29 June 2018

The Free (or Almost Free) Holiday Fun List

I loved school holidays. Having the kids home was pure joy for me. It not only gave me an extra couple of hours in my day (no school runs), but our days were relaxed and easy. I planned easy meals, didn't fuss too much about tidying up toys and games and scheduled an extra special outing or two to keep us all entertained.

We also had a list of over 200 things to do, most of them free, all of them cheap, that would keep everyone happy and entertained during the holidays. I even threw in a few household chores - after all, not everything has to be pure entertainment and chores can be fun.

I've published the list before, but here it is again, just in time for the winter school holidays.  School hols start here in Victoria tomorrow, so, if you are struggling to end the "there's nothing to do" whines, choose a few things off the list, and then have fun.

• ride bikes
• roller blade
• basketball
• play board games
• make a tent out of blankets
• squirt with hoses  - but don t waste water
• run through the sprinkler
• have a skip-a-thon
• start researching your family tree
• start documenting your family tree
• organise and plan a family reunion
• hold a family reunion
• read books  - visit your local library and try some you haven t read before
• blow bubbles
• colour free templates you've downloaded and printed
• play with play dough
• press flowers
• do crafts with pressed flowers  - make a start on your Christmas cards
• write a letter to a relative, friend or pen pal
• clean bedroom  (one of my favourites)
• vacuum living room
• clean bathroom
• make a craft  - try something new
• draw
• make homemade play dough
• paint
• pull weeds
• give your favourite person a surprise party
• watch a movie
• write stories
• use binoculars - look for as many different things as you can
• use magnifying glass
• use microscope
• bird watching  - how many different breeds can you find in your backyard?
• write a play
• act out a play
• invent circus acts
• perform a circus
• play card games  (snap, old maid, go fish)
• make art on the footpath with chalk
• play catch
• play baseball
• collect rocks
• collect leaves
• collect feathers
• play Frisbee
• make Frisbees out of old plastic lids, decorate with markers
• dust the house
• brush the pet
• write letters  to the editor of your local newspaper about articles you are interested in
• read a magazine
• play dress-up
• play Cowboys
• pick vegetables  and then help Mum cook dinner
• play outside with the pet
• build a fort in your rooms
• build a fort in the backyard
• do a jigsaw puzzle
• play on the computer
• surprise Mum and Dad with breakfast in bed
• listen to a story or book on tape
• do extra schoolwork to get ahead
• do brain teasers (i.e.: crosswords, word searches, hidden pictures, mazes, etc.)
• cook
• prepare lunch
• surprise a neighbour with a good deed
• play shops
• prepare a "restaurant" lunch with menus
• hold a tea party
• have a Teddy bear picnic
• play with toy cars
• play dolls
• play house
• chase butterflies
• collect caterpillars and bugs
• plant a garden or a pot
• collect seeds
• hunt for four-leaf clovers
• learn magic tricks
• put on a magic show
• plant a container garden
• sprout seeds or beans
• grow a grass head
• make sock puppets
• put on a puppet show
• make Christmas presents
• make homemade wrapping paper
• make homemade gift cards
• make picture frames from twigs glued onto sturdy cardboard
• crochet or knit
• make doll clothes
• sew buttons in designs on old shirts
• run relay races
• make bookmarks
• take a quiet rest time
• take a shower or bubble bath
• bath a pet
• feed the birds
• watch the clouds
• organise a dresser drawer
• clean under the bed
• empty dishwasher
• vacuum under the couch cushions and keep any change found
• write these ideas on pieces of paper and pick out one or two to do
• whittle
• whittle bars of soap
• practice musical instruments
• perform a family concert
• teach yourself to play a musical instrument (recorder, harmonica, guitar)
• fold clean washing
• sweep kitchen or bathroom floors
• sweep front paths
• sweep back verandah
• sweep driveway
• wash car  - on the grass, of course!
• vacuum car
• vacuum or dust window blinds
• clean bathroom mirrors
• clean sliding glass doors
• clean inside of car windows
• wash bicycles
• clean garage
• play in the sandpit
• build a sandcastle
• work with clay
• copy your favourite book illustration
• design your own game
• build with blocks or Lego
• create a design box (copper wire, string, odds-and-ends of things destined for the garbage, pom-poms, thread, yarn, etc.)
• plan a neighbourhood or family Olympics
• have a marble tournament
• find a model train club and see if they have visitors at their running days
• take your bikes to the local BMX park and have a picnic and a day of riding
• spend an hour or two at the local skateboard park learning some new tricks
• paint a picture with lemon juice on white paper and hang it in a sunny window and see what happens in a few days
• finger paint with instant pudding
• make dessert
• make dinner
• have a sleepover
• have a pamper party and paint your nails
• make popcorn and watch an old movie
• make toffee with Mum
• make pink or blue (or whatever colour) pancakes for lunch
• give your pet a party
• start a nature diary
• have a read-a-thon with a friend or sibling
• have a neighbourhood bike wash
• play Kick the Can
• check out a science book and try some experiments
• make up a story
• catch butterflies and then let them go
• arrange photo albums
• find bugs and start a collection
• do some stargazing
• decorate bikes or scooters and have a neighbourhood parade
• play hide-and-seek
• create a symphony with bottles and pans and rubber bands
• listen to the birds sing
• try to imitate bird calls
• read a story to a younger child
• find out what's on at the Library and then go have free fun
• find shapes in the clouds
• string dry noodles or O-shaped cereals into a necklace
• put together a family newsletter
• write reviews of movies, plays, TV shows or concerts you see during the summer
• bake a cake
• bake a batch of biscuits
• decorate a shoe box to hold your treasures
• create family scrapbooks with old photos
• glue noodles into a design on paper
• play hopscotch
• play jacks
• make up a song
• make a teepee out of blankets
• write in your diary
• find an ant colony and spill some food and watch what happens
• play charades
• make up a story by drawing pictures
• draw a cartoon strip
• make a map of your bedroom, house or neighbourhood
• call a friend
• cut pictures from old magazines and write a story
• make a collage using pictures cut from old magazines
• do a secret service for a neighbour
• plan a treasure hunt
• make a treasure map
• make up a "Bored List" of things to do
• plan a special activity for your family
• search your house for items made in other countries and then learn about those countries from the encyclopaedia or online
• plan an imaginary trip to the moon
• plan an imaginary trip around the world, where would you want to go
• write a science-fiction story
• find a new pen pal
• make up a play using old clothes as costumes
• make up a game for practicing math facts
• have a Spelling Bee
• make up a game for practicing spelling
• surprise an elderly neighbour or relative by weeding his/her garden
• Finger paint with shaving cream
• collect sticks and mud and build a bird's nest
• write newspaper articles for a pretend newspaper
• make a hideout or clubhouse
• make paper airplanes
• have paper airplane races
• learn origami
• make an obstacle course in your backyard


After you've made your choices, use the Holiday Fun Planner to schedule all that fun, so you don't forget what you've planned or over-schedule (holidays mean down-time too).  Stick your Holiday Fun Planner on the fridge so everyone can see what's coming up and have something to look forward to.

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