The weather is changing, the rain is falling and very soon the school holidays will be upon us again. But how do you fill in 2 whole weeks so that everyone can have a fun well-deserved break, without breaking the bank? Below are 25 tried and tested ways to have a great holiday with minimal cost.
Plant some veggies or herbs together
Even if you have no garden, you can have so much fun collecting recyclable pots, decorating them, filling them with potting mix and planting seeds. Some good choices to plant over the cooler months are: cabbage, asian greens, lettuce, rocket, spinach, carrots, celery, cauliflower, spring onions, leek, onions, radish, turnips and swedes, peas, garlic and shallots, parsley, rosemary, oregano, thyme, mint
Day at the beach
If you happen to live close by, the beach in winter can be very invigorating and spectacular to watch the waves and the ever changing clouds in the sky. A brisk walk up and down the shore will still yield rich results with shells, cuttlefish and other delights for little kids. The dog would love running beach side too, so pack a ball to play with.
Keep the kids active these school holidays with a cheap and healthy activity, dusting off the old rollerblades/skates can be a lot of fun, be sure to wear the appropriate safety gear and start off gentle until you get the hang of it.
Camp-out in the living room
Always a favourite with kids, pull out all the spare blankets and cushions and create a nest to camp out in for a night or two.
Kids Bedroom Make-over
The school holidays are the perfect opportunity to sort/donate/clean up and refresh your kids rooms. Search out what style you would like to theme the room in using pinterest, then source appropriate items from op shops, K Mart, the Reject shop etc to update their room. Sometimes just moving the furniture around gets kids excited, and adding a new lamp, floor rug or some wall prints can add a new feel to the room. Set a budget and stick to it, maybe use the next holidays to do the next stage.
The No Particular Reason Party
Invite as many people as you can fit in to bring a plate of finger food & their favourite indoor game. A super easy to host a few hours of entertainment and you don't have to provide all the fun.
Invite a playdate around
Maybe a whole gang is too much? What about the kids invite their bestie over and let them just hang out? If your kids are small, you can make up some invitations to play while you share a cuppa and chat with the other mums.
Inject a little culture into the holidays and discover your local Art Gallery. Some have special ran workshops over the holidays for your budding Picassos to join in and create some type of artwork.
Get to know your city
Have you been to that new cafe that has opened, or what about all the playgrounds in town? Most likely even if it’s just a new street that you have never been down, go exploring and you might just find you newest favourite spot or a handy shortcut on the drive to work, the shops or school.
Write an adventure story together
Brainstorm the main story line, the various characters, the deep mystery that gets solved at the end and assign each child a chapter to write or utilise their skills on the computer and add illustrations or pictures from the internet and print it out either at home or through a printer like Office works.
Get the kids to put on a fashion show & join in
This is really fun, get creative with clothes and accessories and see what you can add from the craft box for an added design challenge. What little kid doesnt like dressing up? We mentioned something similar over here where there’s also more great ideas, bonus!
Make greeting cards together
For a cheap and practical activity why not think about making your own thankyou, congratulations or blank card to give out throughout the year. There’s something special about receiving a handmade card and grandparents and friends alike will really appreciate your hard work and effort.
Cook a big Breakfast
You're on school holidays, make the most of having more morning time, make all their favourites with some special new ingredients. Check out our Pinterest board for yummy ideas
Picnic in your local Botanic Gardens
If you get a not too cold day, head outdoors with an armload of stories, a snuggly rug, picnic basket filled with delights and a hot drink. If your kids are old enough, you may even have the luxury of being able to take your own novel/magazine and take some time out for yourself.
Fairs & markets
Even in winter there are markets to be enjoyed, do a quick Google search and see when there’s one near you.
Spark their imaginations
Introducing kids to various cultural experiences at a young age is invaluable. Galleries and museums are full of information to explore and learn, just don't tell them they’re learning. Museums offer kids the opportunity to be inspired and explore their world in a different way. Search out exhibitions tailored to kids. You could turn your visit into a game of Eye Spy or a scavenger hunt.
Head for the country
If you’re living in the city head out for a day trip to the country to engage in some relaxed activities that are a real change of pace. Just driving and seeing cows and sheep grazing in the paddocks, is a novel treat for city kids. If you’re near Collingwood in Victoria check out a slice of country life at the Collingwood Children's Farm. Kids can get hands on feeding and patting the animals, with guinea pig cuddles or cow brushing, a must do for theses school holidays.
Have a family movie night
Winter is the perfect time to bunker down at home and curl up with a warm blanket and watch some family favourite movies. Add some popcorn and hot chocolate and you’ve got a very budget friendly way to spend a few hours.
Make the most of the park
Take the kids to the local park, basketball courts or sports oval for some one on one, kick to kick, fly a kite, follow the leader or just let them run free. If the kids have had their fill of the playgrounds swings and slide, try hide and seek, tag or mini olympics.
Have an 'opposite day'
This is heaps of fun, who doesn't love to have breakfast for dinner? Keep up the theme with more ideas, say 'goodbye' instead of 'hello' and vice versa, wear PJs all day and get into daytime clothes at bedtime ... you’ll feel like Little Miss Scatterbrain by the end of the day, but the kids will remember it for a long time.
Do a photography walk
Take a camera/phone, walk around the area and let your kids take pictures of whatever they want.
Play in the rain
It might be winter but that doesn’t mean every day is going to be rainy or gloomy. Write down a list of fun, free things to do outside. Also, so what if it’s raining? Get raincoats, umbrellas and gumboots then run and jump in puddles.
Free pick school holidays jar
This is an activity in itself. Print out this Free Pick Holiday Jar sheet, grab a jar and a pen. Have your kids write down things they like to do at home to keep themselves entertained or for you to do with them. Let them write it all down, then put the strips of paper in the jar. During the holidays, whenever they are bored, get them to pick something from the jar.
Reward yourself and them
So you’ve set a budget and decided that there are one or two activities that you are prepared to splash out on, try:
- Ice skating
- Ten pin bowling
- Be a tourist in your own town – pick something you haven't done before.
- Indoor play park