Here’s an idea a day to keep the kids entertained over the two-week school break without damaging the household budget.
It’s a good idea to make a list of your planned activities and create a calendar so you can book certain days for set events in advance. For the other days, let the kids decide each morning, or even the evening before, what they prefer to do from the list on the day.
1. Take a walk – even if it’s just around the block, pull on your sneakers and take a nice slow walk with the kids. Bring the dog along too! This one isn’t about exercising, it’s about enjoying the little things like picking dandelions, finding insects and talking about anything that pops into your mind.
2. Get into the kitchen – grab your aprons and get cooking with the kids. Most kids love it and there are so many easy recipes out there, whether you want to bake a batch of delicious brownies or cook an easy dinner. Just remember to leave your OCD tendencies at the door because there will be mess, but there will also be fun!
3. Head to the park – but think outside the square, maybe investigate some parks that are not in your local area. Check out local council websites for more information or most metro cities have dedicated ‘out and about’ websites for families, such as Little Melbourne.
4. Visit the zoo – did you know that kids get free entry to all Victorian zoos including Melbourne Zoo, Healvesille Sanctuary and Werribee Open Range Zoo. How awesome is that? So for just one or two adult entry tickets your whole family can enjoy a great day out. Visit Zoos Victoria for more pricing information.
5. Movie day – grab a latest release, turn up the sound on your home entertainment system, heat up some yummy popcorn and other snacks, put your feet up and enjoy a movie or two on the couch at home.
6. Get crafty – spend an afternoon with the kids creating some crafty projects. Pinterest is full of ideas and inspiration! You don’t need to be overly arty or crafty to complete these, nor do you need to buy special art packs and supplies (although if you want, you can often pick these up fairly cheaply at Kmart, discount stores and the like). A lot of the time you can even create a masterpiece using items and art supplies you already have at home.
7. Community activities – visit the website of your local council, library service, community arts centre or sports facility. They often offer free of low cost activities for children of all ages during the school holidays.
8. Camp out – I’m not talking about a trek into the wilderness, rather pitching a tent in the backyard or even just camping out in the lounge room for the evening. Enjoy some snacks, giggle and talk late into the night with your little ones.
9. Head to the beach – even if the weather is cool you can still take a nice walk along the beach and explore the coastline with your kids. Pack a picnic lunch, collect shells and make a great sandcastle on the beach.
10. Get gardening – create a mini veggie or herb patch in the garden. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just a few small pots which you might already have at home. Plant them with yummy vegetables and herbs of your children’s choice and set them the task of watering and nurturing them throughout the school holidays. Another idea is to select some flowering bulbs to plant in the garden or pots which will sprout and provide the garden with some beautiful colours during the grey, cooler months of the year.
11. Arrange a play date with friends – fitting in at least one of these in the school holidays will keep your child occupied for an afternoon or even a day. It’s amazing how your children’s old toys come to life again when a friend comes over to play!
12. Local markets – do some online research and see if any local craft, produce or farmers’ markets are being held in your local area, then spend the day exploring the market with your kids.
13. Games, games and more games – switch off the ipods, tablets, computer and other devices and pull out some old fashioned board games, such as Monopoly, Pictionary, Scrabble or Mouse Trap. Then head outside to play hopscotch or create an obstacle/activity course for the kids in the backyard.
14. Catch a train – even if it’s only a few stops to get off at a nearby shopping centre for lunch or an ice cream. Sad to say, my children don’t often use public transport. Life is busy during school term and we’re usually in the car moving from one activity to the next, so a trip on the train can be quite an exciting experience for them!
What budget-friendly school holiday activities do you like to enjoy with your kids? Do you have something that could be added to the list?