12 December 2018
The Christmas holidays are here and it’s time for loads of family fun. Get all the cousins together and keep the brood busy with these fun activities.
Go on a night walk
Whether it’s around a far-flung campsite, or your own back yard, a night walk is loads of fun for the littlies. Garb up in the appropriate gear (reflective if possible) and douse on some mosquito repellant, then make sure everyone has a torch or headlamp. If you’re venturing far from your home base, it’s a good idea to pack a first aid kit and some water, just in case! It’s best to follow a path you know – it will seem entirely different in the dark. Use the torches to search for local wildlife in the trees around you, and then turn them off for a lesson about the stars. For a festive twist, wrap up and hide some small Christmas presents, and get the kids to go on a hunt.
Decorate a bird-feeding tree
While you may already have an indoor Christmas tree, get the kids to help you turn a tree in the garden into a bird-feeding tree. To decorate, gather up some pinecones, then smear them with peanut butter and dip them in bird seed to hang around the tree (or you could make these cookie cutter bird feeders). Instead of tinsel, garnish the tree with strings of popcorn. Then find a good vantage point and grab the binocs and see what birds you can spot!
Learn to cook on a campfire
Campfire cooking is a great opportunity to teach the kids a thing or two about cooking outdoors – and fire safety! Stokbrood – bread on a stick – is a great one to begin with, and the kids will have a blast searching for the sticks before you get going. Get their help making up the dough too – and then, of course, comes the delight of cooking it over the open flames. For dessert it just doesn’t get better than s’mores – roasting marshmallows and sandwiching them between cookies and chocolate. Just be prepared for things to get sticky!
You might not want to go away these holidays, but there’s always the back yard to keep the kids entertained. Start by teaching them to pitch a tent (or get Santa to gift them a pop-up tent if you want to make this really easy on yourself), then let them have fun turning it into their home for the night (that probably means that all of the teddies will make a trek from the bedroom to the back yard too). Solar lights, if you have, will lend the perfect enchanting touch. When you tuck them in, tell them to keep an ear open for Rudolph and the other reindeers, and case they’re out for a joyride!
Here in sunny SA we might not have anything close to a white Christmas, but that doesn’t mean we can’t spread some festive cheer. Get the kids dressed up as little angels and shepherds, then take them caroling to some friendly neighbours. Better yet, find out if you can pay a visit to the local old-age home, and make someone’s day.