How are you surviving Melbourne’s wintry chill? We’ve been enjoying the unseasonably sunny weekends so far, and making the most of the clear weather to take some long walks along the beach. We usually do fine whilst school is in session, but as soon as the July school holidays hit, I find we get a little ‘stir-crazy’ if I haven’t made some plans to get us ‘out and about’.
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I’ve whipped up a printable School Holiday Activity Planner to help you get organised and make the most of your holidays. Print your FREE copy here.
I like to research what’s happening in my area ahead of time, many councils run free activities during the holidays that are often lots of fun.
I get Emma to add her playdate and special activity requests to the ‘wish list’ well in advance, so there are no tears if last minute requests don’t work out. By planning out our week/s I can balance out the free activities with those that get a little pricey and help the school holiday budget last longer.
Our usual winter school holiday schedule includes a couple of ‘pyjama days’ to recharge our batteries, then we might see a movie, go to a play centre, head into town and fit in a few play dates. But mostly we watch way too much TV for my liking.
I was interested in hearing what you get up to during the winter holidays so a little while ago I asked the question “What’s your best strategy for keeping the kids happy, healthy and entertained over winter?” and got some brilliant answers I just had to share.
Winter School Holiday Activity Ideas
1. THE WET WEATHER HAT
This one’s my favourite suggestion, from reader Ern
We have a ‘wet weather hat’, filled with some neatly folded and some very crumpled pieces of paper, each having written on them a fun activity to do during the cold of Winter. Everything ranging from baking and decorating gingerbread men, to seeing a movie, going to the park to kick the footy, a trip to the Museum and an assortment of oddities entertaining every possibility in between. There are four of us, so we roll dice for placement, highest first, lowest last, and we keep the order the whole way through Winter. On a Wednesday night after dinner, whoevers turn it is is, gets to put on the blindfold ( we make a REAL ceremony of it ) and pull out a folded or crumpled note, and that is what we do on the weekend. Something to look forward to, and eventually partake in keeps us all (grown ups and kids) happy, healthy and entertained over winter, and beyond (we adapt the hat of suggestions depending on the season).
2. BUILD A SUPER-DUPER BOX FORT
Sounds fun. A suggestion from reader Joanie
Recently we stepped up our indoor cubby game by stopping by a homegoods store, grabbing a fridge box, covering it in a roll of foil at home and making our very own rocket. Reading and audio book time is so much better inside a DIY fort!
3. VISIT YOUR LOCAL REVERSE GARBAGE CENTER
I’ve never been but have added it to my must do list. Thanks Joanie a great suggestion.
It’s been a big family tradition since I was under 10, (ahem, in the 1980’s) but a wonderful one that I’ve continued with my children and that is to visit one of the depots of excess manufacturing materials etc., it was called The Reverse Garbage Truck in those days, but now there others with different names but all offering the same wonderful service. Giving businesses a place to ‘dump’ their usable off-cuts, excess materials and whatnot for artists, community groups, schools, kindergarten, playgroups and families to be endlessly inspired by. My mum used to let us fill our own garbage bag and then we’d spend our holidays creating all sorts of wonderful things!
Fun Kids Craft Idea – Recycled Shoe Box Doll House
4. EMBRACE THE OUTDOORS AND GO CAMPING
If you don’t mind the cold, a suggestion from reader David
I always love going camping with the children. Our entire extended family, uncles, aunts, my father mother, cousins and their youngsters camp up in Warburton together during the winter breaks. The kids love getting away from the city, we play cricket as a family, toast marshmallows, go for nature walks, my uncle tells his infamous “tales from the crypt” to the kids by the firelight, we visit the beautiful township and eat self-proclaimed ‘world famous’ hot fresh pies from the bakery. Go up to the snow and build snowmen, with the kids have a blast tobogganing at great speeds!
You may enjoy this post – There’s Magical Redwood Forest in Warburton Visitors Guide
5. PACE YOURSELF
Good advice from reader Amalia
Get the kids outside as much as possible. Organise activities every alternate day, allowing either for a chill-out day or to take advantage of last minute opportunities.
6. TAKE SOME TIME TO RECHARGE
I’m fully onboard with this one
It’s a little selfish but I give myself a little me time to recharge. This energises me and makes me the healthiest fun mum possible and has a flow on effect to the kids. Plenty of fruit and veg and fresh air helps as well. – from reader Sarah
We make time for low activity days – pjs all day, healthy raw vegie snacks before dinner, and early bedtime with bonus chapters of whatever book we’re reading. Pacing ourselves to recoup energy is just as important as the outside adventures. – from reader Cathy
Some really Winter school holiday activity ideas here – now it’s time to print off your own copy of my School Holiday Planner and start filling it with your activity wish list!
I’d love to hear some more suggestions! Leave a comment below with your tips and ideas.
This post was originally published in June 2017 and re-published with updates in June 2019