BUDGET-FRIENDLY HOLIDAY FUN

Stuck for ideas on how to entertain your kids during the holidays? Have fun indoors and out with these cool, educational activities.


TAKE IT OUTSIDE
Three easy and affordable DIY play area ideas for the backyard

Garden Hop-scotch
How: Use stepping stones or tree stumps to lay out a hop-scotch path in the yard, or draw the path in chalk onto paving or use a stick to draw it in the sand. Google to find a layout you like. If using stones or drawing on paving, use bright, bold colours to make it attractive to young ones.

Why: Child development expert and author Gill Connell lists 11 benefits of this simple game on her blog, Moving Smart. These include helping children master body rhythm and balance.


Tree tent
How: Not everyone has the money for a tree house, so why not fashion a tree tent instead? Simply tie two corners of a large old sheet (or curtain or any other piece of fabric) to a branch and secure the other ends to the ground by placing heavy rocks or other objects on them. Use three or four sheets to construct the tent’s sides, with gaps for entering and exiting. Add a picnic blanket and pillows and let the kids make sandwiches or other healthy snacks to enjoy. If the tree allows for it, a really fun addition is a swing, easily constructed from a rope and an old tyre.

Why: Not only will your child be immersed in nature, but research shows that playing outside reduces anxiety in children.

Sand pit with Building Blocks
How: Inexpensive to put together, a sand pit can deliver hours of fun for little ones. Make it extra special by adding brightly-painted wooden blocks or small cardboard boxes that can be used to construct an imaginary city.

Why: Playing in the sand aids in the development of fine motor skills in children as well as hand-eye coordination (this goes for building blocks, too) according to parenting blog Learning 4 Kids.

HEAD INDOORS
Three indoor entertainment ideas for when the weather turns bad:

  • Set up a treasure hunt with clues pointing from one room to the next (or activities, such as a word puzzle or connect-the-dots drawing, that need to be completed to unlock the next clue). Have small prizes at the end of the hunt. 
  • Give the children cooking or baking lessons! Baking will probably be more popular as the end result will be sweet treats. 
  • Choose simple recipes, and allow older children to follow the recipe under your guidance. Let younger kids help with things like pouring ingredients into the bowl or stirring. 
  • Set up an arts-and-crafts table with plenty of stationery, paper and colouring books. You can even look up easy online recipes for foam paint and play-doh and make these at home with the kids.


HOW TO GET YOUR CHILD INVOLVED
  • Encourage them to leave the gadgets and get moving! 
  • Be a role model by initiating games, then invite them to join you in the fun. Not only will they see you having a good time, but they will relish the opportunity to spend extra, quality time with Mom or Dad. 
  • Have a good mix of games and activities on hand. While one child might be more artistic, another might prefer more sporty games or number puzzles. Cater to all tastes so that there is something for everyone. 
  • Limit screen time. The less time you allow your children to spend watching TV or playing computer games, the more time they will have to fill with other activities.


By Estee Kershoff
BUDGET-FRIENDLY HOLIDAY FUN BUDGET-FRIENDLY HOLIDAY FUN Reviewed by Michelle Pienaar on May 16, 2018 Rating: 5

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