School holidays are a week away, and for some they may have started earlier than expected.

Given our normal holiday programs may not be available, now is the time to think about how to entertain the kids at home. Our amazing P.A. Maddy has drawn on years of experience working as a nanny to come up with A survival guide to get you through the holiday period.


Now is the perfect time to encourage independence and responsibility, which not only boosts your child’s confidence, it will also take the pressure off you having to do everything everyday, easing the feelings of overwhelm. You can encourage them through asking them to tidy up after each activity before starting on the next, getting them to choose their outfit for the day, putting their PJ’s in the bathroom for after their bath, or sorting their washing and putting it away.

As the saying goes, “fail to prepare, prepare to fail”, so with that in mind the first thing I want you to do is set a daily schedule for everyone. The schedule doesn’t need to be strict, but kids love routine and to know what is going on, so you’ll find that if you put something together, the day will run a lot quicker.

Here is a sample schedule which I use with many of my families, but please adjust timings and activities to suit your lifestyle:

8am- Wake up, choose an outfit and get dressed (or have them choose their outfit the night before!)
8:30am- Breakfast and chat about the day ahead
9am- Pack a lunch box for the day to help avoid the ear piercing cries of “I’m huuuuungry” (given we’re on rations these days ????)
9:30am- arts + craft activity
10:30am- morning snack (they can help themselves to the lunch box)
10:45am- imaginative play indoors or out
11:30am – 12pm- Lunch (from the lunchbox)
12:30pm- solo relax time- this could be a nap, a movie or colouring. It doesn’t matter what they do, it just needs to be some time for them to chill out on their own. This is also important for your own mental health, to re calibrate. I love to use this time to pop on a podcast and prep dinner.
2:00pm- baking together – yes baking! Let them make a mess it’s great for promoting independence
3:00pm- outside activity. Remember, kids are relatively waterproof and if you don’t fuss about the weather, they wont either.
5:00pm- finish preparing dinner, tidy up
6:00pm- dinner as a family, eat at the table and everyone share their favourite part of the day
6:30pm- bath, wind down and bed
7:30pm – Bedtime (wine time)

Now you’ve got the schedule locked in, you’re probably wondering what those activities will actually look like. Here’s some suggestions:


–  Mud kitchen/messy play- Let go of the anxiety around mess (I’m practising my breathing exercises as I type) and let them go wild
– Create a river in the garden with digging tools, foil for the river and foliage and toy animals to line the banks
– Fill up some tubs with water and give them some cups/funnels/containers to do with it as they will. You could also provide them with some paint brushes to create some water art on the fence/bricks/concrete
– Chalk drawings, including tracing around their bodies and colouring them in, drawing hopscotch or a road


one day p.a. holiday guide
  • Band practice- pots, pans, wooden spoons, real instruments and pretend ones, there’s no restrictions on this one

  • Fort building

  • Art gallery- they can put up their own masterpieces around the house and take you on a tour

  • Create a town- let them build their own mini city. They could have a supermarket, doctor’s office, vet, hair salon, library, post office- you could try one or all of them. If you’re lucky, they’ll spend all week creating new items for their city and playing out each. Ideas include letter boxes, menus, pay phones and cardboard cars.


  • Shopping list

  • Doctor check up checklist

  • Library book search- “find a book with a lion in the story”

  • Treasure hunt list



  • Homemade stamps- whatever they can find like leaves, sticks, lemons, toilet rolls, sponges

  • Edible finger paint

  • Scrapbooking – use pics from old magazines

  • Slime

  • Collage- cut out a gingerbread man, animal or shape for them to decorate

  • Make your own “stress balls”- fill a balloon with sand and tie off. You can even cut off the end of a second balloon and wrap it over for two colours….this is a good one for all


  • Bottle/cup bowling

  • Marble maze

  • Obstacle course- pillows, objects, tape, instructions

  • Mini golf course

  • Pillow sumo wrestling- you may as well let them fight safely

  • Tape road- use painters tape, it comes off much cleaner!

  • Scavenger hunt- give them a list or have them find an item of each colour

  • Lego city- draw out map including a river, a park and school and have them create the infrastructure to go with it

  • Bubble play- add toys to a mixture of 2 parts bubble/body wash and 1 part water, add a few drops of food colouring if desired and mix with hand mixer until soft peaks form

  • Ice block dig- freeze toys into tub of water and use tools to chip them out

  • Pancake parlour- make pancakes, set out toppings and let them spread their own

There you have it! Over 25 low to no cost activities to entertain your children during this school holiday break, if that’s not enough to give you some breathing space and you need us to run some errands then click here to book a P.A. to do them for you.