Something different for this holiday season

WHAT can you engage in when kids are let loose celebrating at least six to eight weeks of downtime from school, homework and tuition? Apart from the overseas trip, try some of the following easy ideas for low-cost or free things to do together as a family:text_play

  • Play

Let your hair down and free the child in you this season. Get a little naughty with games which you have not played in ages. Introduce them to your kids to play together and let them see the lighter side of their parents. My all-time favourite - water bombing! Fill up at least 100 mini water bomb balloons or simply use plastic bags. Have fun ‘bombing' each other at the beach or any open field! Just make sure the children help to pick up the used water bombs after the game. Not game for getting wet? Then, try blindfold seek (as opposed to hide & seek). You will be amazed how such supposedly childish activities can bring forth the glee and laughter!

  • Family sports

bicycleA family that does things together usually bonds better. Find a sports activity that the whole family can learn together. It's a good way to burn the calories and stay healthy. Should outdoor sports not be your cup of tea, try dancing and hip-hop if you are adventurous. It will be great family fun. This time investment can translate into a source for family bonding fun over a lifetime. I found roller blading and cycling excellent activities as they allow my family to venture beyond our backyard. Our children started biking with us from our Serangoon Garden home to as far as Old Tampines Road to explore the then Fish Farm Road. My elder child was then only eight years old and he cycled a good 10 kilometres. So, age really does not quite matter if sufficient planning and care is put into it.

  • Widen life perspectives

Most of our children are rather fortunate with regards to material wants. Despite this, there's constant murmuring: so much study to do, so boring, why can't I have this or that, why is our next holiday destination in Thailand again, my mobile is not the latest so need a change, etc. Therefore, help our kids to widen their perspective in life, at least from the view of appreciating their blessings and well-being. For example, visit the children's ward at the hospital highlighting to them those bed-bound or with terminal illnesses. In this context, hospitals such as the KK Women's and Children's Hospital welcome volunteers for their patients' programme. Take some time off together to find out more about the less fortunate in Singapore, make a visit to them and offer your assistance and care during this season of giving. You may find out more about the less abled at The Disabled People's Association or contact the Singapore Children's Society.

  • Play the adult

Children often get this urge to experience the adult world thinking it's cool, wanting to feel grown up. A friend once revealed his approach to getting his sons more independent and appreciative of their current lifestyle. He approaches friends who are in the service industry like retailing, and food and beverage including the food courts, to get his sons to help out at the outlet/stall for a small allowance. He shared that these arrangements have given his children a good hands-on experience for servanthood and they often come home with new achievements and fresh stories to tell. Try it but make sure your kid is at least 12 years old.

  • yardsaleGarage sales

Organise a garage sale. This is an opportunity for the children to help out in housecleaning, make decisions over what to sell, how much to sell at and how to promote the event. Work together as a family to determine the ideal venue for the event. Even better if they could gather their friends to join in the garage sale.

So, this time around, be adventurous, try something different and be surprised by what the kids have to say about your fresh and different approach to spending the holidays with them!