School holidays never rolled around this quickly when you were in school, did they? Yet here they are again, which means weeks of household demolition from under-stimulated, three-foot human tornados. The easy solution is get them out of the house. Unfortunately, you can only drive around aimlessly for so long before they figure out your ruse. Where to now?
Indoor sports hall
There’s heaps of things to do in these places, even if your kids aren’t wild about sports. Rock climbing, indoor soccer and netball leap immediately to mind. Also bowling, ice skating and laser tag (which is the best possible indoor sport because you can join in without completely stacking the game against them and also because laser tag is awesome). Remember, the best and most efficient kind of exercise your kids are ever going to get is the kind where they don’t know it’s happening.
If the kid hates sports and would rather stay at home with their Xbox but have clocked all the games they have, there are hundreds of age-appropriate titles out there that will keep them occupied for hours. As a rule of thumb, Traveller’s Tales and Warner Bros. Interactive’s series of Lego games are always a safe bet – just the right mixture of challenging, fun, funny, with a long total play time and are available on everything – Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo DS, you name it. There’s heaps of titles to choose from too: Star Wars, Batman, Marvel Superheroes, Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings and even The Lego Movie to name a few. AND they have co-operative multiplayer so you can jump in and play with them if you’re so inclined.
Make the journey a game in and of itself
Are you going away for the holidays with younger kids? Draw up a map of the route you plan to take. Bring coloured pens, pencils and extra paper and some crepe paper, tinfoil and glue depending on how attached you are to your car’s interior. Challenge them to create a decorative representation of the trip. They can put it together however they like and even draw in any landmarks you pass on the way.
Adventure is out there
Consider taking them camping. They’ll feel extremely useful and clever when you let them help pick a place to camp, pitch the tent and build a campfire. You can explore the area with them, possibly encounter local wildlife. They’ll be even more thrilled when you bring out the marshmallows for roasting. You can even gather round and tell scary (not too scary) stories.
Find out what your kids want to do
All of this is for naught if you’re forcing your kid into things they have no interest in doing. What’s your kid into? What do they want to do today? Their ideas might lead to an adventure. Kid saw an ad for an awesome new toy? Create a game around that! Perhaps a quest to find the toy – in between getting your other shopping done.
Keeping the kids entertained and yourself sane is a bit of a two-way street. You know what you were into as a kid, but that may be totally different from what your kid’s into. You’re going to make mistakes – you’re going do things like take them fishing even though they’ve never expressed a desire to so much as go near water of any kind in their lives. The key is to minimise downtime. Know any tricks not mentioned here? Got any hot tips for activities or destinations? Leave them in the comments below!