School holidays

Most children look forward to the last day of school, but the summer break can also mean six weeks of boredom.

However, it doesn't have to.

While in our primary school years, my siblings and I spent a lot of our spare time making up stories and drawing pictures or maps to go with them. I filled a notebook page with pictures of imagined family photos, with the pictures set out in rows of squares and the children's ages written underneath. I wrote stories describing the family's life, sometimes drawing a map showing where they lived.

My brother also drew maps (far more often than I did), describing to us the people who lived in those countries.

Together, we came up with a plethora of unusual characters we will never forget.

These invented people and settings were the subject of many outdoor games in which we would pretend we were harvesting crops, getting ready for a visit from new friends, or preparing against an attack from enemies. We also tried acting plays with our friends, planning and rehearsing first. This was a lot of fun.

One year we began writing a ‘real’ book, nominating a couple of people to be the authors, two more to be illustrators, and one to be the ‘ideas person’. We chose a setting (medieval France) and listed characters, hoping to get the book published upon completion - but never got farther than the first chapter.

A little more lasting was my try at making newspapers when I was nine; I still have a dozen four-page newspapers, written over a period of five months.

I also have special summer holiday memories of doing craft when I was about 10. For Australia Day, I embroidered a small Australian flag on a piece of blue denim.  Other times, I tried making cardboard marionettes, a paper house, and a collection of miniature paper hats.

School holidays are an opportunity for exercise and fresh air, too. My siblings and I have enjoyed riding bikes, climbing trees, and playing soccer, cricket and tennis.

These experiences have shown me that school holidays don't have to be boring and that even with few planned activities, children can have a wonderful time.  Summer holidays spent together are a source of special memories and help to keep children close to each other as they grow up.

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