The School Holiday Programme is an important part of the distraction therapy offered at Ronald McDonald Houses around New Zealand.

Being away from home due to a treatment journey can be particularly challenging for children during the school holidays. When it’s bright and beautiful outside, the last thing kids want to do is spend their days cooped up inside. But when your sibling is going through critical medical treatment in a city far from home, it can be quite tricky for parents to provide the fun activities that their children crave.

That’s where amazing volunteers and supporters like you come into play! Every time school is out for a break, a School Holiday Programme is hosted in the Ronald McDonald Houses to ensure that every child and Super Sibling has a whale of a time.

This January, one week of our School Holiday Programme was hosted by incredible Bella Crossan. She planned a week of creative, stimulating activities to bring smiles to the faces of children staying at Ronald McDonald House Auckland.

On Monday, Bella took the children outside for a day of sunshine and fresh air. Together, they spent the afternoon playing with bubbles, and giant outdoor games like Jenga. It was also a great opportunity to take advantage of the huge outdoor play area at Ronald McDonald House Domain while the weather was good.

Oliver sliding into 2020 with big smiles!

Tuesday saw Bella joining forces with drama tutor Frankie for a day filled with drama and improvisation games. Drama games are a great form of Distraction Therapy, providing an escape from the difficult time these children might be going through. They are perfect for bonding with other children in the House, developing critical interpersonal skills and unlocking a child’s imagination.

Bella and Frankie taught the kids how to play popular improvisation games like “Whiz Bang Bounce!” which helps children develop their reflex skills and is a whole lot of fun!

Bella and Frankie pulling funny faces with their students for the day!

On Thursday, Bella got the children into an artsy mood while they made DIY masks out of paper plates! They even decided to make paper plate goldfish… inspired by Ronald McDonald House Auckland Domain’s own pet goldfish, perhaps?

Finally, on Friday, Bella and her team of volunteers planned the pièce de résistance – a treasure hunt! Split into two teams, the children were sent on a wild goose chase around the House grounds, following exciting clues towards their end goal! At the very end of everything, they were rewarded with a special treat – yummy chippies!

A huge thank you to all of our volunteers and Bella for providing children with the opportunity to continue to be normal kids, despite being displaced because of a medical journey. Distraction Therapy is such an important part of the services we provide here at RMHC New Zealand, but without the helping hands of people like Bella, it wouldn’t be possible. Thank you so much Bella!

If you’d like to learn more about how you can get involved with the School Holiday Programme, you can inquire through our Volunteering team by visiting our website here