Chances are if you are reading this, you have not jetted off to warmer parts for the school holidays and are looking for some ideas to keep the kids occupied during these holidays.
Some people dread the thought of the kids being home from school, where as I always enjoyed the lack of hassle and bustle associated with getting kids to school and then getting to work. It is nice to just do things at a slower pace.
Winter holidays are perfect for extra-long sleep ins and lazy days spent at home recharging the batteries but it is also a great time to be doing some great things around the house and garden to teach kids about the environment and sustainability.
So I thought I would jot down a few of the things I liked to do with my kids during the winter holidays and hope they bring you some inspiration. I have added some thoughts about how you can weave lessons on the environment and sustainability into the activities.
IF THE WEATHER IS FINE:
Great time of year to go bush walking –cool, no danger of snakes and you can finish up with a savage sizzle. Try to go to a national park that has in situ activities and information boards that the kids can read. The info boards will usually have an environmental message so you are of the hook at being a teacher for this one.
How about teaching your kids about growing your own organic food, can’t be more sustainable than that!
There is still time to get in another lot of snow peas. These are nice big seeds that germinate fairly quickly – kid’s attention spans are not good. For an even quicker germination soak the seed in warm water overnight before planting and they should be up within the week.
For more information on growing snow peas check out my post here.
It is the best time of year to put onions in. I would suggest buying seedlings rather than seed as the seed is a bit fiddly for little hands.
If you need to know how, check out my post on growing organic onions here.
Environment and Sustainability message– growing organically means you are not putting chemicals into the environment and potentially harming native birds and animals and by growing your own food you are reducing the environmental foot print by reducing your food miles and reducing waste.
Winter is the ideal time to be potting up conifers so why not ask the kids if they would like to start a tradition of having a living potted Christmas tree instead of a plastic one or a cut tree each year. More information on how to do this here.
Let the kids help you pick out a pot and a tree and get potting.
Environment and Sustainability message. Plastic trees-there is too much plastic in the environment, it does not break down and is coursing issues in land fill and oceans. Plastic is made from non-renewable materials. Cutting down a live tree – the tree dies once cut, what a waste when it could have continued to produce oxygen for us to breathe and then what do you do with the tree after Christmas. Into landfill? not good!
Take soon hardwood cuttings of hydrangeas, roses or grapes. Hardwood cutting are easy to take and much more likely to produce roots then soft tip or semi hard wood cuttings. You and the children will have to be patient though they will not be ready to pot up until late spring.
Start a worm farm if you haven’t already got one.
Environment and Sustainability message– recycling food waste into worm castings and worm wee to fertilise the garden. Reduces food waste going into landfill and produces organic fertiliser which is great for the environment.
If the outdoor entertainment area is looking a bit drab why not let the kids plant up and look after some pots of cheery pansies– no environmental message here, sometimes it is just good to do things that make you smile!
IF THE WEATHER IS BAD
or for those chilly afternoons why not look at some indoor activities.
Here are some Ideas on using your Backyard produce or your neighbours excess or buying up cheap when produce is in season.
Use your carrots to make cakes and muffins, or make Spinach pie or Broccoli and cauliflower au gratin– all can be frozen for lunch boxes or when life is busy.
If you have citrus trees pick some lemons and oranges and make marmalade. The kids may not necessarily like marmalade but they will love giving it to the grandparents or an elderly neighbour or their teacher when they return to school. Make lemonade, cook muffins or cakes using lemons.
Environment and Sustainability Message-Talk about making our own food which reduces food miles, cuts down on unnecessary packaging and reduces waste.
Make a scarecrow to deter birds from the vegetable garden. Just google for lots of ideas on how to go about making one.
Environment and Sustainability message: May prevent you having to use plastic netting to stop bird attack less plastic in the environment.
Make your own fertiliser for your garden by starting a fertiliser tea bucket so you have rich brew to water onto your plants come spring. Not sure how? Check out my blog here.
GROWING FOOD INDOORS.
Sprout some seeds– learn how to here.
Easy for kids to eat with their hands and learn about seeds.
Start a mushroom kit.
Environment and Sustainability message: Growing nutritious food at home lessens food miles, reduces packaging reduces waste and saves money.
JUST FOR FUN
Make a Fairy garden terrarium.
Gather and Press some flowers to make cards.
Again Google for lots of ideas.
Activities during the school holidays can be fun for both you and the kids and educational, so why not try some of these ideas and enjoy the time with your children.