Mamamia: My school holiday idea's September 25 2018

As a Flat Out Mum, the thought of school holidays either makes you squeal with delight or reel in horror. I’m the former, looking forward to the sleep ins (8am!) and lazy mornings where my (self-titled) ‘scary witch’ persona is replaced by either Mary Poppins or Sergeant Major, keeping four active boys entertained and happy for at least two weeks.

While we do love a trip away to somewhere exotic (doesn’t everyone?), the fact is most of our school holidays are spent at home, in and around Melbourne. There is so much to do and a logistics degree would come in handy helping to co-ordinate the schedules and opportunities available to the boys.

By September, the sun is generally shining and my first priority is to get them outdoors and keep them outside for as long as the weather permits. Playing, using their imagination and learning the intricate skills needed to negotiate games with brothers and friends big and small. Living in the Lucky Country means we have parks, beaches and the best of nature at our doorstep. They end the day exhausted, hungry (usually wet) but most often with a sparkle in their eye. 

Just quietly, keeping the kids outside also means the inside of the house MAY stay a little tidy with the smell of fresh air replacing that little boy smell just a little longer. It’s a win-win but here is a tip…let go of any Type A personality traits you may have, or the vision of rooms that may grace the pages of Home Beautiful at a moment's notice. Let go and embrace the chaos that is a mandatory part of kids having fun. On rainy days, the lounge room may transform into a giant cubby house and there will be endless changes of clothes, but in the end the memories should outweigh the increase in housekeeping duties.

Better still, create a new chore chart for the school holidays that needs to be ticked off before you exit to perhaps spend money on all of the other activities at our doorstep (Luna Park, movies, zoos, trampoline parks and cute kids menus that can leave a hole in the wallet).

My best trick is getting the boys to choose one song they love, blaring it out of my iPhone for three minutes while they are being timed to clean up their room. By the end of the song they are just getting into it and probably won’t even notice if you put it on repeat a couple more times. Shake your booty with them and enjoy the moment rather than dreading all the work that inevitably comes with raising little humans. It is not going anywhere soon.

Another favourite of mine is getting the kids to clean the car. Again, throw your Type A out the window and let them get wet, make bubbles and do a pretty average job. If all goes well, you’ll keep the water on the outside, have a half decent internal vacuum job completed and the music going will lift your spirits.

School holidays are also a time to redeem all of the gift cards the boys seem to rack up for their birthdays. The number one choice is always a rebel voucher and it is their dream to walk around in store feeling like they can buy anything. They never need to be dragged in there!

My boys go through sneakers at a fast pace so we are keen to check out the new Nike Future Speed kids' running shoes that are exclusive to rebel.

Perhaps some of these? Clockwise: Nike Future Speed kids' running shoes ($109.99); Spalding Colour Me kids' basketball ($29.99); Verao Height adjustable tennis ($14.99) and Garmin Vivofit Jr 2 (Disney/Marvel, $129). 

Last summer we visited rebel for a great Spalding basketball hoop (they also have an awesome Lifetime basketball system with a backboard), but we are always in need of new balls. Next on our wishlist is the Spalding colour-in basketball, so the boys can spend some 'quiet time' (fingers crossed) colouring it in before they play (it is washable too in case of mistakes!).

I’m so grateful that we have a big enough backyard and awesome trampoline for the kids to entertain themselves, but there are also plenty of activities you can do in small spaces. Again, a bucket of water can provide hours of entertainment - so too can colourful chalk for turning the driveway into a piece of art. We also love totem tennis - the Verao Height adjustable tennis is perfect to hit around any backyard. Anything that gets them outdoors, really!

As you can see, these boys don't need too much encouragement...

With summer around the corner, they're also freshening up their cricket and tennis skills. Charlie has his eye on the Gray Nicholls Velocity Strike Jnr Bat and once the weather warms up, the twins spend most of their days under water, so the Aqua Sphere seal 2.0 kids swim goggles would be very handy.  We can always find what we want at rebel and it is NEVER hard to get them in the car if a fun trip to check out their latest products is on the cards.

So put a little time in to your planning, watch the weather and schedule in as much time as you can outdoors. Make them do some chores or set some goals, with the incentive of heading into rebel to find something they will love doing. Busy, active kids are most likely to be happy kids.

Just have food constantly at the ready to keep them from getting hangry and enjoy the moment!