SCHOOL HOLIDAYS: Budget-friendly activities for families during the school holidays

07 April 2017

While it’s great to spend quality time with your kids over the school holidays, it can wreak havoc on the wallet if you’re not careful. But the break doesn’t have to come with a hefty bill. With a touch of creativity and a clever budget, you can get by on a shoestring.  

Gordon Bayne, Head of Travel at Scoopon, has provided a top 10 list of ways to have a cheap and cheerful school holiday break.

1. Go to the zoo

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Tantrums and tears fly out the window as kids marvel at the meerkats and get lost with the giraffes. School holidays work in your favour here, with most of Australia’s zoos offering discount prices for families. You can also look online for deals which offer discounts on entry, food and drinks. 

2. Kids in the kitchen

Who needs a fancy restaurant when you’ve got a bunch of mini-chefs at your disposal? Get your little ones together, choose a recipe then head into the kitchen for a day with the pots and pans. Not only will it be a fun way to bond, you can enjoy the fruits of your labour at the end of the day!

3. Head to an indoor play centre

If wet weather decides to rear its head during the holidays, being cooped up inside can send even the most patient parent up the wall. Jump online and find your nearest indoor play centre. The kids can run wild playing soccer, cricket, netball or basketball or monkey around at an indoor playground. Meanwhile, mums and dads can relax with a nice hot drink – well away from the wet weather. 

4. Backyard camping

Show your kids that adventure can be found in your own backyard by setting up a tent in the garden and spending a night under the stars. Tell stories, toast marshmallows and enjoy the knowledge that if it gets too cold, your cosy bed is just around the corner! The best part is it’s completely free!

5. Movie marathon

Gather up the kids and make yourself a snuggly spot on the lounge – it’s time to binge watch your favourite flicks in a movie marathon. Get your kids to choose their favourite films and then settle in for a long session. Be warned though, it’s not totally cost free – someone has to buy the snacks! 

6. Have a crafternoon

Are you handy with a glue stick and sparkles? Then it’s time to host your very own crafternoon! All the necessary materials can be purchased at a dollar store. Keep it to the bare minimum by buying a couple of tubes of paint, glitter, pipe cleaners and paint brushes. To avoid any mess, throw an old sheet over a table outside and let the kids get creative! 

7. Live in the local library

Books can be your best friend when you’re looking for ways to inspire your kids. The library is a great resource, with local branches often hosting author talks and book weeks during the school holidays. Set your kids a challenge to finish one book by the end of the holidays – a great way to get them excited about reading. 

8. Make a home movie

Thanks to technology, pretty much every parent knows how to work a video camera. Take advantage of this by making a home movie with your kids. Brainstorm some fun ideas and then shoot a bunch of footage around the house. Complete a quick edit on your computer and you’re done! Your mini-movie stars will love seeing themselves on the big screen. This fun and creative activity is completely free!

9. Build a veggie patch

Visit the shops and purchase a few cheap packets of vegetable and fruit seeds and get your little ones into the garden in your very own backyard veggie patch. Not only will they love the chance to explore the great outdoors, you can also teach them about different fruits and vegetables and the importance of being self-sustainable.

10. Visit the art gallery 

Last but not least, give your kids a dash of culture with a day trip to your nearest art gallery. It’s a great way to expand their minds and introduce them to different art forms. Most major galleries also run school holiday workshops, so if you’ve got a pint-sized Picasso on your hands, this could be their time to shine! 

By getting creative, thinking outside of the box and with some smart planning, you can keep the kids entertained on a budget. You can put the money you save towards a spa treatment – you’ll more than likely need to recover after the holidays!

Don’t forget to check out our Easter School Holiday Guide, packed with lots of activities for the kids, some of which are free or little cost.

Written by

Kids on the Coast/Kids in the City
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