Indoor activities for kids this winter that don't involve screens
Winter's well on its way, and while Australia isn't exactly about to be buried under three feet of snow, it can still bring plenty of chilly, windy, and otherwise largely unpleasant days outdoors. Sadly, that means long days in the backyard, on the beach or simply outside with a packet of chalk and an active imagination are currently on hold.
Instead, the nation's kids will be heading indoors. There might not be beaches hidden inside your laundry room, but that doesn't mean there aren't fun things to do. The trick is to keep screen time - be it laptops, televisions or smart phones - to a minimum. In 2014, a study published in BMC Public Health found that as much as 45 per cent of eight-year-olds to 80 per cent of 16-year-olds exceeded the recommended two hours per day of screen time.
To avoid those stats in your home, try out these activities while you're indoors!
It was only a generation ago that the parents of the kids today grew up with nothing more than Monopoly, Scrabble and a couple of puzzles that lost more pieces every winter - and it didn't do us much harm. These games are great training grounds for everything from acquiring wealth and learning to spell, to patience that only comes from 200 pieces of blue sky in a puzzle. Plus, when you cheat in Monopoly you have to actually be sneaky, as there are no cheat codes when a watchful older sibling is playing banker.
You don't have to stick to the old classics either, there are some great recent games such as Cranium that offer a whole set of new challenges for the young ones. And not a screen in sight.
Prepare to have every cushion and pillow in the house expertly fluffed, because there's nothing like a rainy weekend spent building an epic blanket fort, hiding in it all day then letting the grown ups put everything back in place.
You'll need to help the kids with any heavy lifting if you've got couches that will become part of the fort, and you'll need to double check that there are no unsafe sections, but it's a great way to keep the young ones entertained.
Arts and crafts
Arts and crafts are a staple of childhood, and it's definitely one activity that all kids can get involved with. From pipe cleaners for the little ones to paints for the older kids, the creativity involved here will be as endless as the mess if you include glitter in your arts box.
Of course, you can always head in to try the games at Playtime and keep the fun going - and we'll tidy up any messes that might come from it!