Summer holidays are nearly over. You can probably hear the cries of ‘Thanks God!’ from parents everywhere.
How do you plan for extended school holiday breaks? Are you a militant scheduler of family-friendly activities, or do you prescribe to the ‘boredom creates initiative’ method?
I’ve adopted a bit of half/half.
We’ve had two weeks of beachside relaxing, interspersed with some lazy days at home and some exciting – and expensive – outings.
I was part of the ABC Radio Brisbane Parenting Panel this week and we discussed school holidays, plus our parenting goals for 2015 (mine is to be a more organised, structured mother) and our take on the Queensland election. Listen to the segment now
School holidays really present a quandary for working parents who try to make it through the year with their allotted four weeks holidays, while their kids have more than double that.
Our way around the kids’ holidays vs parents’ holidays dilemma has been to use the school’s holiday care program. So far the boys have been to Wet & Wild, the movies and an art gallery with the holiday program and actually asked to finish our beach holiday early so they could return to holiday care!
Family outings have included a trip to the Big Bash Cricket, theatre shows and indoor rock climbing.
In hindsight I realise I peaked too soon and set the bar too high too early. We crammed heaps of activities in pre-Christmas, which rather raised expectations of my sons for how the entire eight week holiday period would look. Each morning they ask me, wide-eyed, ‘What are we doing today?’
When I reply, ‘Nothing’ their disappointment is obvious.
WHAT?! they exclaim, outraged. I rattle off an extensive list of options.
Play with your toys. Read a book. Jump in the pool. Do some drawing. Play in the garden. Go for a bike ride.
Back in my day outings with my parents were a rare and exciting occurrence. The rest of the time I was left to my own devices for entertainment. Not so anymore.
I feel like I’ve died and returned as the scheduling Queen. Live shows, art galleries, museums, shopping trips, putt putt, surfing lessons … you name it, we’ve probably done it.
Not only has our schedule been exhausting (and expensive) I wonder if sometimes kids are better off having to make their own fun?
So that’s my plan for the final week of holidays. The budget is spent and I’m all out of excursion ideas. This coming week is about rest and relaxation and preparing for the first term of 2015.
But just in case you’ve still got money in the holiday excursion kitty here are some of our favourite outings.
1. Gallery of Modern Art– You’ll all love Yayoi Kusama’s The Obliteration Room, which started life a sea of white and over the course of the exhibition has been transformed into a kaleidoscope of colour thanks to thousands of sticky coloured dots placed by visitors on the walls, the floors and the furniture. Even better it’s free and runds until April 19.
2. Indoor Rock Climbing – I don’t know about your kids but mine love to climb. The walls, the furniture, the carport roof, the pool fence. If it will hold them they climb it. So when they visit an indoor rock climbing centre it’s like they’ve found their natural habitat. And it’s incredible how intimidated my natural climbers become when faced with some seriously tall and steep walls.
3. Queensland Museum & Science Centre – Dinosaur bones, giant squid, experiments … what’s not to love? You can – and we have – spent hours at these two centres. The Museum is free and the Science Centre entry is $14.50 for adults, $11.50 for children or $44.50 for a family. Book tickets online
4. Ipswich Art Gallery – This may be a regional gallery but it consistently serves up exhibitions on par with its city counterparts. Now showing is Built for Speed, which lovers of Lego will adore. Build your own Lego racing machine and then send it down the ramps and jumps to see how it goes. Runs until March 1. Cost is just $3pp or $10 for a family.
5. Big Bash Cricket – It’s fair to say I’m not into watching cricket. But I’ve discovered when you have sons you end up having to watch a lot of sport. I’m slowly coming to grips with the rules of rugby and soccer but cricket continues to baffle me. I’m not alone and that’s why the cricket boffins created the Big Bash League. Purists probably hate it, but for someone like me it serves up a potentially-tedious game in a bite-sized chunk and ensures the audience will remain engaged by throwing in light shows, cool music, kiss cam and a half-time rocket man. AND an outing to see the Brisbane Heat play at the Gabba is cheap – $48 for a family in general admission. The best bit? It’s all over in about four hours.
6. Southbank Brisbane – Everytime we visit this wonderland in the heart of Brisbane city we discover something new. Visit the lagoon beach, ride the bike paths, climb the play equipment, enjoy the street performance, browse the markets, or jump on a ferry. We love this incredible, free asset.
7. Broadwater Parklands Southport – Another awesome public, free asset made just for kids. They’ll love the giant jumping pillow, the safe swim beach, the rock pools and the play equipment. The only downside is trying to keep tabs on your kids amid the crowds. Pack a picnic and make a day of it.
8. Vegemite Surf Groms Learn to Surf – Before Surf Groms we had a hard time convincing our land lover sons to brave the waves. But with the tuition and encouragement of the cool Surf Groms instructors we soon had two Gorman groms on our hands. Surf safety and surf knowledge delivered in a friendly, approachable way by really cool dudes. Choose a surf school close to you anywhere in Australia.
10. Theatre – If you live near Brisbane take advantage of the wonderful shows on offer this summer. We’re still trying to work out how the performers in The Illusionists worked their magic. The big budget Lion King runs until January 25 and has received rave reviews from all who have seen it. Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo at the Cremorne Theatre had our resident dino lover hooked. If you love the TV series, don’t miss Horrible Histories on stage at QPAC. Wind in the Willows is playing at La Boîte.
What have you seen and done these holidays? What have I missed? What’s your favourite school holiday activity?