A parent's guide to entertaining children during the holidays

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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.
The Australian Scholarships Group (ASG), Australia’s largest member-based
organisation specialising in education benefit programs, 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 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.

          Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

        At home or indoors
Press f l ow ers and leaves,
then pla
         or pick
              them b
                             and pre
         seproo   f paper           fa
 of grea                 pages o                                       Finally put all those fantastic 70’s
          etw een the                  ned
 them b                      ce flatte                                 fashions you’ve been keeping, to
           ick b ook. On            and
  good th                flowers
            d  out, the
                   '                                                   good use. For extra fun try going on
  and drie           at to us
                               e as
           are gre                    iece                             an excursion while dressed up. Stroll
   leaves                  ral art p
            ts  of a natu               rds
    elemen                    own ca                                   up to the local video shop in your full
             reatin  g your
    or for c              s.                                           pirate regalia and then rent a good
               to friend
     to send
                                                                                        old swashbuckling
                                                                                            DVD to watch that
                                                                                             night. Or walk to
                                                                                              the local milk
                               Memory games                                                    bar in your
                                                          :                                    jungle explorer
                         Play with a deck
                                           of cards or just
                    a group of ever
                                   yday household                                              fatigues and
                         Now where did
                                        I see that again?                                      buy the kids
                                                                                               Barney Banana
                                                                                               ice creams.

    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 wor
It’s amazing what a piece of paper                                                             holidayld
can make. If you’re not quite so                                                               Get out
                                                                                                          a map
                                                                                               globe o            or
dexterous with your folding, maybe                                                                      f the wo
                                                                                              and tak              rld
a paper plane competition is in order.                                                       journey
                                                                                                       e imagin
                                                                                                      s by sti
Most libraries will have books on                                                           a drawin           cking
                                                                                                       g pin in
origami or paper planes, otherwise                                                          map an
                                                                                                     d then
                                                                                                                 to the
check on the web site:                                                                     someth
                                                                                                    ing abo
                                                                                           selecte            ut your
                                                                                                   d coun
www.origami.com or                                                                                          try.


                                                                   Chess:                           beating
                                                                                     kids more than
                                                                   Nothing pleases
                                                                   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
                                                                      inner artist:
        Write and perform a song, poem or short story.

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

                f i rs t :
Run a fi
           re safety
                         drill                                        Yum:
           r home
for you                t the
            s it’s no                                                 Homemade ice cream can taste
 Perhap                   liday
               iting ho                                               better than the store-bought varieties
 m   ost exc                    e
                      uld sav
  idea    but it co          re                                       because you made it yourself. Check
                ome futu
   li ves at s                  b site                                in your cookbooks for a recipe or see
                    ald’s we
    tim  e. Worm                   .au
                         ald.com                                      www.aussiecooking.com.au/articles/
      at ww  w.worm             ty tips
                    fire safe                                         icecream
      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 bu
                                                 ildings 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 shapesmake
        Cook gingerbread men or
        with cookie cutters.
        fun biscuit shapes with cookie
                                                             Sharpen up your
           Check in your old
        cutters. Choose healthy biscuit
                                                             engineering skills:
            cook books or for an
          ingredients by using recipes that
          can befashioned many dietary                       Construct a mobile to hang in the kids’ room.
             old targeted to 190s
         requirements. Great healthy
              Australian recipe go
        options can be found at
              to www.abc.net.au/

Now you see it,                                                                         Share s
                                                                                                       ome fo
now you don’t:                                                                               Roast s
                                                                                               have a
                                                                                                     ome m
                                                                                                               ue, hos
Learn some magic tricks and put                                                                  afterno               t an
                                                                                                         on tea,
                                                                                                  some d         or cook
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                      will
                                                                                     Your local library
                                                                   tie-dye or Batik.                     on the
                                                                                      books or check
                                                                   have instruction                    atik or for
                                                                    internet at www                      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

         rie                                                       a local playground. All
Pattisse                                                           you need are; one cup of water, one cup of sugar,
at hom rate
                                                                   one cup lemon juice (about 4- lemons), four cups
                                                                   of chilled soda water, and some extra lemon & mint
          d deco                                                   for garnish. Combine water and sugar in a small
Bake an             ra
           l cake o                                                saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring frequently, until
a specia            s.
           up cake                                                 sugar dissolves completely. Leave to cool and stir
 tray of c         to
           ho gets                                                 in the lemon juice. To serve, top with chilled soda
  N o w, w
            spoon?                                                 water and garnish.
   lick the

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

           Breakfast chef:
          Cook up a spec
                              ial pancake brea
                                               kfast. The
                                                                 Animateur kids:
          only difficulty is
                             to decide what                      Get your kids to design and draw their
          with your pancak                    you want
                               es: maple syrup,
          berries, lemon an
                               d sugar or ice cr
                                                 mixed           own cartoon character. Then get this
                                                eam. Yum!        character made into a rubber stamp at
                                                                 your local shop (usual cost less than
                                                                 $ 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 a ge a
learning:                                                                                  g engin
                                                                                                   Play wit
                                                                                                            h Lego,
Research and document your family                                                                 a mode
                                                                                                            o, or bu
                                                                                                         l from a
tree. You can get a lot of great                                                                                    kit .
information during the fourteen day
free trial at www.ancestry.com.au

                                                      Pets in the swim                       e.
                                                                          h to have at hom
                                                      Get some goldfis                      h
                                                                        e store is as muc
                                                      Often visiting th               e aquarium.
                                                                        an expensiv
                                                      fun as going to                         cts to
                                                                          d rocks and obje
                                                      Then you can fin                      sting’
                                                                         to make it ‘intere
                                                       put in the bowl                       also
                                                                           feeding time is
                                                       for the fish. Daily                    no
                                                                            r ‘so much and
                                                       fun but remembe
                                                                           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                    Share the family’s
plaster volcano dry overnight then you can
paint it the next day. Use a spoon or a funnel
                                                             secret recipes:
to put the baking soda into the hole in the top              Make some scones like grandma used to.
of the volcano. Put a little bit of white vinegar            Note: if grandma won’t give away her secret
into a container and pour in some red food                   recipe try the official Country
colouring. Carefully pour this mixture into the              Women’s Association’s
top of the volcano. Now stand back and wait                  cook book.
for the eruption!

 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 www.wikihow.com/
       Chef for the n

                              l pizza letting th
                Make a specia                ings.
                                     e topp
                    kids choose th
                        After all, who do
                          think first thou
                            of pineapple as
                              a pizza toppin
                               - 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
                                                            Paint-by-numbers kits are cheap
water. If you don’t want to buy the name brand at
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
                                      some palm

 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
internet www.mosaic-tile-guide.com

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                                                            Teatime to share:
a lot of happy memories.
                                                                                    Host an elegant tea pa
The kids will also find it                                                                                 rty. Get
                                                                                    dressed up and use the
fascinating to look at their                                                        china (from the op shop
parents’ photo 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
                                                         Interview and w
                                                                             You might
                                                         an older relative.
                                                                            w much the
                                                          be surprised ho
                                                                           you know
                                                          kids learn, “did
                                                                            weren’t even
                                                          ball point pens
                                                                            grandma was
                                                          invented when
                                                           born, much less
   Free or inexpensive holiday activities to keep your kids amused

  At home or indoors

                 Craft animal frie
                  Make Papier-mâc
                   need is newspap
                                     hé piggies. All yo
                                      er, a balloon, an
                                                           u        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
                twirly something                   a little
                                   for the tail. You                make it at home with the kids. Combine one
                   even turn your                    can
                                    piggy into a usef               cup of plain flour, half a cup of salt, one cup of
                piggybank; www                          ul
                                  .enchantedlearni                  water and two tablespoons of cream of tartar.
                         com/crafts/Piggy                           Mix the combination 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 having a good sleep-in the next
                                                                    and presenting your own play? The script can
day. Rent a special DVD and have a                                  be written together then various children can
midnight (or late night if the kids are                             be assigned different roles, for example actors,
younger) feast. The kids can help                                   director, stage design, costume making etc.
prepare the feast making popcorn or                                 Then swap the roles around next time.

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
             hes:                                                    local Gould Society
Find lost ric ith a little                                           to find out about
           hunt. W re
        a treasu           e clues
                                     (and                            good bird
Create           riting th               ure)
         tion w                 le treas                             watching
prepara             g a suitab
         se hidin                      r as
 of cour                      busy fo                                locations
            keep    the kids        write
 you can                 You can                                     in your
            yo u want.                 e
  long as                    , or leav
            r mak   e a map               ur                         area.
   clues, o                      s for yo
                       le guide
             ring sty
   orientee              .
              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, eas
Insects! They surround us. By some                                                     n-conta             y and
                                                                              ages th           ct spor
accounts, insects make up more than                                                   at can b          t for all
                                                                              any bac           e playe
0% of earth’s animals, outnumbering                                                  kyard o            d in
                                                                                               r park.
the 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:
                                                                                       d flying
                                                                       ane building an
                                                       Host a paper pl                   om
                                                       contest. www.10

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
worlds:                                                                                 Childre
                                                                                                n’s bes
                                                                                               get extr
                                                                                                        t friend
                                                                                                        a attenti
                                                                                       on the                       on
Make a moss garden out of moss,                                                               holiday
                                                                                                      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 find          Get the kids a
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            disposable
tagged but must call out “Polo” whenever they                camera.
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

Bubbleg tiggy:                                                          croquet or bocce.

blowin lot more
It make
          s tiggy
                         ag’                                            Building a place of your own:
               ave to ‘t
 fun  if you h            ently
                  h a rec                                               Build an outdoor cubby house or tree house.
  some   one wit
               ble. All
   blo wn bub                 of
    bu bble mix
          is a few

                  ture or
                   g liquid
                            and                                         Up in the air:
                l do the                                                Fly a kite. Try one of the new two
     w ater wil
                                                                        stringed controllable kites for more
                                                                        interesting kite play or gaze up at the
                                                                        sky and swaying treetops.
                          Explore Aborigin
                                                           al art:
                          Try painting ‘indi
                                             genous style’ on
                          dried leaves you                    bark or
                                              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 shing, explore the
                                                                            riverbanks, or indulge in a bit of tadpole hunting
                                 ere,                                       or yabbying.
          ra ries are
Local lib                     ed one
                   en’t visit                                               Sandcastle building is always a favourite. Try
and if   you hav
                        may be                                              making a fairy castle on the water 's edge by
               en you
 rec ently th                Many
                   rprised.                                                 dripping the wet sand through your ngers to
  pleas  antly su         cool
                 w have                                                     construct lovely towers and minarets.
      raries no
  lib                 reas for
            ading a
   book re              cal                                                 Explore the rock-pools. See everything from hermit
              . Your lo
    children             run                                                crabs and sea-stars to a set of lost false teeth.
                ay also
    library m           y
               l holida
     a schoo               with
                  for kids
      program               agic
                  dings, m
       b ook rea                 .
                       days etc
       sho ws, craft

                   Horse back:
                  Go for a horse rid
                                     e along a beach
                  or country track.

                                                                            Life saving:
                                    Or take a short
                  pony ride for yo
                                   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

 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 milk bar for a nice ice creamy reward!

Local councils:
                                                                                             Art gall
Phone your local shire or council office. Many
run school holiday programs, featuring such
                                                                                             You don
                                                                                                       ’t have
things as art competitions, free concerts in                                                 large ga           to visit
                                                                                                       llery tha         a
local parks, sports days etc.                                                                admiss              t charg
                                                                                                    ion, mo               es
                                                                                             local ga          st small
                                                                                                      lleries o          er

Council pools:
                                                                                             free adm            ffer
                                                                                                         ission a
                                                                                             smaller               nd
                                                                                                     , but co
                                                                                             changin           nstantly
                                                                                                       g exhib
                                                                                             and wh             itions,
Splashing around in the pool can                                                                      at a gre
                                                                                                                at way
                                                                                             to inspir
be great fun and a good way to                                                                         e the kid
meet other children from your area.
Many local pools have special
events like Dive In Movies on hot
nights so ask to see their calendar
of events.
                                                                   All aboard:                         on an
                                                                                     p, or even a ride
                                                                   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 pa s                 rical So
         ur loc al Histo              bs
Find yo                      s or clu
                  l Societie
         istorica        e muse
Most H
         ve a s mall fre         ome oth
 will ha                    or s
                    history               cs,
           g local               eronauti
  niche li
           ke photo
             o etc.
                      g raphy, a
                                                                   In the gardens:
                                                                   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. Ex
                                                        plore a
                                    local bike path.
                                    on the internet
                                                      for bike
                                   paths in your ar
                                   for example                                             Movies with
                                                                                           a difference:
                                                                                           Go to the drive-in-
                                                                                           movies or visit other
                                                                                           outdoor cinemas such
                                                                                           as rooftop cinemas,
                                                                                           or screenings in the
                                                                                           Botanic Gardens.

  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:
Most local clubs will welcome the kids to a twilight
bowling night where the older bowlers can pass
on their expertise to the youngsters. Many clubs                   Beach stuff:                          or more
also offer barefoot bowling for the kids.                                              more Australian,
                                                                   Is there anything                    hoose
                                                                                     on the beach? C
                                                                   fun, than a day                       ball,
Architecture walk:                                                  from beach cric
                                                                                      ket, Frisbee, grip
                                                                                      yaking or bodysu
Again you are the tour guide, but it’s great                        skiffle board, ka
showing children the intricacies of local buildings                      The choices are
they may have walked past many times but never
really appreciated.

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 the                                               •   A National Trust property to explore Australia’s past.

                                                              For more information visit: www.nationaltrust.org.au
                                                          •   The planetarium. Family tickets are usually fairly
                                                              reasonably priced. More information is available at:
The CSIRO often runs free school                              www.astronomy.org.au/ngn
holiday programs for budding                              •   A ship in port or check out any local docks for
young scientists. Find out more                               nautical history museums.
at: www.csiro.au/helix                                    •   Try and find a lighthouse to visit in your local area.
                                                          •   A nearby neighbourhood on public transport then
                                                              explore the different shops, buildings, parks and
                                                          •   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 wetlands or other
                                                              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 same time period and the winner is the
                                                             one with the highest score.

or mineral:
Also known as twenty questions,
is a great game where one player
imagines an object then the others
have twenty yes or no questions to
try 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.
 Talk:                                    portunity
                       ally be a great op
 A  car trip can actu                    en’t being
                      kids while they ar
 to chat with your                         games.
                         ion or computer
 di stracted by televis                 get away so
                      know they can’t
  Let’s face it, they                      t how
                          at with you abou
     ey may as well ch
                   school is going et
                                      c.                    How many songs:
                                                              Listen to the radio and
                                                             person must guess how
                                                             songs they will play befor
                                                                                         e you
                                                             reach your destination.
                                                            game is great because
                                                                                      if the kids
                                                            have guessed too few so
                                                            they will actually be wis
                                                                                      hing that
                                                           the journey took a little
                                                           instead of screaming “ar
                                                                                      e we
                                                           there yet?”

 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
7 could be ‘Big Dastardly Dragon’ or ‘Bone
Digging Dog’.

         Magnetic games:                                                                  Word a
                                                                                                 ss              ocia tion
         Handy for long trips in the car, magnetic                                                   A great
                                                                                                               game fo
         games are usually inexpensive and                                                           thinking            r lateral
                                                                                                               . One p
         include; Chess, Checkers, Snakes and                                                   by sayin                layer sta
                                                                                        replies            g any w                  rts
                                                                                                 immedia             ord, the
         Ladders, Solitaire, Scrabble etc.                                                                  tely with           next
                                                                                        associa                        the first
                                                                                                 ted word
                                                                                       their m               that com
                                                                                               ind. You                 es into
Car Scavenger Hunt:                                                                   the gam
                                                                                                e if you
                                                                                                          have to
                                                                                                                     drop ou
                                                                                                                               t of
                                                                                     immedia               don’t th
                                                                                                tely or if          ink of a
The parent makes a list of commonly seen                                                                   you rep            word
                                                                                    already                          eat a w
items appropriate for the area you will be                                                    used. F                         ord
                                                                                    sky-pla            or exam
                                                                                             ne-lugg              ple; bird
driving through. For example; horses, wooden                                                          age-suit               -wing-
                                                                                                                 case etc
fences, cows, haystacks if you are driving                                                                                 .
through the countryside, or; petrol stations,
fast food outlets, police cars if you are driving
                                                                  a            me:
                                                           Name g
through a city. Try and have about twenty items
                                                                                                     r has to
                                                                                            h playe
on the list. The children then have to call out                               a nd eac                  work
                                                                    a topic                     as you
when they see the item and whoever sees it first           C hoose                a  t topic                     e
                                                                          m in th                     ple, if th
                                                                e an ite                    or exam
gets to cross it off their list. The winner is the first   nam                  abet. F                     might
                                                                     the alph                     nswers
to cross off all twenty items. Older children can           through                    ls, the a               etc.
                                                                           s anima                   ugong
                                                             cate gory wa                 , C o w, D
help youngsters if they can’t read their list.                                Beaver                         ink of
                                                                     telope,                       annot th
                                                             run; An            out    if they c          .
                                                                      r drops                    eir turn
                                                              A playe               tter of th
                                                                        for the
                                                              an item

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.
to complete                                                     Every time they see one of their colour cars they
the lyrics for                                                  get a point. However if they pass a petrol station
the next line                                                   on their side of the car they lose all their points
                                                                but only if one of their opponents sees the station
of the song.                                                    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
A wonderful game especially when people’s                    well when kids are trying to work in different
nerves are starting to fray. Who can stay silent             genres. For example, your young daughter
                                                             is trying to make a princess style romance
the longest? It’s a good idea to give some sort
                                                             but every few lines your older son changes
of reward to the winner. The reward doesn’t
                                                             direction towards a swashbuckling knights
have to be a chocolate or
                                                             and dragons mode.
sweet, it could simply
be that the child
gets to choose                                               Make plans:
the music or                                                 The car trip on the way to your holiday destination
radio station                                                is a great time to find out what the children would
you listen to                                                really like to do when they get there. For example
for the next                                                 you might be assuming that they want to go on the
part of your                                                 roller coasters at the expensive theme park, when
journey.                                                     in reality a conversation with them could reveal that
                                                             they 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:
                An old favourite
                                   . One player says
                                                             Who listens to the radio:
                “I spy with my lit                           Get the children to pick a word, and the winner
                                    tle eye something
                beginning with                               is the first one who hears that word being sung in
                                  the letter A, B C
                  etc” The other pl                   ,D
                                      ayers then have        a song on the radio. For example, the kids might
                    to guess what ob                         pick words like; love, baby, kiss, or dance. Once
                                         ject the first
                     can see. If one                         you have a winner a new round starts and the
                                       of the children is
                     too young to kn                         contestants must all pick different words, however
                                        ow the alphabet
                     then you can ch                         they can steal one of their opponents’ words if they
                                        oose objects         think that it’s a good one.
                   by colours rather
                                         than by letters.

                                                             Tips for making
                                                             car travel easier
Grandpa’s underpants:                                        Travel pillow:
Whoever is ‘it’ has to answer all the other’s
questions with a suitably silly phrase whilst keeping        Buying a blow-up travel pillow that supports a child’s
a straight face. For example; Q “What do you like            neck is a good investment as it makes it a lot easier
in your soup?” A “Grandpa’s underpants”. Whoever             for kids to take a nap in the car.
gets the respondent to laugh first then becomes ‘it’.
New phrases can be thought up at any time.                   Tray table:
                                                             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.                              3.
The Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) is Australia’s largest member-based
 organisation specialising in education benefit programs that assist parents
                  in planning for their children’s education.

                Its vision is to support children and families.

         ASG supports the KidsLife parenting information website.


               Australian Scholarships Group Friendly Society Limited
                               A.B.N. 1 07 4 79
                 3-3 Hanover Street, Oakleigh Vic 31, Australia
                    Phone: (03) 97 7777 Fax: (03) 93 70


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