35 No to Low Mess School Holiday Activities!

I’m sure I’m not the only person spending school holidays at home, we have no plans aside from a few play dates and a sleep over scheduled in, so I have a lot of time to fill in and a very busy 5 year old to keep entertained. I also don’t feel up to every day doing painting, baking, having paper cut up all over the floor and whatever else messy craft and activities strewn all over my floor for me to clean up. Especially when little miss two year old is pretty capable of making an enormous mess of the house on a daily basis, I’m trying to save my sanity at the same time as keeping the kids happy. Sounds like a plan, right?

So I’ve put together a list of low to no mess activities to share. Please make any suggestions for more activities we can do that won’t result in a 3 hour clean up and stained carpet!

Indoor activities:

10003958_10202156335614059_3383107245123833819_n1. Drawing, tracing and colouring in – pretty simple. Not a whole lot can go wrong with pencils and paper.

2. Rubber band loom – if they do get a spilled or spread around they’re not too hard to vacuum up (which also motivates children to keep their looms under control).

3. Dress ups – if you don’t already have dress ups, Kmart have a very inexpensive range of costumes and accessories, or hit the op shops and look for old hats, shoes, hat bags, jackets etc.

4. Puppet Show – buy or make puppets, and children can put on a show for you.

5. Treasure hunt with clues – THIS is an example of an Easter one, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be for Easter, it could be hiding a toy or another object.

6. Nature collages – either with clear contact or wax paper.DSC_0064

7. Window stories/drawings – writing on the windows with whiteboard markers or Crayola window crayons.

8. Play dough – this is low mess generally with school aged children. Recipe HERE to make your own.

9. Card games – Go Fish, snap, etc

10. Reading – if they can’t read yet, encourage children to tell you the story in the pictures.

11.Board games – snakes and ladders, checkers, children’s scrabble, monopoly.

12. Growing sprouts – Alfalfa, beans sprouts, chia seeds, can be grown in jars and containers with damp hand towels or cotton wool.

1016534_10201723596555853_1822876403_n13. OrigamiTHIS is my favourite Youtube channel for origami, his instructions are really easy to follow, he goes through every fold in detail and has a range of projects from beginners to experts.

14. Masking tape roads– also isn’t a messy activity, in that it does cover the floor, but it should clean up in no time, just pull the tape up off the floor, which is something children can do and my kids would actually enjoy packing this up. The making of the road, using the road, and packing up the road, is all part of the activity.

15. Reusable sticker sets – I’m thinking about ordering a couple of THESE for the kids today.

16. Sponge blocks – if I didn’t have a toddler, I’d love to make THESE with my 5 year old, unfortunately I look at these and see a choking harzard for a chompy 2 year old who’d love nothing more than to rip these up with her teeth.

Games for groups or play dates:

17. Freeze/Stop – I like THIS song on Youtube for handsfree game of STOP.

18. Musical Chairs – this game can be made a bit less accident prone by having “musical cushions” instead of chairs.

19. Sleeping tigers – whoever thought of this game is brilliant, everyone lay perfectly still on the ground and don’t make a sound. Genius.

20. SHIP SHORE SHARK! – if you’re not familiar with this game, watch THIS brief video It’s a great game for burning off a lot of energy!

21. What’s the time Mr Wolf

22. Fox and mouse 

23. Poison Ball – use a soft fabric or foam ball to avoid injury!

24. Hide and seek  – if you don’t have enough space or hiding places to get a good game of hide and seek, try hiding a teddy or doll in the house for children to find and take turns hiding from one another.

10154983_10202156336814089_5806483836338917274_n25. Movie day – make movie tickets, buy or make some popcorn, set up the lounge room with extra seats, cushions or even drag a mattress out onto the floor.

26. Dance party – invite friends over for a dance party, put on loud fun music, especially songs with actions to learn, such as the Chicken Dance or The Macarena !!!

Places to go

27. Parks and playgrounds – pretty obvious choice for an outing, parks are great places to meet up and do some of the group activities with friends.

10155663_10202107380910222_2139201252_n28.Zoo, Children’s farm or Petting zoo

29. Play Centre – honestly, I’d avoid play centres on school holidays like the plague, but it’s an idea.

30. Indoor pool – even in the cooler weather, just dry off and rug up before you go home.

31. Art Gallery or museum

32.  Library – often libraries will put on holiday activities.

33. Nature walks – head out in the bush, or to the beach, and explore natural environments, talk about the plants, birds and animals you might see.

1908262_10202156338014119_6035425603934767457_n34. Check out what activities might be on in your area, as often shopping centres or community centres put on school holiday activities.

35. I’m also making an “I’m bored” box –  write down activities that your children can do independently, such as “Drawing” or “Reading” as well as some chores such as “Clean bedroom” or “Wash windows” on small pieces of paper or card and put all the an empty tissue box. If your children say “I’m bored” they must pull out a piece of paper from the box and do whatever activity it says to do.


BONUS ACTIVITY – Play a fun little game I like to call “Nap and clean“.

Rachel Stewart

Rachel is the founder of Parenting Central. She is raising two children, boy and girl, with her partner. Rachel is obsessed prams, car seats, carriers and all things baby. She has worked in the baby industry for several years, for both suppliers and also in a retail setting and has developed a passion for connecting parents with the right products to make their lives easier. When Rachel isn't playing with prams she's enjoys crocheting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine) and spending a little too much time on Facebook.

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