School’s out, and the summer sun is shining bright, which means it’s time to dive into a world of imagination and endless fun.
But it’s the question on every parent’s lips… “What on earth am I going to do with the kids?!”
If you’re on the lookout for budget-friendly activities to keep those kiddos entertained AND encourage education during the school holidays, you’re in the right place!
From transforming your living room into a runway with dress-ups to hosting puppet shows that steal the spotlight, we’ve got a lineup of creative adventures that won’t break the bank. So, kick back, relax, and let’s turn these summer days into unforgettable family fun.
What to Use
Unpack all your masks, hats, scarves, fabric pieces, glasses, costume jewellery, and aprons – whatever you can find in the cupboards!
Creative Expression: Let those imaginations run wild! Dress-ups are a gateway to a world where anything is possible, encourage your child to take on a new role and act like a superhero or animal.
Vocabulary Boost: Introduce new words related to clothing or let the pretend play scenarios spark some magic. For example, using an apron can turn your child into a chef. You can then explore all types of cooking language, using words as simple as ‘mix’ to more complicated words like ‘whisk’.
Social Skills Development: Playing dress-ups with a buddy? That’s teamwork, cooperation, and sharing in action! It’s a safe space for your children to test out new social ideas and personas.
Wh-Question Practice: Time to put those detective hats on! Play partners can ask questions like, “Who are you dressed as?”, “What is your name?” or “Where are you off to?” It’s a fun way to build communication skills.
Fine Motor Skills: Buttons, zippers, snaps—oh my! Dress-ups are perfect to boost those fine motor skills.
Ready, set, glam! ✨
Ready to cook up some linguistic delights? 🍳 Raid your cupboards for plastic wonders and let the kitchen set adventures begin!
What to Use
Grab anything out of your cupboard that is plastic – picnic ware, plastic margarine or other food containers of different sizes to create your own kitchen set.
Explore More Action Words: Stir, drink, sip, eat – turn your kitchen into a new way to expand your child’s vocabulary. You can even model language with every pretend munch and sip!
Real-Life Chaos (Pretend Style): Embrace the chaos of pretend spills and the joy of ‘cleaning up.’ Who knew cleaning could be so much fun?
Let the kitchen set frenzy begin—bon appétit! 🍽️
What to Use
Grab some old socks and add yarn hair and button eyes or draw them on. Add to the mix by using specialty washcloths or oven mitts. You can also make a puppet theatre with leftover present boxes on Christmas day and put on a show with the new puppets!
Expressive Language: Moveable mouths, imaginative stories – puppets are language superheroes! Watch as your kids craft longer sentences and express themselves with different emotions, gestures and words.
Perspective-Taking: Step into the puppet’s world! It’s a fantastic way for your kids to develop a keen sense of perspective and dive into the imaginary lives of their puppet pals.
Multiple Characters: It’s not just about pretty puppets; think wolves, dragons, and characters with teeth! Embrace a range of styles to promote a range of play and storytelling.
Ready for a puppet show that steals the spotlight? 🌟
What to Use
Feeling crafty? Whip up some playdough at home with this super easy recipe here.
Language Exploration: Playdough isn’t just squishy fun; it’s a language goldmine! From action words (cut, squish, roll, smash) to descriptive language (sticky, squishy, flat, smelly, thin), watch your kids explore a world of words.
Pretend Play Galore: Whether it’s crafting pretend food or building playdough houses, the possibilities are endless. Raid your kitchen for tools like spoons, forks, rolling pins and lids to create shapes, dents and moulds in the playdough.
BONUS TIP: If you’re worried about your playdough all becoming one giant brown colour, separate your playdough playtime. Use similar colours during each play session, grouping them into:
- Green, teal, turquoise and blue
- Red, pink and purple
- Orange and yellow
Who needs a mansion when you can create your own dollhouse wonderland? 🏠 Transform ordinary boxes into a world of imaginative play with this DIY dollhouse adventure.
What to Use
Grab boxes with dividers from Coles, Woolworths, or Bunnings, or simply glue together 4x shoeboxes for instant room dividers. You can even decorate the rooms as a fun activity!
To create your dolls, you can use pegs or playdough people (see the previous section on a DIY recipe for playdough).
Lastly, fill out your rooms with ‘furniture’ from around the house. For tables, you can use a plastic pizza ‘saver’ (yes it has a name) that comes in pizza boxes to prevent the top of the pizza from touching top of the box.
You can also use smaller pieces of cardboard that sometimes separate items in boxes, blocks of wood or other common household items to fill out your rooms. You’d be surprised what you find! Don’t forget to keep safety in mind when choosing your furniture pieces.
That’s a wrap! These activities aren’t just fun; they’re budget-friendly and super educational for kids of all ages. Whether they’re playing dress-up or having a puppet show, squishing playdough, creating a DIY dollhouse, or having fun in the pretend kitchen, your kiddos can continue learning without you having to spend a lot. Cheers to a summer of low-cost fun, growth and learning!