Budget activities the kids will love
School holidays can be pretty expensive, with the endless requests for treats, outings and entertainment. But with a little creativity and planning, these fast and easy ideas mean you can have fun with your kids without spending a fortune.
Use our guide to write a list of all the possible free, cheap and fun activities the kids can enjoy these holidays. Stick it on the fridge, any time the kids say “We’re bored!”, let them choose something off the list. Cross them off as you go, and you and your budget will happily survive the holidays!
Fun at home
Hunt for treasure
- This one is just as much fun for you! Hide some fun trinkets and treats around the house and garden and create a treasure map that leads the kids on an adventure, without leaving home! You could even bury a treasure chest!
Cook up a storm
- Let your little Masterchefs bake up some tasty treats! From pizza wraps to chocolate-dipped ‘bananas in pyjamas’, this handy guide to school holiday cooking has loads of ideas to tempt any kids’ appetite and creativity.
- Kids love arts and crafts! If you’re not the creative type don’t worry, this school holiday craft guide has gazillions of fun, fast and easy ideas that won’t break the bank. From papier mache or face painting to play dough and pet rocks, the list of options is endless and makes the most of odds and ends you already have at home, keeping the kids busy for hours on end.
Go camping – at home!
- Camping without the hassle of packing and transporting everything, and with the convenience of a hot shower – now who wouldn’t love that? Borrow and set up a tent in the back yard – or even inside if the weather isn’t great.
Arrange a playdate
- You might think more kids underfoot is the last thing you need – but sometimes inviting a friend over is just the trick to keep them entertained and out of your hair! Add some arts and crafts, water bombs or a DVD, and they’ll keep each other happy for hours.
Plant a herb or vegie garden
- Spring into spring and let the kids get their hands dirty with some gardening. Clear a small outdoor area and grab some punnets of small seedlings or packets of seeds. Even if you don’t have a garden, grab some cheap pots that you can put on a balcony or window sill. The kids will love watching their plants grow.
- Forget expensive trips to the cinema – bring the movies to you! Borrow some DVDs from friends or your local library, dim the lights and pop some popcorn, and you’ve got an instant cinema at home. If it’s a warm night you could even try taking the TV outdoors and enjoying an outdoor beanbag movie night – the kids will love it!
Build a cubby house
- This one is a favourite for rainy days, but is just as good when it’s sunny! Raid the linen cupboard and use sheets, blankets and towels to turn the lounge room, dining table or just about anywhere into an amazing kids cubby. Send the kids some morning or afternoon tea, and you won’t see them for hours!
Read a book together
- Visit the library and track down some of your childhood favourites that you can read to the kids and enjoy together. Audio books are also a great idea for when the kids need some quiet downtime too. Pop them on while they chill out and recharge for an hour – giving you some precious quiet time!
- Put a pile of options together or let the kids loose in your wardrobe – then sit back and enjoy the fashion show! Take some photos or a video that they can enjoy viewing and editing afterwards.
Fun out and about
Hit the park
- Grab the bikes and scooters, bats and balls and head to your local park for hours of outdoor fun. Check your local council website for some nearby options you mightn’t have visited before and parks with facilities including basketball hoops, skate ramps or playground equipment. Don’t forget to pack a picnic blanket and good book so you can chillax too!
Head to the beach
- As the weather warms up, it’s a great time to enjoy the sun and sand. Remember the sunscreen and enjoy some fun in the sun for free!
Check out your local library
- Libraries have loads of fun and free activities for kids in the holidays. Jump online or pop by and visit yours to see what’s on and when, and whether you need to book in.
- If you’ve got a big shopping centre nearby, check out what school holiday entertainment they might have planned. Many offer free and fun activities for the kids, including crafts, face painting, shows, craft and entertainment. Just remember to leave your wallet at home so you’re not tempted to bust your holiday budget on some unexpected shopping!
Get some art and culture
- Museums and galleries often have some great holiday activities for kids. Check local school holiday guides or jump online to see what’s on near you. Most are free or low cost, and the kids will have loads of fun without even realising its educational!