It’s that time of year again. Bells are ringing, cashiers are dinging, and tinsel is, well, tinselling. And if you’re in Australia, like I am, that means weeks and WEEKS of school holidays. Christmas is our summer break (although this year it appears summer has decided to sleep through) – lots of time on our hands, with the munchkins we so love and cherish.
Yay. It’s enough to make any parent pull their hair out.
The happy holidays can quickly become the ‘Time of Interminable Hell’, if one isn’t prepared. Admittedly, the first time I had summer holidays at home with my children, I was not prepared, so I know of what I speak. Cries of ‘I’m bored!’ echoed through the house to the soundtrack of crickets as my children looked hopefully to me for distraction. Fortunately, it wasn’t long before I learned some tricks to keep the munchkins engaged and interactive, so I’m going to share some of these Boredom Busters with you, now:
1) Play dates
Organise as many play dates as possible. Yes, I know, sometimes you don’t want to look after your own cherubs, why borrow someone else’s hound from hell? Well, because they keep each other amused (if they’re the friendly variety – you don’t want antagonistic cherubs). Make the TV a no-go zone, and you’ll be amazed at what they’ll come up with to entertain themselves. Or else trot out the Christmas movies, pop some popcorn and make viewing the box a special event.
2) Craft is your best friend.
Yeah, I hear you – it’s so messy. It takes soooo long to clean up, and we create even more work for ourselves. It does take up time, though – it’s naptime or dinner time before you know it. So, really, we love craft time. Here are a couple of craft exercises one can do with the kids, to help stave off boredom, and help you keep your sanity:
Using coloured cardboard, cut out Christmas trees and circles (approximately 10cm in diameter). Using glitter, mini pompoms, pipe cleaners and glue, let your little darlings decorate their Christmas tree and ‘baubles’. Punch a hole through the top, tie a bit of wrapping ribbon through, and voila, you have a homemade Christmas decoration to hang on your tree.
If you want to go a little more 3D, visit the craft store and buy some polystyrene shapes, and decorate with glitter, paint and ribbons, etc. Imagination – and your budget – are the only limitations!
Visit your local craft or jewellery supply store and pick up some beading supplies. It doesn’t cost the earth, and the projects are endless. I recently made some Christmas angels – these can be made into earrings, cell phone tassels, beaded tree decorations, necklaces, sun catchers or wine glass decorations. Okay, maybe the last are for the big kids, but still, they’re a lot of fun to make, and very pretty, too! Supplies can be bought from your local craft or jewellery store.
You will need (to make six):
- 6 x 2in headpins (silver or gold, depending on personal taste)
- 6 x 8mm glass bicones (beads)
- 6 x 4mm pearl beads
- 6 x angel wings (silver or gold, depending on personal taste)
- 6 x 3.2mm round spacer beads (silver or gold, depending on personal taste)
- 6 x 6mm diamante rondelles
- 6 x 4mm jump rings (silver or gold, depending on personal taste)
- Round nose pliers
- Cutting/crimp pliers
- Thread the 8mm bicone onto headpin (this is the angel’s body).
- Thread the angel wing onto headpin (make sure angel wings are facing the correct way! I learned this the hard way.)
- Thread pearl bead onto headpin (this is the angel’s head).
- Thread rondelle onto headpin (this is the angel’s halo).
- Thread round spacer bead onto headpin (just a nice finishing touch, and stops ‘halo’ from skewing).
- Using round nosed pliers, twist headpin into a loop.
- Using both sets of pliers, open jump ring by a tiny twist to the side. Thread angel onto one end.
- Now, depending on what you’re going to attach this angel to – ear wire for earrings, cell phone loop, or (in my case) an ear hoop for a wine charm, thread this also onto the jump ring, and then close jump ring.
Voila – you have an angel decoration. Easy, absorbing, not too time-sucky, and very pretty.
Here are a couple of places where I order my jewellery supplies (note, I live in Australia, so these are Australian suppliers, but you can also find these things on EBay and elsewhere):
3) Colouring In/Painting
There are loads of websites that offer free downloads of Christmas colouring in pages. Print a booklet (or 6!) and give them to the kids to spend some time on. Here are a couple of sites that I have used, and think are great for this:
Create your own mini Master chefs, and cook up a storm. Here is a simple recipe that is on my Must-do Christmas Baking list each year – it is quick, simple, and yummy:
- 2 cups icing sugar, sifted
- 4 cups desiccated coconut
- 375g can condensed milk
- Food colouring of your choice (for Christmas we use red and green)
- You will need a slice pan, greased and lined.
- Combine all ingredients into a bowl. When thoroughly mixed, divide equally into two bowls.
- Place a couple (or more!) drops of food colouring into one bowl. If using two colours, place drops of second colour into second bowl (you can also leave it white, if you like, for a ‘snow’ effect).
- Once colour is thoroughly mixed through, press the contents of one bowl into a 20cm square pan (a slice pan will do just as nicely). Once compacted into tin, press the contents of bowl #2 on top, forming a second, colourful layer.
- Refrigerate for at least 20mins to set.
- Remove from fridge, and turn out of pan. Remove any baking paper.
- Cut ice slice into bite-sized squares, and serve. You can also place on a plate and wrap, and give as a special gift from the kitchen.
*Freezing tip – wrap twice in cling wrap, once with foil, and place into freezer for up to 3 months. When defrosting, remove all wrapping and let it rest at room temperature overnight (or a min of 3 hours).
I hope this has given you some ideas to help whittle away the hours before school resumes.
BOREDOM BUSTER GIVEAWAY!
I’m always on the lookout for some really good ideas for things to do with the kids at home – craft, cooking, games, etc. What boredom buster do you use to keep your sanity – er, kids happy? One lucky suggestion could win you a set of angel wine charms made by ME!
Winner will be announced Christmas morning (and will need to provide a mailing address).
Merry Christmas, and happy boredom busting!