If I know I’m going to be at home for most of the school holidays, I usually do up some sort of fun box in the week before the break starts. You can find a previous version of this here.
Now, if you’re thinking, “Wow, what a fun mum you are!” I’ll add here that, although I do want to give the kids a good time on the holidays, preparing this is probably more for my sanity than anything else! I’ve done this for years, and there are certain things I do and the first and most important one is this: I DON’T GIVE IT TO THE KIDS! It’s not a present, like “Here’s a fun tub for you kids. Knock yourself out.” I do a little list (in my head), buy items (or collect them from around the house), throw it all in a tub or box and then I hide it in the cupboard. It’s there waiting so I have a heap of fun ideas for the kids to bring out at the right time.
I do this because if I gave it to my kids, they would demolish it all or decide to start an epic craft project right before bedtime. This is my kit to facilitate a fun, creative holiday for my children. So for example, if we have a lazy day at home, I might suggest to the kids after breakfast to set up a toy car wash and then….whulla! I have it all waiting there ready to go. In this tub I have over 80 activity ideas and I’ll go through it all below.
What’s in it?
What goes in the school holiday fun box depends on age of my kids and the budget I have to work with (sometimes I have less to spend and sometimes more). This time, it’s more of a premium bucket, and for a budget option, click here or I just put less stuff in it.
With the items above, below are some of the options I have:
The kids need new pillowcases and I purchased fabric pens for the kids to design their own as an activity. Check out the instructions here.
Streamer are cheap and are great for all sorts of activities.
- Use as bandages in an animal or doll hospital.
- Decorate a backyard tree with streamers. Great for play or picnics.
- If you wet streamers, they become a painting medium. Just add water and rub on to paper. This is messy!
- Tie sections of streamers on to a stick and run in the wind.
- Make a rainbow tree for play.
- Do a race and have a streamer finish line.
- Make a spider web or lazer zone in the hallway by taping streamers to the wall.
Balloons are another staple. Always have balloons!
- Make balloon people (click the link for the feet template)
- Play balloon tennis. Mark a line outside or with masking tape on the floor inside. Use hands or paper plates to bat balloons back and forth.
- Balloon often pop if they land on grass. This can make it a fun backyard game: keep the balloon in the air. Just have a read stash of balloons to blow up.
- Stuff balloons with rice or play dough to make squish balls. Check here for the tutorial.
- Make play dough and fill balloon with it to make a stress ball.
- Balloon hop race. Go from A to B with a balloon between your legs.
- Make a balloon ice sculpture. Click the link for the example.
- Make an amazing artwork for the wall using food colouring and balloons.
- Balloon batting. Tape newspaper into a roll and hit the balloon.
- Google ‘balloon games’ for even more ideas.
My kids love straws, even as a novel thing for smoothies on the school holidays. They are great for craft too.
- Blow cotton wool with straws across a table. Race!
- Make smoothies or milk shakes.
- Do a straw construction challenge with straws and tape.
- Make straw necklaces. Just cut straws into smaller pieces and thread on to twine.
- Blow tiny bubbles with straws. Dip straw into bubble mixture (recipe here) and blow to make mini bubbles.
- Do a bubble picture. Mix the below ingredients into a baking dish or bowl. Blow until enough bubbles form and then press paper on lightly to reveal a pattern.
- 1 part dishwashing liquid
- 1 part washable paint or food colouring
- 2 parts water
- Epic bubbles. Fill a shallow metal baking dish with 1/2 a cup of dishwashing liquid, 2 cups water and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Blow bubbles. Add food colouring if desired.
- Make an epic long straw and drink milk, water or juice with it. Just insider straws inside each other and tape to secure.
- Blow trunk shapes on a canvas and add blooms. Click for example.
A simple household items that has so many cool uses. I buy one for the kit so I’m not raiding the husband’s stash.
- Set up a toy car wash.
- Make puff paint. Simply mix together 1 part shaving cream with 1 part pva craft glue. Add a spot of food colouring and you have puffy paint. Print a simple outline picture from the internet and use the paint to make a 3D look picture.
- Paint marble pictures.
- Do a rain cloud experiment. Fill a jar with water. Add shaving cream (the cloud) to the top. Put a few drops of blue food colouring in and watch the cloud ‘rain’.
- Fill a plastic container with shaving cream and you have a simple sensory experience for kids. Best done outside I find!
Cotton Wool Balls
These are so handy for craft!
- Collage pictures: make clouds, sheep, or snow.
- Throw them up in the air and for pretend snow.
- Do cotton wool races along a table top with straws.
- Use as a painting brush. Use a peg as a handle, and dip cotton wool into paint and make a pattern on paper.
- Fill a small bucket with water and dip cotton wool in the water. Then throw on a target (using chalk on concrete).
- I found a packet of 2 for $2.50 and I know it will be fun for my kids. Great for detective games or just going outside to study nature.
Paddle Pop Sticks
You can get a huge packet from places like Spotlight
- Make yoghurt pops.
- Design an ice cream memory game. Just click the link for a printable. This can also be good for imaginative play.
- Do a paddle pop stick design challenge. Make available craft glue and cardboard and let the kids at it.
- Make paddle pop stick people with washi tape, pen or collage material.
- Do a paddle pop stick puzzle.
- Make a toy cubby house for the backyard tree with paddle pop sticks. This can be as easy as glueing a platform together and nailing it on to a branch.
- Make a fairy door for the backyard tree.
- Make a paddle pop stick catapult.
- Make mini fruit kebabs.
- Make shapes/pictures on the ground with paddle pop sticks.
- Google ‘paddle pop stick craft’ for even more ideas.
Chalk is great if you have concrete outside.
- Draw hopscotch.
- Just draw anything.
- Hit the target game.
- Draw stepping stones across the driveway and the kids can pretend they are crossing lava or water or something. A good way to add to imaginative play.
- Do an imaginative picture scene and photograph. Photograph the kids sitting (laying on the ground) under a rainbow. Flying over a city or anything you can think of! There are more ideas here.
- Draw roads for cars. This can also be done on pavers.
- Play a big outdoor version of naughts and crosses.
- Sponge boat (make a sail with paddle pop stick and paper)
- Sponge cake for play (ice with puffy paint. See shaving cream section above)
- Sponge game (see above in the chalk section)
- Sponge painting (use a sponge as a tool for painting).
Bubbles are always fun!
- Make your own bubble mixture. Click the link for a recipe.
- Blow big bubbles in a dish (see the straw section above for recipe).
- Just blow bubbles because they are so pretty and fun. Try and catch them.
- Do a shoot the bubble game.
- Give frozen bubbles a try. Blow a bubble with a straw carefully on to a plastic plate and put straight in the freezer. Wait for about 30 minutes and check the bubble. Sometimes this needs a few tries.
I always have colouring in available, especially for the school holidays:
- Print off colouring in pages from the internet. My kids love doing this and we find images that interest them, whether that be cars, or ponies or Minecraft.
- Make ninja stars
- Make a chatterbox
- Do a famous paintings drawing challenge. Links to where you can print colouring pages here.
- Make paper planes
- Make paper boats
- Print child’s favourite characters (google anything: Disney princess, Marvel superhero, Minecraft), colour and cut around to play with like paper dolls. My kids love this.
- Play naughts and crosses (printable grid here)
- Paint trees (click for a trunk template.
They are cheap and handy to have around.
- Handball (use chalk to make a court or line).
- Throw the ball into the tub. Keep moving the throw line back for a challenge.
- Play catch.
- Make a few different sized holes in a large box and rig it up somewhere to practice throwing skills.
- Take tennis balls to a park and slide them down the slide.
- Take tennis ball to the pool (indoor heated if winter) and play catch and dive.
- Make tennis ball puppets.
- Fill empty bottles with a little water and set up as knock down pins. Throw the tennis ball at the pins and see how many you can fell.
- I guess I could mention here that you could actually use the tennis balls for what they are designed for: tennis. Ha.
- I plan to make stick swords this holidays for the kids by tying a special knot (I just need to practice it!). I’ll you know how I go.
- Make backyard or indoor tent with rope and a sheet.
- Play snakes or other jump the rope games.
- Give the kids the rope and tell them to go into the backyard and deign something.
- Do a pipe cleaner construction challenge. Just put a heap on a table and let the kids at it.
- Make pipe cleaner bracelets or decoration by threading on beads
- Make pipe cleaner glasses
- Make a pipe cleaner crown.
Other good ideas for the fun box
- Water colour paint
- Toilet rolls (you can find all the toilet roll craft here)
- Egg cartons (you can find all the egg carton craft here)
- Milk bottle lids (you an find all the milk bottle craft here)
- Coloured Blu-tack is fun for moulding
- Finger paint
School holidays are coming. I’m ready.