Schools break up at the end of September for a short holiday before the start of the last school term, which means hordes of learners will be badgering their parents for fun stuff to do.
Here are some fun and different ideas in Gauteng suited to children of all ages, some of which include activities for big people, too.
Perhaps you’re in the mood to treat your children to a holiday camp. If so, Happy Acres Spring Camp, on Rustenburg Road in the Magaliesberg, offers loads of outdoor activities to occupy children aged seven to 14.
Counsellors supervise campers and keep everyone busy with age-appropriate pursuits that include art, craft, walks, games, sports, hobbies, swimming, cookouts and playing with guinea pigs or rabbits.
Just an hour’s drive from Johannesburg on the banks of the Magalies River, the camp features sports fields, mountain gorges, natural bush, animal displays and bunk-bed accommodation.
Call +27 (0)83 449 5123 or visit the website for rates and bookings.
Become a mini-MasterChef
It’s many a parent’s secret dream to raise a child who becomes a kitchen celebrity, and conjures up creative meals for family and friends. The Wooden Spoon Kitchen at 51 11th Street, Linden, Johannesburg is a good place to grow an interest in the culinary arts.
Children aged five to eight are welcome at these fun, hands-on classes that incorporate an educational angle. On Monday 2 October, from 2.30 to 4pm, it’s new fruits and veg, such as B for Butternut, which means butternut scones and a butternut smoothie. On Tuesday 3 October, from 10am to noon, it’s a rainbow theme with salads and jellies and craft. On Friday 6 October, from 10am to noon, for older children aged nine to 15, it’s all about breakfast. Think pancakes with berry compote, granola, fruit and yoghurt parfait, and egg muffins.
For prices and bookings, call +27 (0)74 635 7023 or visit the website.
Where kids feed the kids
For toddlers and younger children who enjoy interacting with animals, feeding baby Saanen dairy goats will prove irresistible. Feeding takes place at 10am daily, from 29 September to 3 October at Grant's Dairy, 114 Jacoba Street, Norton Small Farms, Germiston.
Call +27 (0)82 565 0913 or +27 (0)11 902 8490 to book. Find reviews here.
For all the wannabe Formula One drivers, this activity can be combined with an adults’ shopping trip to Broadacres Shopping Centre, Cedar Road, Fourways, Sandton.
Head to the Food Emporium (next to the garden shop), where you’ll find Mini-Trac Karting action for children aged six to 12.
While the kids race around the track, parents are welcome to enjoy coffee, breakfast or a light meal on the deck. Racing takes place from noon to 3pm, from 5 to 8 October 2017.
Call +27 (0)82 928 7474 to make a booking or visit the website for more information.
Bum-boarding for little ones
Although this is considered an action sport, bum-boarding caters for children from the age of three and involves sliding down a slippery slope on one’s rear. It all happens at The Ski Deck, at 74 Bond Street, Ferndale, Randburg, which is open from 8am to 5pm by appointment. Picnic baskets and lunches may be brought to the venue.
Call +27 (0)11 781 6528 or +27 (0)11 781 6527 to book or visit the website.
See crocodiles and reptiles
Has your child encountered crocodiles and other scaly creatures in the flesh? If not, it’s time to take them to Croc City Crocodile & Reptile Park, Plot 97, R114 Old Pretoria Road, Fourways.
The venue has a large play area that encourages children to expend their energy, while adults conserve theirs in a shady tea garden. Every half-hour there’s a reptile interaction and a guided tour, with crocodile feeding at 2pm over the weekends. On Sundays at 11am there’s a venomous-snake show. Open to children from three years and up.
Call +27 (0)83 321 1016 or +27 (0)83 657 7561 or visit the website.
Get into robotics
Each day at Robotics Holiday Club heralds a new hands-on activity, so children can choose days that suit them. The focus is on “learn by doing”, which encourages experimentation. Robotics presents an opportunity for learners to reinforce and build on their knowledge through practical application. They will explore, programme and create basic- to intermediate-level bots.
Classes run just outside of the government school holiday period, from 9 to 13 October and are aimed at kids aged seven to 12. The venue is the Blairgowrie Recreation Centre, 8 Park Lane, Blairgowrie, Randburg. Classes run from 8.30am to 12.30pm daily and each class includes a light snack. Call +27 (0)61 429 5968 or visit the website to book as space is limited.
Exclusive art classes
Kids’ Kingdom, at 10 Arthur Road, Norwood, Johannesburg offers art classes for children aged five years and up, from beginner to experienced. To foster creativity, art classes are intimate and informal, and a variety of working media includes paint and clay. Classes run from 2pm to 5pm, Monday to Saturday.
Call +27 (0)82 758 1155 or +27 (0)11 728 4892 or visit the website.
It’s sew easy
Girls (and boys) old enough to operate a sewing machine are welcome at Sew and Grow Arts and Crafts, where they will learn how to create their own sewing project by following step-by-step illustrations. Machines are provided for each class.
Find Sew and Grow at 17 2nd Avenue, Melville, Johannesburg where classes take place on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9.30am to 11.30am, Fridays from 2.45pm to 4.45pm, and Saturdays from 8.30am to 10.30am.
Call +27 (0)82 568 7408 or +27 (0)11 482 6542 to book or visit the website.
Tour of the city on the big red bus
A double-decker, open-top bus is pretty darn cool, you have to admit. And kids who have yet to experience a City Sightseeing tour will enjoy sitting up top for a unique perspective on the City of Gold. Choose from three tours: through the leafy suburbs, a city tour, or a city and Soweto combo tour.
The Johannesburg City Tour is a hop-on, hop-off affair, so you can choose any of the nine stops along the circular route to get off and learn about some of the city’s historical hotspots and interesting destinations, such as the Carlton Centre, the Apartheid Museum, the SAB World of Beer and Constitution Hill.
Call +27 (0)861 733 287 to book, or find tour reviews here.
Swing like Tarzan
Young and old are welcome to put their coordination and physical prowess to the test at Acrobranch at The Big Red Barn, corner of Nelson and Glen roads, Sunlawns Estate, Olifantsfontein, Centurion, Pretoria.
Prepare your kids for a treetop experience that draws on their ability to plan, balance, swing, slide and jump, high up in a blue-gum forest. For younger children there’s a harness and trampoline that shoots them skywards. The venue also rents mountain bikes for taking on a number of tracks on the estate; in addition, there’s a zipline and an on-site restaurant.