Updated 08 July 2013

Rain and hail – what else is up for the holidays?

Hanging around a shopping centre aimlessly is not a healthy way to pass the time. So what can you do to keep busy during the cold winter holidays


"Mom, I'm bored." Everyone has said this at some time in their lives. These are words parents fear.The winter school holidays are upon us. Freezing temperatures and droves of rain also limit possible outdoor activities in large parts of the country, requiring people to be very resourceful in order to keep busy.

Hanging around a shopping centre aimlessly is not a healthy way to pass the time. Games arcades are also known hangouts for paedophiles and sometimes also drug dealers. (Remember the Station Strangler? That’s where he picked out many of his victims) So what can you do to keep busy during the cold winter holidays?

There are lots of things you can do that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Some ideas for keeping busy

  • Libraries, museums, aquariums and churches often have special programmes during the holiday seasons. The activities presented often include storytelling sessions, puppet shows, guided walks in nature parks, art classes, bookmaking, paperfolding, facepainting and supervised games. Phone art centres, art galleries or local schools to find out if there are any special courses during the holiday. These are usually entertaining, presented by professionals and can be very entertaining.
  •  Find out if there are winter camps in your area. This is useful especially if your parents are working and are unable to spend time with you or to take you on holiday.
  • Television, videos and computer games have their place, but do not encourage much creativity or imagination and therefore have their limitations. You should not spend more than two or three hours per day maximum staring at a screen.
  • Spend the holiday with a friend. You will seldom be bored if you have a friend with you. The presence of a friend turns even a mundane happening into an adventure.
  • Take the time to learn how to bake a cake or prepare a meal. You never know when it might come in very handy that you can cook a good spaghetti bolognaise and bake cheese scones. Remember to clean up.
  • Board and card games travel well and can keep you busy for hours. From Pictionary, to Monopoly to Trivial Pursuit – the list is endless.
  • Get reading. Go to a kilo book shop or the library. Get involved in a series of books, such as the Harry Potter books or Tolkien’s hobbit epics.
  • Get involved in some ongoing project, such as redecorating your room, or making something to sell on a craft market.
  • If you are lucky, your parents can always rent a house on a farm and take you away for a week. Farmhouses (phone Tourist Information Bureaus for availability and rates) more than an hour from the city are usually ridiculously cheap and large and can often accommodate more than one family. The more children the better as friends always entertain each other. Farmyard adventures, log fires, bean soup and board games – sounds tempting, doesn’t it?
  • Get involved in some ecological project, like cleaning penguins, doing a beach cleanup, helping to remove alien vegetation, helping out at a bird sanctuary. Feeling useful and needed is a great antidote to boredom.
  • You might enjoy going on organised hikes or adventure camps of some sort. It is also a way of meeting new people. Sometimes the outdoors can be pleasantly bracing in the middle of the winter.
  • Everyone enjoys packing puzzles. Make it a family project. Be ambitious and get a large one with more than a 1000 pieces. Switch on the heater, make some pancakes and coffee and have fun.

(Health24, updated June 2010)

(Picture: teens at the movies from Shutterstock)


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