20 Easy Activities to Keep Your Kids Entertained During the School Holidays
What should we do now? That dreaded question you ask when it’s holidays. The kids are home all day every day for two weeks. The regular after school activities just don’t cut it.
I’ve searched the internet looking for fun activities, that are easy to organise, easily supplied, and don’t make too much mess.
1. Water Painting
This is my favourite activity and keeps my boys and their friends entertained for ages. Get a bucket, fill it with water. Give the kids big paint brushes (paintbrushes from the hardware store) and let them go wild ‘painting’. The boys will paint the pool fence, the cubby house, their outside toys, the walls, anything they can find. Soon enough the water dries up and you’ve had an hour of solid entertainment. This is a great no mess activity.
2. Mini whiteboard, Whiteboard Makers, Magnets and Stickers.
When I cannot handle the path of destruction that my twins are innocently creating throughout the house I set them up to the table and strap them into their chairs. They have mini whiteboards, markers, magnets, and a cloth for wiping clean and starting again. I’ve also found that stickers are great fun for whiteboards. The bubble stickers come off quite easily allowing for lots of contained fun.
3. Ice Dig
Get a container and add some little toys. Fill it with water and put it in the freezer. When your kids are looking for that next bit of excitement grab your ice block, some salt shakers, little spoons and syringes for warm water. Let them dig up the treasures that have been frozen. The boys have lots of little dinosaurs that I freeze. I also think a ‘Frozen’ themed ice dig would be cool. You can just use whatever little toys you have lying around. There is a real sense of achievement when they pry a toy free.
4. Window Art
This one is a little messy, but you can make clean up part of the fun. Next shopping trip pick up a few cheap cans of shaving foam. Add the foam into a muffin tin, add some food colouring and mix. Then they can paint the coloured foam on the windows, sliding door, or in the bathroom. Next, give them sponges and get them to clean up the mess too. Getting clean can be just as fun. Luckily food colouring doesn’t stain. I got it all over my top mixing the paints and it came right out with a quick soak.
5. Giant bubbles
Kids love bubbles so much, and giant bubbles even more. You can make your bubble mixture easily. There are lots of easy bubbles mixtures with water, dish soap, and glycerine. I also love the mixtures that are water, dish soap and sugar. I like to use A4 card to make big bubble blowers. Wrap the card into a cone shape. Dip the large end in the bubble mixtures and blow through the small end. Kids will love blowing these huge giant bubbles all afternoon.
6. Shaving Cream Fun
There is so so so much that can be done with a few cans of shaving cream. I think this is going to be on my shopping list every week from now on. You can do marble painting, paint the bathroom with coloured shaving foam. You can mix shaving foam, cornflour, and food colouring to make a play-dough. So many good options for this cheap and cheerful ingredient.
7. Toy Birthday party
This idea requires a little more organisation on your part. You could also just make do with what you have around the house. I always seem to have some balloons and other party supplies tucked away in a draw. Choose a toy and tell your kids that it is their birthday and you should have a little party to celebrate. Your kids can make invitations for you family members. Make a cake together, set the table with balloons, streamers and party plates. Play musical bobs and musical chairs while the cake is cooking. Then eat the cake of course. After the ‘party’ set them up with popcorn and a movie. A whole day of fun taken care of.
8. Duct Tape Obstacle Course
This is a great rainy day activity when your kids are bouncing off the walls with energy to burn. Run duct around your house and over your furniture. You can play follow the leader. Give them places where they have to walk along the duct tape, or lines to jump from, or spin on the spot. Guaranteed they will love it.
9. Trash Bag Fashion Show
This one is suited to older children. Set up them with garbage bags, scissors, and sticky tape. They have to make an outfit out of the garbage bags and then give a fashion show. Great for siblings to work on together.
10. Rock Pets
Get the kids outside to find some rocks to paint. This activity can be easily adapted for different ages. Older kids can find their rock and draw some designs on paper before painting. Younger kids can get straight to painting. You can make it as involved as you want by giving them eyes to stick on, or pipe cleaners to add.
11. Leaf Art
Give your kids a container and send them outside to collect as many leaves as they can. This is a great fall activity. Once inside with their collection set them up with paper, scissors, and glue and let them get creative with some cutting and sticking fun.
12. Laser obstacle course
Use red wool, twine, or streamers and stick the wool from wall to wall to create an obstacle course, just like Mission Impossible. Encourage your kids to go over and under the strings, but not to touch it. If they touch one they have to start again. It’s great to set up in a hallway area if you have one.
13. Potato Stamps
Buy an extra bag of potatoes. Cut them in half and cut some shapes into the potatoes. Fun painting activity for your kids, and also great for teaching shapes and colours to younger kids. You can set up paints to stamp, or use stamp pads if you have some. Stamp pads will mean less mess.
14. Marshmallow Shooter
This is such a cool fun little idea. I saw it on a home-schooling blog somewhere. You get a disposable cup and cut the bottom off. Then cut the top of a balloon off and attach it to the bottom of the cup. Then load your marshmallow, pull back the balloon and let it fly.
15. Balloon Ping Pong
Quick and easy game to set up for your kids. You need a balloon, party plates, and paddle pop sticks. Stick the paddle pop stick to the party plate so that it looks like a ping pong bat. Blow up the balloon and join the fun, hitting the balloon back and forth. You can even divide the living room with some duct tape to makes sides.
16. Listen to a story podcast
This is something that I want to start doing with my kids. I remember when I was teaching and the kids used to love listening to stories on tape (yep I’m old) in the afternoon while they worked on arts and crafts. It’s great for their listening skills, and is such a lost pastime in this age of screens. Some podcasts I’m looking to check out are:
- The Sesame Street Podcast
- Brains On
- Story Pirates
- Little Stories for Tiny People
- But Why
17. Cupcake Decorating
Bake some cupcakes the night before. The next day set your kids up with all the goodies to decorate their cupcakes. Put out different coloured frostings, hundreds and thousands, chocolate chips, crushed nuts, whatever little bits you have stashed in your baking drawer. A great afternoon of fun, and then they get to eat them as well.
18. Have a backward dinner. My family did this with me and it was so much fun I still remember it well. This is also a great way to include your kids in making dinner. If your kids are old enough you can decide on the menu together and shop for the ingredients. Next, spend the afternoon getting dinner ready. Then send everyone off to get dressed, with their clothes on backward of course. Then when you sit down to eat you have dessert first, followed by the main course and end with nibbles.
19. Bread Dough Art
Get your kids in the kitchen and have some creative cooking fun. Make a simple bread dough, and separate into sections. Use food colouring to make each section a different colour. Let your kids get creative with the dough. Then leave the dough to rise and cook. Your kids can enjoy their bread snacks with butter and jam for afternoon tea. You could even bring the toys outside for afternoon tea party.
20. Play Dead Fish
This is my favourite activity for when you are exhausted, can’t move, and don’t want to play anymore. Tell your kids you’ve got a great game for them to play called ‘Dead Fish’. They have to lie as still as possible on the ground, not move, or make any noise. The child who can lay still for the longest time wins. It’s guaranteed to give you a good 30 minutes of peace while you watch from the couch with your cup of coffee in hand.
Bonus School Holiday Activity Idea
One my most loved end of year activities for my class were balloon cars and balloon rockets. Balloon cars take a little more equipment and organisation, but balloon rockets are super easy to get organised. Stick the ends of a piece of string onto facing walls. Blow up a balloon and stick a straw to one side of the balloon. Do not tie the end of the balloon, but hold it to stop the air from escaping. Unstick on end of the string and thread the string through the straw. When the balloon is close to one wall, let go of the end of the balloon and let it rocket along the string. So much fun to be had.
Faith Thoms – The Parenting Co
Scooter riding, Bali living mum of twin boys who loves sleep, but enjoys early mornings . I can’t live without my coffee, reading, and endless cuddles from my two little boys and my husband. I spend my days working with lovely parents, wiping noses and bottoms, and always looking to organise our next travel adventure.