The long holidays are here. Two months seems like a long time especially when you’re left wondering how to keep your children occupied and away from mischief. As a mother of a PP1 pupil who seems to have endless amounts of energy, my main aim at the end of every day is to ensure that she has expended all her energy come dinner time without her spending all her time watching YouTube Kids.
I’m excited for the long holidays. They’re the perfect time to teach my daughter new skills, help her perfect her writing and colouring as well as get to spend some time getting to know her better. Even though we are together during the school term, between work and school we don’t get too much time to bond. So the holidays will be a good time for that.
Below is a list of activities that your children can take part in, some of which you can do with them, over the long holidays.
1. Teach them house chores
My daughter is five and a half and she loves helping out with house chores. She washes dishes, helps to dust furniture, sweep the house, clean the bathroom sink and even help out with the cooking (stirring the food, beating eggs, cutting tomatoes, etc.) and make her bed.
Holiday time is the best time to teach your child how to do simple house chores for instance how to prepare simple dishes, like how to fry an egg or prepare tea, how to clean, make their bed and pick up after themselves. Be sure to supervise especially when they’re in the kitchen to prevent accidents. Avoid openly criticising their less than perfect efforts since they are still learning. Don’t redo their work and remember to praise their efforts, encouraging them to keep it up.
2. Buy them outdoor toys
Children need fresh air just as much as you do. When they go out to play they not only expend excess energy but also learn social skills like sharing and how to cooperate with other children. Outdoor toys like a bicycle, scooter, ball, hulla hoop, etc. will encourage them to actually go outside.
The outdoors also provides them with opportunities to get creative with their games, making up toys and games as they go. Remember how we used to make balls out of socks or newspapers to play kati?
3. Go on excursions
This is the perfect time to explore our city and country. You don’t need to break the bank to do this. You can drive to different parts of the city or teach your child how to use public transport to get from point A to B. Places like the National Museum, Animal Orphanage, Railway Museum, are excellent learning opportunities and fun to boot. Take them to the village and make a journey of it, stopping along the way to admire our country. If you can spend some time in a different town. When you get to the village. Going beyond the shopping centre and your compound and seeing a different way of life will widen your children’s perspective on life.
4. Get them educative exercises
Your children can spend a couple of hours every day doing something educational like colouring, writing or reading. This is especially important for children who have just started learning these skills so that they don’t forget them come January. Albeit don’t be a drill sergeant. Make these learning activities fun. There are tonnes of books available in local supermarkets that you can buy. You can even go online and download fun activities that your child will want to take part in.
Bear in mind that you don’t have to spend too much money on this. They can use beans to count or make simple jewellery, plastacine to mould different shapes, paper to cut out shapes etc. The internet is full of ideas of activities that children can do at home on a budget. If you get stuck ask their teachers for ideas.
5. Talk to them
Take some time at the end of the day, assuming you have a 9 to 5, to talk to your children. Ask them about their day, what they did, who they saw, etc. During these chats you will be able to find out more about your child’s life, their struggles, achievements, dream and hopes. You can have movie night or play with them (my daughter loves to have picnics on the carpet). Ask them what they’d like to do. Children love to spend time with their parents and even include you in their games.
Kids get distracted easily so these conversations won’t last too long and you will get a few minutes to rest after your long day.
Use the long holidays as a way to reconnect with your children. They are growing up very fast and before long they will be out of your house living their lives so this is the best time to strengthen your bond.