By Tiffany Markman, copywriter, editor & mom to a gorgeous chatterbox. Follow her on twitter

I hate public holidays and long weekends.

As a self-employed working mom, they mean I have a preschooler who’s out of routine, complaining of boredom, asking for snacks every 15 minutes and driving me mad (I work from an office adjacent to the house) by knocking on my window or staring in at me while I type. Disturbing!

The only way to survive it is to have a concrete plan. This year, however, what I don’t have is an entertainment budget. Times are tough. So I got thinking about kid-friendly places that are cheap, mid-range, and deluxe:

Cautious budget

If your wallet is under duress, the most sensible choice is the almost-free choice. So pack a picnic, pack your kids, find their bikes, and take everyone to the park.

The two I like most are the Bordeaux Bike Park, near Randburg, and the Mushroom Park/Hyundai Sky Park in Sandton. Both have great bike paths, jungle gyms, lots of trees, generous parking, and a choice of places to sit.

Bordeaux Bike Park; image credit


Mushroom Park; image credit

Mid-range budget

If you have a mid-range budget, I recommend The Glitter Factory at the FreeRange Lifestyle Centre, 42 Witkoppen Rd, Fourways. The kids can paint, mosaic, craft and create in a very relaxed environment, seven days a week. There are multiple options at different price points, and all materials are provided.

Just next door is State5-Fourways, a new-ish chain restaurant with an adventure play structure for over-3s, a play area with child-minders for under-3s, a wooden fantasy castle, a sand pit, a bike track, and a ton of shade under gorgeous trees. There’s also a fantastic menu, with delicious wood-fired pizzas for the littlies and interesting options for the grown-ups.

Deluxe budget

If budget isn’t a concern, or you’re up for a treat, it’s Color Cafe, hands down. This is where we go for ceramic painting and mosaic-ing fun, because you don’t have to be an artist to make something special – and everything’s so gorgeous!

Located at Shop 14, Hyde Square Shopping Centre, Cnr Jan Smuts Ave and North Road, Hyde Park, Color Cafe is where you choose a piece of raw ceramic to paint or a mosaic item to decorate. The venue supplies all materials and a team of friendly and artsy staff members is there to help, advise and touch up.

Color Café serves drinks and simple snacks, but the big drawcard for food is Glenda’s next door. Glenda’s is known for truly amazing food, cocktails, desserts, and most importantly, epic baked goods. If it’s sunny, sit outside for a few hours. The kids can either take their painting stuff along, or run around the square.

Please share your tips for budget, mid-range or deluxe kid-friendly venues for the holidays.

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