School holidays are a much-needed break for some, a juggle for many, and always a time when the added financial (and mental) pressures of keeping your kid’s entertained day after day can become a bit of a challenge. So instead of letting the holidays sneak up unprepared, we’ve pulled together a list of fun, creative and affordable ideas to keep your littles occupied – with or without parents in tow.
1. Get creative with colouring.
Colouring might sound like an outdated activity or something reserved for pre-schoolers, but if you set the scene (think a cosy corner prepared with vibrant crayons and colouring books or printed colouring sheets), you’ll find there’s still plenty of fun to be had (for both kids and adults). Colouring not only fosters concentration, self-expression and creativity, but it also acts as a practice of mindfulness – you’ll quickly find yourself absorbed in the moment, focussing on the activity at hand. And if your littles need some extra motivation, put their colouring efforts to good use – frame it as a gift for a family member, scan and print it to use as a party invitation, turn it into a bookmark or try one of these ideas.
2. Head to the kitchen.
Getting kids involved in the kitchen is not only fun but teaches your kids valuable life skills with a side of maths. As a bonus, you’ll benefit from the fruits of their labour and may even be on track for breakfast in bed sometime. If you can’t handle the constant taste testing and inevitable mess along the way, get them involved with making playdough – they won’t want to eat it, and it’ll keep them entertained for even longer!
3. Get gliding.
The smooth icy surface of a skating rink is pure magic. There are plenty of cool spots dotted across Australia Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne, to list a few), and whether you choose to book your little one in for a lesson or let them figure it out themselves, fun is guaranteed. Adults keen to strap on some skates will benefit from a low-impact cardio workout and a leg burn that highlights muscles you didn’t know existed. And if you find yourself with a new hobby on your hands, check out Ice Skating Australia for everything you need to know.
4. Tour your own city.
We often overlook exploring our own backyard in favour of heading somewhere new, but you’ll be surprised at just how much fun you can have locally. Make an itinerary with your kids (complete with public transport travel), help them prepare a picnic lunch and head off on an all-day adventure. Whether you choose to tour local galleries and museums (many like the NGA host free activities specifically for kids over the holidays) or base your itinerary around activities happening in your city – like Lightscape Melbourne, Museum of Brisbane, Canberra Holiday Fun, Free Holiday Activities in Sydney or Adelaide in Winter – there’s plenty on offer across the country to pack out your day.
5. Hit the snow.
Snow holidays can be pricey, but there are still plenty of ways you can make mountain memories with kids on a budget – as long as you plan ahead. Borrow gear from friends to keep the kids snug on the slopes, and if accommodation costs at Australia’s Best Family Ski Resorts are out of your budget, consider making a day trip out of it. You can have just as much fun spending the day tobogganing, building snowmen, and throwing around a snowball or two.
6. Crack the code.
Coding is quickly becoming a popular activity with kids, and it’s a skill that not only fosters creativity and builds maths and logic skills but will also set them up for the careers of the future. Code Camp is an Australia-wide provider of afterschool and holiday programs run out of over 100 schools (and online), with a range of topics to suit all interests and age groups. Your little coders can learn everything from how to make their own Minions movie to learning DJ’ing skills, animation, and game design – all while the adults in their lives get on with the day-to-day.
7. Create a storybook.
Harness the unbridled creativity of kids by encouraging them to create their very own storybook. Depending on their age, you could brainstorm ideas together, do the writing for them and stick in (or draw) relevant pictures for them to colour in – or leave them to it. To make it extra special, ask them to create a story based on your family. It’s something you’ll cherish for years to come! Find some inspiration here.
8. Camp with home comforts.
Kids love camping, and you don’t need to head bush to do it. If you’re willing to brave the cold, a backyard camping adventure can be just as fun – especially with a few home comforts thrown in. Embrace all the camping favourites like indulging in s’mores, wrapping up warm and heading out stargazing, playing a game of camping-themed charades, going on a backyard bug hunt, telling stories by torchlight and snuggling down into your sleeping bags once you’re all worn out.
9. Get artsy.
For young and old alike, the school holidays are a great opportunity to slow down and channel our creative sides. Younger kids will love collecting natural objects like twigs and pinecones and turning them into unique works of art (and collecting them is half the fun!) For older kids, set them up with a little art studio at home. Gather an easel, a few paints and brushes and watch your little Picasso’s imaginations run wild.
10. Dance in the inevitable rain.
Don’t let winter weather dampen your school holiday fun; embrace the season by donning gumboots and raincoats and grabbing the umbrellas to get out and explore the joy of puddle splashing and mud sloshing. There are plenty of things older kids can enjoy in the rain, too, like making boats to float in puddles or down gutters, making a rain gauge, building dams, drawing with wet chalk (it’s a whole different experience) or testing their long jumping skills by jumping over puddles rather than stomping in them.
Carve out time to enjoy the holidays with your kids – it’s not forever!
While it can feel like a lot of pressure to fork out money for expensive activities, there’s a whole lot of fun you can have that won’t cost you a cent. It’s all about spending some quality time with your kids and making valuable memories. And remember, it might seem like an eternal juggle right now, but before you know it, you’ll blink, and they’ll be all grown up!
Happy School Holidays from your local First National Real Estate team.