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This is a 1 Million Women community guest post from Larissa Shashkof. The research undertaken and opinions expressed by the guest writer/blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone.
With the winter school holidays fast approaching what do you have planned to take a break from the daily school routine? Australia can experience some chilly conditions during the winter break, which means most of the indoor activities come at a price. Here are some holiday activities that are sustainable, low cost and fun.
Enjoy the school holidays and remember that kids don't need to be entertained all the time. Sometimes the best days are those that are unplanned, unstructured and allow time for the kids to make their own entertainment.
This is a personal favourite of my youngest daughter who does not like getting up in the morning (especially on a cold winter's day) and believes everyday should be pyjama day. The winter holidays are a time for rejuvenation and nourishment after a long school term and the usual change of season coughs and colds. Pyjama day gives you time to take a break and enjoy the simple things in life!
Stay in your PJs and do some craft, cooking, make blanket forts, or just get stuck into a good book.
For those who enjoy crafting get the kids to restock your homemade cards and wrapping paper during the holidays. Simply create a list of birthdays and special events that you have coming up over the next couple of months and get the kids creating their own memorable masterpieces. It will keep the kids entertained for hours and means you won't need to purchase expensive gift at the last minute wrapping throughout the year.
You can create gift cards and tags by upcycling your kid's artwork or greeting cards that you have received. To create gift tags cut open a used cereal box and decorate with artwork or scrap wrapping paper. To finish off punch some holes and tie with some upcycled string or ribbon. You could also try stamping your own wrapping paper and making matching tags. Creating your own cards, gift bags and wrapping will save you from purchasing rolls of wrapping paper and helps divert paper from the waste through reuse.
Connect with the Community
Local councils and libraries host a range of free or low-cost activities over the holidays. Our library has everything from scavenger hunts, video-making and teenage book clubs. Not only can you borrow books but magazines, DVDs, music CDs and even toys.
I like to plan a visit to the local library on the coldest, dullest and even rainy day as most libraries are heated. They provide a cosy, warm place to enjoy and you won't have to heat your own home, saving money and energy consumption. Check out to see if your local council, community garden, library or arts centre have any activities on offer that may be of interest.
Day at the farm
Fruit picking is a great day trip for the winter holidays and gives the kids a better understanding of where their food comes from. At most farms you only pay for what you pick and it usually costs less that your local supermarket for high quality and fresh produce. Some farms will also let you bring a picnic to enjoy at the farm. Make sure to check the farms for opening times and take your own bags and baskets to bring home the pickings.
If can't make it to a farm visit your local farmers market that are stocked with an array of local, unprocessed and quality ingredients. The markets give you an opportunity to meet the growers and teach your kids about the connection between the foods we eat and where they come from. Encourage your kids to ask the farmers questions about their produce and how it was grown or created. Farmers are often very proud of their work and happy to talk about it with the kids. Check out our guide for getting the best deal at your local farmers market before you go!
Kids love to be outdoors and winter is the perfect opportunity to take them on an energetic walk, scooter or ride to stay warm. A report conducted by Planet Ark found that exposing children to more outdoor activities reduces stress and increases wellbeing. It also has positive long term effects on the structure of the brain and happiness later in life.
Don't forget to bring along your snacks and water bottles when you go out. In winter I also like to include a thermos of hot chocolate that will warm up those chilly hands. Taking your own snack will save you time looking for a place to eat, save money and reduce the use of disposable packaging.
Have you got a great idea for entertaining the young ones during the winter holidays? Let us know in the comments below!
READ THIS NEXT: why it's important to exposure your children to nature.
Larissa Shashkof is passionate about educating for sustainability at home, work and in the community. The mother of three is responsible for developing recycling awareness and education programs atMobileMuster.