Beating summer holiday boredom

Fun and free: Don't forget libraries, museums and galleries who all have summer programs to keep kids occupied during the holidays.

Fun and free: Don't forget libraries, museums and galleries who all have summer programs to keep kids occupied during the holidays.

While summer can be loads of fun, the holidays can also be a long and boring ordeal for children - and a stressful time for parents.

If you regularly run out of ideas for keeping the kids entertained, read on for our top tips. And best of all: these ideas won't break the bank.

Plant a veggie or flower garden

It's not too late to plant a garden to enjoy throughout the summer months. Choose quick to grow plants such as lettuce, herbs or climbing beans, which the kids can plant and watch grow. Don't forget that the secret to gardening success is in the soil, so grab a bag of compost to ensure your plants have the best start.

Build a backyard cubby or fort

Kids love setting up their own cubby or fort, so gather together old sheets, pillows and cardboard boxes to let them make their own backyard hideaway. Consider pulling out the beach tent, or even using the clothes line as a structure and pegging sheets over the top, and add fairy lights to make a magical hideaway.

Fun in the sun: The holidays can be a long and stressful time for families juggling work with the expense of Christmas and the new year.

Fun in the sun: The holidays can be a long and stressful time for families juggling work with the expense of Christmas and the new year.

Plan a messy play day

There's no denying it: kids love messy play. If you want to avoid most of the mess, try locking in a day that they can experiment making their favourite slimes, mud pies and magic potions. Try making them from scratch or pick up a kit to help them turn the garden or balcony into their own science lab.

Visit the museum or gallery

Call by your local art gallery or museum where free activities abound during the school holidays. Even if there's nothing specific on in your area in terms of programs, a tour of the current exhibit is always well worth a look. Most galleries boast a decent cafe for a pit stop to re-fuel hungry kids.

Crafternoon fun

If the weather's bleak, pull out the craft supplies for an afternoon of arts and crafts. Here, preparation is key, so start gathering together the boxes, egg cartons and junk mail to transform into works of art a few days ahead. Add paint, glue and - for the brave - glitter to the equation and you are guaranteed a few hours of silence as your kids get busy making their masterpieces.

Oven-free cooking

Kids love cooking, but heating up the kitchen in the middle of summer is nobody's idea of fun. Instead, try letting them lose making oven-free treats to beat the heat. From truffle balls to superfood bites, icy poles made from real fruit juice to cheesecakes, there are plenty of ways to entertain them in the kitchen without turning on the oven.

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