Stocking up the Holiday Entertainment Vending Machine

Abundant, cheap holiday entertainment for kids… now that would be useful.
Vending Machine

Anyone else feel like an entertainment vending machine during school vacation? It’s day 6 of our term one break and I already need a refill. Sorry kids, there’s only pretzels and bottled water on offer here. The boring stuff. I’m already getting that scratchy exhausted wanting-to-exercise feeling. But instead of exercising or being stimulated and feeling useful in paid work, I am finding myself cutting up bits of fruit and sandwiches to put on the food-train that travels at high speed from the supermarket, to the cupboard, to the plate and into the tunnel of the child’s mouth faster than a speeding bullet during the holidays.

There are another 10 days or so of this to go. I’m in trouble. Don’t get me wrong, I love having time off with my little treasure, but lately, there’s been a lot of time off to fill. We just finished a very short 8 week term after a 5 week break over Christmas. So, I feel a little ambushed by the early onset of Easter. Also, due to our recent Crazy Life Tsunami experience, which includes a reduced budget and a husband otherwise engaged somewhere in Africa, we haven’t been able to get out of town for the last 3 rounds of school holidays. So personally, I’m over it.

A lot of the kids I teach have parents who are rolling in cash (or rolling in debt), as they head off to Europe or Aspen or somewhere else fabulously inaccessible for us, which is definitely the optimum way to capitalize on school being out. But, what if you, like the other 99.9% of the planet don’t have the money for that kind of extravagance? How do you stop the, “I’m bored” commentary without spending all of your already stretched grocery money? Especially during the colder months. Holidays in the cold, sans snow, are almost certainly always harder to deal with, as the gloriously exhilarating and exhausting effects of rivers, pools and oceans become sick-inducing. We don’t want holidays and sick. Noohohoho. That’s not what we want at all.

I’m an ideas gal, so I’ve decided to sit down and generate a list to top up the old entertainment vending machine. It’s probably going to suck, so, if you have any further suggestions, I’d love to hear them. My daughter is 8 and an only child at present, so this has some baring on the activities I’m cooking up. Plus, I’m trying to avoid screen-time. Lord knows there is too much of that in all of our lives. Here goes…

Dry Weather Activities

  • Friends to play and visa versa – I work on the principle that more kids are less work, as they entertain one another
  • Organise a camping trip – with friends, a cheap way to get out of town
  • Feeding the ducks at the botanic garden
  • Bush walking/strolling
  • A back-yard camp out
  • A picnic
  • Gardening – pruning and/or planting – have kids help you with sweeping and clipping. Or gather some cuttings from a friend’s garden and plant them.
  • Hit the Parks –  playgrounds, skate parks, basketball courts
  • Do a park crawl of all the best local playgrounds
  • Look for freebee events at the Art Gallary etc
  • Hit the beach and collect some shells – make something with them or use them decoratively in your garden
  • Chalk on the pavement – create a mural or play hopscotch
  • Create movies – requires a camera – could edit on iMovies or another editing suite, teach them and they’ll be away
  • Get around and visit your friends living in obscure country locations
  • Lemonade stands or some other enterprise – my sister and I made chocolates and sold them to the neighbors as a way to earn pocket money when we were children.

Wet Weather Activities

  • Sleep overs – pajama parties
  • Visits to grandma/other favorite person
  • Organise some time volunteering together – for an opportunity shop or soup kitchen – I had this idea the other day and would really like to do it, as a way to help encourage my daughter to focus on helping others.
  • Baking – always a hit
  • Play ‘Restaurants’ (tie in cooking dinner with a game – great to incorporate social, literacy and numeracy skills with recipes, menus, sevice etc)
  • Trips to the library
  • An indoor picnic or tea party with teddies
  • Create a book reading cave with the couch in the lounge, a torch and some blankets
  • Choreograph a dance
  • Craft Activities (not my favourite pass-time, but Magic loves these)
  • Pull out the dress up box
  • Board Games
  • Visit the local pet store

Entertainment that costs, but not too much

  • Go dress-up shopping at the local thrift store
  • Trout fishing
  • Strawberry picking
  • Museum, zoo, aquarium, hobby farm visit, miniature train ride
  • Mini Golf

Now just for someone to organise and implement them.

Let me know if you have any creative, simple and cost effective ideas up your sleeve.

Links welcome!