Welcome to summer!
With gloriously warm temperatures, perfect bare-feet days and - best of all - no school at all, summer is probably the coolest time of year (not literally of course - that's reserved for winter. Get it? Cool. OK, OK, let's move on).
Whether you're hitting the beach, the town or the backyard, now is the perfect time for you and the kids to get outside and get active, having fun and learning at the same time. Here are our school holiday activity ideas to start you in the right place!
What is a roaring, crowded stadium compared to the quintessentially summer backyard sports field? These school holidays, mow that back lawn down to a manageable length and get ready for some sports action. Need some ideas?
Cricket: You don't need five free days in a row and some pearly white pants to play cricket in the backyard. Heck, you don't even really need stumps! The wheelie bin makes an adequate replacement, not to mention a convenient place to put rubbish.
Rugby: Backyard rugby can be as challenging or as easygoing as you want it to be. Are tackles allowed, or is it more like Oz Tag? Just use clothing for the try line, and be sure not to boot the ball over the grumpy neighbour's fence!
Others: Don't restrict yourself to the classics, however. There are millions (or at least tens) of sports that are perfect for the backyard. What about dodge ball, freeze tag or even Frisbee golf? If all else fails, just chuck a ball about and call it a sport!
Fun at the beach
If you're one of 85 per cent of Aussies who live near the coast, hopping down to the beach is the ultimate way not only to do some exercise, but also cool off if the sun gets a bit toasty.
Swimming: Swimming isn't just fun, it's also a fantastic low-impact workout for pretty much the entirety of your kids' bodies. Do they not know how to swim? Now's a good opportunity to book some lessons.
Sand castles: Just gonna go ahead and say it - sand castle building competition. It'll spur their creativity (and possibly your own, if you compete) and be a laugh in the process. If you make it a cooperative sport then you'll even help build teamwork skills!
Dig: It might sound simple, but digging in the sand is in itself a blast, not to mention educational. Did you know if you dig a hole and fill it with water, you get a clear example of how geological erosion works? Just watch the water scrape away the walls of your hole, then compare that to real cliffs. That's way more fun than school.
Fun out of the sun
The unfortunate side effect of the summer sun is that things can get a little burny. Exposure to UV radiation at a young age can sometimes lead to problems further down the track, so don't forget to encourage your kids to spend some time indoors as well.
Visiting your local AMF Bowling centre is the ultimate way to have a day's worth of family activities without the risk of sunburn.
Bowling: Bowling is the main event, teaching your kids an easy-to-learn sport and how fun it can be to compete against your family. Just don't forget to go a little easy on the youngest of youngsters.
Laser Skirmish: It's a fact - kids love war games. Rather than let them sit at home and play Call of Duty all day, get them involved in some real life - but totally safe - combat! Laser Skirmish also helps teach the basics of strategy, as well as teamwork.
Arcades: If they still want a whirl on some video games, challenge them to a race or shoot out on our range of arcades. For just $10 you get 13 tokens to spend up large in kicking their butts - or getting your butt kicked, as the case may be.
What's more exciting, however, than exploring? Most of us just pass landmarks by and never look twice, but there's a whole world of intrigue just waiting to be discovered. Don't let your kids become yet more adults who have never wandered their own backyard. Encourage them to get out by themselves or with a supervisor to explore, discover and learn as they go.
Bikes/Walks: Most cities and towns in Australia have a range of excellent bicycle tracks or walks, be they on the outskirts or within nature reserves and parks. This could be an opportunity for your kids to see more of where they live, as well as learn about the natural world and conservation.
Orienteering: Orienteering is a recreational or competitive sport where you're tasked with finding landmarks in an area using clues and a compass. Courses aren't too hard to make, and companies like Orienteering Australia have plenty of tutorials on their website. You could even offer a prize at the end to incentivise your young ones to completion.
Take up a hobby
Just because school is out doesn't mean learning has to stop. Though you can learn basic life skills in much of what we've already talked about, a great way to learn specific skills is through a hobby.
DIY: Are you planning on performing any DIY projects around the house this season? Get your kids involved with the process so they have those construction/woodwork skills for the rest of their life (trust us, they'll come in handy). The same thing goes for any work you're doing on the car.
Arts/Crafts: If you'd prefer something a little less physically taxing than DIY, arts and crafts are favoured by thousands around the country as a way to stimulate the mind. This could be jewellery making, painting, model making, scrapbooking or sewing.
Drama: Not every child is into sports. For those that aren't, why not enrol them in a drama class? They'll learn some exciting acting skills, as well as meet like-minded kids who they can continue to play and learn with.
So whether you've got a sportsy, artsy or dramatic child, there are loads of ways to make the most of the summer this year. What are your favourite school holiday activities?