Image: Flickr
As the mid year holiday approaches, a mild panic sets in for parents striving to plan over three weeks worth of activities to keep their young ones occupied.

This list contains budget friendly holiday activities for the whole family to enjoy:

DIY Dinosaur fossils

Picture: Pixnio
There are all sorts of treasures to be found if you get to digging around in your garden. But if you’re looking for an activity to wow your kids, making fossils to hide and dig up in the garden, should do the trick.

Start by making realistic salt dough fossils:

  • 1 cup cooking salt
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup hot water
  • Food colouring
  1. Mix together salt and flour, gradually add the hot water combined with food colouring.
  2. Mix into a dough consistency and then knead the until smooth. 
  3. Divide the dough into small rock shapes, make them roughly the same thickness and size so that they bake evenly.
  4. Gather some toys that can be pressed into form your fossils (plastic animals & dinosaurs feet and body parts work well). 
  5. The salt dough can be air dried but for a better quicker result bake it slowly on low heat until rock hard at 120 degrees for an hour and a half depending on the size of your fossils. 
Have an art exhibition

Spend the day drawing and painting, getting your child revved up for an at-home art exhibition. Once all the art is done, use pegs and twine (tied at two secure points at either end of a room) to display all the beautiful art. Invite family over to view the art or bid on pieces of art they’d like to take home.

Have a picnic

Picture: Flickr

Kids love the outdoors, thankfully winter in Durban offers sunshine and cool breezes for picnic-perfect weather.

Pack a basket of your favourite snacks, not forgetting water, and bring along a ball to play with to keep your kids active and running about. Whether it’s a trip to Botanical Gardens, the beach or simply your backyard, it’s the perfect family activity.

At home movie night

Picture: F.E. Warren Air Force Base

Set the scene by making your own confectionery stand, decked out with bags of popcorn, bowls of  sweets, veggies and dips. Create your own movie tickets to be collected at the door. Lastly, grab cosy blankets and enjoy a movie together.

Keep an eye out for outdoor movie nights taking place at local parks and shopping centres. Grab  your fold up chairs and blankets and watch a movie under the stars.

Go to the library

Quiet time and downtime is important. Take a trip to your local library and allow your child to choose a few books to read together or alone.

Have a fashion show

Let the kids loose in your wardrobe to get dressed up all fancy in whatever they choose. They can parade up and down, showing off their ensembles to the rest of the family. For those who’d rather not get dressed up, have them be the photographer, snapping shots as the others pose in their outfits.

Cook together

Picture: MaxPixel

Kids love helping out, especially when the end result is as rewarding as a chewy chocolate chip cookie of a fruity smoothie. Get your kids involved by giving them simple tasks, from mixing, to pouring or sprinkling herbs and spices.

Paper boat race

Picture: Flickr

Make paper planes or boats for a race. Sail the boats in a bathtub or water trough and see who wins. Let your your planes glide through the air from a height, the one that travels the furthest, after landing, wins.

Go camping - in your garden


Put your camping equipment to use this winter in the comfort of your garden. Set up a tent for the kids to play in, bring board games outside to play on a blanket, build a fire on the braai and toast marshmallows. It’s the perfect outdoor family activity - without all the admin of a camping trip.

Have a games night

Picture: Wikimedia Commons

Invite over friends and family, asking them to each bring a different board game. This way, the kids will get to play a variety of games. Create a scoreboard and divide everyone into teams to up the stakes and excitement levels.

Plan a play date

Picture: Flickr

Invite your child’s friends or cousins  over for a play date, having company makes even the simplest of activities twice the fun.

Visit the museum

There are a variety of museums in Durban and entrance is often free. With so much to learn about, your child will have a ball participating the activities at each stop and taking in all the sights.

Experiment with science

Picture: Pacific Air Forces

Everyday household items and products can provide the basis for your own science experiments. Kids will love partaking in hands-on experiments that look just like magic. Various online websites have a bunch of cool kid-friendly experience that you can try out at home

See what’s on locally

Keep an eye out for holiday specials, activities, markets, plays and events happening locally, there are plenty during the holidays and make for a wonderful excursion.