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This is the time of year when most parents’ summer holiday starts to coincide with that of their children. Being the longest school holiday – the best part of a month – parents often lament the fact that the idle days of December lead to cooped-up little ones grinding their nerves to the bone. Yet it is also a time of heavy spending on food, travel, gifts and more, so ideas for entertaining the kids that won’t put extra strain on your wallet or already strung-out sensibilities might come in handy. That means maybe avoiding the hype of a theme park or shopping centre. Giving these a try should keep them busy and you sane:
Get them outside

The hot, lazy days of summer beg for some time outdoors and lounging in the pool or on the beach. Physical play is tops for kids and helps them to exert their abundant energy in a constructive way. Make sure they have enough activities to keep them occupied in and beside the water, like flotation devices, balls and bats or bucket and spade depending on their age. Visit the nearest park or playground and teach them how to fly a kite. Or take them to your local family market where there are lots of activities for both kids and adults. Strawberry or cherry picking is a great activity for the whole family during the summer months. So is having a picnic – involve your kids in preparing the snacks and drinks beforehand. And show them how to make a veggie or herb garden at home.
If all else fails…

Once you’ve exhausted all the outdoor activities, it’s time to get creative for indoor fun. At home, baking cupcakes or making pizzas with your kids, building a fort or obstacle course with old cardboard boxes, or trying your hand at making arts and crafts should keep them occupied for hours. Or take them to the local library, a museum that they will find interesting or the planetarium for some educational fun. If you want to avoid the mad rush at the local movie theatre, have a movie night at home and let you kids invite some friends over. Rent some of their favourite flicks and prepare snack boxes just like you’d have at the cinema, with popcorn, cool drinks and the candy works. And for those times when cabin fever starts to take its toll, take them on active excursions that the whole family will enjoy, like ice-skating or mini golf.

Whatever your plans to keep your kids busy and out of trouble this summer holiday, make sure that you don’t wear yourself out in the process. Parents need some me-time too, after all, however difficult it is to come by. Take turns for playdates with your close by friends with kids, or enlist the help of grand mum and -dad or other babysitter so you have that alone time for a romantic date, reading a book or whatever it is that you have been dying to do all year but never got around to. Just a few hours for yourself will leave you relaxed and recharged to take on the rest of the holiday with positive energy (and patience!).