OPINION

School holiday fun doesn't have to be costly | Mum's the word

Board games are a great inexpensive way to entertain children. Picture: Shutterstock
Board games are a great inexpensive way to entertain children. Picture: Shutterstock

Those two words "I'm bored" are a common term used by children - especially during school holidays.

Let's be clear, a bored child is not a bad thing. If we give our children the chance to be bored, we also give them the chance to use their imagination and get creative with their down time.

When I was a child in the late 60s and 70s, those times when there were no structured activities - which was often - were pure gold for a child with an imagination and an adventurous nature.

These were the times when you built your forts, went for rides on your bike or scooter and played with your toys.

Somewhere along the way the concept of bored children was re-interpreted by parents as something that needed to be fixed and so we often busy ourselves trying to find solutions to keep our young ones entertained. I'm a parent who has done this on many occasions.

Sure there have been occasions when I have left my children to their own devices, to use there imaginations.

The good news is that they found their imaginative feet and forts were built in the lounge room.

Staving off childhood boredom does not have to cause a hit to the budget.

The lounge room fort for example - if the children haven't already thought of it then perhaps this is a creative and safe activity that is well worth suggesting.

Let them raid the linen cupboard for blankets or sheets, and allow them to strategically move furniture to set up the perfect space for a fort. This is a great idea for a rainy day.

Cooking cakes, biscuits and even dinner is something fun that could involve children of all ages - with a little supervision. Even the really young ones could get some joy from this especially when it comes to making cupcakes.

While children like to stir the ingredients, they can be equally excited to decorate the cakes once they are cooked.

A few decorative choices such as sprinkles and chocolate buds are popular options for the task.

Playing board games has always been a hit with my children. The great thing about board games is that there are great options for all ages.

Snakes and Ladders, Trouble, Guess Who and Headache were early favourites but games such as Cluedo and Monopoly have stood the test of time well into adulthood.

In fact, our eldest daughter tends to turn into a hardcore property baron the minute we mention pulling out the Monopoly board.

My husband and I, and our youngest daughter, are happy to admit defeat once we have been forced to mortgage our last property. As far as we are concerned a quick game is a good game.

However, the competition and negotiations can be intense between our eldest daughter and our son.

The same always applied when the competitive miss could convince her grandfather to take up a Monopoly challenge. Defeat was a reality that neither liked to concede.

Staving off childhood boredom during the holidays does not have to cause a hit to the budget.

One of my most memorable outdoor activities, that could keep a youngster interested for hours, was something I stumbled on quite by chance.

My youngest daughter and I were walking to the park one afternoon when we noticed a large, lush patch of clover. She was about eight at the time and loved little adventures so I suggested we go in search of a four leaf clover.

We found several - enough to make sure that each member of our family of five had a lucky four leaf clover which we laminated so they would last.

We never made it to the park that day and the youngest little miss in our brood had so much fun she asked if we could do it again and again.

  • Mother-of-three grown kids, ACM editor Mumma Jak is familiar with the many and varied ways to raise well-rounded humans.