How to Keep Kids Busy During School Holidays
Keeping Kids Active when on a School Break
When trying to avoid a couch potato school holiday, it is most important to know and utilize those things that motivate your particular kid(s). Every year when any of the many school breaks come around, more often than not the kids land right in front of the big screen TV to play video games or take in hours of DVD action; which is not active at all for your kids. While these game fanatics may have the most agile thumbs in town, and the hand grip of a gorilla, the rest of their body is surely suffering from a lack of muscle strengthening motions. For fitness reasons, as well as emotional well-being, getting your kids busy during school holidays is as important to there health as it is to your good parenting!
How to Get Kids Busy During Holiday Downtime
Critical to the long term healthy lifestyle of children, is the need to learn just how to get, and then keep themselves busy using their own self monitoring skills. Within this article you will find some wonderful techniques that will do just this. The projects help you help your kids to get busy because they want to, rather than have to!
How Kids Can Plan Their Own Holiday Activities
Here are 5 projects that motivate your child in the task of "getting busy" when school is out:
- Create a Personal School Holiday Activity Calendar
- Make Your Own Home Exercise Video
- Get Involved in Community Activity Programs
- Become the Neighborhood Dog Walker for Pay
- Good Old Fashion Sports Activities
Don't be shy, get involved with these projects and guide your children through the process. By engaging with your kids, you increase the probability that they will become better adjusted adults. You're also bringing your family closer together.
What you Need to Make A Personal Activities Calendar
- 13 sheets of construction paper, about 9'' X 12'' (23cm X 30cm)
- One-hole punch (or pointy sharp dowel)
- Paper-hole reinforcement circles
- Sheet of clear plastic, 9'' X 12'' (23cm X 30cm)
- Black fine-tipped marker
- 2 "O" rings
- Photos of your own or cut-out magazine images
Step by Step Calendar Instructions [click to see ful-size]
Create a Personal School Holiday Activity Calendar
Create a personal calendar that has specific interests or preferred activities for School Holidays every year. Because this calendar is for every year it is unlike a regular one. Your calendar has no days of the week, simply numbered days for each month.
How to Make Your Personal Activity Calendar
- At the top of each piece of construction paper, make a mark 3'' (8cm) from each side and ¾'' (2cm) from the top. Use the dowel or hole-punch to make a hole on each of these marks. Stick the paper-hole reinforcement circles on front and back of each hole. Do the same thing to the sheet of plastic. Keep one sheet of construction paper and the plastic sheet set aside to make the cover.
- Label each page at the top with the name of a month, starting with January.
- Starting at the bottom of each page, draw 15 lines, about ½'' (1cm) apart. Draw a line right down the middle, creating 30 spaces.
- Fill in the days for each month, 1 to 15 down the left side and 16 to 30 down the right side. For the months with 31 days, write both 30 and 31 on the same line.
- You can record the days for each month that have your favorite activities. An example is; practice for a community basketball team you signed up for; four days within a week to exercise; the days you are hired to walk the neighbors dog; and hooking up with your friends at the skate park. You can even add in any birthdays your family or friends will celebrate during that month.
- Decorate the top of each calendar sheet using one of your own pictures or something you cut out of a magazine that relates to the month. (If this is the month you signed up to begin a city offered sport like swimming, the decoration could be a picture of you swimming last summer, or an Olympic swimmer's photo cut from a publication.)
- Make a cover for the calendar and protect it with the plastic sheet. Hold all of the pages together with the two "O" rings. Tie a ribbon between the two rings and hang it in a location you will see everyday. Remove the rings to change to the next month.
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Make Your Own Home Exercise Video
These days it seems every tech device we use has some way to record the stuff that is going on around us. Cell phones, Smart Phones, digital cameras, and even good old video recorders. It may be time to put these to a really good and productive use during any school holidays. Make your own exercise video! Here's how:
- Set up your recording device somewhere so you are centered in the view finder (or have a family member or friend shoot the video with you).
- Choose 5 of your favorite exercises to practice.
- Power up some of your favorite tunes (one's with a solid fast beat are best for this).
- Start recording each movement, one at a time.
- When you have completed your video, save it to a DVD or CD so you can watch it later and follow along on the big TV in the family room. Get the whole family to practice the video with you! (Be sure to mark "video exercises" on your calendar!)
- Here are a couple of examples of how to organize your video activities:
- Jumping Jacks - Record yourself doing 10 to 20, 25 to 50, and 50 to 100. Move to the next exercise.
- Lunges - Record yourself doing 5 lunges on each side, 10 lunges on each side, and then 15 lunges on each side. Move to the next exercise. Continue until you have completed your favorite 5.
- You can edit the video adding captions and counts for each exercise and anything else you can think up! Most modern computers have a free built-in video editing program.
Get Involved in Community Activity Programs
In almost every city or town you can locate a Parks and Recreation Department (P&RD). These community centers generally offer several activity plans throughout the year and specialty programs for school holidays. How to find the P&RD in your area:
- Contact your local city hall for numbers and schedules
- Ask at your school office
- Look in local news papers for community events
- Ask a friend who plays city sports
- Ask Physical Education teachers
For longer school holiday breaks (Christmas, Summer, Easter) some communities will have seasonal programs like building floats for a local holiday parade, or Free Swim lessons at the city pool, big Easter egg hunt at your town park, and even a community haunted house or corn field around Halloween. If yours doesn't have any of these fun activities, get something started yourself!
Stay Busy Making a Few Bucks!
Become the Neighborhood Dog Walker for Pay
Who doesn't love the company of dogs? To keep busy, and make a little money, create a poster or flyer to distribute around your neighborhood that tells everyone you will walk their dog(s) for a set price. If dogs aren't your thing, the task can extend to:
- lawn mowing
- cleaning gutters
- sweeping patios
- racking leaves
- washing windows
- cleaning houses
- weeding yards or gardens
- washing cars, and the list just keeps going on.
Not only will kids stay busy when school holidays roll around, but they will be making their own money, learning the importance responsibility, and of course discovering first hand the value of good work ethics!
Kids must get parental approval before doing any work for any person at any time. This is just a good measure to keep all those involved safe and happy.
Eye Injury Pecentages in School Sports
Good Old Fashion Sports Activities
Before Madden licensed his video football master pieces, he surely had his share of actual football games. Even though there are excellent video games for sports, there is nothing like getting outside and playing them for real! Too often the magic of sports gets lost on a big screen TV! Don't forget to outside and play:
- Flag football
- Plain old fashioned rough-housing
Get Your Kids Busy on School Holidays
No matter what activity keeps your kid happy and busy, stay involved. If they know you gain some happiness or pleasure from their active lives, kids will continue to stay in motion just to see that smile on your face! You may just discover that staying active with your children creates a deep family bond whether school is in session or has set your children free for the holidays! "Ready, Set, Action!"