Are you dreading the thought of having to entertain your children for the three weeks of the winter school holiday? Chances are they’re probably feeling the same way about you. But fear not, Benn van der Westhuizen has put together a list of some of the best workshops, holiday programmes and mini-stops to keep the little (and not so little) ones busy during their break… so that you don’t have to!
WATER-CENTRED FUN AT TWO OCEANS AQUARIUM
The Two Oceans Aquarium extends its hours during the school holidays (23 June to 16 July) to accommodate a fun family-orientated programme of activities to keep the kids busy this winter. With more than 200 species showcasing the incredible biodiversity of South Africa’s waters, the Aquarium is the ideal place to bring the family to learn and bond in a safe and inspiring environment.
- In between viewing the amazing exhibits, a special magic show takes place every Sat & Sun at 10am and 1pm.
- Puppet shows are three times daily in the I&J Children’s Play Centre, which also features arts and crafts, a sand pit, kids’ books and toys, and a special exhibit viewing window.
- 28 June sees Museum Night at the V&A Waterfront, when tickets are half-price and hours are extended to 9pm.
- Feeding times take place daily: at the I&J Ocean Exhibit at 12 noon and 2pm, and at the Penguin Exhibit at 30am and 2.30pm. The sharks are fed at 3pm on Sundays.
- In honour of Plastic Free July, the Aquarium is holding an Ecobrick competition, a ‘Plastic Alternatives’ pop-up shop, and a daily ‘Creature Feature’ talk.
Address: Dock Rd, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town
Times: Open daily 9am to 6pm
Cost: Adults R175 | U17s R130 | U13s R85 | U4s free
KIDS HOLIDAY WORKSHOPS AT VELD & SEA
Veld and Sea are offering two nature-themed kids’ workshops which indulge in some fabulous outdoorsy, educational activities.
ELEMENTS & NATURE: (26, 27, 28 & 29 June and 12 & 13 July)
Aimed at ages 4 to 9, the Elements & Nature workshop involves plant-inspired arts and crafts, foraging and harvesting ingredients for cooking and tasting, stories, nature walks, yoga and lots of time to play. Each day sees a different elemental theme woven through the activities. Kids engage with the outdoors through play, food, movement and crafts, as well as leaving with something special that they have created during the day.
26 June: Earth – exploring the gardens; collecting veggies and wild herbs; clay art.
27 June: Water – sea stories; making pirate hats; pebble painting; creating ‘wild’ drinks.
28 June: Fire – fynbos stories and drawings; weaving; making a cooking fire.
29 June: Air – tree, leaf and grass art; flower petal cupcakes; outdoor picnic.
12 July: “What flavour is the season?” (Winter) – weather, light and plants, stories, games, yoga and a seasonal wild flavour meal.
13 July: “Hello Moon” – explore how the sun and moon determine our seasons and food through crafts, story, experiments and a seasonal wild flavour meal.
TASTE YOUR WALK: (28 & 29 June and 12 & 13 July)
Suitable for ages 10 to 13, this workshop explores season-dependent wild foods. The children gather wild ingredients and prepare them in an interactive cooking class. Each day focuses on a new dish, with stories, games, yoga and crafts woven in to enhance the experience.
Address: Veld and Sea kitchen classroom, Good Hope Gardens Nursery, Plateau Rd, Cape Point
Times: Elements & Nature 9.30am to 12.30pm | Taste Your Walk 1.30pm to 4.30pm
Cost: Elements & Nature R300 per day or R950 for first 4 days | Taste Your Walk R300 per day
PLAY TIME AT SPIER’S KIDS’ CLUBHOUSE
Spier believes that parents deserve a break during the school holiday too. At Spier Wine Farm, you can drop the little ones off at the Kids’ Clubhouse while you get some well-deserved personal time with a glass of wine, a spa treatment or a long, slow lunch.
The Kids’ Clubhouse has been specially designed to offer fun and secure childcare services for young guests. Parents can enjoy all that Spier has to offer, safe in the knowledge that their children are being cared for and entertained. An imaginative variety of developmentally appropriate activities for children – aged 2 to 12 – includes baking and icing biscuits; visits to Eagle Encounters for interactions with many birds of prey as well as a variety of reptiles and other animals; and a unique playground.
Address: Kids’ Clubhouse, Spier Wine Farm, R310, Stellenbosch
Times: Open weekends and during school holidays from 8am to 5pm
Cost: Free when visiting Spier Wine Farm | Babysitting can be arranged at a fee
CRAFT WORKSHOPS AT CANDLE AVENUE
There’s nothing children like more than getting their hands dirty while being creative. Why not let them make something useful while they’re at it? Candle Avenue offers a fun, crafty candle-making experience that sees kids learning how to decorate their very own candles with seven different colours of wax, creating gorgeous candles to take home.
Candle Avenue also hosts a fabulous holiday programme for kids aged five and up:
26 June: Winter Wonderland Tree | R130 | Kids create a winter tree and two candles
27 June: Snowflake | R115 | Kids create snowflake-shaped crafts and two candles
3 July: We’re Going Dotty | R100 | Kids paint various pictures with dots and make two candles
10 July: Snowmen | R120 | Kids create polystyrene snowmen and two candles
12 July: Pizza Time | R125 | Kids create their own snowman pizza to eat, and make 2 candles
Address: 10 Moraea St, Halali, Durbanville
Times: 10am to 12 noon
Cost: Workshops start at R100 (bookings are essential)
BE OUTDOORSY WITH NATURE AT HEART
Kids spending too much time on the couch? Get them out of the house during the school break with Nature at Heart’s holiday programme, which keeps your children safe and active while you’re at work. Suitable for ages 6 to 12, the programme is educational and fun with many outdoor activities and nature games.
The daily schedule involves outdoor and indoor activities, in which kids learn about nature through play. Activities include guided nature walks each day, group work, animal / puppet shows, dance workshops, bird watching, scavenger hunts, Capture the Flag, sling-shot shooting, relay games, arts and crafts, and more. Some activities are weather dependent and may be moved around from day to day. Slow activities include educational movies and video clips, and there is also a dedicated reading corner stocked with books, board games, cards, puzzles and colouring pages.
The holiday programme is fully catered and includes healthy snacks (fruit and a muffin), a small lunch (hotdogs, vetkoek and mince, macaroni and cheese) and refreshments (Oros / juices and water available throughout the day).
Address: Tygerberg Nature Reserve, Totius St, Bellville
Times: 9am to 3pm
Cost: One day R250 (half-day R190) | Three days R675 (half-day R520) | Five days R1100 (half-day R850)
BAKING CLASSES AT KINDER KOMBUIS
Kinder Kombuis offers a variety of cooking and baking classes for children between the ages of 6 and 14. Not only do they learn a valuable life skill, but parents benefit from it too. In the winter workshop this holiday, kids learn how to make a variety of delicious snacks, from milktart cupcakes, to gingerbread men and peanut butter biscuits.
With each child kitted out in a handmade Kinder Kombuis apron and chef hat, each class is two hours of fun and experimentation – above all, it is an unforgettable experience. And once the baking process is done and all the spoons have been licked, kids learn how to clean up after themselves. Each child also receives the recipe so they can go home and whip up for their loved ones what they’ve learned in the Kombuis.
Address: 131 Keurboom St, Protea Heights, Brackenfell
Times: Each class length is 90 min to 2 hrs long
Cost: Available on inquiry
FUN AND GAMES AT CAPEGATE ADVENTURE PARK
The school holidays can make it very difficult to get all the household errands done – especially with a grumpy child that does not want to be in a shopping centre. Well, Capegate has come up with a win-win solution to this problem. Throughout the June/July break the centre is hosting an Adventure Park most suitable for children between the ages of 5 – 11 years old.
Kids can enjoy hours of adventure on the park’s inflatable obstacle course, or scale the jungle gym (with a climbing wall), or have a shootout at the cool Nerf gun station. This is the perfect way to bribe the kids into tagging along on a shopping trip with a difference. Entry is free for accompanying adults.
Address: Centre Court, Capegate Shopping Centre, cnr Okavango & de Bron Rd, Brackenfell
Times: 10am to 6pm
Cost: R40 / child