School holidays are necessary to give kids a much needed break from school and studying. However, for many parents, it can be a stressful time. The kids might have a fortnight off, but it’s business as usual for you. Not to mention that those two weeks can easily and quickly become expensive ones. So how do you keep your kids happy, active and engaged without breaking the bank?
Here are 10 affordable activities that will help you get rid of the dreaded “I’m bored!”, while still sticking to a budget.
- Brainstorm either on your own or with the kids, but be sure to write your ideas down. A list will make it easier to keep track of the idea, plus it allows for the kids to tick off the activities they’ve already done.
- When planning activities that require being away from home for most of the day, always pack your own lunch and snacks. Think insulated flasks like a Thermos for warm food or simply prepare sandwiches. Eating out with the family can be really pricey, and there’s always the risk the kids won’t like the food.
1. Bedroom makeover
This may not sound fun straight away for the kids – but they’ll come around when you tell them it’s their room that’s getting a makeover! In addition to a good clean, maybe your kids would like their room to be a different colour, or you can move their furniture a little to make the space seem different. Even a trip to Ikea could be on the cards – there are plenty of affordable and easy DIY ideas for quick room makeovers.
2. A trip to the library
Go to your local library with your children and pick up a couple of books for them to read. You don’t have to make it a short trip – you can take your time and show them how to find books themselves. Aim for them to start and finish one whole book in the two weeks or to read for half an hour every day. If your kids are not that into books, start slowly with a family book you can all read together.
3. Day at the beach
A day at the beach is free and so much fun for kids of all ages. Pick a day when there’s nice weather so you don’t risk having to come back to the house early. Remember to pack a picnic, sunscreen and a beach umbrella to protect the kids from the sun. And don’t forget to use insulated flasks for water – that way, they’ll remain cold for longer.
4. Plant a veggie garden
If you live in a house with a yard, consider planting a veggie garden (or anything that can grow from a seed, for that matter, such as herbs). This is not just a fun activity, but also a valuable opportunity to teach your kids about caring for plants, nature and looking after the environment. Try to get them involved in watering them every day and making sure they are growing nicely.
5. Camp out
Camping can be really fun and totally inexpensive if you decide to do it in your own backyard. The kids will have an absolute blast telling each other stories, reading books and eating snacks. Don’t have a backyard or experiencing bad weather? Just do it in your living room!
Cooking and baking is an activity most kids love, however, cooking proper meals with your kids can be quite stressful when ovens, hot pots and boiling kettles are involved. Instead, go for recipes that don’t need baking – such as cacao, coconut and date balls or something similar. You can always google ‘healthy recipes that don’t require an oven’ for ideas.
7. Arts and crafts workshop
It’s art class, folks! Unleash your little one’s creativity with an arts and crafts workshop. You don’t need to spend a fortune on materials – just use what you have at home. This is also a valuable lesson in recycling, and figuring out how to re-use materials and items around the home, instead of simply throwing them away.
8. Picnic in your local Botanic Gardens
Australia is renowned for its stunning parks and wildlife. Make the most out of them and our great outdoors with an awesome picnic day. In addition, lots of parks have kids playgrounds you can take advantage of. Don’t forget to take your picnic rug!
9. Museums and galleries
Teach your kids to appreciate art from an early age with a trip to a museum or an art gallery. There are many museums that are free or that have discounted rates for children, so make sure you do some digging before choosing one.
10. Creative writing workshop
It’s through language that we are able to learn and think, and that’s why developing reading comprehension and writing skills in children is so important. Let your kid’s creativity run wild with a creative writing workshop and help them write an amazing story. If you can get them to complement it with drawings, even better.
Making the most of school holidays on a budget
School holidays don’t have to be an expensive ordeal, and you certainly don’t need to plan a trip away for your kids to have fun. We’re lucky to live in a country with great outdoor activities and an array of inexpensive options to keep your little ones engaged and entertained. Plus, at-home activities are always great options. You don’t need lots of money – just lots of patience and love.
Don’t forget that school holidays are also a good time to review and plan for upcoming school expenses. If you’re earning less than $45,000 per year after tax, you may be eligible for our No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) offering loans of up to $2,000 to help with school expenses.