Tuesday 8 December 2015

5 cheap ideas for school holidays

For a very long time I dreaded school holidays. The house would be noisy, kids bicker, and the cupboards are always empty. But this year we seem to have finally found our groove, thanks to this plan that we still follow.

But as the hot days of summer in Queensland approach, I need to up my game a little bit - I'm a bit lazy when it gets hot, so we may not actually get out of the house as much as usual, and I can almost hear the whining now.

So I've been pondering some new ideas for activities that don't cost lost of money, and don't need huge input from me. Because when they're playing quietly without me, I can stop and hear myself think for five minutes. (The side benefit is that they can still be keeping up skills over the break.)

Learn a card game

I spent many an hour fighting with my sister playing gin rummy or canasta with my sister growing up. Now that Riley is learning to read, the kids can start to play card games. Great for team work

Learn to bake

We are going to go through mountains of food over the holidays, with my niece and nephew here most days, as well as us, but our budget doesn't stretch to lots of packet food, so it's the perfect opportunity for all the kids to take turns at learning to bake. Great for reading comprehension, maths skills, learning kitchen safety.

Learn to read a map

Even a simple map of the backyard can provide endless hours of activities for the kids, from a simple map-drawing activity, to creating treasure hunts for each other; and then those skills can be expanded to a local playground or scavenger hunt around the block. Great for maths skills, reading, geography.

Learn to write letters

One of the things Riley learnt this year was how to write letters to others. From how to set the letter out for easy reading, to asking personal questions to engage with the reader, I thought this was a great skill to learn, and one that I really want all the kids to keep up with. I'm going to set them the task of writing to family members each week, whether it's each other, or grandma or Chloe. Great for reading, comprehension and writing.

Learn to play charades

Being able to understand body language is a vital skill for anybody; being able to understand charades will really teach them some skills that they're missing at the moment. Learning to work together to decipher each other will be an important step in them remembering that they love each other. Great for team work and comprehension.

What low cost ideas have you tried with your kids?
Are you dreading the school holidays?


  1. I set myself the goal, a few years back to not spend any money on holiday activities, and now I rarely do. I find you actually don't need to spend a lot to have a good time.
    I really like some of these ideas though. Map reading in particular is such a great skill we often forget to teach.

  2. I spent hours playing rummy with my grandparents as a kid. Of course I can't remember how to play it now, must play it again.

  3. All great ideas, but the reading maps one is great. I thins age of technology and GPS it's a forgotten skill. Neither Mr 21 or Miss 19 have any idea of how to use a street directory - it's obviously a dying art!

    Visiting from #teamIBOT x

  4. All of your ideas sound wonderful. My children are grown, moved away and have almost grown children of their own. My daughter still cannot read a map. I don't think either of them ever played charades and I never even thought about teaching them how to bake/cook. Now, however, my 40+ daughter is finally asking for my recipes and when she makes them her brother tells her she's turning into Mom. So, I guess I didn't go too far of course on raising them. But I wish I had taught them the things you mentioned.


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