Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Top Ten Holiday Tasks to Keep Everyone Happy

Oh glory be! Where did June go? I walked past the calendar today and was staring at July thinking, why has someone turned the page over? 

And now that I'm coming to terms with what month we're in (and that it has been a month since my last post - eek! 2015 was going so well too…) if I don't put up this story soon, the holidays will be over!

So if you do find yourself at home, not having escaped to warmer climes, or having headed south to the snow - and cabin fever is hitting home, here are some fun ways to stay happy and sane for whatever time you have left. 

1. Put a care box together. Maybe you have an elderly neighbour who could doesn't get out much. Or you know of a family who are struggling. Maybe you just have a relative you haven't seen in a while. Making your kids aware that holidays and treats are not just ALL ABOUT THEM is always a good thing. Get them to write a list of some small items that could make someone else's day - then go make + buy them. The kids can make cards and decorate the box.
I love the idea of this yellow-themed sunshine box spotted on Pinterest.
See, you're starting to smile already…

Source

2. Find a new (cheap) appliance to make holiday snacks something special. The reason I thought of this was because my son found a new in box Sunbeam Woddle Maker (penguin shaped waffle maker!) at our local Salvos Store for just $10. We are loving it! It has made the kids wildly enthusiastic about making breakfast a penguin waffle event!
I now need a new high-powered exercise program, but it's been worth it.
If waffles aren't your thing, try milkshakes! Or slushies!
This great red milkshake maker is only $25 from Kmart.
Source

Penguin waffles by lovedecorateletters

3. Decorate cookies or cupcakes 
Our local shopping centre held cookie decorating classes for kids last week. We didn't get to them, but the idea seemed great. Rifle through your cupboard, and you might be amazed/appalled at how much cake/cookie decorating paraphernalia you already own. I opened a drawer and found 17 different sorts of sprinkles, edible glitter and those silver balls that break your teeth - just like that. There was probably more in there but I figured we had enough. Tip the edible decorating materials into little bowls and put them in a tray in the centre of your table. Mix up a few different colours/flavours of frosting/icing and the kids can go to town (plastic tablecloth recommended, on floor and table, and possibly walls - actually this is a great outside activity, weather permitting!) If you can't be bothered making cookies or cakes from scratch, there's NO SHAME (not here anyway) in heading for the nearest packet mix. I personally love the Greens brand gingerbread cookie mix, and cupcake mixes come with the paper cases and icing for total convenience.

Seriously under decorated cupcakes by lovedecorateletters

Don't feel you have to eat them all - take them to a playdate or drop them around to friends and family.

Click here for a great and easy sugar cookie recipe. 

4. Easy Sewing Crafts
Finger knitting / pompom making / sewing embellishments - use your imagination to suit any child's interests and abilities. There are so many how-to's on YouTube, the trouble is only in deciding what craft to do (and not getting side tracked by watching 80s pop music clips - or is that just me?).
Pompom making is a great place to start - anyone can do it! And I just loved this blogger Amy Christie's idea on what to do with them next (click on the source to go see)

Source
This gorgeous back pocket detail on a pair of Monnalisa jeans made me realise that even I, a clueless crafter, could do it!  Just grab a square of your favourite material, unpick the jeans pocket and use as a stencil before resewing the new pocket back on (yes, I'd probably need help with this bit). Get your kids to choose the fabric or embellishments to personalise it.

lovedecorateletters - Monnalisa jeans
5. Take an Op Shop Challenge.
In the first week of the hols I had the idea of taking the kids to a different op shop every day. Usually we'd take a couple of trips (See my musings on op shopping with kids from a few years ago). But this time I had a rush of blood to the head and thought more was better. More is actually incredibly tiring. Still, we managed four trips in five days and seriously got rid of a lot of stuff out of our cupboards along the way. Treasures we bought home included: a wetsuit for my 12-year-old ($3); the waffle maker ($10); A loom band kit ($1); A large pile of books to suit all ages ($1ea); a Plan Toy wooden fire engine ($4); several tee-shirts ($2-4); some Burleighware china ($1 a piece). You don't have to spend much and yet everyone's sure to find something.


For more ideas on what to look for, read this article on the Salvo's blog.

6. Revamp a space.
Maybe you've got a prime spot in your yard that's just begging for a hammock, or a sandpit, or a cubby house. Try and view your spaces with new (kids) eyes and be open to new ways to make them fun and a place your kids will want to be.

Our cubby house was looking decrepit and had become a haven for junk. I'll blog more about it soon, but we have been giving it a make over. It has become a reading nook - and after ignoring it for the last couple of years, the kids now race outside any chance they get to spend time in there. I'm thinking of installing a heater and letting them stay out there on a permanent basis for the rest of winter. Who says I'm not a fun Mum?  






7. Visit your Library
Whether you and your kids are regular visitors or will have to use google to find out where it is, find your nearest library! It may even offer holiday activities. If your kids are addicted to screens, you may need to explain what a book is. Try showing them some of your old favourites. Or ask the librarian for ideas. Many authors have cool websites that may encourage reluctant readers to connect with the book in different ways. Failing that, offer food or confectionary incentives. Did I just say that?

8. Make Your Own Movie

Get your kids to write a script, choose characters, record a sound track, act and film it. They will probably know the technology to do this already. Thinking creatively and collaboratively will be a challenge at first. Ahh, so many life lessons here, but so worth the effort. Start small. The Oscars may seem a long way off, but you never know where this path may lead…and everyone ALWAYS thanks their Mum!

9. Park Play
No one needs to be told to go to a park. But have you thought of finding a new one with new things to do? Shake it up a bit. Go to one with a view (the water!) or one with a flying fox (for the big kids!). Definitely go to one with a coffee van. Take scooters, snacks, and a blanket. Find a spot in view of a toilet so you don't have to spend hours searching for one (you know someone will be immediately busting the moment you start to relax, right?)



10. Make Art!
Take a trip to the beach to forage for shells, or a bush walk to find interesting sticks and leaves. Hunting for natural materials can be a great way to keep everyone busy and focused. Then returning home to make some art will provide a creative outlet and purpose for the remainder of the day. If your craft cupboard is well stocked then grab the glue, paint, small canvases, glitter and fabric. Decorate shoe boxes or small wooden trays or frames. Themes will vary depending on the foraged finds but the options are endless, and you may just end up with something that is useful and attractive: paperweight; trinket box; photo frame; fairy garden..



Try 32 Awesome Things to Make With Nature for more great ideas.

So how have you found this holiday? I hope it's had more ups than downs and that you've chilled mentally and not so much physically.
Share your ideas with me about your fun ideas on what works best for you and your kids...

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