A parent's guide to entertaining

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					            “Mum, Dad,
            I’m bored...?”

A parent’s guide to entertaining
children during the holidays.
When your child next confronts you with
this challenging call, you’ll be prepared.
ASG Education Programs New Zealand helps parents plan for their children’s education.
ASG brings parents this guide to reduce their children’s holiday boredom.

This guide incorporates ideas for entertaining children during the holidays no matter what
the circumstances or financial restrictions.

Outdoors or indoors, no-cost or low-cost, excursions, trips, in the car, make-believe, craft,
or creative — this guide’s got it covered.

For your child:
Encourage and stimulate your child to explore his or her imagination
and creativity.

For you and your family:
Enjoy the holiday period as an exceptional time to spend together, really getting
to know one another while you all enjoy a range of activities that
don’t have to break the budget.

In this guide:
You’ll find more than
100 free or inexpensive
holiday activity ideas
to keep your children
entertained and amused
without resorting to the
television or computer

Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

At home or indoors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 04.

In the park or yard. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   13.

Around your neighbourhood and beyond . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .             17.

In the car . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21.

          Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

        At home or indoors
             we           rs:
P ress f l o                         ves,

                            and lea
        or pick                 sheets
Gather                etween
         ce   them b                  ss
then pla                    and pre
                  f paper
         seproo                    fa
 of grea                pages o                                        Finally put all those fantastic 70’s
         etw  een the                ned
 them b                     e flatte
          ick bo   ok. Onc                                             fashions you’ve been keeping, to
  good th                          and
            d  out the                                                 good use. For extra fun try going on
  and drie           at to us
                              e as
           are gre                t piece                              an excursion while dressed up. Stroll
   leaves                tural ar
            ts  of a na               rds to
    elemen                   own ca                                    up to the local video shop in your full
             reati ng your
    or for c
               friends.                                                pirate regalia, and then rent a good
     send to
                                                                                          old swashbuckling
                                                                                            DVD to watch
                                                                                              that night. Or
                                                                                               walk to the local
                              Memory games                                                     dairy in your
                                                            :                                  jungle explorer
                           Play with a deck
                                             of cards or just
                     a group of ever
                                     yday household                                            fatigues and
                          Now where did                                                        buy the kids a
                                          I see that again?

    Hide and seek:
    A game for indoors or outdoors. Nominate hiders
    and a seeker. The seeker counts down before
    searching for the hiders. Remember,
    no peeking!

 Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

At home or indoors

Origami:                                                                                      Map of
                                                                                              the wo
                                                                                              holiday ld
It’s amazing what a piece of paper                                                                    s:
can make. If you’re not quite so                                                                Get out
                                                                                                          a map
                                                                                               of the w           or glob
dexterous with your folding maybe                                                             imagina
                                                                                                         orld an
                                                                                                                 d take
                                                                                                        ry journ
a paper plane competition is in order.                                                        sticking           eys by
                                                                                                       a drawin
Most libraries will have books on                                                            into the
                                                                                                       map, a
                                                                                                                  g pin
                                                                                                               nd then
origami or paper planes, otherwise                                                          learning
                                                                                           about y             ing
check on the web site:                                                                               our sele
                                                                                                    . or

                                                                                   s kids more than
                                                                   Nothing please
                                                                   their parents at

Pass it on games:
Great fun for rainy days indoors. Kids whisper
a phrase to each other, and by the time it has
passed from the originator down to the end of
the line, it has invariably been ‘lost in translation’
often with hilarious results.                                Charades:
Or, try doing a communal drawing where one                   An ever-popular favourite, charades can be
child draws the head of a creature then folds                played in heaps of different ways. Try playing
over the paper, and so in turn consecutive                   in teams where two people act out the clues
children add the torso, legs etc without being               together for a bit of extra bonding.
able to see what has preceded them until the
paper is finally unfolded.

           Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

         At home or indoors
        Perform:                                                      Call on your
        Write and perform a song, poem or short story.

        Go back in time:
                                                                      inner artist:
        Rediscover one of your favourite old books and
                                                                      Sketch an interesting house in
        read it to your kids.                                         your street. There
                                                                      could be a potential
                                                                      career in real
                                                                      estate brochures
                                                                      awaiting your children!

Run a fi
            re safe
           r home
                      ty drill                                        Yum:
for you                 t the
             s it’s no                                                Homemade ice cream can taste
 Perhap                  oliday
              citing h                                                better than the store bought varieties
 most ex                     ave
                   could s
  ide  a but it                                                       because you made it yourself. Check
               some fu
   lives at                    eb site                                in your cookbooks for a recipe or
                     ald’s w
        e. Worm
    tim                                             see
     at www                     ty tips
                      fire safe
      off ers free
                 r home
      for you

                                Visit your house
                         You can get a bi
                                          rds eye view of
                            home at www.e
                               Just type in your
                                                   address and
                                then satellite im
                                                  agery, maps,
                              terrain and 3D
                                               buildings guide
                            you to an actual
                                                satellite image
                                    of your home. Yo
                                                         u might
                                  even see your ca
                                                       r parked
                                             in the driveway

 Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

At home or indoors

Food to go:                                                  Let me entertain you:
                                                             Host a talent quest for family members or
                                                             neighbourhood friends. Maybe one of your
      Cook gingerbread men or                                children is the next Neighbourhood Idol!
        make fun biscuit shapes
         with cookie cutters.                                Sharpen up your
          Check in your old cook                             engineering skills:
           books or for an old                               Construct a mobile to hang in the kids’ room.
            fashioned 1950’s
             recipe go to

Now you see it,                                                                          Share s
                                                                                                          ome fo
now you don’t:                                                                                 Roast s
                                                                                                 have a
                                                                                                       ome ma
                                                                                                                ue, hos
                                                                                                  afterno               t an
Learn some magic tricks and put                                                                           on tea,
                                                                                                                  or cook
                                                                                                   some d
on a show. Most libraries will have                                                                        amper.

books on how to perform magic
tricks or check online at
Note: it’s best to avoid the ‘sawing
mum in half’ trick until the kids are a
little more experienced!

                                                                   Decorate anyth:
                                                                   and everything
                                                                                                        th using
                                                                                      shirt or tableclo
                                                                   Make an original                    ry will have
                                                                                    . Your local libra
                                                                   tie-dye or Batik                     e internet
                                                                                     s or check on th
                                                                   instruction book                     or for
                                                                    at www.craftow                       to www.
                                                                                     a tie dye shirt go
                                                                    tips on making                       ects.htm

        Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

       At home or indoors
                                                                   Thirsty work:
                                                                   Make your own lemonade
                                                                   and try a lemonade stand
                                                                   on your footpath or near

                                                                   a local playground. All
P                                                                  you need is – one cup of water, one cup of sugar,
at hom
                                                                   one cup lemon juice (about 4-6 lemons), four cups
                                                                   of chilled soda water, and some extra lemon and
         nd deco                                                   mint for garnish. Combine water and sugar in a small
 Bake a             ra
           l cake o                                                saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring frequently, until
 a specia         es.
          cup cak                                                  sugar dissolves completely. Leave to cool and stir in
  tray of           to
           ho gets                                                 the lemon juice. To serve, top with chilled soda water
   Now, w
             spoon?                                                and garnish.
   lick the

                                                                                            Stamp pictures:
                                                                                            Cut out potato stamps and create
                                                                                            your own pictures.

            Breakfast chef:
            Cook up a spec
            only difficulty is
                               ial pancake brea
                                                 kfast. The
                                                                 Animateur kids:
                                to decide what
           your pancakes:
                               maple syrup, m
                                               you want with     Get your kids to design and draw their
                                               ixed berries,
           lemon and suga
                               r or ice cream.                   own cartoon character. Then get this
                                                                 character made into a rubber stamp at
                                                                 your local shop (usual cost less than $5
                                                                 per rubber stamp). Then the kids are free
                                                                 to create their own personalised comic
                                                                 books, reusing the stamp as often as
                                                                 they want.

   Play shopkeepers with younger kids. First they have
   to stock the shop with a good range of items and then
   it’s time to start haggling over the prices!

 Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

At home or indoors
Family                                                                                buddin age a
                                                                                            g engin
learning:                                                                                           eer:
                                                                                                     Play wit
                                                                                                              h Lego
                                                                                                             o, or bu
Research and document your family                                                                  a mode
                                                                                                           l from a
tree. You can get a lot of great
information during the fourteen day
free trial at

                                                      Pets in the swim
                                                                         h to have at ho
                                                      Get some goldfis                       h fun
                                                                        e store is as muc
                                                      Often visiting th                       m. Then
                                                                          pensive aquariu
                                                      as going to an ex                        put in
                                                                          s and objects to
                                                      you can find rock                     for the
                                                                         e it ‘interesting’
                                                       the bowl to mak                        n
                                                                          g time is also fu
                                                       fish. Daily feedin
                                                                          o much and no
                                                        but remember ‘s
                                                                          e than a spot, or
                                                        more, never mor                      ver
                                                                          happen, you ne
                                                        something may
                                                         know what’!

Nature at work:
Construct a volcano from plaster. Let the plaster            Share the family’s
volcano dry overnight, then you can paint it
the next day. Use a spoon or a funnel to put
                                                             secret recipes:
the baking soda into the hole in the top of the              Make some scones like grandma used to.
volcano. Put a little bit of white vinegar into a            Note: if grandma won’t give away her secret
container and pour in some red food colouring.               recipe try
Carefully pour this mixture into the top of the
volcano. Now stand back and wait for the

 Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

At home or indoors
                                                            Rekindled crafts:
                                                            The ‘lost arts’ of macramé and embroidery are still
                                                            greatly loved by children. Most libraries will have
                                                            instruction books on these crafts that are great for
                                                            all ages, or check on the internet at

       Chef for the n

                                 l pizza letting
                  Make a specia
                      the kids choose
                                          r all,
                          toppings. Afte
                            who do you th
                              first thought of
                                pineapple as a
                                 pizza topping
                                 - surely not an

Sea Monkeys are a cheap and entertaining project
for the children. They are actually dehydrated brine
                                                            Budding artist:
shrimp that miraculously reanimate when put in
water. If you don’t want to buy the name brand at           Paint-by-numbers kits are cheap
a toyshop you can get the same product from an              and can provide hours of peaceful
aquarium supplies store as they are used as feed            entertainment.
for tropical fish.

Holiday writing:
Write a holiday diary. ‘I know what I did last

                          Mystic path
                        Set up a fort
                                      une telling
                        stand, or try
                        palm readin

 Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

At home or indoors
Make a mosaic:
All you need is some plaster and glass
beads. Your local library will have
instruction books or check on the

Share times past:                                        Puppeteering:
                                                         Make puppets or finger
Photo albums are a great way to pass                     puppets and put on
a rainy afternoon. We all have photo                     a show.
albums lying around but how
often do we actually look at
them, let alone share them
with the kids? The children
will love looking at photos of
themselves as they grew up,
and it can bring back a lot of                                                       Teatime to share:
happy memories. The kids                                                             Host an elegant tea pa
will also find it fascinating to                                                     Get dressed up and us
                                                                                                             e the
look at their parents’ photo                                                         fine china (from the op
albums; “check out dad
with a moustache”, “what is
that you’re wearing mum?”

3D art:
Create a sculpture using
whatever medium and
materials you want.

Party fun:
Host a slumber party.

                                                         Family history:
                                                                          rite about an
                                                         Interview and w
                                                                            u might be
                                                         older relative. Yo
                                                                            uch the kids
                                                          surprised how m
                                                                          know ball point
                                                          learn, “did you
                                                                           en invented
                                                          pens weren’t ev
                                                                           was born,
                                                           when grandma
                                                           much less com                                        11.
   Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

  At home or indoors

                 Craft animal frie
                     Make papier-m
                      need is newspap
                                     âché piggies. Al
                                                        l you
                                         er, a balloon, an
                                                                     Play fun at low cost:
                     some flour and                         d
                                      water for the pa               Make play dough. You don’t have to buy expensive
                       But don’t forget                  ste.
                                        some paint and               brand name play dough, it’s much more fun to make
                 little twirly somet                       a
                                     hing for the tail.              it at home with the kids. Combine one cup of plain
                can even turn yo                        You
                                    ur piggy into a us               flour, half a cup of salt, one cup of water and two
               piggybank — w                            eful
                                 ww.enchantedle                      tablespoons of cream of tartar. Mix the combination
                             com/crafts/Piggy                        in a saucepan then add one tablespoon of oil and
                                                                     some vegetable dye. Cook in the saucepan until thick
                                                                     then put in the fridge to cool. If stored in the fridge
                                                                     and kept moist, your homemade play dough will last
                                                                     for weeks.

Eat up:                                                              Indoor sport:
Have a midnight feast. The holidays                                  Try carpet bowls if it’s raining.

are the perfect time to give the kids
a treat by staying up late one night                                 Budding playwright:
                                                                     Write and perform a play. Why not try writing and
and having a good sleep-in the next                                  presenting your own play? The script can be written
day. Rent a special DVD and have a                                   together, then various children can be assigned
midnight (or late night if the kids are                              different roles, for example actors, director, stage
younger) feast. The kids can help                                    design, costume making etc.
                                                                     Then swap the roles around next time.
prepare the feast making popcorn or
chocolate crackles and honey-joys.
Go to bed by torchlight.

                                                                Pictures into
                                                                Make a
                                                                on any topic
                                                                you desire.

          Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

        In the park or yard
       Who needs a brush:
       Finger painting never really loses its appeal and
                                                                     Grow something:
       you have all the ingredients you need right there             Plant a flowerbed. Sunflowers are
       in your kitchen. Just mix corn flour and water                spectacular favourites with young kids
       in a saucepan. Bring it to the boil and when it               and relatively easy to grow.
       has thickened add some vegetable dye. Once
       it’s cooled all you need is some large sheets of
       butchers’ paper, and you are ready to roll up your
       sleeves and start finger painting.

                                                                     Feed your feathered
                                                                     Feed the birds. Make your own bird feeder
                                                                     or birdbath and give the birds in your
                                                                     garden a holiday treat. Go to a park and
                                                                     feed the ducks or pigeons, or feed the sea
                                                                     gulls at the beach. Contact your local Forest
                                                                     and Bird branch to find out about good bird
                                                                     watching locations in your area.

         t ric             hes:
Find los                    t. With
                                     a little
                  ure hun                    of
         a treas                 es (and
Create              in g the clu              you
          tion writ                asure)
prepara              suit able tre
          hiding a                  as long
 course                    usy for
            p th e kids b            clues, o
 can kee           You ca
                             n write
            want.                   nteerin
  as you                  ave orie
             m ap, or le
  make a                 our
                es for y
   s tyle guid            .
               to follow

 Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

In the park or yard
                                                                                 It’s not
Study Class Insecta:                                                                            tennis:
                                                                                         ton is a
                                                                                safe no           fun, ea
Insects! They surround us. By some                                                      n-conta           sy and
                                                                               ages th           ct sport
accounts, insects make up more than                                                    at can b           for all
                                                                               any bac           e playe
80% of earth’s animals, outnumbering the                                               kyard o           d in
                                                                                                r park.
combined total of all other living creatures
found on earth. Get a first hand look at
this diverse species. Study the butterflies
and other insects in your garden. Start
an ant farm or worm farm.

                                                         Air race:
                                                         Host a paper plane buildin
                                                                                    g and flying
                                                         contest. www.10paperairp

Make a scarecrow to go in the
vegetable patch or back yard.

                                                             Where does food
                                                             come from:
                                                             Many children think food comes from the
                                                             supermarket. Plant a vegetable patch or herb
                                                             garden and tend your food to fruition. Great fun
                                                             and eventually delicious!

 Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

In the park or yard
Tiny garden                                                                             Walk th
                                                                                                         e dog:
worlds:                                                                                 Childre
                                                                                       on the
                                                                                                n’s bes
                                                                                               get extr
                                                                                                        t friend
                                                                                                        a atten
                                                                                              holiday            tion
Make a moss garden out of moss,                                                                       s as we
twigs, and grass etc from your
garden. Create miniature worlds from
Fairy Grottos to Dragons’ Lairs.

                                                             Picnic time:
                                                             Host a Teddy Be
                                                             Picnic in the ba
                                                             or nearby park.

Playtime on the footpath:
Hopscotch provides hours of fun for kids, all for
the price of a piece of chalk.

Astronomy:                                                   Snapshot:
Look up at the stars at night. Awesome. Try to               Get the kids a
find the constellations.                                     disposable camera
                                                             each and have
Pool fun:                                                    a photographic
                                                             competition. For
Play Marco Polo in a swimming pool. Whoever
                                                             poolside fun get
is ‘it’ closes their eyes and repeatedly calls out
                                                             an underwater
“Marco”. All the other players try to avoid being
tagged but must call out “Polo” whenever they
hear the cry of “Marco”.

          Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

        In the park or yard
                                                                     Sporting fun:
                                                                     Try backyard cricket, or for
                                                                     something different try backyard
Bubble       y:
blowing tigg
                                                                     croquet or bocce.

                 a lot more
It makes tiggy
fun if you ha
               ve to ‘tag’                                           Building a place of your own:
                  a recently
 someone with                                                        Build an outdoor cubby house or tree house.
                . All you
 blown bubble
                  bottles of
  need is a few
  bubble mixtu
                re or even
                 liquid and
                  the trick.
                                                                     Up in the air:
   water will do
                                                                     Fly a kite. Try one of the new two
                                                                     stringed controllable kites for more
                                                                     interesting kite play or gaze up at the
                           Outdoor art:                              sky and swaying treetops.
                               Make a collage out of leaves and
                               twigs you have collected.

    Camp out:
    Pitch a tent in the
                                                                     Out on a limb:
    backyard and go                                                  Climb a tree. What can
    camping. Great for                                               you see from up there?
    a sleepover but                                                  Remember to always
    don’t forget the                                                 supervise any climbing
    torch!                                                           activities and warn the kids not to climb higher
                                                                     than a height at which they feel safe.

                                                                     Street art:
                                                                     Paint portraits on the footpath with water based paints.
                                                                     Or draw fabulous chalk sketches on the footpath.

          Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

        Around your
        neighbourhood and
        beyond                                                       By the water:
                                                                     Riverside or lakeside – take your pick but there can
                                                                     hardly be two more entertaining locations for young
                                                                     kids. The possibilities are endless — splash about
                                                                     in the stream, go fishing, explore the riverbanks, or
                                                                     indulge in a bit of tadpole hunting or yabbying.
                     re ever                                         Sandcastle building is always a favourite. Try
          b raries a                e
Local li                    ited on
                   en’t vis                                          making a fairy castle on the water’s edge by
and if   you hav
                         may be
                en you                                               dripping the wet sand through your fingers to
 re cently th               . Many
                   rprised                                           construct lovely towers and minarets.
  pleas  antly su
                         e cool
                ow hav
  lib raries n                  r                                    Explore the rock-pools. See everything from hermit
                     areas fo
   book    reading                                                   crabs and sea-stars to a set of lost false teeth.
                 Your lo
    c hildren.          o run a
              may als
     school                 with
                  for kids
      program              magic
       book re                 etc.
                    aft days
       sh  ows, cr

                    Horse back:
                   Go for a horse
                                   ride along a be
                   or country track                ach
                                    . Or take a shor

                                                                     Life saving:
                   pony ride for yo                  t
                                    unger kids.

                                                                     If you are near a beach
                                                                     or holidaying at one, visit
                                                                     the local life-saving club to
                                                                     learn about water safety.
                                                                     This can be an interesting
                                                                     and invaluable visit.

 Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

Around your neighbourhood and beyond
                                                             On the water:
                                                             Take a ferry ride, punt down
                                                             a stream or go canoeing.
                                                             Kayak in a river or on

Chalk trail:
                                                             the ocean.

Leave a trail of chalk arrows around
your neighbourhood. Your kids get exercise
as they follow them as well as learning
about the local area with you acting as tour
guide. Finish up the trail at a dairy for a
nice ice creamy reward!

Local councils:                                                                                Art gall
Phone your local council office. Many run school
                                                                                               You do
                                                                                                       n’t have
holiday programs, featuring such things as art                                                 large g            to visit
                                                                                                       allery th            a
competitions, free concerts in local parks, sports                                             admiss            at char
                                                                                                       ion, mo            ges
days etc.                                                                                      local ga         st small
                                                                                                        lleries o          er
                                                                                               admiss             ffer free
                                                                                                       ion and
                                                                                               but con           smaller
                                                                                                       stantly             ,
                                                                                               exhibitio        changin

School pools:
                                                                                                          ns, and
                                                                                               great w             what a
                                                                                                        ay to in
                                                                                               the kids          spire

Splashing around in the pool can be
great fun and a good way to meet
other children from your area.

                                                                   All aboard:
                                                                                                      e on an
                                                                                     p, or even a rid
                                                                   A steam train tri                     be a
                                                                                       porary train can
                                                                   everyday contem                       n.
                                                                                      for young childre
                                                                   great adventure

         Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

        Around your neighbourhood and beyond

Explore t:
the pas Historical Society.
          ur local            s or clu
 Find yo           l Societie
          istorica                 um
 Most H                   e muse
          ve a s mall fre         ome
  will ha                 ry or s
                cal histo
       ering lo              graphy

                                                                     In the gardens:
                   ke photo
   other  niche li
   or aero

                                                                     Botanic gardens are always a fantastic
                                                                     place to take the kids. They can run
                                                                     around, feed the ducks or learn the
                                                                     Latin names for everyday plants.
                               Bike riding:                          Regional or country Botanical Gardens
                                    Once you learn                   are often a great place to visit as a day
                                                     it, hopefully
                                      you’ll never forg
                                                         et what
                                                                     trip in the car. Don’t forget some stale
                                       good fun (and gr
                                                          eat        bread for the ducks, swans or geese!
                                       exercise) it is.

                                                                                             Movies with
                                                                                             a difference:
                                                                                             Go to the movies or visit
                                                                                             other cinemas such as
                                                                                             screenings in the Botanic

   Look out:
   Observation decks in tall city buildings can
   be a good afternoon’s excursion.

 Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

Around your neighbourhood and beyond
Lawn bowls:
Some local clubs will welcome the kids to a bowling
day where the older bowlers can pass on their
expertise to the youngsters.                                       Beach stuff:                         ore fun,
                                                                                       more Kiwi, or m
                                                                   Is there anything                    e from
Architecture walk:                                                 than a day on th
                                                                                     e beach? Choos
                                                                                       sbee, grip ball,
Again you are the tour guide, but it’s great showing                beach cricket, fri                   rfing.
                                                                                      yaking or bodysu
children the intricacies of local buildings they may                skiffle board, ka
have walked past many times but never really                            The choices are

Let the children help marinate the food before
you go, then let them help with the cooking. Most
councils provide free or inexpensive barbeques.

Explore times past:
Go on a fossil hunt in a nearby park, riverbank
or walking path.

Contact your local                                        Visit:

                                                          •	 An	Historic	Places	property	to	explore	New	Zealand’s	
                                                             past. For more information visit:
They often run free school holiday                        •	 A	ship	in	port	or	check	out	any	local	docks	for	
programs for budding young                                   nautical history museums.
scientists and special exhibitions of                     •	 Try	and	find	a	lighthouse	to	visit	in	your	local	area.	
interest to kids. Find out more at:                                                       •	 A	nearby	neighbourhood	on	public	transport	then	
                                                             explore the different shops, buildings, parks
                                                             and cafes.

                                                          •	 A	cemetery.	They	are	usually	fascinating	and	you	
                                                             can make it a hands-on experience by doing some
                                                             charcoal or crayon rubbings of old tombstones.

                                                          •	 A	boardwalk	in	your	local	area.	Boardwalks	are	
                                                             great exercise and give you and the kids the chance
                                                             to explore some interesting natural areas.

 Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

In the car
Holidays often involve long car trips.

Here you can find free or inexpensive
ideas to help keep children of any
age amused, and tips for making the
long road there or home easier on the                        Wheelies:
whole family.                                                In this game each player gets a set time period and
                                                             has to count the number of wheels that pass by
                                                             your car in a given period, for example you score
                                                             two points for a motor bike, four points for a car and
                                                             six or more for larger trucks. Each player has the

Animal,                                                      same time period and the winner is the
                                                             one with the highest score.

or mineral:
Also known as 20 questions, this
is a great game where one player
imagines an object then the others
have 20 yes or no questions to try                           Categories:
and work out the object.
                                                             One person thinks of a category, then each player
                                                             has to name something in that category. Whenever
                                                             a player is unable to add a new item to the list they
                                                             drop out. Categories might include — animals,
                                                             colours, cartoon shows etc.
                    tually be a great
 A car trip can ac                        en’t being
                     kids while they ar
 to chat with your                      ter games.
                     vision or compu
 distracted by tele                      get away so
                      know they can’t
  Let’s face it, they                    out how
                      chat with you ab
  they may as well
                  school is going et
                                     c.                   How many songs:
                                                            Listen to the radio and
                                                           person must guess how
                                                           songs they will play be
                                                                                   fore you
                                                           reach your destination.
                                                          game is great because
                                                                                    if the kids
                                                          have guessed too few
                                                          they will actually be wis
                                                                                    hing that
                                                         the journey took a little
                                                         instead of screaming “ar
      Education                                                                     e we
                                                         there yet?”
      New Zealand
 Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

In the car
Number plates:
Make up creatures using the letters on car number
plates around you. For example BDD 768 could be
‘Big Dastardly Dragon’ or ‘Bone Digging Dog’.

         Magnetic games:                                                                Word a
         Handy for long trips in the car, magnetic
         games, are usually inexpensive and                                                       A great
                                                                                                             game fo
         include: Chess, Checkers, Snakes and                                                      thinking             r latera
                                                                                                             . One p             l
         Ladders, Solitaire, Scrabble etc.                                                    by sayin                 layer sta
                                                                                                         g any w                   rts
                                                                                      replies                       ord, the
                                                                                               immedia                        next
                                                                                      associa              tely wit
                                                                                               ted wor              h the fi
Car Scavenger Hunt:                                                                  their m
                                                                                             ind. Yo
                                                                                                         d that c
                                                                                                      u have
                                                                                                                   omes in
                                                                                    the gam                      to drop
The parent makes a list of commonly seen                                                      e if you                     out of
                                                                                   immedia               don’t th
                                                                                              tely or              ink of a
items appropriate for the area you will be                                                             if you r               word
                                                                                  already                       epeat a
driving through. For example: horses, wooden                                                used. F                        word
                                                                                  sky-pla             or exam
                                                                                           ne-lugg                ple: bir
fences, cows, haystacks if you are driving through                                                   age-su                d-wing-
                                                                                                              itcase e
the countryside, or, petrol stations, fast food                                                                          tc.
outlets, police cars if you are driving through a

city. Try and have about 20 items on the list. The
                                                          Name g
children then have to call out when they see the
                                                                                                 r has to
                                                                                         h playe
item and whoever sees it first gets to cross it off                          a nd eac                  ork
                                                                   a topic                    s you w
their list. The winner is the first to cross off all 20   Choose               tha  t topic a             the
                                                                     item in                     mple, if
items. Older children can help youngsters if they         na me an                      For exa         might
                                                                              habet.            nswers
                                                                    the alp
can’t read their list.                                     through           anima    ls, the a
                                                                   ry was                            etc. A
                                                            catego                          ow, dog
                                                                              be aver, c              ink of a
                                                                    telope,                   nnot th
                                                            run: an            ut if they ca
                                                                    drops o                   turn.
                                                             player                  of their
Complete                                                     item fo
                                                                     r th e letter

the lyrics:
While listening to a favourite CD the
parent presses pause on the car CD                             Empty petrol tank:
player. The kids have
                                                               Each player has a certain colour car to count. Every
to complete                                                    time they see one of their colour cars they get a point.
the lyrics for                                                 However, if they pass a petrol station on their side
the next line                                                  of the car they lose all their points but only if one of
of the song.                                                   their opponents sees the station and calls out “empty
                                                               petrol tank”. This game gets most interesting when
                                                               distraction tactics are used to make your opponents
                                                               miss seeing either their colour cars or the petrol
                                                               station. You can have an agreed winning score at
                                                               which the winner must call out “my tank is full”.

 Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

In the car                                                    Construct a story:
                                                              Each child (and adult if you wish) takes it in
                                                              turns to add a sentence to a shared story you
Silence is golden:                                            are all constructing. This works particularly well
A wonderful game especially when people’s                     when kids are trying to work in different genres.
nerves are starting to fray. Who can stay silent              For example, your young daughter is trying to
                                                              make a princess style romance but every few
the longest? It’s a good idea to give some sort of
                                                              lines your older son changes direction towards
reward to the winner. The reward doesn’t have to
                                                              a swashbuckling knights and dragons mode.
be a chocolate or sweet,
it could simply be
that the child                                                Make plans:
gets to choose
                                                              The car trip on the way to your holiday destination is
the music or                                                  a great time to find out what the children would really
radio station                                                 like to do when they get there. For example you
you listen to                                                 might be assuming that they want to go on the roller
for the next                                                  coasters at the expensive theme park, when in reality
part of your                                                  a conversation with them could reveal that they
journey.                                                      are scared of the roller coasters and would much
                                                              rather splash around in the rock pools. Plan a few
                                                              special things to do while you are away. In the child’s
                                                              imagination you will already have arrived at your
                                                              destination. Alternatively, if you are returning home,
                                                              review the high points of the holiday and create some
                                                              goals to achieve in the term ahead.

                I spy:                                        Who listens to the radio:
                 An old favourite
                                    . One player sa           Get the children to pick a word, and the winner
                 “I spy with my lit                   ys
                                     tle eye somethi          is the first one who hears that word being sung in a
                 beginning with                         ng
                                   the letter A, B C          song on the radio. For example, the kids might pick
                   etc”. The other                     ,D
                                      players then ha         words like love, baby, kiss, or dance. Once you have
                     to guess what ob                    ve   a winner a new round starts and the contestants
                                         ject the first
                      can see. If one                         must all pick different words, however they can steal
                                        of the children is
                      too young to kn                         one of their opponents’ words if they think that it’s a
                                        ow the alphabet
                     then you can ch                          good one.
                                        oose objects by
                    colours rather th
                                        an by letters.

                                                              Tips for making
                                                              car travel easier
Grandpa’s underpants:                                         Travel pillow:
Whoever is ‘it’ has to answer all the other’s questions
                                                              Buying a blow-up travel pillow that supports a child’s
with a suitably silly phrase whilst keeping a straight
                                                              neck is a good investment as it makes it a lot easier for
face. For example: Q - “What do you like in your
                                                              kids to take a nap in the car.
soup?” A - “Grandpa’s underpants”. Whoever gets
the respondent to laugh first then becomes ‘it’. New
                                                              Tray table:
phrases can be thought up at any time.
                                                              A breakfast in bed tray (the ones with the little cushion
                                                              attached underneath) is great for giving kids a steady
                                                              surface in the car to do drawing, play card games etc.

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   programs that assist parents in planning for their children’s education.
                  Its vision is to support children and families.

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