Looking for how to keep your kids busy, out of trouble and out of your hair while you work during the long holidays? You will love these ideas.
Your kids are going to be at home for about two to three months before schools resume for a new session sometime in October.
For a long time, the norm has been to engage kids in summer lessons during the holidays to keep them busy and out of trouble.
I know it can be tough being a parent, as you always want to protect your kids and keep them safe but you don't have to necessarily stifle them. Don't push them too hard.
These kids are normally at school attending classes every week day from 8 till 4 every single school term. Some kids even engage in after school lessons. Engaging them in lessons during the holidays again can actually yield more negative than positive results. It can also stifle their individual creativity and even affect their assimilation and performance when they get back to school after the holidays.
The brain is strong but sensitive at the same time and needs resting periods no matter how sharp and highly functional it is. Your Kids will even appreciate the break away from school work and activities and be more open to opportunities to do something new, fun and exciting.
These are some activities you can engage your kids in that are still positive, educative and fun without stifling their creative sides and giving them the impression that they are still in school.
1. Enrol them in creative classes
There are schools and organisations that organise creative classes for kids and anyone interested in learning new things during the holidays. Some creative skills they can learn include Arts & Crafts like beadmaking, card making, fashion designing, makeup artistry, hairstyling etc, coding which is becoming very popular as there is a high demand for web programmers and developers in the labour market right now, photography classes, baking, cooking etc. This can be an opportunity for them to learn something new, fun and interesting that they can talk about with their friends and in class after the holidays.
2. Plant a garden
Do you have some space or land in your compound that is not being used? Put it to good use by starting a little garden and get your kids to help out. You can plant flowers, herbs like ginger, garlic, turmeric; tubers like potatoes, yam, and vegetables like tomatoes, carrots etc. It will be fun to give them a chance to breathe in cool and fresh air and reap the health benefits of nature and its elements. They can dress up in some of their old clothes and gardening boots if possible to protect their feet from injuries and insect bites. Then get farming tools and teach them how to use them and also how to plant the seeds. It has been proven scientifically that working with nature gives a calming feeling and elongates an individual’s lifespan. An instance can be gotten from our aged parents and grandparents who live in rural areas but are still alive and kicking because they enjoy going to their farms to work and be one with nature. When it's time to harvest the plants, get your children involved, as it will give them a sense of fulfillment knowing they were part of the creation process of the harvested crops.
3. Learn a new sport
They can learn a new and fun sport, like swimming, lawn tennis, basketball, volleyball, football etc. You never know, you can just become the father or mother of the next Lionel Messi or Micheal Jordan. Give them the opportunity and guidance to develop new interests and hobbies and to also improve their social skills and make new friends while at the pool or sports arena. It will also help them keep fit, stay active and healthy. There are a lot of positive benefits to be gotten from this.
4. Teach them how to cook and bake
Cooking is not an activity that should be limited to just the female sex. If you are going to teach your daughters how to cook, also get your sons involved, as cooking is a basic skill that everyone should acquire in life. You can teach them how to cook different types of soups, how to make swallows, jollof rice, fried rice, yam pottage, how to bake a cake, cookies, biscuits, small chops, even yoghurt, ice cream, smoothies, cocktails and healthy drinks. It will also be a nice opportunity to educate them on the benefits of eating right and imbibing healthy foods, snacks and drinks into their diet. Let them help to mix ingredients, chop onions and vegetables etc and to clean up afterwards. Make It fun and interesting and I assure you that the experience will never leave their minds.
5. Go on picnics
It doesn't have to be anything or anywhere special. It can be on the lawn in your compound or at a garden in your estate or area. You can make and pack some interesting snacks in a picnic basket like doughnuts, meat pies, cookies, chicken sandwiches, fried meat or chicken, salads, fruits or even healthy cooked food like well-garnished noodles, jollof rice, fried yam or plantain and fried egg, sweets, chocolates, yoghurts, drinks etc. Take a fun game along like chess, scrabble, monopoly etc. Let them run around and play afterwards. Talk to them one by one, get to know them, ask them questions. This is a great opportunity to bond with your kids and find out if they are having any personal issues in school, at home or even with you.
If you are not too busy at work, you can travel with your kids. You can go somewhere fun and educative. It doesn't have to be outside the country. It could even be in another state in Nigeria. Take a camera along to take pictures and make videos. Encourage them to document their experiences in a diary, scrapbook, videos etc. It will be a fun way to educate them about other cultures and tribes that are different from what they are used to. It could also encourage them to develop the interesting habit of travelling which is a good way to learn more about other countries, cultures and the world at large.
7. Encourage them to develop a new hobby
Help your kids develop new hobbies like learning how to play a musical instrument, painting, learning a foreign language, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, writing, reading, which can help improve their vocabulary and command of the English Language, ballet dancing, karate or taekwando etc. You can never tell what can come out of these experiences. The goal is to encourage them to be creative and develop their intelligence in relation to other activities that are not usually taught in school. Child prodigies are usually discovered from such experiences and opportunities.
8. Personality and character development
Your Kids are still growing. This is the best time to help them develop their personalities and build their characters so they can be responsible, respectful and complete adults in the future. Some schools or organisations usually have boot camps organised with programs outlined to teach during the holidays. Some skills they can learn include financial intelligence, building self-esteem and confidence, creativity, critical-thinking, artificial intelligence, problem-solving skills, time management, patience, empathy, integrity, discipline, diligence, teamwork, resilience, independence, leadership, poise, etiquette etc. Sometimes, practical classes and sessions can be imbibed in the program so the skills can be registered in their minds. Invest in the future of your kids.
9. Volunteering and Internships
Your older kids can be encouraged to volunteer in an organisation or company or to even engage in summer internship opportunities. You can check around for companies or organisations in your area or neighborhood and they can then apply to volunteer or intern there. Some companies are nice enough to pay interns a stipend or allowance while some don't. Still, it will be a great opportunity to learn something new, build character or discover a future career path. Also, if it is an organisation that pays, they get to save up some money to be used for future purposes or needs. This is an experience your kids will never forget in a hurry.
10. Bond with them
It is also a great time to spend quality time bonding with your kids. Get to know them individually. Spend time with them. Ask them personal questions. Get them to trust you and make them feel comfortable opening up to you. Don't act harshly or be judgmental towards them. Learn how to improve your relationship from them. Some fun activities you can do with your kids include reading together, teaching them how to ride a bicycle, cooking together, going shopping together, going to fun places like museums, zoos, parks etc and taking pictures, playing fun outdoor and indoor games together like scrabble, ludo, monopoly, chess, ludo etc. You can also spring clean the house together and help them clear their rooms in preparation for a new school term. You can organise a yard sale and get them involved with moving items, publicity etc. Go to a beach together. Attend dance classes together. Go out on lunch or dinner dates. Connect with your kids by finding a common ground or engaging in any fun activity you both love.