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Last week, I began to think about what we could do during the school holidays. I figured planning some activities would help keep the kids (and me) from going stir crazy.
Then I was reminded of my childhood holidays – totally unplanned, unscheduled and great fun. I honestly can’t remember doing one planned activity in my school holidays, apart from when we went on family trips.
When I was a girl I used to spend a lot of time with my cousin over the school holidays. She lived just down the road and we would visit each other almost every day. Some days we would ride our bikes around the town, others we would practice our “gymnastics” at the local footy ground.
I remember she had the best dressup box ever. I thought so because it had her mum’s old bridesmaid’s dresses in it. They were gorgeous and we thought we were real princesses when we put them on.
I had almost forgotten about the fun my cousin and I had during the long school holidays. Earlier this week I was reminded of those times by my own girls. They were playing outside when Cinderella came in asking for some bowls. She also grabbed a saucepan and spoons then ran back outside to where Little Mermaid was busying herself.
Curious as to what they were doing, I had a peak out the window. The table was strewn with flowers and herbs from the garden. The pot and the bowls were filled with water. Each girl took a flower and pulled the petals off, putting them into the pot.
Really beginning to wonder what was going on, I went outside to ask. Making perfume, came the matter of fact answer.
Making perfume! How could I have forgotten about making perfume! One of the favourite activities of my cousin and I was to gather beautiful smelling flowers from the garden, grind them to a pulp and try to come up with a perfume to match the original scent. Of course, we never made anything that smelled nice but we had great fun. If something smelt particularly awful, we would declare it a magic potion and sprinkle it on our brothers while uttering a spell.
Cinderella and Little Mermaid spent a good hour with their perfumes. It was lovely to watch their imaginations at work while they experimented.
It made me realise that kids don’t need to have their days organised for them. Perhaps a little direction every now and then. But provided with a few basics and given a free range, their imaginations take over and they can quite happily amuse themselves without our help.
The more opportunity the kids have to explore by themselves, without strict directions, the better they become at it. They gain confidence in their own abilities to make decisions, try new things and work as a team. Often they will choose to do something more active.
How about trying an unplanned activity or two for the kids these holidays and see what wonderful direction it takes you.