Spend the School Holidays "Staycation" at Home

There’s no doubt that these school holidays are going to be different for all of us, as we take the advice of health providers and stay home.


Many children and young people will find it particularly difficult and confusing given that they are used to socialising with their friends and family. It's also could be a stressful time for parents trying to work while entertaining children and abiding by the Public Health Orders.


But that doesn’t mean you have to stop thinking about holidays, and believe it or not, the best part of travelling and touring is often the dreaming and the anticipation that comes before hand.

In these difficult times for the tourism industry, please support your local tourism businesses by sharing stories about your favourite local tourism gems to friends and family to encourage them to think locally and “#HolidayHereNextYear".

Sit down with your partner, family, or have a teleconference with your favourite travelling buddy, and start dreaming together about your next holiday. Talk about where you have always wanted to go, and why you want to go there (maybe you saw it on a TV show when you were younger, or saw an amazing picture in a magazine).  


Share ideas and make a list, let your imagination run wild. Remember dreams don’t have a price tag, and this is about “what” not “when”!

Write down your ideas and put them on the fridge so everyone can add to them when they get inspired!

But for now, it's been a stressful time and we want you to feel like you've had a good break over Easter and the school holidays.


If you or your family need advice or strategies to help manage wellbeing and mental health, the Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing support website is regularly updated and can be accessed here. You can also visit the Mental Health page on my website for more handy tips to assist children with their mental wellbeing.

A lot of "Staycation" lists you  might find suggest activities that can't be undertaken at home. 


Here are some things you might be able to do to make your school holiday“staycation” at home, a unique and fulfilling experience for you and your family - Thanks to RSL NSW for their fantastic ideas around how to commemorate ANZAC Day and maintain the #ANZACSpirit.

  1. Light Up the dawn - ANZAC Day (25 April 2020) & Livestream ANZAC Day Commemorative Services

  2. Plant some Rosemary or Make a Rosemary Wreath

  3. Bake some ANZAC Biscuits

  4. Share the ANZAC Spirit - Reaching out to your local community through their letter boxes or online 

  5. Have a picnic (teddy bears optional) or host one online

  6. Find that Frisbee (or tennis ball, badminton net or skipping rope)

  7. Get a ground level view of your own back yard

  8. Make a cubby house, lounge room tent, or box fort

  9. Go camping or caravanning (in your own backyard)

  10. Host a Mini Olympics

  11. Indoor or outdoor movie marathon

  12. Do it to the "Letter"

  13. Teach someone how to sew, knit or craft

  14. Host a high tea or formal dinner party for your household

  15. Learn about social media 

  16. Clear the Decks - Decluttering

  17. Play that with me just one more time

  18. Renovation Rescue

  19. Create your own water park

  20. Backyard Blitz


1. Light up the Dawn: 6am on ANZAC Day (25 April 2020) & Livestream ANZAC Day Commemorative Services  – While we will not be gathering at services or marches, there are still ways to acknowledge ANZAC Day and ensure Australian servicemen and women are appropriately remembered. Go to the RSL NSW ANZAC Spirit Webpage for more information on ways you can mark this important event in our National calendar.  Important information about the various traditions including the Catafalque Party, the Last Post, the Ode of Remembrance and the Gunfire Breakfast, that are part of ANZAC Day commemorations can be downloaded from here thanks to RSL Queensland.  Queensland RSL has also suggested some special activities for ANZAC commemorations here.


2. Plant some Rosemary, or make a Rosemary Wreath! - Rosemary is a special tradition of ANZAC. While it has been associated with remembrance since ancient times, its particular significant to ANZAC Day dates back right to Gallipoli itself.  Learn about the link between rosemary with ANZAC day here.  You can find out more about growing rosemary here, and some instructions for making a Rosemary Wreath here. If you are keen on a lamb roast for ANZAC day, don't forget to pop a sprig of rosemary in with it while it is baking. 


3. Bake some ANZAC Biscuits - It wouldn’t be ANZAC Day without these golden, oaty treats.  There’s nothing so Australian as an ANZAC biscuit, and most families have their own recipe handed down through the generations. ANZAC bikkies are easy to cook and even easier to eat, so why not get into the ANZAC spirit and bake up a batch this ANZAC Day?

4. Share the ANZAC Spirit - Reaching out to your local community through their letter boxes or online - RSL NSW has a number of resources online that can be used by the RSL or local community organisations.  Ask your local RSL branch if they are happy for you to print and distribute some of these to your local community, or update your social media with links to ANZAC Day events. 


5. Have a picnic (teddy bears optional) or host one online - There is nothing that says you can’t have a picnic in your backyard (or even your balcony if you live in an apartment).  Lay down a blanket and unpack a basket of delicious homemade treats, then lay back on the blanket and watch the sky and listen to the sounds of outside.  Make it your favourites – cheese and biscuits or a fruit, or antipasto platter, some quick egg and lettuce sandwiches or even pick up some takeaway from your local café. If your littlies are missing their friends, you can arrange a virtual teddy bears picnic.


6. Find that Frisbee (or tennis ball, badminton net or skipping rope) – remember when you were younger, and school holidays were playing with your friends outside in the back yard? Playing handball, backyard cricket, badminton, volley ball, skipping, elastics or hopscotch?  Well what’s to stop you doing that again?  Even if you don’t have kids around, it’s a good way to reconnect with your partner or house mates.  If you live alone, remember you can always use the wall, and improve your hand squash technique, practice your skipping or shooting baskets. This is good for a bit of exercise too!  For those without a backyard, replacing balls with balloons is probably a good idea.


7. Get a ground level view of your own back yard – Remember when you were a kid and you seemed to have a much tinier world? Collecting bugs, old dried leaves or and flowers, making a daisy chain? Maybe you made a marble patch, or a farm out on the grass (yeah maybe I did make my dad mad by digging up parts of the garden!). Doing these kinds of activities are a good way to start conversations with your kids about what your life was like as a child (in the “olden days”).


8. Make a cubby house, lounge room tent, or box fort – Ok, so building a cubby house might be a bit of a stretch for most of us, although I remember the one my dad built with great affection. We furnished it with old baby furniture, and some of the old pots and pans Mum had around the house. If you can’t make a permanent cubby, maybe you can pitch a real tent inside or out, or use some old blankets or boxes?   This can be a great way of providing some play space which is separate from the adult entertainment (or relaxation areas).


9. Go camping or caravanning (in your own backyard) – Pitch your tent and grab your sleeping bags, and air mattresses, or if it’s mild, see if you can spend a night under the stars. If you have a blow up pool, maybe you can get some warm water into it, for an outdoor “spa” experience. Cook a BBQ outside, or now that fire restrictions are over, bring out the marshmallows and toast them over an open fire. Remember, torches are an essential part of the experience!


10. Host a Mini Olympics – Tokyo might be postponed until 2021, but that doesn’t mean the athletes cease training! Grab those old board games, jigsaw puzzles, decks of cards, chess or domino sets, or limber up your fingers for some video gaming. Set the rules and challenges to find the ultimate champion. If you want to get really serious, go online with other family or friend households and compare the performance of your “island nations”.


11. Indoor or outdoor movie marathon - Pop some corn, plump the pillows, dim the lights, and Action! Enjoy your own private movie marathon—in your own home. Most of the free to air services stream their shows on demand, or use one of the many paid streaming service (you can even sign up for a free trial).  Explore that old box of DVDs and videos! Then set up the lounge room to make it really comfy, turn out the lights, and Action!  If you have a projector, why not take it outside for a night of cinema under the stars?


12. Do it to the "Letter" - "F" is for "fun filled Friday", feeding on fish and chips, Finding Nemo, and fixing a feather to your fedora and playing the flute. "S" is for "Super Saturday", sleeping in, singing or sewing some spinach. "M" is for "Magical Monday", making movies, munching on m&m's and melodious music, on becoming a monopoly millionaire! Decide on the letters and activities together or make it all a surprise.


13. Teach someone how to sew, knit or craft – pull out that box of unfinished craft projects, grab your old sewing machine, or go online for ideas. If you really have nothing to make art or craft with, try an online site like: http://www.kesab.asn.au/junk-craft/, www.teachstareter.com/au/  or https://www.lottamagazine.com/newsite/tag/easter-crafts/ for ideas.  Recyclables, nature and old magazines are a great source of inspiration. Remember the old piñatas we used to make as kids?  You can even involve grandparents who might have some of these skills using video calling technology.


14. Host a high tea or formal dinner party for your household – After you have dressed up for your bin isolation outing, get out that nice crystal and the tea service, and practice your dinner party hosting skills. Get everyone to dress up in their very finest gear and practice their best social etiquette.  Just because you’re at home, doesn’t mean you can’t make it special.


15. Learn about social media - this is good time to brush up your social media skills, have a practice and ask for tips from friend and family.  It’s a non-threatening way to start talking to kids about online presence, while learning more about some of the more “fun” apps.


16. Clear the Decks - Decluttering - This is one of those tasks that we never seem to have time to do, but it gives you such a great feeling once it’s done. Be brutal, and try on clothes if you can: your kids are great at giving you good feedback about what you should shed from your wardrobe. You never know what you might find and the treasures you unearth could even lead to some other activities just one more time before they are donated to charity (see below).


17. Play that with me just one more time – One of my fondest memories was my grandmother sending over an old pink painted suitcase with old ball dresses and clothes after she’d had  clear out. We used to play dress ups for ages, and play with some of my mum’s old makeup. All of the kids in our neighbourhood loved that old suitcase. Maybe as you find some of your old treasures, it might be time to have a dress up party with your kids or play with some old toys?


18. Renovation Rescue – While you might not have the time or ability to get all the hardware you need to do full on renovations, get your virtual DIY on and tackle that part of the house that doesn’t feel like you anymore. Change the way the beds are laid out in bedrooms, get rid of old furniture that isn’t fit for purpose anymore.  That spare bedroom might be a much better workspace than your living room, and with just a little bit of imagination can become a haven for creativity and productivity! Rearrange furniture, make your own art, or swap some furniture with other family members.


19. Create your own water park – if the weather remains nice, you might want to make your own water park at home. Have you got some old plastic sheeting and some detergent – hello slip and slide! Perhaps you can put a sprinkler under the trampoline (but make sure you supervise properly and comply with local water restrictions).


20. Backyard Blitz – OK, so this might sound like hard work, but imagine how you will feel when you can spend a bit of time pruning, weeding and mowing your gardens. Take the time to look at your garden and see what it needs for a bit of a refresh. It might be a good opportunity to plant some carrots, cress, broccoli, lettuce, onion, peas, spinach, spring onion and turnip and many more – have a look online and see what pops up.  If you don’t have space in the back yard, what about some tomato, ginger, kale or even dwarf lemons, sprouts or microgreens. If you want to get fancy, you might try for a terrarium or it could be time to start a bonsai.

202004114 ANZAC Biscuits - credit to RSL

Photo: RSL Queensland Branch