The kids are off school, it’s likely raining outside, and you’re trying to get some work done between the constant snack requests and refereeing between squabbling siblings; the weather in some parts make sending your kids outside to kick a ball in the backyard a near impossibility and winter holidays start to feel like a drag. So, it is little wonder winter holidays are often the most dreaded of school breaks. But they don’t have to be – we’ve got ten ideas to help you get through them with your sanity intact and the kids entertained.


1. Delizioso pizzeria at yours

Mother and daughter preparing pizza in the kitchen

This ultimate school holiday activity hack can be spread out over a few days and saves you from cooking! It all starts with the menu – work with your kids to create a list of their favourite toppings, and even call Nana and Grandpa to get their orders. Next, you’ll hit the supermarket to purchase everything you need (that’s a whole afternoon out of the house), and then, on day two, it’s pizza dough-making time. Get the littles to set the table ready for their pizza night, and then it’s time for the fun to start – creating mini-pizzas with their chosen toppings.


2. Not a pizza fan? Bake instead
Baking with kids creates memories with a side of (tasty) education. Focus on recipes that are fun to make and eat, and to minimise stress, make sure you choose something age and skill appropriate. For smaller kids, you might get them involved in the mixing or decorating, whereas older kids can be challenged to take charge. If grandparents are keen to get involved, ask them to write down and pass on a family recipe from generations gone by that your child can master. Or if you’re stuck for ideas, try one of these 110 easy recipes for kids.


3. Plan an adventure day
Take a break from time spent at home and get your kids to help plan the ultimate adventure day out (weather permitting). Depending on your budget, this could be a visit to a local zoo, a bush walk, or a visit to the local park or gardens. Pack a picnic, plan your public transport, and let nature guide your adventure for the day. Don’t forget to pack the raincoats and include a spot to stop for a hot chocolate in your itinerary.


4. Give them a yes day

little cute girl watching tv

Kids love taking charge (and getting their way), so these holidays give them the power of a yes day – a day where you say yes to any of their requests. Put a few rules in place from the outset (like a budget limit and strictly off-limits requests), then let them go wild. More often than not, you’ll find their dreams for the day pretty palatable (especially for younger children), with things like chocolate for breakfast, unlimited screen time or even just you taking some time out to sit down and play Lego or Barbies with them. It’ll be a day they’ll remember and may even become a holiday tradition.


5. Play dates with friends
It’s easy to overthink things and assume your kids need back-to-back entertainment to keep them busy, but don’t overlook the humble playdate. Either invite a favourite friend over or suggest you meet at a local park for some good old-fashioned free play that won’t cost a cent. You can organise a play date swap with another parent (and share the load) or use it as an opportunity to connect with other parents for some often-needed adult chat. With the right kid by their side, they’ll entertain themselves, make up their own games and leave you in peace – that’s a win-win for everyone!


6. Dive into the world of books
While you might be used to jetting in and out of the local library, scooping up books and getting on your way, often, the library has a lot more to offer. Many libraries run special programs during the holidays, like story time sessions, on-site activities and reading challenges, and you can always count on it being a peaceful, quiet spot for your kids to browse the shelves and find a quiet nook to flick through a book. And for something a bit different, plan a trip to your nearest state library – the grandeur never disappoints!


7. While you’re sitting, you could be knitting

Happy little 6 years old cute girl enjoying learning needlework

No longer reserved as an activity for ancient grandmothers, knitting has experienced a renaissance lately and isn’t as tricky as you might think! There are lots of different options for different ability levels; for some, all you need is your fingers. Finger knitting is an easy, accessible, and instantly rewarding place to start with the littlest hands (recommended for age 4+), with plenty of project ideas online. Traditional knitting is a great skill for older kids, so get them to choose their favourite kid-friendly knitting project and head to your local knitting shop, Grandma’s house, Spotlight or even an op shop for supplies.


8. Get puzzled together
Highly addictive and often overlooked, jigsaw puzzles provide hours of screen-free family fun. They’re cooperative, social, and a sneaky way to carve some calming, mindful time amongst the sometimes-hectic school holidays. They’re a great activity for everyone to get involved in, and you can either sit down for an intense puzzling session or chip away at a bigger puzzle over days (or weeks). The shared triumph and satisfaction when your kids pop in that last piece will leave them wanting more.


9. Allow their creative and experimental juices to flow
From paper and paints to writing their own storybook and DIY science experiments, the holidays are a great time to jump on the slightly more messy play bandwagon. For arty kids, there are some fantastic free downloadable arts and crafts resources, or head along to the shops and pick up some air-dry clay for an affordable and fun rainy-day project of DIY ring holders, trinket dishes or fossils. Best of all, painting their creations is an activity for another day! If you’re looking for something with an educational twist, you’ll find thousands of at-home science experiment ideas online (using household ingredients) that are guaranteed to keep the kids engaged.


10. Make it a PJ day!

Happy young mother lying on bed and playing having fun with her son

Perhaps the best part of the holidays is not having to gulp down breakfast and hurry everyone out of the house, so why not allocate one day for lounging around in your pyjamas? Breakfast should consist of something different from the typical toast or cereal – like pancakes, waffles, or French toast – and plan to go absolutely nowhere. After brunch, the kids can go back to bed with an audiobook and, later in the day, settle in for a movie marathon.


Keep it simple; make it memorable

Kids often crave the downtime that school holidays bring. While filling their schedules with all the fun activities available these days is tempting, keeping it simple and slowing things down can create some of the best memories – especially if you can take some time out to enjoy things with them. Getting your kids involved in planning their holiday fun will ensure that their interests are taken into account, that they’re excited about the weeks ahead, and you’ll approach them feeling as cool as a cucumber.


If you need more inspiration, you’ll find it here, and if you’re keen to plan something bigger (and your budget allows), these holidays are the perfect time for a trip to the snow, a winter staycation or a budget-friendly international getaway to warmer climes.


The following advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broad guide. The advice should not be regarded as legal, financial, or real estate advice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal, financial, or real estate decisions. Click here for full Terms of Use.