50 things to do as a family during the holidays

A list of things to do as a family, as a couple or even just by yourself during the school holidays.

If Zoom fatigue and exhaustion have got you panicking about the upcoming holiday and keeping the kids busy, this list might be just what you need.

Keep yourself and your kids entertained with these activities and experiences:

  • Plant flowers.
  • Give your veggie patch a makeover, or if you don’t have one, start one.
  • Shift your children’s bedrooms around – you’d be amazed at the difference a change of scenery makes even in the smallest of spaces.
  • Plan a proper family movie night, complete with a Christmas bed, popcorn and Netflix.
  • Go through all the kids’ toys and involve them in the process of throwing out old and unused toys. Take the kids with when you drop the toys off at your local hospice. This will teach them about sharing, giving, being thankful and having empathy.
  • Bake pancakes. This school holiday is sure to have at least one rainy day. Plan ahead and make sure you’ve got all the right ingredients for the perfect pancakes.
  • Play board games. Put away those electronic devices and let the fun of old-school board games begin. It’s the perfect tool if you’re keen on some family bonding time.
  • Have a family pillow fight.
  • Have the children write letters or pictures for people in old age homes and then go drop it off together. During these difficult times, the elderly are probably the most isolated and a letter filled with colourful glitter and cheerful words might just be what they need.
  • Have a late-night snack (or even a midnight snack) picnic and lie on a blanket while watching the stars.
  • Play hide-and-seek.
  • Invest in a school holiday subscription box for your kids, like those from Wacky Box.
  • Order a card box castle or house from the Durban-based Little Beehive and explore and play all day!
  • Invest in some of Magformers’ sets. These intelligent magnetic construction sets will keep kids busy for hours.
  • Play LEGO.
  • Arrange play dates with your children’s school friends – many people are staying at home over the school holiday as budgets are tight.
  • Take turns with friends to look after each other’s kids and go on a date as a couple.
  • Make music and dance together as a family – you’d be surprised at how good it feels!
  • Braai marshmallows.
  • Take the dogs for a walk.
  • Take turns to go to the gym or go jogging while the other watches the kids. This is not only good exercise, but it also allows you to take some time away from the responsibilities at home.
  • Do your nails (or let the kids do it for you for the fun of it). Even Robbie Kruse gets that being a girl dad comes with responsibility.

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  • Have a family spa day where you rub each other’s shoulders and give each other facials. If that’s too girly for your liking, let the kids walk over your back for a proper back massage (which might end up in a wrestling contest).
  • Read. Read with the kids, read for the kids, read by yourself.
  • Make a school holiday playlist.
  • Invest in a journal for yourself and for your children if they are old enough. Journaling is a brilliant tool for self-discovery and to collect your thoughts, which might be a good exercise to do before the final quarter of the year kicks off.
  • Go on an outing as a family – whether it’s to the zoo, the mall, your nearest botanical garden or a day hike – just do it.
  • Plan your next proper family holiday by deciding on the next best destination and everything you’d like to explore while you’re there. This might just help to bring some hope and excitement during a time that we are all feeling a bit lost and travel deprived.
  • Be crafty. Whether you try knitting, make a macrame feature for a wall, put up wallpaper in one of the rooms in your home, make birthday cards with your three-year-old or build a bed, just spend some time doing something creative.
  • Give each family member an opportunity to take a proper long bath this school holiday – complete with romantic candles, lavender from the garden and some bubble bath.
  • Have a yes-day like the movie. Children are allowed to ask for anything (within budget, of course) and parents need to say yes to everything. This is bound to bring some perspective to both parties, as well as a lot of fun if you keep an open mind.
  • Go have sushi at a local sushi spot.
  • Pack a picnic basket and go have picnic somewhere in the outdoors. Most South African cities and towns have parks, botanical gardens or even trails that cater for this.
  • Visit a local roadhouse and have burgers and milkshakes. Now, that is an experience that has holiday written all over it.
  • Have ice cream or sorbet at your favourite ice-cream spot.
  • Find a family-friendly restaurant where your kids and some friends can spend some time together while the parents indulge in a glass of bubbly or wine.
  • Order in with Uber Eats or if you’d like to celebrate a special occasion, consider getting Chef and Guests to come to your home and cook a meal while you enjoy each other’s company.
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  • Go buy takeaways and buy extra for the homeless man on the street corner. Ask the kids to hand it to him as you drive by.
  • Have breakfast in bed as a family.
  • Have a build-your-own-pizza evening at home as a family or with some friends.
  • Make a list of wardrobe items you and your children might still need for summer and go shopping.
  • Check out your local area’s family markets and pay them a visit.
  • Go to all the new shops you’ve been dying to see, like the SOKO district at Rosebank Mall.
  • Make sure the kids have all their school needs for the final quarter, including pens, pencils, rulers and more.
  • Pack away the family’s winter clothes and make space for summer in your home. Take all winter jackets and coats to the dry cleaners before you pack them away.
  • Visit Starbucks and explore their new tastes like the Salted Maple Caramel Latte, Fudge Shortbread or a Milktart Muffin. Remember to ask them for their circular cup, a cup made from reclaimed materials from around six paper cups.
  • Declutter your home and sell your excess items on OLX.
  • Do at least one fun, adrenaline pumping activity like ziplining, visiting BOUNCE, rock climbing, abseiling, diving, ice skating or any similar activities.
  • Put on your swimming costumes and run through the sprinklers at home.
  • Put up your tent and camp in your yard.

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