Keeping kids entertained during the holidays

The December school break can feel incredibly long for families who are spending the holidays at home this year – especially if budgets are tight. Parents will need to get creative if they hope to avoid an overload of screen time for their children.
With interest having risen so much over the year, Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa says that it is understandable if homeowners are finding themselves a little short when looking at their holiday spending budget. This might make it challenging to find ways to keep the children entertained over the long school break.
“Many homeowners have had to cut back on their spending to keep up with the repayments on their home loans – and many have had to make the challenging decision to downscale as a result. In fact, compared to the same period in 2022 to year-to-date November 2023, there has been a 160% increase in the number of clients our agents have referred to their banks for assistance in signing up to their distressed programs,” says Goslett.
Whether you have had to downscale or not, budgets do seem to be tight across the board. To help homeowners who are feeling the pinch, RE/MAX of Southern Africa shares the following affordable ideas for how to keep the children entertained from home over the school holidays...
Set up an indoor treasure hunt, with lots of age-appropriate riddles to solve and puzzles to complete before they can claim the final prize at the end of the hunt. To keep them engaged, make sure the final prize is something you know they will really want.
• Get them to prepare and perform an at-home original theatre performance. Allow them a week or two to prepare the props, costumes, and to rehearse the play. Get them to design flyers and invite family over to watch the performance.
• For those with older children, you could challenge them to a “Come Dine With Me” cook-off between the siblings. Give each sibling their own night to cook dinner (could be a two- or three-course meal depending on their abilities). Score the meals and award prizes for different things, like “tastiest meal”, “best hosting skills”, and “best presentation”.
• Give them their own garden to tend to over the holidays. Let them plant something from a seedling and get them to water and care for it daily.
Encourage them to read by letting them take out their own library card. For competitive siblings, set up a competition with a prize for whomever is able to read the most amount of books by the end of the school holidays.
• Stick to the tried-and-true solution of dusting off the board games and challenging your children to an old school game-a-thon. Even simple games like “I spy” and “20 Questions” can be thrown into the mix for a few hours of screen-less fun.
“There are many affordable ideas to make the most of the school break while creating long-lasting memories within your home. Often, it is the time we spend within our homes that will reaffirm our decision to purchase it. If, however, you start to dislike the home more and more by spending time in it, then it might be worth looking at what else is on the market within your price range,” Goslett suggests.