Teenagers and winter holidays: what to do?

Winter school holiday’s in Melbourne don’t exactly fill me with excitement. If I had the money and time I would head north or overseas to warmer climates.  I could also head up to the snow given the conditions seem quite good but I am an average and slightly unwilling skier, so it takes someone twisting my arm and organizing everything to get me there.

Which leaves me and the teenagers in the city thinking about what we can do whilst I try to keep pushing along with work and not let them sit about in their room all day communing with Netflix and Youtube! They are too old and not interested in going to scheduled school holiday activities, so I’ve tried to come up with a list of things that I think might be achievable and work around their desire to relax and catch up with friends.

Here is my rough plan:


- take advantage of their new interest in earning money and set them to work. If the weather is kind I hope to have all our side fences completely painted (they are about 50% there after some kid slave labour the prior holidays)

- building on the earning/saving money theme I am going to get them to take photos of things they don’t want/need anymore that we can sell. I reckon taking photos, posting them on gumtree and then managing the process is actually quite good experience. It would also be great to get some money back on the basketball boots that were worn about 2 times before the feet seemed to get magically two sizes bigger

- give my son a rev-up in his plans of starting a real job search (I had my first job at 14 and he is 15, approaching 16)


- sort through our stuff and do a big charity donation

- I think there is an opportunity to get them to help out for a day or two at one of our local charities. The Richmond Food Centre might be able to provide places for older kids to help. The Volunteering Victoria website has a search functionality but there doesn’t seem to be anything specific to school holidays


- walk the dog for a change, ideally at the off lead area at the beach - not just around the block!

- go for some runs with my son (he doesn’t know I plan this and will not be impressed by my secret plan to enrol him in a fun run with me – perhaps Connors Run because it has a fundraising focus, lots of kids do it and it was set up by a family not too far from where we live)

- take them to Bounce / laser / rock climbing with a group of mates

- we might do a day of cross country skiing given it’s not too long a drive, relatively cheap compared to downhill skiing, less busy, good exercise and I feel like less of a numphy than on the big slopes (but I still bounce along like a rabbit rather than glide!)

- continue with an 8-week fitness challenge my daughter and I are doing

- get them to master another meal and cook it for the grandparents when they visit

- laugh at them while they have a go at the popup ice rink that’s been set up near us in St Kilda

- scum an offer of a stay at someone else’s holiday house (offers please!)

- try to drag them into the MOMA exhibition (don’t fancy my chances with this one)


- drop my daughter off at local shopping malls for her mega browsing sessions. I hate shopping – she loves it, but fortunately her mates do too

- give my son endless amounts of $10 notes to ‘go to Subway / meet some friends’. Not many further details are usually offered but it’s not Maccas and he is always home when he says he will be and answers texts I send him with useful responses like ‘yeah’, ‘ok’ or ‘nah’. Can’t complain!

Feel free to leverage any of these ideas or give me some better suggestions for teenagers in Melbourne this winter holidays – I am all ears!







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