Vintage activities for the school holidays

4403397509 0609a5c544 Vintage activities for the school holidays

This darling image via Flickr

Here’s a special post dedicated to all you wonderful vintage mummies out there. Especially those of you who, like me, are in the midst of school holidays and the challenges that brings.  There are always loads of general holiday activities for kids at these times, but I thought I’d share with you some of the activities I’ve organised for my girls that have a bit of a vintage bent.

You can scale the complexity of these options up or down depending on the age range of your own mini me’s.

The Art Gallery -

Most cities have art galleries with free or cheap entry for children. Do a little research into which exhibitions are currently showing and pick the one the most sparks your imagination. Spend some time a day or two before hand planning out your art gallery adventure together. Look at some of the images online and plan some thematic outfits for them, because after all, you won’t get away with dressing them like 19th century urchins or mini Monets very often.

Pack snacks, drinks, drawing pads and crayons. Then when you break for lunch, let them start drawing their own versions of the art they’ve seen.  Give them a wall at home to tack their new art works to and invite some friends or family around for their gallery show.


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High Tea -

Yes, there are venues that are running High Tea specifically for children, but you may not want to go to that expense. Hosting your own proper High Tea party, even if it’s just the two of you, can be a blast.  Break out a cute cloth, the cake stands and make up your own finger sandwiches – even if they do contain Nutella. But most importantly, dress for tea.

Here’s where party dresses, petticoats, tiaras and reams of faux pearls come into their own.  Add in a few nome de plumes, creative back stories (‘I was a Baroness, I just gave up my title.’) and you’ve got yourself one memory worthy of the Lifetime Chanel.

Treasure Hunting -

No complicated maps involved in these hunts.  Just a child sized handbag (or backpack), a little pocket money, a calculator (for mum/dad) and a list of the four top op shops or thrift stores in your town. Okay, I’ll admit this one is a little sneaky as it means you can do your own treasure hunting while they do theirs, but that’s half the fun.

Giving a child a small amount of money, freedom of choice and the chance to start learning about their finite resources, is fun and educational. (Gulp) This is one activity that helps to shape the vintage treasure hunters of tomorrow.


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Yes this may be too advanced for the very young, but there is a way to start developing those important sewing skills.  Choose an image that appeals to your child, and find a line drawing version somewhere online. Google Images is fantastic for finding basic clipart for these sorts of projects. Print out and paste this onto some card.  Following the lines, use a hole punch or skewer to perforate holes along the lines, keeping some space to make sure it doesn’t tear.  Giving kids a needle at this point might not be the best choice, but there’s another good option. An elastic threader! The ‘point’ is actually a dull ball so it doesn’t prick, but it has an eye opening at the other end.  Using different coloured wool, they can then start to ‘sew’ along the outline of their pictures. And there you go – basic sewing skills are born.

Flower Pressing -

We’re going a bit Victorian here as far as activities go, but this is one activity that just keeps on giving. You’ve got the flower picking (great for a bit of alone time for you), the identifying (thank you Google), the pressing and drying (under all those encyclopaedias they’re unlikely to use thanks to the same Google), then the craft activities that come from there. Turning the flowers into gift cards, book marks, decoupage; you name it! It doesn’t have to be fancy, just a bit of craft glue and clear sticking plastic (or ‘contact’ as we call it here), and let them go wild.  It’s far less messy than glitter and they’ll learn even more along the way. Another fun fact to add into this activity is finding out what each flower means, the old language of love. Does your flower mean friendship, passion or parental sanity? icon wink Vintage activities for the school holidays

These are only a few of the activities in store for my girls this school holidays. And the best bit about these activities is that it gives them even more fodder for their imagination. Basically, think outside the square, think like a child, and think about how much fun things can be if you see everything as a new adventure.

What other activities can you add to the list? Share it is the comments.

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Candice DeVille

Specialty Vintage Stylist, Blogger, and Presenter; Candice DeVille has been writing Super Kawaii Mama since early 2008. Based in Melbourne, Australia, she's always in search of the next glamorous adventure. Bringing you vintage style, glamour and inspiration for the 21st Century.
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  1. oh I LOVE these ideas…especially high tea, oh and the op shopping!

    My girls are 4yrs and 2.5yrs and have their own little “sewing set.” They love it and spend ages concentrating and making little creations.

    It contains a pom pom maker (you can make your own with two donuts of cardboard placed together and some wool), a knitting nancy (ours came with a pom pom maker for less than $10 at Safeway) and my favourite little creation an embroidery hoop.. It’s essentially some rug backing (looks like wide netting) held in place by an embroidery hoop with a plastic needle (from Spotlight – set of 4 for <$5) and some wool.

    I've also bought some huge wooden knitting needles (from Sovereign Hill) but they just as easily use chopsticks to play knit. My 4yr old loves to watch me cast on the stitches, trying to do them herself. So nice (and quiet)..gotta watch out for when boredom or frustration kicks in though, nothing quite as frightening as a cranky preschooler with a pointy object.

  2. Ahh, did all these with my mother and they were the best memories! Got to say, this reminds me of a show I loved a a kid called “Art Attack” which had little projects for kids to do, it was fantastic! Thanks for another great post (although, and I don’t mean to bug, could you please do a post on your new haircut soon please? Thankyou!)
    Sarah recently posted..American pie

  3. Allison /

    A visit to the library, especially if there is story time happening. Picking out new books to read is always a fun activity, and it’s free!

    Go to the garden shop or nursery and pick up seeds for kids to plant in their very own patch of garden (zinnia, cosmos, nasturtium, marigold and cress are good as they all grow quickly!)

    During school holidays community theatres often put productions on for kids. They’re normally pretty inexpensive and a fun day out.

  4. Learning skills like sewing and knitting sets them up for life too. I’ve had friends pay a fortune to go on fancy courses as adults to learn the skills my nanna taught me as a kid.
    kathryn recently posted..Blonde

    • That’s what I was going to say! So true. My mother taught my sisters and I how to cook, sew clothing, knit, cross-stitch, draw, paint, make paper dolls, make miniature doll houses and many of the things inside it, and heaps of other crafty things. She use to always tell us “do something constructive!” if we said we were bored! :D

  5. Is it weird that I’m an adult without any children, but I do these activities all the time? Hahaha!

    And agreed with the sewing, my grams and her sister who both sew and knitted their entire life since the 1930s taught me at a young age. Granted I still have lots to learn, I’m more of an amateur but I try to keep my fingers busy with sewing whenever I can to get better. =) xoxo
    Deja recently posted..A Daily Outfit – Mixer and a Goat

  6. Fab ideas… kites are another good one! Making then flying. It has the Mary Poppins factor!

    Growing up in London we had LOADS of great museums, parks and so forth to go to. I always loved picknicks the best though: making fairy cakes etc’ then going off to eat them.
    Perdita recently posted..Style Inspiration- The Cat

  7. I am delighted to see that only one of your activity is shopping related :-) In this consumer driven society it’s a breath of fresh air to see parents actually spending time with their children and teaching them and passing on various almost forgotten skills and crafts.
    coffeeaddict recently posted..7000 Bracelets of Hope

  8. My mother use to enjoy having us all make paper dolls together. She would draw a doll and clothing pieces for us to get us started then we would add more clothes and friends for the doll. My younger sister mostly colored in the pieces when she was too young to draw. I had quite a large paper doll collection that all began with our homemade collection!
    Christine/Hexotica recently posted..Weekly Outfit- What a Man Wants

  9. Pamela /

    I’m glad paper dolls have been mentioned, they were my first thought. Followed shortly by books. I used to absolutely devour books during the school holidays.
    Also, bike rides. My mother used to plan out bike rides for us, and we’d make a day of it. Mum in front with my baby sister in the baby seat, me in the middle, and my big brother bringing up the rear to keep an eye on me. Those days were truly magical, and I still remember them so fondly now 20 years later.

  10. I have a boy and am JEALOUS of your girly time.

    We have indoor pools at community centers that are usually ridiculoulsy cheap. What child doesn’t enjoy a good splash?

    • Super Kawaii Mama /

      Fran: I think probably other than the flower pressing, you could do all of these things with your son. The gallery and treasure hunting are easy, and the High Tea could be all about dressing up like James Bond and learning “Gentleman” manners, or Matt Preston style with a little cravat! Maybe instead of collecting flowers, it could be about collecting and identifying bugs? I know my girls love this one too. :)

  11. I have 2 boys (5 and 1), and school holidays does tend to get a bit busy lol. The treasure hunt sounds like it would be fun, mainly for my eldest. We are having a picnic with friends on one day which will be nice (feed the ducks, playground etc). The high tea sounds sweet, but I think it’d be a bit crazy with my little one lol. Thanks for the ideas- I’m open to any suggestions to keep my two gorgeous monkeys occupied ;)

    • Super Kawaii Mama /

      Alli: I remember going to high tea at the Langham when my smallest was 1. It was incredibly messy, but it was fun!

  12. oh and Kite Making and Flying!

  13. High tea is such a fantastic idea, whether you’re on holiday or not! It sounds like a great way to spend a lazy Saturday or Sunday and I think I will indulge in it soon. Thanks for the inspiration. :)
    Katie recently posted..The Church in Gooloogong

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