School holiday fun

school-holiday-activitiesIn Victoria, Australia, we are currently commencing a fortnight break for Spring school holidays. I have found that parents generally fall into 3 groups – love the time with their kids, enjoy the time with their kids but are so thankfully when they are back at school, and those who don’t look forward to trying to keep their kids occupied over the school holidays.

I am with my kids 99% of the time as I home school and generally I really love being with them. I also love the school holidays for my sake as it is a time when I can catch up on housework, dejunking, planning for the next term etc. I also like it to be a time of fun for the whole family. Sometimes, I need to intentionally plan ‘times of fun’ otherwise we can focus too much on the work needed doing and not the fun.

When our kids were younger, I used to draw up a list of activities I wanted my kids to do over the holidays and assign points to them (between 5-20 points depending on how long they would take and how much I wanted them to do that activity). This ranged from reading a book, older child reading to younger sibling, playing a board game, cooking, chore, reciting times tables etc. The kids kept track of the points by colouring in a chart. When they reached 200 points, they were then able to choose a new book or toy worth about $10. My kids loved doing this to get the reward and I found that they would always start the day off with getting at least 50 points. By the time we returned to school work, they had usually learnt a lot during that time so there was no time needed to be spent on recapping stuff they had already supposedly learnt.

This holidays, I have planned something new. Basically I have put a number of post-it notes on a sheet of cardboard and written activities on each one. Then as we complete that activity, we mark it off/take off the post-it note. Thus, whenever I hear “What can I do?” – I can point to the post-it note cardboard. It also means that there are some exciting things to look forward to and plan our time rather than let it be wasted in too much television viewing.

My list has included:

  • Do a physical activity as a family
  • Have a DVD night
  • Play a board game
  • Read a new book
  • Create something
  • Cook something new
  • Mum-Princess date, Mum-Matey date, Dad-Princess date, Dad-Matey date, Mum-Dad date
  • Walk along the beach
  • Dinner with another family
  • Random act of kindness for each family member
  • Help a stranger
  • Swim at PARC (local swimming pool)
  • Visit somewhere new
  • Clean out the carport
  • Clean out the kitchen cupboards
  • Have chocolate fondue
  • Creative time with God as a family
  • Bike ride
  • Shopping for water bottle and accessories for Princess’ bike
  • Play a card game
  • Plan our family calendar for the next 6 months
  • Plan our Christmas gifts for others
  • Hand our socks and jackets for ‘2 Pairs Each’.
  • Catch up with …. (certain people and families are listed)

It will be interesting to see how it pans out. What are you looking at doing with your family?

4 thoughts on “School holiday fun

  1. Ellen

    Also, how do you. Break your too-big television in the middle of the house without hubby noticing? I guess that’s where the cardboard with the list should go!! How successful did you find this system over the holidays?

    • Jane Post author

      The system worked well in some ways but I didn’t really use it as there wasn’t the need. After the first day, I only looked it at another twice. The kids never commented that there were bored at all though and at the end of the holidays, I realised that we had ‘achieved’ most of the things but in a more relaxed manner. We also were quite busy with other activities as well such as both kids swimming in a 24 hour megaswim and a full day out at learning to play baseball, a couple of birthday parties, a friend loaning us a new board game unexpectedly, numerous families visiting us etc. Thus, they really didn’t have time to be bored. I have a friend, though, who received this blog post the first morning of school holidays when she was just about to pull out her hair over kids squabbling etc. She sat down and made up a beautiful few sheets in different categories – things to do by yourself, things to do for family members, things to do for others etc. It looked beautiful and worked a treat. She said it worked really well for her family. As to the television issue, it can be hard to tackle if hubby isn’t on the same page as you. We have strict television rules which became very lax during winter and we had to tighten them again. Now it is a treat to watch television together, not a daily reward. Now hubby is tighter than me in regard to television but I can remember the days when I had to go out during the day time and left the kids with hubby and I would come back and they were watching television (last year it tended to be movies for history lessons!!).

  2. Ellen

    Thanks for that feedback! Really helps with managing expectations. I can imagine they weren’t bored if you have been training kids in managing their time well, and your own!

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