10 affordable ideas for the school holidays
Christmas is a great time for families to get creative and participate in fun activities together that don't break the budget.
Captain Sandy MacDonald has put together some tips on affordable activities to do with your kids these holidays.
1. A gift solution
When family members enquire about Christmas gift suggestions, ask for movie tickets. Seeing the latest movies with somebody else paying is a great holiday activity. Alternatively, organise your own movie or TV series marathon.
2. Get wet
There are a lot of ways to beat the summer heat with water: the beach, a lake or river, the local pool, a water fight, a slip’n’slide or just a sprinkler in the backyard. Challenge your family to enjoy as many different types of wet days as possible. Buy a multi-visit ticket to your local pool to get better value for money. Don’t forget to slip, slop, slap!
3. Go to the shops
You don’t have to spend money to get out of the house, enjoy the air-conditioning and keep the kids entertained – many shopping centres and community centres offer free activities during school holidays. (Avoid mealtimes if you’re concerned about the cost of buying a meal out.)
4. Don’t completely abandon routine
Sure, a break to the daily rhythm is beneficial, but if every day is unpredictable it can be tiring. If Wednesday is “park day”, you all know what you’re doing each Wednesday and you don’t have to listen to cries of, “Can we go to the park today?” every other day of the week.
5. Camp out at home
Camping in the backyard can be fun – we’ve even set up our tent in our lounge room! Eat camping food, have a sing-along and tell silly or scary stories by torchlight.
6. Visit Mum or Dad at work
I have a friend who, every school holidays, takes her kids by train into their dad’s work for a look around the office and lunch together. Don’t underestimate public transport – it can be a real adventure of its own.
7. Get cooking
From simple pikelets to a complete meal, the kitchen can be a fun focal point during holidays with the bonus of mastering life skills. Get the kids to plan, shop for and cook a meal. I’m hoping my six-year-old will be able to feed our family a meal other than fairy bread (her current specialty) come Australia Day!
8. Learn a new skill
Borrow books from the library, ask a friend or family member to teach a craft, attend a class or look online for lessons. Learn to draw, knit, cross stitch, dance, do calligraphy, garden or conduct science experiments.
9. Try “tech-free Tuesday”
Get the kids on board with brainstorming in advance the types of activities to do on days when there is no TV, computer, iPod or phone. Getting unplugged is good for all ages!
10. Meet up with mates
That first day back at school can be intimidating for a child who hasn’t seen any of their school friends for six weeks.