14 Days of school holiday activities

14 Days of holiday fun….

the text school holidays made from modelling clay of different colors and some beach toys such as toy shovels and sand moulds, on a rustic wooden surface

I remember the school holidays with my mum like it was yesterday.  I remember taking trips into Auckland City, riding on the trams (yes, they had trams on Queen Street and Hobson Street back then, and yes, I am that old), I remember going to the top story of the Farmers building on Hobson Street, riding the trikes around the fairy tree in the middle, playing with the remote controlled helicopter near the toys floor.  I remember feeding the carp at the large cafeteria in the pond with the carp fountain, and I remember the big ben pie, and marshmellow snowman I got every time.  This was all before heading to stand in the line to the movies which extended round the block and hoping when we got to the ticket office they would still be selling tickets and wouldn’t be faced with a “sold out” sign.  I’d convince my mum to buy me some tangy fruits in the intermission and save the plastic container to put my felt tips in.

Holiday memories are precious for me, and given that I now have children of my own, each holidays I like to create memories for them.   I’ve compiles a collection of activities which will keep you going for the holidays that my children either enjoy doing now, used to enjoy doing with me, or, if I had discovered them when they were younger, would have loved.

DAY 1: Easy, no sew DIY costumes


My daughter was such a dreamer and use to love dressing up, whether it be as a princess, a frog, or just a tea towel down her back as a superhero.  While it can be tempting to go out and buy everything these days, part of the fun used to be making the costume first!!!!  Just recently I stumbled across Mayhem Creations whom not only make the most amazing and affordable tutu’s, they have provided some instructions on how to make your own fairy, and ladybird wings out, or a hula skirt out of common household items.

DAY 2: Shaving cream rain clouds


Mr 7 is not so keen on dress ups and never has been however any opportunity to mix potions and do basic science experiments has him doing back flips.  One of his recent favourites is one that Mud Mates introduced me to which is their shaving cream rain clouds.  What’s more, everything you need you find in your pantry.

DAY 3: Drawings and artwork


I’m a firm believer that kids spend way too much time in front of the television and devices.  I truely believe it is what is responsible for kids losing a lot of their creative talents.  I try to make sure that we have at least a few device free days where they need to pick up pens, pencils, crayons, and dare I say it paint.  Creating a permanent piece of artwork can be as simple as this one that my son did when he was two using a cheap canvas and some testpots, or alternatively turning it into treasured keepsakes as we do here at Custom Keepsakes with a kidsart cufflinks or keyrings

DAY 4: Make some gingerbread men.


Baking is a big hit in our house.  It kills two birds with one stone in that it’s an activity that the kids can do with mum (although miss 11 quite likes baking without mum now), and provides them with a treat for afternoon tea.  Gingerbread men or anything that uses cookie cutters are a favourite as its a bit like playing with play dough that you can eat!!!!  We often end up having a competition as to who can decorate them the best too.   I vary what I am doing each holidays with my gingerbread recipe being made into easter eggs, gingerbreads, and Christmas shapes!!!!  My favourite recipe definitely has to be the Chelsea Gingerbread Recipe.

Day 5: A bit of old fashioned board games or paper games.


What child doesn’t like a bit of old fashioned board game fun.  Pull out the Monopoly and teach them how to count out money, or just sit and teach them how to play dot to dot with a pen and paper, or solitaire with a pack of cards.

DAY 6: Go for a bike or scooter ride


For my children its normally about 5kms, involves a stop off at the dairy half way to grab an ice block or ice cream, and takes about an hour.  This burns off a bit of energy for them, provides me a bit of exercise, and only costs the price of an ice cream or two.

DAY 7: Make something that you can gift later.


Since receiving a “Make your own bath bomb” kit a year or so ago, my daughter has enjoyed making bath bombs, and bath salts each holidays which she then packages, creates her own labels out of stickers, and puts away for gifts for friends, teachers, and family members.

To make the bath salts we grab a 3kg bag of Epsom salts from Bin Inn for $8, add a few drops of food colouring, and her favourite fragrance which at the moment is just lavender oil from the supermarket.

Making bath bombs is a little more tricky but we were successful following these instructions.

DAY 8: Create your own vege garden


I’m a real greenfinger but never expected that my son would be one too.  I never thought that planting seeds would be a source of joy for my son until he shared with me after planting the New World Little Garden seedlings that gardening made him happy and calm.  Now this is a boy who doesn’t do calm.  So the plan is to do a bit more gardening related activities getting inspiration from the Palmers Fun Winter Gardening Activities for Kids.

DAY 9: Make some playdough


What kid doesn’t love playing with playdough.  I know my kids used to love it, and Mr now 6 used to stick it in all the places that you shouldn’t stick it including up his nose.  If you want to risk playdough up the nose, or down the back of the couch, check out Happy Mum Happy Child’s playdough recipe.


DAY 10:  Make a family keepsake


Creating keepsakes was something that I was doing well before I set up Custom Keepsakes.  Hands and feet make the best starting point for a piece of keepsake art or family keepsake.  Nows the ideal time to be starting to create reindeer or Christmas tree xmas cards using footprints.   There are some great ideas for these on Pinterest.   If you do happen to get yourself a good print, you may consider using it later for an extra special gift for dad like our hand and footprint cufflinks.

DAY 11: Let them paint your nails or paint your face


A treasured memory for me was when my daughter was about 2 and we were sitting outside on our picnic table with our face paint.  I remember having finished painting her face as a beautiful fairy.  She turned to me and asked if she could paint mine.  My immediate instinct was to say “no” but this time I stopped and thought “why not…. what harm is there”.  She spent ages painstakingly paining my face paying particular attention to my mouth and eyes.  What came next made my heart melt.  With a fondness of a mother looking at their baby for the first time she said.  “Mummy…. you look beautiful”.  Despite looking more like crunchy the clown than any beautiful princess, in that moment, to my daughter I was beautiful.  For 10 easy face painting ideas for kids visit parenting.com



Another low cost idea that kids love is heading to a pet store (providing you don’t yourself fall in love with some pedigree which you simply must have!!!).  At our local pet store the kids get to check out cats, dogs, blue tongue lizards, fish, guinea pigs, rabbits, mice, rats, and the occasional tadpole.  They particularly like it when tadpoles are in season.

DAY 13: Go thrift shopping with $5


My kids love going to the local thrift/charity shop.  Its amazing how long it can take to spend $5 and how much they can get for it.  Miss 11 normally goes straight to the jewellery and accessories, or finds herself a trinket (or dust catcher as I like to call them) where Mr 6 is torn between, toys, books and games.  Not only is it a cheap source of entertainment, the kids learn about recycling, and spending money on a good cause.  To find the nearest Red Cross Store near you visit https://www.redcross.org.nz/red-cross-shops/

DAY 14: Fly a kite


Sometimes it’s the simple things that they really love like flying a kite.  You don’t have to have an expensive kite to have fun.  Some of our greatest fun has been had with the cheap ones you get from the $2 shop which look like 4 straws and a piece of plastic attached to a long piece of string.


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