Posted in Community, Family, Information, Outdoor Areas

21 Ways to Keep The Kids Entertained at Home on the Holidays

family water fight

Is anyone else thinking…gosh, aren’t these summer school holidays long?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderful to have time to spend with family, but after the excitement of Christmas and New Year, and when all the relatives have left and the new toys have been played with… the kids are asking, “what’s next?”

There’s just one problem… the holiday budget is already gone!

We all need a bit of inspiration towards the end of the holidays to make sure the time we still have is enjoyable and doesn’t cost much… and also gets our kids away from their electronic devices.

Fortunately, each and every room in the home could be the location of a wonderful holiday activity!  So parents – band together and see what you can achieve from this list!

Lounge Room

This is probably one of the biggest spaces in your home – just perfect for active indoor activities!

  • Set up the living room for a party at home – it’s amazing how a few balloons and streamers can put a smile on a young person’s dial. Any day at home is more special if it is called a ‘party’.
  • Movie Marathon – is it time your children watched the original Star Wars trilogy? Or maybe the Disney films you loved as a child?  Make healthy bowls of popcorn and settle in for the afternoon.  Everyone can have a turn at picking the movie.
  • Dance Party – Nothing gets me up and moving like some music. Turn your lounge room into a dance party.  You could even ask kids to freeze whenever you stop the music (those old-fashioned party games can easily be made new again!)
  • Karaoke Competition – if you will dance, then singing is just one step further. Grab a hairbrush and pretend it’s a microphone. Give Justin Bieber a run for his money.
  • Pillow and blanket fort – If you take all the pillows and blankets in the house, how big a fort can you make? Drape around couches, chairs and tables.  It’s amazing how even a humble sandwich is tastier if eaten in a fort.
  • Play or Magic Show – now how the kids entertain you! Ask them to script a show, and work with them on all the production elements – costume, music, props etc.  Great fun for kids of all ages – and for a day when they have friends over.


Typically considered “alone spaces”, bedrooms actually provide plenty of opportunity to engage kids with things they already have!

  • Dress Ups – who doesn’t want to pull out their best dress (or Disney princess dress) on a more regular basis? Alternatively, a quick trip to the op shop could make the start of a dress up box that helps kids explore their creativity and keeps them entertained for hours.
  • Redecorating – once a year, allow kids the opportunity to change and update their bedroom.  They might re-arrange the furniture or toys, paint or collage to create some new artwork, stick on some decals or update whatever is on their door.  What a great way to allow young people to express themselves.
  • Quiet reading after a visit to the library – need a quieter day? Remember that books and movies are free at the library.

Dining Room

That big dining room table is the perfect space for a whole bunch of activities.  Picture you are your kids spending an afternoon keeping hands busy and hearts light.

  • Introduce a ‘Crafternoon’ – I love this term! Introduce your kids to the concept by buying some supplies for construction, scrapbooking, jewellery-making, knitting, crocheting, collaging, invisible ink etc.  Need ideas?  Pinterest can help you there.
  • Creating costumes – remember that play the kids were going to put on? The dining room table is a great place to create costumes and props.
  • Board games – go old school! Fish out your games from your childhood and introduce kids to Uno, Monopoly, Scrabble, Operation and more!
  • Story writing games- Imagine writing as a fun activity! It works on two levels – writing is fun, and sharing stories is fun too.  Challenge each  other to make the whole table laugh.  Or, pass around and add on to each other’s story starters.

I play a similar game with my son – but we don’t use pens and paper, just our voice and imagination!  One of us begins the story with the first sentence, then we each take it in turns adding to the story, one sentence at a time.  It definitely gets a bit crazy sometimes!


An area you can get wet and messy?  What could be more perfect for kids!  When spills can be wiped up quickly and easily, our options as parents multiply.

  • Baking – Kids will do just about anything if there is the promise of tasty food afterwards! Sweet treats like cupcakes, cake pops and biscuits are good because these can also be decorated, making it an activity that carries on.  Mini-pizzas are also a tasty option, as are sandwiches if you ask for the most creative fillings.  You could create the next Junior Masterchef!
  • Tie-dying – update old clothes with a bit of dye and know-how
  • T-shirt painting – ditto.
  • Science experiments – again, check out Pinterest for inspiration. You can create all sorts of fun products like play dough, bath salts and more from scratch and challenge children to test a hypothesis.

I had my 2 entertained recently making bottled tornadoes that they had also experimented with at school.  You will need: used soft drink bottles filled with water, a squirt of dishwashing liquid, 1 teaspoon of bi-carb soda, some food colouring and glitter.  Mix them all up in the bottle(s), add whatever food colouring to achieve the desired colour.  Make sure the lids are put back on tight!  Twist and spin the bottles round and round and watch those little ‘tornadoes’ light up! 

The Backyard

Fresh air – what could be better!  If the skies are blue and the sun not too searing, how about getting the kids outdoors for a few hours?

  • Backyard sports – Nothing is as simple as a game of backyard cricket. Alternatively, you could introduce kids to a new sport like bocce, or set up an Olympics with simple games like egg and spoon races. Also remember how great sprinklers were on those hot days of your childhood.
  • Gardening – See if your children will take an interest by allowing them a section of garden bed for flowers, cacti or vegetables. If you lack space, try little pots instead.
  • Treasure Hunt – It works at Easter! Why not hide some lollies or little prizes around the backyard.
  • Picnic – This is an old failsafe. Lunch is never so enjoyable is on a blanket, in the outdoors.  Even a vegemite sandwich tastes better!  And it encourages children to take their time to eat and talk to each other.

If all else fails… many parents have invested in an “I’m Bored!” Jar.  It’s a motivational tool – both to stay entertained and to not complain about being bored! The jar is full of things to do – some boring tasks like chores or sorting and some that are fun.  You could add in a few from this list, or include spending time talking to grandparents and neighbours.  So whenever a child complains of boredom – they simply take a slip out of the jar and follow what it tells them to do!

A little ingenuity and you can ensure even days spent at home can be amongst the fun ones on the holidays.


Karen Taylor Chernishov shares her knowledge on property, style and renovation, helping you sell, buy, manage or invest in real estate across Melbourne's South East, Victoria, Australia. Telephone 0408 991 855

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