For kids, holidays are the ultimate play time. While we parents love quality time with our children and not having to make packed lunches or get them to school on time, finding things to keep them occupied and content can lead to hair-pulling stress and frustration - on both sides.
What is our best advice? Plan in advance. Try to schedule something every day, preferably with the buy-in of your child if they are old enough, Whether its a DVD at home, baking biscuits, going to the park, or visiting a theme park, having something special planned for each day eases the stress. Plus, it gives your child something they can look forward to.
Other tips include stocking up with books from the library and the latest DVDs, adding some new apps to your child's tablet if they have one, and checking out schedules at your local play areas or kids venues - sometimes they have fun activities for the holidays. Often you can hang out there too, even if its with your work laptop.
- Have a theme day. This may be butterflies, pirates, princesses, fairies, dinosaurs or a particular colour. Dress up in these themes; make themed food; or make use of themed books and movies.
- Play dress up and do a play.
- Get the children to write a holiday diary or draw pictures each day.
- Play board games such as Monopoly, Dictionary or Pictionary.
- Have a movie night or day - make popcorn and darken the room.
- Learn to play a musical instrument.
- Decorate thank you notes and birthday cards to that they're ready when needed.
- Hold "cooking classes" in your kitchen and invite friends.
- Do a treasure hunt - inside or out.
- Tie dye T-shirts and matching socks.
- Make an inside obstacle course with cushions, pillows, boxes, chairs and blankets.
- Learn magic tricks and put on a show.
- Do general gardening or start a veggie patch
- Get crafty - knit, make play dough, cook or paint.
Ratanga Junction, Century City:
Even if you and your children dont feel like riding on stomach-churning rollercoasters, there's still something for you. There are more than 30 attractions and 23 rides that include something for kids, families and thrill seekers.
Acrobranch, Hout Bay:
There are obstacle courses of varing levels among the trees, as well as Tarzan swings, crossings, walkways, bridges and zip lines - fun for the whole family. There are also branches in Joburg, Pretoria and the Garden Route.
Bayworld, Port Elizabeth:
Here you'll find an oceanarium, including dolphins, an aquarium and a snake park, plus prehistoric dinosaur exhibits.
Ushaka Marine World, Point:
Aside from sea animals and reptiles to watch as they glide through the water, there are snorkel lagoons, shark dives and water slides.
Durban Funworld, Beachfront:
There's a cable car, a dodgems arcade and swings, plus the more adrenaline-pumping orbitor, tornado and swing boat.
Lory Park Zoo, Midrand:
This is a smaller, sanctuary-type and rehabilitation zoo where children can see, and interact with animals.
Gold Reef City, Ormonde:
Still one of Joburg's entertainment landmarks, Gold Reef City offers hours of fun for all ages and adrenaline levels.
Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, Newtown:
Once you discover Sci-Bono, you'll keep going back. Children can enjoy fun learning and play with science exhibits, games and a Lego pit.
Bounce, Jukskei, Midrand:
Bounce is hugely fun. It is an indoor trampoline park for children and adults alike. Booking is essential.