Keeping young minds and bodies active during the school holidays

by Tia

The winter school holidays are a time to unwind, relax and refocus for the second part of the school year, but they are also a challenging time for parents having to entertain their children for the best part of a month.

Fortunately, says SPARK Schools Achievement Manager, Nicole Gaspar, there are many activities for parents and their children to engage in. “And the best part is that they will not break the bank.”

“The SPARK Schools philosophy is that healthy bodies support healthy minds. And while our scholars deserve the break of a holiday, they can engage in many fun activities with their families that keep both minds and bodies healthy,” Gaspar says.

Here are some of Gaspar’s favourite activities:

  • A reading challenge: Winter is a good time to curl up with a good book. As a family, choose a theme or a set number of books to read during the holidays. Make a chart for everyone and fill in it together, also offer some kind of reward for the most successful family member. Get the family to dress up according to any of the book themes to add some creativity to reading. This is an activity for the whole family and it creates and maintains a love of reading.
  • Go for a walk: It’s great exercise, and you can make it more fun by adding challenges (who can spot the most birds or interesting street signs). You can also bring a picnic lunch and enjoy a meal together. Ensure your children wear appropriate clothing, put on some sunscreen, and have plenty of water available. 
  • Board games: Make some popcorn, break out the Monopoly, Snakes and Ladders or playing cards, and enjoy an evening without devices or the television.
  • Cooking: This is a skill your children will take into their futures. Pick a cuisine or dish you all like and plan the menu. Pizza making or baking are popular choices. It’s a great way to teach children to plan and budget for a meal. Another option is to go to one of the many cooking classes on offer in your area.
  • Camping indoors: Make a tent, roll out sleeping bags or blankets, and set up some fairy lights to simulate the night sky. Tell stories around a “campfire” (candles might work better indoors), roast some marshmallows over the candle and enjoy each other’s company.
  • Create your own puzzles: This is easy, cost-effective and each child can create a bespoke puzzle. Let them draw a picture, find a puzzle template online, print it out and glue to the back of the drawing. Your children can do the cutting out or you can help.
  • Treasure hunt: This is great indoors or outdoors, depending on the weather. You can make a treasure map or leave clues around the house or garden. Make the treasures small and fun, like a jumping rope, bubbles, books, a small chocolate bar or chips. This challenge makes them use their brains and their bodies.

“These activities are not only healthy and stimulating but are great for families to bond and share time together,” says Gaspar.

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