Holiday activities for when you have a range of ages to entertain
School holidays can be a challenge if you have a range of ages to entertain. Finding family activities or outings that suit everyone is hard, especially when you throw the need for naps and breastfeeding into the mix. However, it helps to keep in mind the 80:20 rule which involves accepting that any family outing or activity is likely to involve 20% child-wrangling/trips to the toilet/reminding yourself it's for them not you... and 80% fun! We canvassed a wide range of mums in the OHbaby! community and we’ve put together some helpful tips and ideas.
Make a list of a few things you know you can and are willing to do, and add one or two things that are out of your comfort zone. Plan ahead, but with flexibility in mind.
Invite some neighbours over for morning tea and a chat, or make something and take it to a neighbour you haven't met. It may be way out of your comfort zone, but if there's someone you've smiled or waved at but haven't actually spoken to, why not go ahead and break the ice. On opening their door to someone with a plate of cupcakes and small children, many people are willing to take the extra step of having a chat, or even inviting you in to eat with them!
The younger the child, the less you can push their physical needs. Your toddler won’t enjoy a train trip if it goes over nap time; your four-year-old won’t appreciate the zoo if she’s thirsty.
Plan ahead to take care of sleep, food, drinks, toilet times and clothing requirements, and you’re way more likely to have a good time. This principle also applies to parents too - grab a coffee on the way.
Check out a map of your area and find some places you’ve never been to before. You may be surprised to find hidden reserves, walkways and beaches that are off the beaten track. Just make sure they’re safe to visit first - sometimes the path well-trodden isn’t well-trodden for a reason!
Take a train or a bus trip and see the local sights. Even the local streets take on a different atmosphere when viewed from up high in a bus or from a speeding train. Public transport is a great place to people watch, and to simply get out and about.
Fruit picking is a great idea: load up with sunscreen and water if it's hot and pop baby in the front pack possibly with, a hat and something like a muslin cloth to help protect from the sun, and go forage!
Find a hill to climb and get some exercise and a new perspective on your surrounds. If you have a kite, hills are great places to fly them, just make sure there are no trees or powerlines to get in the way.
Be guided by the seasons. If you’re after cute lambs or daffodils, try a petting zoo, or a local farm reserve. If it’s winter and you’re up for it, find muddy puddles or a muddy field to slosh around in for the ultimate in messy play!
Grab some chalk and take a walk around your neighbourhood or local park or playground. Make 'special' chalk marks on the footpath, tree trunks, power poles at various points along your walk then go back the next day to see if you can find them. Just make sure you don't overdo the chalking!
Take some gardening gear, some veges or bug friendly plants to a local community garden and do some weeding or tidying, and plant them. There may be some veges or flowers to take home in exchange.
Op shops are fantastic place to find old books, dress up clothes and jewellery, and kitchenware that can be used for play. Give the kids a few dollars, some guidelines and let them go shopping for a few things that won't cost the earth and that they may find useful. It can always be recycled back to the op shop later if necessary!