When we had a bunch of children close in age, the school holidays were a welcome chance to drop everything and just play! If we weren't going away anywhere, fun was had at home with friends or family visiting, and we avoided going out as a welcome relief from our daily driving commitments. As a large, rural-living family, there was something on almost every day during school terms!
Now I have only one young child at home, so when we're not going away during the holidays I often look for opportunities to keep her entertained. Sometimes we have playdates with local friends, but other ideas I use include:
the library - our local libraries offer a wide variety of activities during each school holidays. We have six libraries within 30 minutes of our home, so there are different days and times to choose from. The activities are free, and booking online is simple. Of course the library is great for books, story CDs, DVDs and other entertainment including free access to so many digital resources!
sports - sports clubs, gymnastics clubs, and swimming clubs will often host fun events during the holidays where children can 'come and try' different sports and physical activities, or they run school holiday programs with longer sessions than those possible during the busy school term.
Christmas classes - our (beloved babysitter and) local kids' yoga teacher offers yoga & craft themed to different holidays throughout the year. She's an early childhood educator and makes a big effort to ensure children have plenty of fun! A local art shop offers similar opportunities during the holidays. I think in cities stores like Spotlight and Bunnings may have classes if you can't find something similar to the ones we enjoy.
Outschool - throughout the holidays is a great time to try different Outschool classes. We've booked in for dance parties, escape rooms, craft and other fun learning opportunities so Zeah can socialise from home! If you haven't tried Outschool yet, use HC20 for US$20 off your first class. It's for 3-18 year olds and there are LOADS of classes suitable for learners in every time zone. We love it!
Twinkl - our go-to for printable activities and other resources. I've downloaded a Christmas activity book and some Christmas mazes at Zeah's request so far! She loves choosing the activities on my screen and watching them come out of the printer. She often sits alongside me in my office and enjoys some creative learning while I work. Top Tip: prepare a document wallet with your child's name on a printed label, pop some special pens or pencils into it, and add some printed themed activities and stickers inside - a small investment which will make them feel special and keep them busy! You could also create a list of things to do relating to the theme - for example if it's Christmas add in some films, recipes, books and other related ideas for holiday fun.
nature - it's Summer here - a perfect time to get out and enjoy walks, swimming, beach, picnics or any activity in nature. For us, this is where the memories are made! It's usually free, flexible, healthy, and a great way to catch up with friends without the stress of entertaining.
craft boxes - we use My Creative Box* mostly now, as most other brands are aimed at preschoolers. As a working, homeschooling mum, these have been fantastic to have on hand year-round. In the school holidays we enjoy the extra time to sit and create together, or to explore STEM and world geography through our Kiwico* Kiwi and Atlas crates too! *affiliate links - use these for discounts!
Enjoy making memories together through the school holidays, even if you don't get to travel, or vary much from your daily routine. There are many free and cheap things to do, as well as special treats (which can double as holiday gifts). Have fun!