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Prepare for a great breakAdvertising Feature

MAKE A SPLASH: Teenagers might want to meet their mates down at the beach, while parents can take their younger siblings to the local swimming baths. Check that your local beach is patrolled by coastguards. Photo: Shutterstock

PARENTS have their work cut out for them entertaining the children over the Christmas holidays.

Here are five activities children and families can do to keep busy over the long break.

Take a hike

Summer is the best time to be outdoors and we have hundreds of national parks to explore.

A bushwalk is also a fun family activity and can even incorporate an overnight stay under the stars.

Before embarking on a hike in a national park, research the area you intend to explore and take a note of the weather forecast.

Grab a water bottle, strap on your walking boots and slap on the sunscreen then hit one of thousands of walking trails. Teenagers might want to camp with friends only. Parents should find out where their children intend to camp and they may even want to book a nearby cabin in case of emergencies.

In the swim

We are blessed with the choice of more than 10,000 beaches across Australia and the great Aussie tradition is to enjoy the summer sunshine at your local beach.

Coastguards patrol many of our beaches but always remember to swim between the flags. If you live inland, take the kids to your municipal swimming pool for a day out. Many have slides, kiosks and picnic areas so you can make it a long day out.

Teenagers might want to ride their bikes to the pool and meet friends there.

Shelf life

Many parts of Australia are gearing up for a wetter than usual summer, putting a dampener on many outdoors activities. Consider a trip to your local library, where councils regularly organise fun activities for children of all ages over the long Christmas holidays.

Library staff have organised anything from bird-making masks and making your own paper animal bookmark, to creative writing classes, poetry competitions and video workshops.

Check with your local council what is happening over the holidays at your library.

Neighbourhood watch

Community organisations such as the PCYC organise a host of exercises over the Christmas break. These include many sports, from archery to Zumba, as well as science-based activities and cooking classes.

PCYC clubs are always supervised by an adult and classes can stretch for a day, giving a clean break for many parents.

A day at the zoo

Most cities and many regional centres are close to either a zoo or wildlife park, great places for a family day out.

Most will have holiday programs where children can feed some animals, scavenger hunt and ask questions about the broad range of animals. A visit to the zoo completes the holiday experience.