The Easter Holidays have arrived. Children across the country are celebrating, no more school for two whole weeks. Meanwhile, moms across the country are waking up in a cold sweat. No more school for two whole weeks.
Whether you work full time, work from home, or stay at home; if you’re a mom, the common childhood complaint of boredom will haunt you these holidays unless you plan ahead.
Blue Horizon Licensing, exclusive representatives of Mattel Consumer Products in South Africa for over 15 years, has pooled its brainpower to bring you five easy Easter holiday hacks to help keep the kids busy.
1) Host a Barbie picnic
Summer is drawing to a close, so 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!
2) Build a Hot Wheels rally track
Nothing entertains children quite like toy cars, so why not host an outdoor Hot Wheels rally championship? This season’s hottest Hot Wheels includes a selection of bikes, monster trucks, drift cars and mini quads – perfect for outdoor terrain.
Build a traditional track using the Hot Wheels track builder, but encourage the kids to expand their play into the garden, using sand and mud to create their own rally courses. Up the ante by introducing Hot Wheels Light and Sound Master Blaster or Hyper Racer, or blast into turbo speed with the remote control Nitro Charger.
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!
3) 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, you supply some Barney colouring books and colouring crayons, plus a couple of Barney floor puzzles that they can all do together. End off 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.
4) Ten Pin Bowling: Barbie vs Barney
Ten pin bowling is all the rage these holidays, perfect for either indoor or outdoor play. And with the Barney Bowling set and Barbie’s Pinktastic Bowling set, you’re all set for a nail-biting Ten Pin tournament. 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.
5) Take the kids shopping
When all else fails, it’s time to get out the house! Shopping with toddlers always sounds like a bad idea, but this Easter Toy Kingdom stores across the country are hosting a series of Easter Egg hunts. Kicking off on March 31, stores at the East Rand Mall, Gateway, Sandton, Menlyn, V&A Waterfront and Canal Walk, will host a series of eggciting Easter Egg hunts, allowing kids the freedom to run through their favourite Toy Kingdom stores and join in the search for hundreds of chocolate eggs, plus the chance to find one of 2 golden eggs per store – and win an eggstra eggciting prize! The hunt promises to keep kids busy for at least 30 minutes, just enough time for mom to grab a cup of coffee, which is sometimes all you need to restore your sanity. Follow the Toy Kingdom South Africa Facebook Page for more details.