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14 "Old school" ways to have fun these holidays

In a time when entertaining the kids is as simple as letting them play with Snapchat filters and Minion Rush, it's easy to forget the real joy old fashioned games & activities can bring.

Try a few of these ideas this school holidays - you'll enjoy the nostalgia, and they'll enjoy spending time with you.   Can you do one each day?

1. Baking

All ages can enjoy this activity, and it can be as simple as buying a cake mix from the supermarket.  If you want to get a little more creative, we've got a great recipe for Koala cupcakes here!

Another great thing to make together (and ends up being lunch too) is 2-ingredient homemade pizza bases - just mix equal parts self-raising flour and yogurt to make the base.

2. Home movie night (or day)

Set up your loungeroom like a cinema and run screenings of DVD's (or Netflix movies).   You can pop real popcorn, have drinks with straws and a candy bar for treats.   If you sit down and watch you might be surprised how much you enjoy it!  (We recommend The Lego Batman Movie, Sing, Storks, Moana and Trolls, all out now)

3. Create a soft drink volcano

You will need:

1 x bottle of diet cola and 1 x bottle of diet lemonade

1 x packet of Mint Mentos

Choose an outdoor area that can be hosed down and then put half the mint lollies into each soft drink bottle.  Prepare for a volcano effect!

4. Make sock puppets

It's just as fun making these as it is making up crazy plays with them afterwards!

You will need:

An array of colourful socks

Hot glue gun or fabric glue, needle & thread

Buttons, sequins, stick on eyes, wool, pipe cleaners, ribbons etc.  (all available at places like Spotlight or even $2 shops)

Get creative!  You can make animals, clowns, whatever you can imagine.

5. Picnic time!

When was the last time you had a picnic?  Pack blankets, food, bikes and a ball.  Google parks and playgrounds near you and go exploring in a place you've never been to before... you never know what awesome new place you'll find.

Alternatively, a picnic right in your backyard can be super fun, too.   After you eat, play a game of cricket or a kick of the footy in the backyard.

6. Progressive stories

This is a fun game to do in the car, or at bedtime.  You start with a situation "There was a dog named Trevor.  Trevor went for a walk one day and he saw..."  then the other person takes up where you left off for a few sentences, then on to the next person until you have a story.

It can get quite hilarious!

You can also do a written version of this, creating a story book stapled together with A4 paper, passing it between each person to write another page as the day goes on.

7. Backyard scavenger hunt

This is a great task to keep children occupied for a while!   Have them pick a number of small items (say 20) from the house, list them on a piece of paper and hide them in the backyard.   Another person (even mum or dad!) then takes the list and goes on a "scavenger hunt" for the items, ticking off the ones they find as they go.   Then it's their turn to hide things for the next person.   The one who finds all items in record time wins a prize.   If you have several kids, they can all look at the same time, and the one who has the most items ticked off (or a full sheet first) is the winner.

8. Hopscotch/ footpath chalk drawing

Drawing on the footpath with chalk is one of those simple childhood pleasures all kids should experience.  If you're wondering, yes, you can draw on your own footpath outside your home, or anywhere there's concrete or bricks around the home - it just washes off when it rains.  Buy "sidewalk chalk" at most supermarkets in the stationary section.

Another fun game is teaching your kids hopscotch.   As a reminder, here's how you play:  Draw a hopscotch pattern (see image) with boxes big enough to fit everyone's feet.  These are numbered (up to 8 or up to 10).  Each player needs a marker like a bottle cap or a flat stone.

The first player stands behind the starting line and tosses his or her marker into square one.   Hop OVER square one, into square two and then continue hopping to the last square, turn around and hop back.  Use two feet for the boxes that are side by side.
Pause in square two to pick up your marker, hop in square one, then out.    Continue by tossing the stone into square two, and repeat the same sequence.   As multiple players join in, the game gets harder because you can't hop in a square where there's already a marker.

You can go "out" if your marker doesn't land in the proper square, or lands in a square where another marker is, or if you just lose balance and put two feet in a single box.  Up to you how hard you enforce the rules!

9. Plant vegetables

A great activity to do together is get out into the garden.

Things you can plant during winter include:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Spring onions, leeks
  • Broad beans, peas
  • Cabbage, broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes

10. Make play doh

So easy and hours of fun.    Here's our favourite recipe.

Best-ever "no cook" play doh

You'll need:

  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 2 tbs cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbs oil
  • 3 drops liquid food colouring


  • STEP 1 Mix all ingredients together in a medium sized saucepan.
  • STEP 2 Stir over heat until dough is pliable.
  • STEP 3 Allow to cool and store in a well sealed plastic bag or container.


11. Tin can stilts!

Get dad to drill holes (or use a bottle opener to pierce holes) in large tin cans.  Thread rope through and use as stilts.

This might be part of a larger "craft day" where you also make macaroni jewellery (thread macaroni onto string), collect leaves and make stencils and rubbings, paint rocks, or cut out magazine pictures and do a pasting.
You could even let them loose with some finger painting... go on, the mess will clean up.


12. Home made face paint

Another one that's a little messy but they will absolutely love.

You'll need (for 1 colour)

1 tsp of Sorbelene Cream (or any type of body lotion)

2 tsp of Corn Flour

1 tsp water

Food Colouring

Mix up individual colours in little pots, a paint pallette or even a large ice cube tray and use small brushes to "paint" on faces.     While not quite the same quality as professional paints, they do the job and are heaps of fun.

 Credit: Paging Fun Mums

13. Go fly a kite!

They're available at most toy shops and a great winter activity on a blowy day.  Another one every kid should tick off the childhood bucket list.

14. Visit the local library

Libraries... have you seen them these days?  They're brilliant!  Not only are there books, but there's also computers, interactive games and displays, new-release DVD's to borrow and loads of free activities including lego clubs, gaming days and more.   While you're at it, look up your local council's website for things going on near you - a local fete, craft market or even an amateur theatre show can be a great excursion for the family.


And more... how about a hula hooping competition, making paper planes, or learning to knit?   The possibilities are endless!