How to survive the school holidays

If you’ve followed Pipe Perfection Plumbing’s tips over the past year, you’d have saved some money to spend on holiday activities. But don’t worry if you’ve blown it all on Christmas gifts and New Year champers—you don’t need to be rolling in it to have fun this summer. Here are our picks…

It’s that time of year again, where the long summer holiday stretches out like a highway. In the distance you can see the school term like a finish line, but there are still weeks to go and the kids are getting bored. Once they’ve exhausted their friends’ places, the local shopping centre, the beach and just about every frozen yoghurt place in town (aren’t there a lot of them!) what do you do?

Free holiday activities

Call it goodwill left over from the festive season or just the Australian way, Sydney gets generous at this time of year so there are heaps of free things to do—you just need to know when they’re on so you don’t miss out.

Sydney Festival goes from 9-26 January and this summer favourite has plenty in store for kids, including a giant rubber duck (for gawking at), an inflatable Stonehenge (for jumping on) and an outdoor mirror that lets you defy gravity (for cool pictures). Our pick? Boxwars a workshop where kids get to make their own cardboard armour before heading into battle. What could possibly go wrong?

Kids in the Park is an activities program at Olympic Park and has been running for over 10 years. Activities run during the summer and autumn school holidays.

Stay-at-home activities

Loath as we are to admit it, sometimes it rains in Sydney. If it’s miserable outside, or you’re stuck at home for other reasons, you could let the kids play video games all day, or you could be a little more creative.

Hold a cardboard cake competition these school holidays

Get crafty: Remember the old joke about kids liking the cardboard box better than the gift? It’s not too far from the truth. You can buy kits from art and craft stores, or anywhere that sells toys, but you can also make your own with scraps, for example leftover wrapping paper, toilet rolls, cartons, ribbons and string. Just add glue and scissors.

Some ideas for projects:

  • Get your kids to make their favourite animal
  • Have the kids invent a board game where they make all the pieces (and then play it)
  • Host a competition for the best something, such as the best-looking cardboard cake

Tip: Use a drop sheet under the craft area to make cleaning up hassle free.

Make it up: Pillow forts and cubby houses are staple building activities but you can also build a mini theatre—think materials such as Lego and handkerchief, cardboard box and bed sheet, dining room table and tablecloth—and hold a puppet show. You can even download free puppet show scripts. If you need to occupy them all day, get the kids to make the puppets and stage their own show.

Adult-friendly holiday activities

Most mums and dads focus on their kids during the school holidays, but if you’re after something that’s just as interesting for you, it can be a difficult compromise. Beyond the kids’ movies that have an adult layer built in, you need to look for something that will engage you as much as your children.

Set up a business: A garage sale, a lemonade stand or a cake stall can be an excellent activity for everyone to participate in, and a good learning experience for little ones. Give everyone some responsibility, an area they can be proud to call their own, and then see how many neighbours will buy homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Learn something together: Whether it’s circus skills or how to make ice cream, when everyone in the family is starting from a low knowledge base it shortens the age distance and makes it fun to learn together.

What’s something you’ve been meaning to try that you can learn with your family?