The holidays are a time when most parents want to make sure their kids have the best time ever. But sometimes that can be hard on the wallet. With the cost of living dramatically increasing, a lot of families are really feeling the pinch at the moment. So, here are 20 of our favourite bordem busters for keeping your holiday season affordable without sacrificing any fun!
1. Check out the local library for new books to read or free social activities!
Since homeschooling both of my children, I have learned what a valuable resource the local libraries can be! Not only can the kids explore the vast range of books to read and keep their imaginations engaged and alive, but they also tend to host school holiday programs with activities such as movie nights, craft activities, and sing-a-longs to your fav Disney movies. The best part is they are FREE!! Numbers are generally limited so make sure to get in quick if you’d like to book your kids in.
2. Camping, at home!
Camping doesn’t always have to be an elaborately planned, expensive getaway. Why not just get a cheap tent and set it up in the backyard or even create your own with sheets and pegs in the lounge room!! Grab some snacks, a comfy blanket, and a torch, and you’re set!
3. Get Crafty!
Wrap the kitchen table in newspaper or an old table cloth for easy cleanup and just let them get creative for the day! The possibilities are endless! Let them explore the house for things that could be repurposed/recycled. Head to your local Kmart and grab some cheap craft supplies or kits. Grab some air-dry clay and paints. Just have fun being creative and messy!!
4. Check out your local Bunnings or Shopping Centre for free activities!
Another way to access free activities during the holidays or even just on the weekends is checking out your local Bunnings or Shopping Centre. Give them a call in case bookings are required!
Activities are usually craft-based, but occasionally you can discover gardening activities and live show performances!
5. Movie day at home!
We all know a day at the movies can get costly especially if you have more than one child! Why not organise a movie day at home instead? Grab your favourite movie snacks and maybe even invite some friends over for a movie marathon!
6. Go on an adventure somewhere local!
Even if you have lived in the same place for years, if you do some investigating you can usually find somewhere new to explore! Whether it’s a new park, a historical site, a botanic garden, waterfall, walking track, etc. just get out for some fresh air and see what you can find along the way!
7. Check out the local museum or art gallery.
Your kids will have fun while learning about local culture, history, or art. Most capital cities have many museums and always have a feature collection suitable for school-age kids!
8. Make salt dough ornaments!
You can bring out the creativity of your kids by making salt dough ornaments — figurines, letters, animals — just about anything they want to make. Making things out of salt dough will help foster fine motor skills through sculpting, painting, and threading. They make great keepsakes or gifts for relatives!
9. Try Geocaching
Geocaching is super fun – go find hidden treasure!
Read more on geocaching here.
10. Face painting!
Grab a cheap face painting set and google some fun designs to give a try! Imagine a family dinner with a table full of colourful faces!
11. Plan a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt!
Get the kids to put their thinking caps on and find the treasure! Whether you make a map or leave a trail of clues the choice is yours, but it’s a fun way to keep them occupied and working together to reach their goal!
12. Have a fashion show!
Have a theme or set a timer and see what combinations you can come up with! Some suggestions we have done: Kids dress parents, colour themes, favourite character, parents wardrobe only, blindfolded!
13. Make your own Kites!
Then, head outside to play with them! Here are our favourite DIY kite kits!
14. Visit a local market
They might winge and complain about going at first, but trust me once they are there they usually forget all about it and enjoy exploring all the different stalls, and if all else fails there are the food vans!
15. Go, Bowling!
Invite some friends to come along to extend playtime and share the experience! Bowling is generally affordable and fun for all ages!
16. Visit the Zoo
Pack lunch and drinks and all you need to pay is the admission and you have the entire day to explore and learn. Most have free admission for children during the holidays!
17. Go to the local skate park or go for a bike ride!
It’s free, it’s fun, it’s outside.. need I say more!
18. Have a baking day!
Cooking with kids is always a hit, let them pick a recipe and go for it! The best part is you get to eat what they cook. Or if there is plenty, maybe you could share with the neighbours or local police or firefighters!
19. Paint some rocks and go rock hiding/hunting!
Did you know that rock painting/hunting is an awesome community initiative happening all over Australia? All you need to create painted rocks is to find large, flattish rocks, paint them in acrylic paint and decorate them in the most creative way you can, hide them in a local playground, walking track or park, join your local Facebook group (for example NSW Rocks, Vic Rocks or Inner West Rocks in Sydney) and give your fellow rock hunters a hint at where they might find their new treasure! Before hiding a painted rock, you can post a photo of the one you have painted to the group, or if you find a rock someone else has hidden you can post that to the group. It's that simple, and LOTS of fun!
20. Games Day!
Best to invite some family and/or friends over for maximum fun. Pull out your favourite board or card games and make an afternoon/evening of it!
We always make sure to include Social Seeds card games too!! Check them out here.
So, when it comes to keeping your kids entertained and out of trouble this school holiday season on a budget, remember that you have plenty of options. With a little creativity and some help from your friends (and us!), you can make this the best school holiday ever!
And if you have any tips or tricks to share, please leave them in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you! Have fun out there!