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20 parents share their foolproof plans to keep their kids busy this school holidays.

Just before I found out I was pregnant with my eldest son, I went on a holiday to Bali with a group of girlfriends. It was glorious. We swam, ate, shopped, went for massages, and generally had the most gorgeous, relaxing time. 

That was just over eight years ago, and it’s the last real holiday I had.

Nine months after that glorious trip to Bali, I had my first child and something nobody tells you about having children is that you no longer have holidays. 

Watch: The things parents never say on school holidays. Post continues below.


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Well, yes, they still break up from school for six to eight long weeks over summer and you still take your annual leave and perhaps head to the beach for a couple of weeks each year.

But your holidays are now spent responding to whines of 'I’m bored', constantly preparing snacks, trying to come up with non-screen related activities, and hiding the crayons so your toddler can’t draw on the Airbnb walls. 

It’s all just really fun and so relaxing (and sarcasm is the lowest form of wit).

So with another five weeks of school holidays stretching before us, I need some help! 

Although I adore my children and I'm very excited to spend time with them over the break, keeping them happy and busy over such a long holiday period is hard. 

Thankfully, the Mamamia community has saved the day once again. I put the call out and asked them to share what their kids are doing these holidays. Here are 20 fantastic activities parents have planned for their kids this summer break: 

1. "My two are going to help their Dad with the shearing. They love it and they are gone all day, so I love it too."

2. "We’ve got two weeks booked at a unit at the beach and I’ve told my girls they can each bring five of their new toys from Christmas, and then I want no complaining – there’s a beach, a pool, and new toys, so there's plenty to do."

3. "Our local swimming pool does a week of 'intensive' swimming lessons for $50 and the kids go every day. This is much cheaper than lessons during the school term, plus it’s a morning activity happening every day and they can play in the pool for a while after the lesson finishes."

Side note: Listen to Mamamia's podcast for parents, This Glorious Mess. Post continues below.

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4. "On our list we have the koala sanctuary, Southbank, mini bounce, park days, and swimming days."

5. "My son loves holiday care so I’ve booked him in everyday they’re open. When they’re not open and he’s home, we’ll do some day trips and go to the movies – I love going to the movies even if I’m watching a cartoon."

6. "We’re going to make tie-died t-shirts, the kids love them and they’re super easy to do!"

7. "I’ve got older kids and they’re booked in to do some cooking classes – they’re really excited."

8. "Craft. I just went a bit crazy and dropped a couple of hundred dollars on craft supplies. We have coloured pens, new paints, beading kits, air dry clay, and embroidery packs. My girls will spend days creating things, often with a movie on in the background."

9. "My kids have a two-man tent they set up in the lounge room. They'll hang out in that for the day and have sleepovers together. The best $35 I ever spent!"

10. "My son has autism and loves transport so we’re going on ferry rides to Parramatta and Watsons Bay, and bus trips to the city to go the museum. Having a child that needs three activities a day, I’m an expert. Thankfully, he’s 15 now and will happily sit at home for a few hours."

11. "I’m super proud of myself this year. I pre-planned care for my kids all the days I’m working in the holidays, and then they’re with me two days each week. We’ll spend those days swimming, going for bike rides, to the library, reading books, etc. I’m looking forward to it!"

Image: Getty.

12. "I let my 11-year-old and nine-year-old choose three things each: an activity at home (Lego, board games, movie), something cheap and free (park plays, friends over), something to spend money on (movies, Timezone, bowling). We spread these out over the five weeks after Christmas and usually do two per week, the other days the kids potter around and find their own activities."

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13. "The local library has a great holiday program, and it’s good for a cool break too – aircon, books, magazines, puzzles."

14. "I live on the Northern Beaches of Sydney and have set a target of going to every beach, bay, inlet and waterfall – we’ll take snorkelling gear, inflatables and boogie boards – it’s free and fun!"

15. "Movie days are brilliant. We close all the curtains, make popcorn, and watch movies together - a movie that has part one and two is great. Lots of pillows, a mattress on the floor in the lounge room, it’s super fun!"

16. "My daughter is 15 and really into saving the planet (she’s wonderful) and these holidays we’re going to create a big veggie patch in the backyard. I’ve got her a voucher for the local nursery for Christmas and together we’ll prepare the soil, select the plants, and create a gorgeous garden."

17. "I’ve booked my 13-year-old into tennis camp for two weeks of the holidays. It’s for three hours each morning and then I don’t mind if he’s on screens for the afternoon as I feel like he’s already had some exercise, fresh air, and time with friends."

Image: Getty.

18. "My kids and I do lots of baking together in the holidays. I used to hate cooking with them when they were little, but they basically do it themselves now with just a bit of supervision from me."

19. "We’ll do some day trips off to the beach or the mountains and catch the bus into town for a picnic at the Botanic Gardens one day."

20. "We’re going to paint my teenager’s room. She has chosen the paint, and after Christmas we’ll move all the furniture out, paint, and redecorate."

Feature Image: Getty.

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