7 ways to keep your children engaged during school holidays

7 ways to keep your children engaged during school holidays

FILE PHOTO: A woman walks with her two children at sunset. PHOTO| REUTERS

By Chaki Gikuhi 

The school holidays are upon us and this can be a great time for parents to bond with their children and even let their inner child come out to play. 

This time can also be stressful when boredom kicks in and children hence start misbehaving.

Many parents rack up their brains exploring possible options of how to keep their children busy during this break. For some, it might be hard to be present during this time and therefore, it might be beneficial to involve the nanny in the planning of activities for the holidays.

Here are some of the ways in which you can engage your children during either long or short holidays:

1. Cooking and baking

Involve the children in cooking and baking activities while allowing them to choose from a variety of recipes which you have ingredients for.

The child can work through the instructions to the recipe step by step while you help them to work through the instructions.This is not only a fun activity but also an important life skill for the children.

2. Go swimming

Swimming is a healthy activity that doubles up as a fun activity especially now that the sun is out.

For those who have access to the ocean, it has a calming effect on children. 

According to research from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, “blue spaces” like oceans, lakes and rivers actually have greater positive effects on people than “green spaces” like parks and lawns. 

In another more recent study, a team of researchers from New Zealand and the U.S. found that people who live in sight of water actually have lower levels of psychological stress.

3. Outdoor games

Outdoor playtime should not only be exciting but also encouraging for kids to turn off digital devices, which is a struggle for some families. 

Sometimes the best solution to get your kids engaged in playing outside is by using their favourite device in an outdoor activity. 

Outside play will enable them to get some exercise and gain fine motor skills.Not to mention that playing outside helps strengthen the bones and prevents obesity too.

If you’ve been a little stressed and you’re worried that your child is feeling that stress too, going outside will be great for them. 

All that fresh air will help both of you feel so much better.

4. Go on picnics

As long as the sun is out, and the sky is clear, picnics are a great excuse to get out of the house and enjoy some family time. Remember to pack equipment to enjoy on your day out like a kite, soccer ball or football.

The kids can also be treated to a picnic in the backyard. Have a treasure hunt. Make a treasure map with clues to find a treasure which you have hidden somewhere out of sight in the house. 

It doesn’t have to be expensive or big — any treat shall excite the young ones.

5. Grow a garden

It is said that gardeners are the happiest people on earth. There is a bacteria in the soil that actually makes you happy. The kids can have a small patch in the garden dedicated to them to plant anything that grows quickly such as flowers and herbs. 

Watching the plants grow will give them the satisfaction of having produced something. Dedicate a small patch in the garden to the kids. Plant flowers, herbs, lettuce — anything that grows quickly and gives them the satisfaction of having produced something. 

If your kids are small, just give them a spade, put on their old clothes, and let them loose. Gardeners are said to be the happiest people alive on the grounds that there is a form of bacteria in the soil that actually makes you happy. 

No harm giving it a go; we all want happy and relaxed children!

6. Arts and crafts

The youngsters can engage in fun activities to explore their creative side such as painting and sketching ,they can also engage in making jewellery by using beads or shells and other DIY projects.

Tie and dye is also a fun way to engage the kids.To avoid any stress, prepare the area well and cover with plastic or newspaper. Have some water on hand to wash when you are finished.

Trips to animal parks,nature trails and heritage sites - This would be a delight to the kids as they would get the chance to visit new places while getting some fresh air as well.

Visiting relatives and friends - Social outings are always fun for the kids. When we spend time with family – especially face-to-face communication, as opposed to digital – it significantly reduces the occurrence of depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. 

Being physically present with loved ones creates a strong emotional support to buoy you up through life’s challenges.

7. Indoor activities

While we all love getting fresh air and sunshine, sometimes you can get stuck inside. Such activities may include building a fort from pillows, blankets, and other things found in the house.

You can also play board games for example Jenga, Monopoly and Word Puzzle.They also need to move their little bodies. 

Choose a playlist together, blast the music, and let them shake the sillies out. For the young girls you could try the blindfolded makeup challenge where you take out your old makeup, nail polishes, and hairbrushes, and ‘experiment’ with a new style.


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