Australia

15 cheap (or free) things to do with the kids

It's not being cheap, it's being financially responsible. Why not have a quick look through this 15-strong list and see if theres something that takes your fancy. If you already have a tent this is a cheap adventure. You can enjoy some toasted marshmallows, watch the stars and moon, tell spooky stories and play some games in the dark. Hire or borrow a couple of movies, pop some popcorn and sit and enjoy some family time. Most museums and art galleries are either free or are relatively cheap. Plenty of them also have interactive displays where children can learn about things or create masterpieces. Get your children to either write or dictate a play – with a beginning, middle and end – and then get them to act it out, ready for a performance in front of family and friends Have the children help to make sandwiches, fill water bottles and cut up fruit so they can enjoy a picnic in the park. It is especially nice if the park has stimulating play equipment to enjoy. With some paper plates, elastic, string, feathers, glitter, paint and more, create some beautiful masks to wear at the familys masquerade ball. Make sure it is not too hot, then pack your towel, sunscreen, food and drink and enjoy a day at the beach. It will cost you nothing but you will have a day to remember. You can either dig up a part of your garden or find some old pots, containers, almost anything to plant some herbs and vegetables. Make sure you create tags to label your plants. Hide some treasure, it could be a treat or money, and create a treasure map which will have clues at different stops along the way. This could keep them busy for hours. If you have some fishing rods, dig up some worms or buy some bait and spend the day relaxing under a tree or on a beach with your rod cast. Who knows, you may even come back with dinner. Gather some string or elastic and different macaroni sizes and you have the beginning of a beautiful necklace. Some kids paint could make it a colourful treasure. Grab some of the adults older, disused clothing – including shoes and handbags – and let the children put on a fashion show with a difference. You could even film it for them to review later when they settle. Over school holidays there are usually some types of free activities at the public library. You can also teach your children how to borrow items such as books, toys and even DVDs. Get out the crockery and teapot, makes some dainty sandwiches, fairy bread and biscuits and sit down to enjoy a quiet moment as you all enjoy afternoon tea. You may even want to dress for the occasion. All you need is some paper, crayons or pencils and you are almost there. Take the children for a walk around the park or even just up and down the street to find some fantastically shaped leaves. Put the paper over them and rub gently with the crayon.

It's not being cheap, it's being financially responsible. Why not have a quick look through this 15-strong list and see if theres something that takes your fancy.

You don't have to leave the safety of your home to camp out. Photo: Shutterstock

Backyard camping

If you already have a tent this is a cheap adventure. You can enjoy some toasted marshmallows, watch the stars and moon, tell spooky stories and play some games in the dark.

Make a movie date

Hire or borrow a couple of movies, pop some popcorn and sit and enjoy some family time.

Visit a museum and/or art gallery

Most museums and art galleries are either free or are relatively cheap. Plenty of them also have interactive displays where children can learn about things or create masterpieces.

Act your heart out with the family. Photo: Shutterstock

Act your heart out with the family. Photo: Shutterstock

Write and act out a play

Get your children to either write or dictate a play – with a beginning, middle and end – and then get them to act it out, ready for a performance in front of family and friends

Picnic in the park

Have the children help to make sandwiches, fill water bottles and cut up fruit so they can enjoy a picnic in the park. It is especially nice if the park has stimulating play equipment to enjoy.

Masquerade ball

With some paper plates, elastic, string, feathers, glitter, paint and more, create some beautiful masks to wear at the familys masquerade ball.

It's outdoors and we have a few! Photo: Shutterstock

It's outdoors and we have a few! Photo: Shutterstock

Day at the beach

Make sure it is not too hot, then pack your towel, sunscreen, food and drink and enjoy a day at the beach. It will cost you nothing but you will have a day to remember.

Plant a herb/veggie garden

You can either dig up a part of your garden or find some old pots, containers, almost anything to plant some herbs and vegetables. Make sure you create tags to label your plants.

Treasure hunt

Hide some treasure, it could be a treat or money, and create a treasure map which will have clues at different stops along the way. This could keep them busy for hours.

Go on, throw in a line. Photo: Shutterstock

Go on, throw in a line. Photo: Shutterstock

Go fishing

If you have some fishing rods, dig up some worms or buy some bait and spend the day relaxing under a tree or on a beach with your rod cast. Who knows, you may even come back with dinner.

Create a necklace

Gather some string or elastic and different macaroni sizes and you have the beginning of a beautiful necklace. Some kids paint could make it a colourful treasure.

Fashion show

Grab some of the adults older, disused clothing – including shoes and handbags – and let the children put on a fashion show with a difference. You could even film it for them to review later when they settle.

Pull up a pew and have a read. Photo: Shutterstock

Pull up a pew and have a read. Photo: Shutterstock

Visit the public library

Over school holidays there are usually some types of free activities at the public library. You can also teach your children how to borrow items such as books, toys and even DVDs.

Afternoon tea party

Get out the crockery and teapot, makes some dainty sandwiches, fairy bread and biscuits and sit down to enjoy a quiet moment as you all enjoy afternoon tea. You may even want to dress for the occasion.

Leaf rubbing

All you need is some paper, crayons or pencils and you are almost there. Take the children for a walk around the park or even just up and down the street to find some fantastically shaped leaves. Put the paper over them and rub gently with the crayon.

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