School Holiday Activity Jar My Kids Love

We are one week into the school holidays and I’ve come up with a plan. It’s called the school holiday activity jar and it’s super simple to make.

Why did I make it? Because I got sick and tired of multiple requests for activities and excursions and games. If I picked one child’s idea over the other that caused issues. If we stayed home too often without a plan the kids would inevitably revert to their screens. I wanted the kids to have experiences and try new things.

How does it work?

Everyone in our family writes down the activities they would like to do “as a family” on individual cards to place into the activity jar.

We have decided to colour code the activities based on the time and effort they need: Pink for long, whole day excursions, yellow for a few hours, and blue for a quick activity that can be done at home.

Each family member has an even number of cards of each colour. Each card must have a DIFFERENT activity on it. You can not cheat by writing “backyard cricket” on every card.

School holiday activity jar
The cards for our school holiday activity jar. Photo: Alison Godfrey

Once all the cards are filled in, you fold them in half, shuffle them and shove them all into the school holiday activity jar.

In the morning, we decide how much time we have that day. Sometimes we decide the night before over dinner, depending on what’s going on.

We each take turns pulling out a circle from the school holiday activity jar. The youngest family member goes first.

Once the card comes out, you can not complain, you must participate. We all have an even chance to get what we want and we will get to try things we may never have tried before.

What you need to make a school holiday activity jar

  • One jar with a lid
  • Evenly sized pieces of paper.
  • Scissors to cut the paper
  • A sharpie or pen to write your activities
  • We have also added decorations to the jar – Hession trim and a fake leaf, thanks to my nine-year-old daughter so we used a hot glue gun to stick those on.
School holiday activity jar
Everything we used to make our school holiday activity jar. Photo: Alison Godfrey

I turned the “making” of the school holiday activity jar into an activity itself, but you could cut out a lot of the steps and just go with the concept.

First, we went to the local $2 shop. We let the kids pick the paper for the jar, the jar itself and any decorations they wanted to put on it.

I added an element of maths and drawing – the activity cards are circles. The kids had to draw them using a compass. I soon realised the compass we bought them for school was terrible and I need to spend the money to get a better one.

How to make it

  • Draw circles using the compass and a pencil to make sure they are all the same size
  • Cut out the circles
  • Share an even number of circles of each colour with every member of the family
  • Each person then takes the pen and writes and activity they would like to do as a family. Longer activities such as “I want to go to the zoo” go on the pink circles. Short activities such as “I want to play Who Am I together” go on the Blue Circles. Medium-sized activities such as “I want to see a movie” go on the yellow circles.
  • Once you have written on the circles fold them in half so the activity remains secret.
  • Place the folded circles into the jar
  • Every day, decide how much time you have to play together and pull one circle out of the jar – that is the activity you will do.
School holiday activites
Let’s hope this holiday jar works! Photo: Alison Godfrey

Hopefully, this school holiday activity jar will save my sanity these holidays. Try it with me and let MumCentral know how it goes for your family.

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Alison Godfrey has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 20 years. She loves coffee, wine, skiing and spending time with her husband, two children and their dog. But she's still not sure about the cat. He's pretty cranky.

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