Public Eye (South Africa)

How to keep the kids amused this December

- Prashalan Govender

As the December holidays begin, parents are faced with the inevitable question of how to keep their children entertaine­d throughout the long holiday period.

To help parents answer that question, Public Eye went out to see what the city has to offer children this holiday, as well as what ideas parents have to make the most of the holidays.

According to Mpume Ngubane, events co-ordinator for Pietermari­tzburg Tourism, there are many places parents can take their children to in and around Pietermari­tzburg.

“The KZN Botanical Garden offers adventure courses for families to participat­e in, Liberty Midlands Mall has Wicked Karting where parents can race their children around the track and the Natal Zoological Gardens has numerous animals for visitors to see and offers braai facilities and picnics for all.

“In addition, the Natal Zoological Gardens has a splash park, putt-putt, pony rides and a jungle gym. There is also Tala Game Reserve and the Cumberland Nature Reserve,” she said.

Liberty Midlands Mall also has a host of activities and fun children’s programmes planned for shoppers throughout the festive season.

Santa’s Workshop invites children to hours of fun and festive crafting, with activities such as making Christmas tree décor, festive crackers and creating mini festive wreaths, from December 15-24, daily from 11 am to 4 pm in the centre court.

Santa will be visiting the centre and will be available for photograph­s with children at the Wimpy Court during the festive programme.

The Kwazulu-natal Museum is also hosting holiday activities for children from 9 am until 11 am this week (December 11 to December 14). The programme consists of a variety of arts and crafts inspired by some of the museum’s exhibits.

Starting on December 11, the activity will involve making invertebra­te-inspired sunglasses. On December 12, children can create African mammal paintings, with an exploratio­n of snakes and the opportunit­y to make their own paper snakes on December 13. The holiday week will end with children making “snowmen” on December 14.

Some parents shared their ideas for holiday fun with Public Eye. Reshma Chathu recommende­d the games arcade at the Golden Horse Casino as a child-friendly venue.

Arnold Reddy said he likes taking his two sons to the hiking trails in Cascades and spending the day at Midmar Dam.

Pietermari­tzburg mother, Duduzile Myeza, said she takes her children to the newly opened Olympic swimming pool to cool down on hot summer days.

For those looking to spend time with their children indoors, Vasantha Naidoo from

Toy Planet at Cascades Lifestyle Centre encouraged parents to consider buying toys or games that the whole family can enjoy as a way to spend quality time together this festive season.

“Lego Classic Bric sets are always a good idea as parents can build almost anything with their children.

“Puzzles and science kits are also another option,” she said.

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