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It’s the holidays! Are the kids already moaning “I’m bored!”? Here are 7 fun activities to keep them occupied if you’re home for the holidays, plus a couple of local events to get into the festive spirit.

Advent calendar of things to do for kids

In the same way your child looks forward to opening their advent calendar daily for the treat inside, why not create a fun “to-do list” calendar? Each day of the holidays reveals a boredom-busting activity: stage a play, paint a picture, build a fort… whatever comes to mind! Your children will have no reason to cry boredom. 

The boredom jar

Similarly, a “boredom jar” will give your kids no excuses to whine about what to do. Just write a few activities on pieces of paper and drop them in the jar. If your child moans about being bored, they can pick a paper from the jar and do the selected activity.

Mini MasterChef

Gather around the kitchen table for a mini chef competition! Whether your kids are decorating cupcakes or cookies; or making pizzas from scratch, this is a great way to keep them amused for a few hours. 

Make it a movie marathon

The perfect antidote for a rainy day! Get the little ones to craft invitations for everyone attending and to help with the popcorn. You could even make a Christmas bed out of blankets and scatter cushions so they can bundle up together for the blockbuster fun. 

Fashion show!

First up, select some items from your wardrobe, including hats, costume jewellery and shoes. Now give the kids free reign to come up with outfits – and be ready with your camera. This activity promises hilarious fun. 

Go hunting

Inspire your little ones to learn about the world around them by hosting a bug hunt in your backyard. Get the kids searching around flowers, bushes and turning over small or rocks in search of all manner of insects. Be sure to collect the creepy crawlies gently for some careful examination through a magnifying glass before returning them to the garden.

Green fingers

Why not plant a herb garden? Herbs are easy to grow from seed and your kids will love tending a garden of their own. Some seedlings start sprouting in as little as two days, so a herb garden is a fun project to keep going all through the holidays.

Treat the family to a festive event nearby

In Johannesburg, why not spend New Year’s Eve picnicking in the park with outdoor movie screenings for the whole family? The afternoon sees kid-friendly cartoons and animations, while the grown-up movies start after dark. And to stay off the roads, camping is allowed along the side of the field, and braai facilities are available in a designated braai area (portable braais welcome). 

Venue: Riversands Farm Village, Rose Rd, Knopjeslaagte, Midrand
Time: 2pm
Cost: U2 Free | R50 – R300

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In Cape Town, head to the V&A Waterfront for some festive fun. Santa’s workers from the North Pole will set up Santa’s Village at the V&A to meet with children and find out what they would like from Santa this Christmas. At the Amphitheatre from 11 am to 12 pm daily, Peppa Pig and friends will hold a puppet show with interactive sing-along songs.

Venue: V&A Waterfront, 19 Dock Rd, Cape Town
Cost: Free