Easter holiday hacks to keep the kids busy

Children across the country are celebrating two weeks of Easter Holidays, while moms wrack their brains on how to beat the inevitable cries of “I’m bored!”

Unless you plan ahead, two weeks may feel longer than 14 days. Try the following five Easter holiday hacks to help keep the kids busy and you sane.

Host a Barbie picnic

Autumn is here, but you can still take full advantage of a sunny day by hosting a Barbie-themed Easter picnic. Let your little girls invite a couple of friends over, tell them to dress in Barbie pink, and bring their favourite Barbie dolls to join in the fun. Spread a blanket on the lawn, bring out the Barbie tea set, and roll in the Barbie Food Truck. Complete the picture with a couple of jugs of water (or pink milk, if you’re feeling brave!) and a selection of real biscuits.

This picnic combines imaginative play, allowing the kids to order their ‘food’ from the truck – select from hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza slices and a variety of ice creams –  with water play, as they pour and drink their ‘tea’. Water play is especially good for toddlers, helping to develop fine motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination. It is also regarded as one of the best starting blocks for building Maths and Science skills, introducing them to concepts such as empty, full, half full, and – most likely – spillage. As a bonus, give them some cloths, maybe they will learn to clean up after themselves too!

When the picnic draws to a close, surprise them with an impromtu Easter Egg hunt in the garden. You’ll be the most popular mom on the block!

Build a Hot Wheels rally track

Both boys and girls like toy cars, so why not host an outdoor Hot Wheels rally championship? Build a traditional track using the Hot Wheels track builder and encourage the kids to expand their play into the garden, using sand and mud to create their own rally courses.

Sand and mud play is widely recognised as one of the joys of childhood, not only because the kids are actually encouraged to get dirty, but also for its open-endedness – there really is no limit to what kids can build, no right and wrong, and no end to the entertainment. While some kids simply enjoy the sensation of playing with mud, others will relish the opportunity to build intricate tracks, with obstacles constructed of sticks, leaves and stones. Just remember to dress the kids in old clothing – this game is bound to get dirty!

Throw a Slumber party

Chickens aren’t the only animals that lay eggs this Easter – dinosaurs do too! So why not throw a Barney-themed slumber party? If the kids are too young to sleep over, suggest a ‘sleep under, where they come for early evening dinner and fun, but go home to sleep in their own beds. Tell the kids to bring their own Barney; supply them with some Barney colouring books and colouring crayons, plus a couple of Barney floor puzzles that they can all do together. End the evening with a selection of Barney DVDs, filled with music and fun that kids simply can’t resist. Love him or hate him, Barney holds a special place in the hearts of all children, teaching them kindness, manners and the value of good, old-fashioned fun.

Ten Pin Bowling: Barbie vs Barney

Tenpin bowling is all the rage these holidays, perfect for either indoor or outdoor play and you’re all set for a nail-biting tournament of Purple vs Pink: Barney vs Barbie. Ball skills are another vital building block in childhood development, teaching hand-eye co-ordination, motor skills and timing. Hosting a friendly tournament is also a great way to introduce young children to competitive play, teaching them the joy of winning, but also the inevitability of losing and the importance of being a good sport, win or lose.

Take the kids shopping

When all else fails, it’s time to get out the house! Check your nearest malls and shopping centres for news of eggciting Easter Egg hunts, allowing kids the freedom to join in the search for chocolate eggs as well as bonus prizes. These hunts will keep the kids long enough for you to grab a quick cup of coffee. Follow the Toy Kingdom South Africa Facebook Page for more details.