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School holidays can be stressful and overwhelming for most parents and caregivers. When the children are at home it can, at times, seem like all the kids want to do is be in front of their devices and this can lead to an overindulgence in screen time. As we know, screen time can be beneficial when properly monitored. The over use of tablets, computers and phones can lead to mental health issues, improper sleep hygiene and more. Here are ten activities that you can do with your family to limit screen time and promote healthy habits and new skills!

(Youtube: Why Children Need To Play In Nature.)

#1 Go to the Park: Have a Picnic, Play on the Playground or Chat under a Tree!

If it’s a beautiful clear and sunny day, why not go to the park with your family? Remember between 12pm and 3pm to stay under a tree, to wear sunscreen and a hat – it can get really hot in Summer!

You can visit your local park with some snacks and have a picnic on a rug or at a bench, let the kids play on the playground to get some extra exercise or if they’re a bit older, go for a walk with them and have a chat under the tree.

This time is best used as a way to connect and practice the P.A.C.E. Model when engaging with them. Not sure where to start the conversation? You can ask them what they might want for dinner, how school is going, what they want to achieve over the next coming months or if there is anything they’d like to talk about! From there the conversation will naturally flow on.

Things to pack: water, sunscreen and snacks.

Here is a list of awesome parks you can visit in different locations spanning across Queensland: Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg, Frazer Coast and Gladstone.

(Youtube: Benefits of Puzzles For Kids)

#2 Printable Puzzles: Word Search, Sudoku, Cross Words and more!

Engaging a child’s brain with puzzles helps improve spelling, extend vocabulary, working memory, work pace, problem solving skills and persistence. You can find a heap of free puzzles online, these are printable. If you don’t have a printer, head to your local library or Officeworks to get them printed. See the list here:

FREE WORD SEARCHES

FREE CROSSWORDS

FREE BRAIN TEASERS

FREE MAZES

FREE SUDOKU

FREE MATH PUZZLES

(Youtube: Now You Know – Benefits of Arts & Crafts)

#3 Arts & Crafts: Drawing, Painting, Create Your Own House, Collaging and more!

Arts & Crafts materials can be bought for cheap from places like Stacks or Reject shop. You don’t have to buy arts and crafts supplies from an art store, generally those can be marked up. So if you are shopping on a budget, definitely check out a discount shop first.

Now, this one can get a bit messy! It might be best to do this with an old t-shirt on, hair tied up and newspaper or a tarp on the floor. It can also be good to have some rules for the kids such as; if our hands get messy we ask for help to wash them, if we make a happy accident we ask for help and if I need help with anything else I will ask my caregiver.

YouTube offers an array of online resources for arts and crafts activities that can be fun for adults too. Check out what you might like to do with your child before you go to the store, that can help with setting a budget and limit conflict at the store.

(Youtube: Kids Make Comics)

#4 Writing: Make Your Own Comic, Poem Practice, Short Stories and Letter Writing.

Handwriting helps children develop reading and spelling skills. It can also help them develop the ability to recall and remember information. This is going to be a great skill for them to develop over the school holidays.

You can start by asking your child what they might like to do. For instance if they’d like to learn how to make their own comic, sit down with them and look on Google what they will need. Sometimes it’s just pen and paper!

(Youtube: The Role of Learn to Swim)

#5 Beat the Heat: Go to your local Swimming Pool, Bay or Beach!

This activity gets everyone out of the house and active! Remember to make sure you have everything you need before you leave: water, sunscreen, togs, towels, snacks or food, googles, and anything else that you normally take!

(Youtube: Online Event with Sunshine Coast Library)

#6 What’s On @ Your Local Library?

Within Queensland, every local library puts on young people friendly activities over the school holiday period. The library also has air-conditioning which means it’s great for midday and afternoon activities to get out of the house. While they are doing an activity you could read a magazine on offer there or use a computer to surf the net!

Here is a list of library’s within Queensland: Brisbane City Council, Moreton Bay Council, Sunshine Coast Council, Frazer Coast Council, Rockhampton Council and Gladstone Council.

(Youtube: Benefits of cooking with your kids)

#7 Skill Building: Cooking Together

When children learn to cook it can help them learn and practice some basic math concepts and language skills. It also helps them build self-confidence and lay the foundation for healthy eating habits. There will need to be rules; adults only use knives unless a child is supervised by an adult, no cooking without an adult present, an adult must always be present when we use the stove and oven. You might want to add more rules, but those would be a good starting point!

You don’t have to make something that’s being cooked on the stove or in the oven, you could make sandwiches for a picnic in the park or practice making avocado and tuna sushi! There is so many healthy options online to select from with your child.

(Youtube: Cosmic Kids – Mindfulness for kids)

#8 DIY Chill Out Zone

This could be something fun to do at the beginning of school holidays, let a child select an area in their room that they want to designate as their chill out zone. This is where they can go when they need space from other people in the family or if they are feeling frustrated and need to relax. This can be a good indicator to you if the child is feeling upset when they sit there and can open a dialogue later. This chill out zone might have their favourite books and toys, blanket and pillows, or even a light they can turn on when they need extra space from others!

(Youtube: How To Dad – Teach a kid to ride a bike)

#9 Skill Building: Go for a Bike or Scooter Ride!

This is another great activity to get out of the house. In late spring and throughout summer, we recommend doing this on days that aren’t too hot or in the afternoon when the temperature has gone down a little bit. It can get hot in Queensland!

Generally its great for a child over the age of five to be learning how to ride a bike. Learning to ride a bike helps the child with physical fitness, learning development and mental health. Research shows that children who ride a bike to school are more focused and ready to learn compared to those who are driven!

(Youtube: Why should you visit a museum?)

#10 Get Inspired: Check out a Museum or Art Gallery!

Going to the museum is a great time for all, everyone gets out of the house as a family and there is the chance to learn more about the world and how wonderful it is. Most museums and art gallery’s run by the Queensland Government will have activities for children during the school holidays to help caregivers. You may need to stay with your children during these activity times as they might need adult supervision.