Whether the school holidays are coming up or you just want to plan a nice family weekend, there are lots of activities you can do to keep the kids occupied and happy - without breaking the bank. Fortunately, with our spacious houses, vibrant cities and towns, Australians have a myriad of fun family activities to choose from! In this blog post, we will talk about family activities that don't cost a lot of money that you can do at home, on a day trip or sneaking in a cheap weekender!
Holidaying at Home Doesn’t Have to Be Boring
Around the house there are tons of things you can do together as a family, that are both fun AND frugal! For example, you could:
- Set up a family challenge! You can keep the kids happy and occupied even if you are staying home for the holidays. Keep the kiddies engaged by setting up a family challenge for the school holiday months. For example, set a goal to read ten books each over a month, or inspire kids with a realistic fitness goal, such as running 5km as a family. Track your progress with a chart on the fridge, and don’t forget to sell your challenge by promising a reward at the end. Other ideas for school holiday family challenges include raising money for a specific cause by selling homemade baked goods or holding a garage sale, learning a new language or mastering a new art or craft such as calligraphy, watercolour painting or knitting.
- If it’s rainy or cold outside, have a movie or documentary marathon – choose from Disney classics, old-school movies that Mum & Dad watched when they were little, David Attenborough classics, or if you have older kids you could even throw a Harry Potter themed marathon! Dress in your comfiest pyjamas - and don’t forget the popcorn, snacks, and hot chocolate!
- Make reading and writing fun with book day at home! Dress up as your favourite story characters, read your favourite books (or go to the library and borrow some new ones) and take turns writing a sentence in your very own silly story! You could even take this a step further, staple together some pages and create your very own story book, complete with illustrations!
- Kick the ball, throw the frisbee or fly a kite in your local park. You can even pack a picnic to sit in the park and enjoy the lovely day, and if you have a pet dog, bring them along to join in the fun! Another option is to plan extended walk through your neighbourhood to visit a local park that’s a bit further away! Otherwise, you could also set up a backyard obstacle course or decorate your bicycle with streamers and do a bike parade!
- You’re going to have to cook and eat anyway, so why not have some cooking fun as a family! Whilst cupcakes and cookies typically come to mind as a fun cooking activity, see if you can jazz it up with fun themes, colours and shapes! For example, you could make solar-system themed cookies, or make funny faces on cupcakes. You could also try making pasta from scratch (letting your kids crank the pasta machine), or preparing an array of ingredients for everybody to choose their own toppings and build their very own pizza! Another simple way to make healthy eating fun, is buying a big watermelon, cutting it into slices and letting kids cut out shapes with cute cookie cutters! The only thing better than watermelon is star-shaped watermelon! Alternatively, you can make up a big batch of oat bites, and the kids will have lots of fun rolling it into balls!
- Bust out the glue, pens and paint for an arts and crafts day! See if you can find carboard boxes and rolls lying around the house to make a doll house and furniture, a toy car garage, various types of animals or even a crazy mechanical invention! Check out this awesome blog by AmandaSpaghetti which has heaps of craft ideas including how to make a recycled box clock, cardboard play kitchen, fish tank, pirate ship and spyglass, binoculars, a fire-breathing dragon, toilet paper roll bird feeder, a “nail salon”, and mini games such as Tic, Tac Toe and a marble run!
- Camping out in the backyard at home is one of the best experiences to have as a kid! Bring along your child’s snuggly blanket and favourite toys, some camping snacks and don’t forget the flashlight! If this is an option, you could even set up your very own campfire!
- Treasure hunts are wonderful family activities and they cost little to set up. Locate some suitable hiding places and hide the “treasures”. Treasure ideas include chocolates, small toys, books, colouring pencils, and other trinkets. You can draw up a map of clues and leave notes around for the kids to follow or keep it simple as possible by just outlining boundaries for where treasure has been hidden.
Cheap Excursions and Frugal Family Outings
If you’ve exhausted the list of activities to do at home, the take your family fun to the next level with a field trip!
- Explore the arts! If you live in an Australian capital city or somewhat close-by, chances are you have easy access to a choice of galleries, museums, exhibitions, and theatres. Many of these will offer free entry, and if not, tickets tend to be inexpensive and comparable to the cost of movie tickets and popcorn for the entire family. And you can save even more by packing your own post-gallery or post-show picnic lunch. Sign up for event updates with your local cultural centres and find out which activities your kids are most interested in.
- Take a drive into the country or go for a hike. A day trip into the country can be a special day for the whole family. You can engage the kids by visiting local farms, where they can run around, pick fruit, get close to farm animals, or learn about native plants and wildlife. Local historical sites and museums also offer many fun and interesting things to experience – and you could even invite your grandparents along to join in the fun! Most facilities offer a picnic area, so you can save even more money by taking your own lunch! Do some research on what’s happening near you and plan a few day trips throughout the holiday period to keep the kids interested.
- If you’re close to a beach, why not throw a beach day for the kids? Invite a few families along, pack some delicious beach party refreshments, enjoy some fun in the sun and end the day by watching the sunset, together. Pack a sport set - such as a soccer ball and team armbands, a volleyball and net, or a cricket set - so you can get active and organize a fun match on the beach! You can even bring along your rods/reels and try your hand at fishing in a local estuary – who knows, you might end up catching dinner!
So, that’s all for our family friendly activities that don't cost a lot of money - they are all simple ways to have a fun time and are guaranteed to create priceless memories for you and your loved ones. Whilst keeping the kids entertained over the school holidays can be expensive, we hope to have inspired you to save your money and enjoy your time instead!
Debt Help for Families
If debt is getting the better of you, and you need some professional assistance to help get your family finances back on track, give our friendly team of Credit Counsellors a call today. We’re here to help everyday Aussies who are struggling with their finances, to get their life back on track. Call us on 1300 003 328 for a confidential and free debt assessment, and start looking forward to a fun, debt-free future for you and your family.