Here’s how to help your kid structure the school holidays (free printables)


A week or two of lazing about doing not much at all is brilliant. Six weeks of it is ironically exhausting and definitely not the way for kids to shake off an old school year and get ready for a new one. The best way to make the most of the break is to structure the school holidays in a way that encourages refreshment and growth.

When you don’t feel like doing anything it can be hard to motivate yourself. Plenty of kids fall into the trap of letting time on screens become their ‘new normal’ in the holidays. The more you do it, the more you don’t want to do anything else.

There are so many good reasons to fight the pull of the screen (here are quite a few). Lucky for our kids, the girls at teen blog Toolbox for Teens (my daughter is one of the girls!) have come up with a holiday challenge you just might be able to get them into.

Structure the school holidays so you're not always just on screens

Toobox for Teens holiday challenge

The challenge is basically a neat way to structure the school holidays into daily routines. Each day, the challenge is to do something from each of these four categories:

  1. Creative
  2. Active
  3. Productive
  4. Cognitive

The girls also suggest that adding a Social element could be a good idea, though that’s not necessarily one that needs to be completed daily.

They’ve got a really neat progress tracker to print that creates an effective ‘Jerry Seinfeld’ don’t break the chain reward system. There’s also a printable ideas list for kids who get stuck trying to think of something to do in each category. Head over to their blog to download the printables.

Structure the school holidays to make the most of them

Three hours of goodness

Each of the category targets is to do the activity for 45 minutes, so by doing all four in a day your child will have put in 3 hours of worthwhile time. A typical day of activities might look like this:

  1. Sewed a drawstring bag
  2. Took the dog for a long walk
  3. Weeded the front garden bed
  4. Did a jigsaw puzzle

A different day might look like this:

  1. Practised my saxaphone
  2. Went for a surf
  3. Cleaned out my clothes drawers
  4. Made an anime cartoon

Loads of activity ideas

Toolbox for Teens lists loads of ideas to fill each of the categories, as well as encouraging each person to come up with a list of their own. This is a very good idea as having a go-to list of things they genuinely love to do will help motivate your kid on days where they just want to be buried in a screen all day.

A brilliant way to structure the school holidays

It’s quite handy if you’ve got more than one kid at your house doing the challenge, because they can do many different activities together. It also means they are more likely to stick to the challenge – seeing a sibling not breaking the chain each day is high motivation!

Take the challenge yourself?

Ever since my daughter put together this holiday challenge (initially just for her and my other two kids, but I encouraged her to post it on her blog), I’ve kinda-sorta been doing it myself. Rather than flop in front of the tele at the end of the day, I’ve been motivated to do something creative, cognitive or active instead. Frankly, I reckon any mum does more than her fair share of the ‘productive’ category every single day already!!!

Reckon this will help your kid structure the school holidays?

Feature image by Asaf R ; Skateboard  by Daniel Wirtz; Embroidery by Nathana Rebouças

Written by Bron Maxabella

Bron is the founder of Mumlyfe and is so happy to welcome you here. Bron has been writing in the Australian parenting space as Maxabella for more than 10 years and is mum to three mostly happy kids and wife to one mostly happy husband. Mostly happy is a win, right?

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  1. Erin

    I didn’t realise your daughter had started/is part of a blog!! Well done, so proud of her xx

    • Bron Maxabella

      Very proud! It’s a fun one, too. I’m actually amazed at how much they have achieved with it. I’ve done virtually nothing except introduce them to a good spam filter!!


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