How to keep the young ones busy during school holidays

Day 1: Funny face tracing

THE long July school holiday is upon us and by now, many parents may already have heard the words: ‘There’s nothing for us to do…’

We’ll help you think of ideas to keep the young ones busy!

Day 1: Funny face tracing

Duration: This one is guaranteed to keep the kids busy for at least half an hour.

Back in the days, before we had computers and cellphones, all the kids in our class had a set of these funny face tracing pictures.

Armed with a pencil and thin, white paper, we’d spend hours tracing the various elements, creating funny faces.

First choose the top of the head, then a face shape, followed by a pair of silly ears, eyes and eyebrows and a crazy nose. Add a moustache, sideburn or beard, then pick an expressive mouth. Finish it off with an interesting body.

Download your own funny trace a face file

Day 2: Crazy mazes

Duration: About 30 minutes per puzzle

If your child enjoys puzzles and mazes, visit for the coolest mazes, suduko, word search and Battleship brain teasers around.

You can choose the level of difficulty, and download them as sets of printable books in PDF format.

Day 2: Crazy mazes

Day 3: Colouring-in

Duration: 0 – 5 hours, depending on your child’s mood and interest

Does your child hate colouring-in? Maybe it’s because it is indeed very boring!

Search the Internet for child-friendly printable ‘adult’ colouring-in pages. Choose images of their favourite movie characters or a topic that really interests them, such as butterflies or dolphins.

If you can’t find anything suitable, show your children the basics of doodling, so that they can create their own ‘adult’ colouring-in pictures!

Remember to provide them with the right tools, like fine liners.

You would never tackle an adult colouring-in project with water paint or thick Jumbo sized crayons, so don’t expect your children to!

Day 3: Colouring-in

Day 4: Upcycle

Duration: 1 – 2 hours

Let your child look around the house for empty plastic containers, bottle caps, wire, buttons or anything that can be used to create the ultimate upcycled art project.

First experiment with the various parts, then glue them together or use wire or tie wraps.

Who would have thought that one could create such amazing things with the stuff that normally lands up in the trash?

Day 4: Upcycle

Day 5: Design a mini tree house for Lego Minifigures

Duration: half a day

Every kid dreams of having his or her own tree house, so imagine how fun it would be to design a mini treehouse for Lego Minifigures!

Start off by looking in the garden for a thick, bug-free piece of branch that resembles a tree.

Add thin, flat pieces of wood to serve as multiple storey platforms (ask dad to help) and then let your imagination run wild.

You could use ice lolly sticks (buy them in bulk at a pharmacy) or natural sticks from the garden to create ladders, fencing, a cute little roof, and even a bucket pulley system!

Day 5: Design a mini tree house for your Lego Minifigures

Day 6: Play dress-up

Duration: 1 – 3 hours

Unleash your children’s creativity this July by allowing them to be costume or fashion designers for a day.

They need old clothes, hats and shoes (which you don’t mind them ruining), different colour and texture fabrics, wool, ribbons, embellishments, fabric paint and fabric glue.

Remember to take plenty of photos of their creations!

Day 6: Play dress-up

Day 7: Plan an Olympic Games

Duration: 1 hour – a week (depending on your child’s enthusiasm)

Let your kids arrange their own Olympic Games, to which they can invite all their friends (or family members) to participate.

Half the fun goes in the planning, so encourage your children to think of interesting sport items, to draw up a programme and to prepare funky looking trophies.

Day 7: Plan an Olympic Games

Day 8: Eye Spy in a bottle

Duration: 5 – 30 minutes

Search the house for a wide array of tiny objects, such as buttons, beads, coins, screws or paper clips.

(Not your children’s favourite toys – you will regret this).

Make a descriptive list of all items (eg: blue and green marble).

Put all your tiny items inside an empty 500ml plastic bottle and fill it ¾ with dry rice. Glue on the top of the bottle and give it a good shake.

Ask your child to find as many items he or she can (use your list as a control sheet), or ask him or her to search for one specific item.

Do not lose your list!

Day 8: Eye Spy in a bottle

Day 9: Real life Angry Birds

Duration: 30 minutes – 1 hour

Any Angry Birds fans out there? Lure the kids outside by making them their very own real live Angry Birds game.

All you need are a couple of empty tins, a few balls (tennis ball size or smaller) and some empty boxes to make it look like the real video game.

Stack the tins and boxes and get the kids to topple them with their ‘Angry Birds’ balls. You could even get them to use a sling shot, true Angry Birds style!

Day 9: Real life Angry Birds

Day 10: Magic in a box

Duration: the whole of July!

Give a child a cardboard box and you’ll occupy him/her for a very, very long time!

The possibilities of what you can do with a cardboard box are endless, and the bigger the better.

Collect empty juice (or wine) boxes for your child to use as bricks, or give him/her a pair of scissors and soon you’ll see forts, cars, robots, shops, castles, spaceship, doll houses, shields, stoves, petrol pumps and many other interesting creations invading your house!

Day 10: Magic in a box


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Mari Scott

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