I love school holidays! I love not having to work to set times. I love the reduced running around and I love spending more time with the kids. But to make sure that we get the best out of the time there is some preparation that I like to undertake so that everyone (including me!) has fun during the school holidays.
These tips are aimed at having things organised around the house, so that there are only minimal trips to the shops required and that we have supplies on hand for kids to choose activities on their own to keep themselves occupied.
Home and Away Plan
At a family meeting in the lead up to the school holidays, I will ask the kids if there is anything special that they would like to do over the holidays. We will agree on a couple of activities and then I like to schedule them throughout the school holidays. They are each allowed to choose a free and a low cost paid activity.
With 5 kids it works well to have changes of scenery to make sure that we are all still getting along harmoniously. When making this plan, I generally try to have a day or two at home at the beginning of the holidays, so everyone can get some rest after the long school term and then some days at home again towards the end of the holidays, so that they head back to school refreshed.
The plan, like all things when it comes to kids, isn’t set in stone, but provides an organised base to allow us to meet the needs of everyone over this time. The plan takes into account:
- Days at home at the beginning and end to allow the kids rest.
- A mix of activities outside of the home and unstructured days at home.
- Activities the whole family will do and individual activities.
- Catching up with friends who live further away.
You can download this excel spreadsheet to make your own school holiday plan.
Once we have our base plan, I print it out and stick it on the fridge. It is great to have it where the kids can see it, so they can find out for themselves what is coming up and I don’t have to answer the “when are we going to……” questions 100s of times.
Stock up on cooking supplies
This has two purposes, firstly with all of the kids home and visitors coming, we tend to go though a lot more food and secondly my kids love to cook as an activity during the school holidays. I like to make sure that I have plenty of:
- Self raising flour
- Plain flour
- Caster Sugar
- Brown Sugar
- Baking Powder
- Vanilla Extract
- Vegetable Oil
- Chocolate Chips
- Rolled Oats
- Golden Syrup
- Condensed Milk
- Marie Biscuits
- Desiccated Coconut
This means that depending on what the kids want to make we can have:
- Chocolate Balls
- Anzac Biscuits
- 100’s of Biscuits
- Butter Cake
- One bowl banana cake
- One bowl chocolate cake
- Choc Chip Muffins
- Banana and Oat Muffins
Stock up on lunch and morning tea ingredients
During the school holidays it can sometime seem like all I do is prepare food and tidy up afterwards! The last couple of school holidays though I have started having the kids become responsible for doing more of this themselves. Each day one child is responsible for making the morning tea and I will alternate lunch times with a combination of me making them and the kids making it themselves. To make this easy for the younger children I also like to make sure that I have food supplies on hand that make the morning tea and lunch process simple like:
- Lots of fruit and vegetables
- Nuts, seeds and dried fruit
- Frozen berries
- Corn kernels
- Crackers, grissini, rice cakes etc
- Home baked treats (see above!)
- Puff pastry
This means that kids can help make their own lunch like:
- Eggs In The Basket
- Egg Muffins (Gluten free)
- Vegemite Scrolls
- Traffic Light Sandwiches
- Quick Egg and Bacon Tarts
- Oven baked meatballs
- Healthy hot dogs
If you are after ideas for morning and afternoon tea you can see some simple examples in this post – After School Snacks
Stocking Up On Craft and Art Supplies
This doesn’t need to be expensive, it can be as simple as keeping all boxes, cartons etc instead of putting them in the recycling bin so you have a range of materials for the kids to create with or if your kids like painting making sure you have a good range of colours for them to use. Craft and Art Supplies that I like to make sure I have on hand are:
- Drawing paper
- Recycled boxes
- Paper plates and cups
- Masking Tape
- Glue – glue sticks, craft glue and refills for the hot glue gun
- Blu Tak
You can see one of our favourite places to buy some fun and different craft supplies here – Reverse Art Truck.
Do you do anything special to prepare for school holidays?