School holidays are almost upon us and I, as most moms I know, view the arrival of 3 weeks of no school with some trepidation in my heart.
Yes, I relish the more relaxed wake ups, no lunch boxes and less time in the car shuttling kids to and from their various practices and matches… but 3 whole weeks of figuring out how to keep kids busy can take it’s toll!
10 years into this parenting gig I feel like I’ve finally figured out how to manage our school holidays well.
For these winter school holidays I’ll be sitting down a week before break up day to draw up a calendar and then I’ll insert ideas and activities accordingly. I ask each of my kids to tell me 2 things that they LOVE and would really enjoy doing during the holidays. I don’t mind spending a bit of money on a few special outings but we don’t have an endless budget to do a paid for activity every day so they have to be selective, then I mix in a few free activities – visits to the beach, walks in the forest, trips to the library, bike rides, play dates with friends, holiday clubs at our local church – and that is that!
I also think it’s important to have some non-scheduled time just hanging out at home (and without the beloved screens on!) Painting, gardening, dress up, fort making – these are all easy and affordable at-home options to keep kids busy… But it definitely helps if you have a few exciting outings to look forward to, the promise of which ensures better behaviour on the days at home 😉
One of our favourite family outings is one I reserve for a “special treat”, the kids heaven known as Bugz Play Park out near Kraaifontein.
We visited this super fun spot last school holidays and I know it will be back on our list for these winter holidays.
Our visit happened to be on a slightly damp day which meant we couldn’t take part in the water activities but what that did mean is that the park was fairly quiet, with no queues for any of the rides and far less little people to navigate!
I visited the park with my sister and her 2 kids which meant our kids aged in range from 3 – 10 and there was something for each age and stage which meant everyone had tons of fun!
We started out in the indoor playzone which is perfect for toddlers and pre-schoolers – soft play activities, small play houses, jungle gym, slides and an indoor climbing contraption that they all seemed to love.
Once they’d had their fill of this fun we all headed outside where they raced around trying to decide what to do next.
There are so many interesting areas to explore that it’s really hard knowing where to start…
An outdoor mud kitchen, go-karts, horse-rides, a huge treehouse, merry-go-rounds, a water play area, a tiny train and various other rides, including small paddle boats, all on offer. As I said: Kid Heaven!
My daughter’s first stop had to be the petting zoo. Who can resist a cuddle with a tiny baby rabbit, or patting a friendly wooly sheep?
The petting zoo drew me in too and I couldn’t help but fall in love with the tiniest baby guinea pig…
We spent a fair amount of time with the turkeys, geese, chickens, ducklings and other farm animals. It was hard to say goodbye to the baby bunny we all fell in love with!
The boys weren’t as interested in the baby animals, they wanted speed and headed straight for the go-karts while I tried to split myself in half watching both kids in 2 different directions. (I’m really not sure how people parent 4 or more kids. WOW it’s a full time job just keeping track of where they each are, let alone making sure they’re safe!!!)
But go-karts aren’t for everyone so while the boys took their turn around the track, the girls opted for the more sedate pony rides…
After that I tried to herd them all into the same area at the same time… quite a feat!
Luckily there were some activities that they ALL could enjoy together – the boats, the “bug” ride, the jungle gyms and the merry-go-round (truth be told I also took a spin and it was SO MUCH FUN having my own Mary Poppins moment on the back of my painted horse!)
Playing is hard work… plus it started to drizzle so we headed back inside to the cafeteria where we all enjoyed lunch from the healthy options on the menu…
Once the tummies were quietened and the weather cleared we headed back outside to enjoy a trip around the whole play park on the back of the tiny red train. A real hit with the smallest amongst us!
As energy levels started to wane (mine) we headed back inside to the dedicated kitchen area where mini “Masterchef’s” are able to create their own master pieces.
Each day there are various baking activities on offer which you have to register for on arrival and our time slot happened to coincide perfectly with another downpour…
And it was the perfect way to wind everyone down from an exciting morning before heading home.
All the kids enthusiastically got stuck in to decorating their biscuits with icing and sweets. Some mostly got into the eating aspect of the activity.
What a fun way to spend the day… I know my kids really enjoyed the outing, and loved having their cousins as company. I certainly appreciated the adult company on the outing too.
If you’re looking for a fun place to spend a special day or make memories with your kids then head out to Bugz Play Park this school holiday!
Token rides are closed if it’s raining BUT the great indoor section is always open.
Water slides and splash zone is only open from October – April
Bugz Play Park also hosts amazing birthday parties all year round where the do it all from R189/child (min 10 kids). Click here to find out more about hosting birthday parties at Bugz.
Images: Kathryn Rossiter