By JO ABI.
When I was a kid this is how mum kept us entertained during the school holidays – she opened up the back door and told us to go outside and play. We were allowed to come back in for food and to use the toilet but if the sun was up, we were outside. That’s what we did every day and let me tell you, my memories of my childhood are magical.
Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by Universal Pictures. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in her own words.
I lived in a world of complete imagination. My sisters and I made up games, climbed trees, chased lizards, pretended our bikes were cars , we dug holes, played with mud, we told stories…these school holidays I want just a little of that for my kids.
The last school holidays were terrible. We were moving house, I’d just started a new job and my sister was working too. Each day was frantic and stressful and disorganised. On the days I had to go to work I had to get up early and get my children dressed, drop them off at my sister’s house and race to the bus stop.
Nights weren’t much better. On my days at home I had my kids, my sister’s kids and a couple of extras. I set up every piece of technology I could find. We had the TV, the desktop, my laptop, my iPhone, the X-Box, the Wii and the 3DS. This gave me time to unpack and get some work done. It was so unpleasant and I felt like the world’s worst mother. I swore I’d get organised for the next school holidays.I was robbing my children (and my sister’s kids and the extras) of the gift of boredom, of the gift of using their imagination, of the gift of playing in the mud and making a mess and getting itchy legs from the grass and of following a trail of ants all the way to the nest.
I know, I sound stupidly idealistic and my plan may fail miserably but here it is – each week I will designate a day to one of these school holiday activities for kids.
I’ll sit them down and tell them the plan beforehand so they aren’t surprised and hopefully this will cancel out any complaints. Each Sunday is a ‘reward’ day when we indulge in a proper outing which – once you’ve paid for two adults and three children – can be considered a splurge.
We’ll start the week with arts and crafts. Head to your local discount store and buy everything – glue, paint, pencils, crayons, paddle pop sticks, coloured paper, glitter, stickers, everything. After breakfast put the tub in the middle of the lounge room and tell them to get stuck in. Ignore the mess til 4pm.
The older kids will grumble at first but just ignore them. TECHNOLOGY IS BANNED until 4pm when the TV can go on until dinner time. After dinner their dad will come home and they can show them what they’ve been working on.