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Five ways to get your children off screens and outside

Instead of filling their time with TV shows, streaming, games, phones and the like, it might be a good idea to try to get them out of the house for a bit.

Here are five fun and creative ways to get your children busy during the school holidays:

  1. Plan nature walks and hikes

Depending on how old your child is and what their fitness level is, you can plan for mild to moderate walks and hikes. If you are in an area that is close to a nature reserve, a mountain or some parks, you could head out as a family to do a walk. If you are not close to any such place, a walk around the block will even do wonders for all of you and will give your child some fresh air and a break from screens.

  1. Go on a bush break 

If you have the means to, plan a holiday in the bush for the family. There’s no better way to keep kids off their devices than to physically take them away from them or into an area that encourages disconnecting. The Kruger National Park is an excellent choice for families as kids and adults alike will be captivated by the animals, the smell of the outdoors and the wide-open spaces. If you need a magical place to stay, Kruger Shalati: The Train on the Bridge has family rooms in the land-based rooms called Bridge House. These rooms are suited to families with children over the age of eight. Not only that, but anyone under the age of 12 only pays half the price of an adult. In addition to what Shalati has to offer, families can also head to the nearby Kruger Station precinct, which has tons of activities for both adults and children.

  1. Enjoy your own backyard
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If you have outdoor space in the form of a backyard, you can make the most of these school holidays. Get the children to make bird feeders and to top these up when they get low. This not only gets children outside but also excited about doing their part for nature.

If your yard isn’t too child-friendly at the moment and needs some TLC and a clean-up, you can enlist the help of SweepSouth’s outdoor services. With the help of SweepSouth and by using the gardening services booked through the app, you can have your yard ready for child-like adventures in no time. Alen Ribic, the co-founder of SweepSouth and dad of three, notes that even if your yard is small, you can make it a fun and enjoyable space for the whole family if you have the right type of help.

You could give your child vegetables and plants to start an outdoor garden and teach them how to tend to it over the holidays.

  1. Sign them up to volunteer at an animal shelter

This one is more for the older children who probably need the screen break more than their younger siblings if we’re honest. Animal shelters are always in need of volunteers to do some cleaning, walk the animals, help with playtime and more. You could sign your child up to volunteer at one of these organisations – especially if they are animal lovers themselves. Various reports also suggest that, when children are exposed to pets and animals, it can help with confidence and self-esteem. It also teaches responsibility and can assist in teaching empathy.

  1. Set up outdoor play dates with other parents

The great thing about school holidays and being a parent is knowing that there are hundreds and thousands of other parents going through the same thing as you. Most parents out there are wondering what on earth to do with their children these school holidays. So, why not set up outdoor playdates and activities together? Each day could be a different parent’s responsibility to come up with something fun. And it doesn’t have to be the whole day, either. It could be an hour-long treasure hunt in someone’s backyard, a picnic in the local park, a walk along the beach with other parents and children, or even a creative and messy play day where children get to do arts and crafts and are encouraged to get messy.

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