Sunday, 29 June 2014

Ideas to Keep Kids Entertained These School Holidays

The Baby-Led Selfie
The school holidays - love them or loathe them - they're here. Are you ready?

Usually the week leading up to the holiday break is a hectic one for me. I have a last minute flurry of things to do before the troops hit the home front and cripple my effectiveness for accomplishing anything.
This week was certainly no exception.
There were baby's immunisations; my eldest of the boys had an important interview for an accelerated learning program at high school; I had two inboxes happily bubbling with blogging opportunities to churn through and somewhere in there, a week's worth of washing to co-ordinate in varying states of wet to dry chaos - all before I could even fathom the enormity of the noise and mess that was shortly coming my way for a whole fortnight. (AKA - children!)

By the time I swung the car into school for the end of term pick-up, I was unsurprisingly, exhausted. And quite willing to leave the kids there; mentally pretending to do another morning drop-off just so I could catch my breath.

My poor babies arrived home to a house sadly lacking in the general 'junk fest' I usually allow it to become at vacation times; I never even got around to shopping for them. No bread, margarine - you name it - we didn't have it. The kids took it all in their stride though and flopped about eating fruit and breakfast cereals while enjoying a mindless flick through the assorted offerings on TV with the promise of fish and chips for dinner to launch into the festivities.

I have this inherent fear that surfaces at school vacation times which is not unlike the FOMO. (Fear of Missing Out.) Parents of school aged children will understand when I mention the dreaded 'projects' kids are forced to present in their first weeks back at school after any term break:
The feared 'What I Did on the School Holidays' assignments.

For those of you who are uninitiated in the process, let me explain: Kids have to write about and illustrate, their holiday activities for the pleasure of their teachers and friends. This is great if you are having a wonderful life filled with bottomless funds like 'Sally who skied the Swiss Alps and then swam with the dolphins' and not so fab if you are 'Jeremy' who by comparison 'played marbles and watched TV.'
It is not uncommon to see anxious Mums milling about these assignments that decorate the classroom walls, eager to rank their successes and failings as parents against each other. You can almost hear them thinking How did we compare? It's both humiliating and hilarious! Naturally the kids provide some great reads and illustrations too.

The challenge to entertain, impress and even thrill your kidlets, begins now. What is on the agenda for your family these school holidays? I have lots of ideas for family entertainment and they are all here on the blog. (Some of them are still coming to this space in the weeks to come so stay tuned. "D)

For cheap and happy, home-grown ways to staycation, have a read of an older post I wrote here:

 For something a little more out there, try the beautiful Rippon Lea. Let the kids run wild at the historic Gulf Station homestead or view Melbourne from the highest point in the Southern Hemisphere at the fabulous Eureka Skydeck88.
There's been plenty happening here for those of you living in Melbourne. In case you missed it, there's the spectacular Dinosaur Adventures extravaganza happening right now at the Caulfield Racecourse. This huge animatronics show features life-sized dinosaurs with light and sound effects. My kids were lucky enough to attend a special VIP publicity event and totally loved the activities on offer.
The giant T-Rex that roars, breathes and moves - my boys hung about this one for ages!
Touch, feel and pose with the dinosaurs inside the entrance to the event.
Taite meets a Velociraptor. (They're the quick and scary predators in the Jurassic Park movies.)
Kids can even dress up as Paleontologists (costumes supplied free at the venue) and participate in their very own dinosaur dig.
There are jumping castles and sand pits, story telling and show bags; plenty to see. Take extra cash for any purchases you may wish to make as there are themed stalls too.
There is so much to do at this event and all of it directed at thrilling your children. You can find out the dates and details by visiting here for more information.
In terms of free events, there's the LEGO Brick Zone at Watergardens, Taylors Lakes. Visit to see Ryan McNaught's fantastic giant LEGO model exhibition and play with the LEGO at the Brick Zone. An all ages event and on for the duration of the holidays, find all the information you need here and see some great pictures of the models themselves and the man behind them here.

If you've got some gore obsessed kids like mine, get them along to the Melbourne Museum pronto to see the exciting Aztecs exhibition. This brilliant collection of artefacts tells the story of the Aztec Empire and features more than 200 sacred objects all the way from Mexico's most prominent Museums. This was an ancient culture seriously obsessed with death and there's much to see for curious visitors of all ages.

The Aztecs invented the rubber ball as we know it today. This we did not know and were surprised to discover. Kids can have a try at lifting a reproduction Aztec game ball - good luck with that. (Hint: it's very heavy!) Failing at this sport meant possible death and if it didn't come via this avenue, there were plenty of other methods and reasons for an early demise in this culture.

There's even an Aztec Family Trail for younger guests. My kids really enjoyed this exhibition.
Aztecs at the Melbourne Museum is on until August the 10th, 2014 and is open daily from 10am-5pm. Full details can be found on their website here.

Enjoy your school holidays!
What will you get up to these holidays?
Are you intimidated by your child's post-vacation school projects too?!
Are you feeling pressured to do everything or ignoring it and going with the flow?
Recent posts on Six Little Hearts you may enjoy:


  1. We have this "stress" of doing something all term long. On mondays all my boys classes write about what they did on the weekend. Fortunately, I discovered this quite late in the year, so I haven't worried about it too much. There are many pages of my boys saying they did nothing, or watched tv. And, much to my frustration, even when we do do something, they still write the same thing. Often they make something exciting up with one boy wrote they they went to disney land on the weekend!!!
    Anyway, I'm pretty confident in my parenting to know that we need to do nothing. I know that my kids need to do nothing. I just wish that we could choose to do nothing, rather than having it forced upon us due to finances and autism. But one day. xS

    1. Sarah - we've had the same problem with my boys. If we do something great on the weekend, they've usually forgotten by Monday and write 'nothing!' My youngest Son wrote he went fishing a few months back. (The rest of us don't remember this one at all!)
      We do lots of nothing too and it's usually by choice. The kids do enjoy a rest as do I.

  2. You know I never find it hard to entertain my kids but maybe because the 2.5 and 4.5 are great at amusing themselves. Miss 6 can be a little 'tough' at times! I hope yours are happy and fun!

    1. When they've got little missions that they've invented themselves - it's great isn't it!

  3. My kids are having a very boring school holidays and I don't feel bad about it at all!!

    1. Ann, this week my kids are having a lovely boring time too - there's cushion throwing, yelling, mess and junk food and they seem pretty happy about it!

  4. Our holidays start at the end of the week. With this weather there will be probably lots of time at the library and activities at home. Better get on to organising some crafty stuff :)
    Some great things on for kids in the cities!

    1. I truly LOVE the Winter break just because you can hibernate in it. There's no pressing feeling to get outside when it's cold and wet. (Unlike Summer - which us Melburnians need to enjoy while it lasts.)

  5. Luckily we don't have any school aged children yet so it's all normal for us, although we have to battle the larger than normal crowds at the places that are usually quiet for us ;)

    1. The supermarket gets horrible doesn't it.

  6. Fabulous baby-led selfie!! That is such a clever, artistic shot! I miss the endless summer holidays when I was a child! My fave thing to do was to go strawberry picking.

  7. i always make sure i recap with the kids the night before school goes back so they dont go to class and say we did "nothing" when mummy has been going crazy with entertainment for weeks! kids! xx

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  10. Good ideas, This is very helpful to enjoy holidays. Thanks for sharing.
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