most events are free or low cost!

5. Give growing sprouts a try

Growing your own sprouts at home is fun and easy. It’s a perfect activity to get the kids interested in producing their own food as they can watch progress each day. Our guide, How to grow your own sprouts has all the info you need for delicious home-grown sprouts.

6. Grow your own food

While we are on the subject of food, how about getting the kids involved in growing their own vegetables? It’s an ideal way to engage all the senses, especially if you choose to incorporate some aromatic plants and herbs.

If you don’t have a garden space, use pots. It’s helpful if the kids are growing food that they love. Easy and fast-growing crops including lettuce, chives, spring onions, silverbeet and rocket. If you want to get a little more serious, check out The Micro Gardener for loads of tips on growing food in small spaces.

7. Have fun in the kitchen

Hours of fun can be had creating delicious treats together. Spending time with your children in the kitchen helps them learn how to follow a recipe and how various ingredients go together.

If you’re unsure where to start, try making foods your kids enjoy or ask them for suggestions and look up recipes online. Cupcakes and cookies are fun and ideal for school holiday treats (and even picnics!). Or find recipes that use up leftovers in the fridge as a way to teach the kids about food waste.

Check out Living Smart Food for simple and nutritious recipes, many of which are suitable for making with children. Easy and tasty options include the Apple ‘Leftover Bikkie’ Crumble, From-the-fridge pizza or Banana Cupcakes with Maple Icing.

Fun school holiday activities make memories that last a lifetime. We hope these tips have helped you develop a creative, educational and entertaining school holiday program that your kids will remember for years to come.

What are your kids' favourite school holiday activities? Do you have any crafty, nature-inspired ideas that you would like to share with our community? Please join the conversation below.

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