How to Entertain the Kids This School Holidays for Free (or Super Cheap)
School holidays can feel so long over summer and finding things to do can get expensive. It doesn’t have to be that way. There is so much free fun out there plus we share a few ways to get discounts for super cheap entertainment too.
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What Do Your Kids Love?
When planning out or looking for activities, write a list of things your kids love to do or are interested in. Get them involved in creating the list so they feel part of the process too.
For example, one of my daughters loves going on treasure hunts and does extremely well. She also loves shopping, cooking and sports. My other daughter prefers art, the beach and less active activities. We tend to spend one day doing active things and another doing more relaxing so there is a balance for them.
Before booking anything, always look for a discount. Groupon has great deals for school holiday activities from local attractions through to skate parks and more extreme adventures. Install Honey and Cash Rewards on your desktop so every time you shop online they scan for discounts and get you cash-back.
Check out our list of discounts and coupons for Aussies plus how to get a discount on everything. My kids love choosing things like skating lessons, surf lessons and similar for a discount on Groupon.
8 Free Activities for School Holidays
Here are some of our favourite activities. You’ll notice we spend a lot of time outdoors. We travel fulltime now so tend to be out exploring but even before that, my kids love the outdoors.
1. Head To Water
Whether it is the beach, lake, river, a waterfall or swimming pool, my kids love the water. No matter where we are, we try to make time to swim and play. This has included snorkelling, diving, waterfalls, surfing, playing on the beach and much more.
We bought our own snorkelling gear and take it with us everywhere. Surfing we usually have friends boards when we visit them, most national parks are free for waterfalls etc. See what is in your area to explore.
This one teaches skills and can be super fun as you never know what you will find. It can be done virtually anywhere too. It is the world’s largest treasure hunt. Check it out the Geocaching app.
We enjoy hiking everywhere and I’ve done it in a few other countries too. Exploring hiking tracks, coming across tunnels, wildlife, waterfalls etc excites my kids. It can sometimes be an effort to get my youngest to come but she loves it when we experience it.
I got good quality hiking boots a while ago which have lasted well. My kids prefer sneakers for themselves.
4. Bike Riding
Get on your bikes and ride around a lake, explore your suburbs, take the bikes somewhere new or meet up with friends to ride together. Bike riding is a great way to get fit, get somewhere quicker and have fun.
You could add in a picnic or treat somewhere along the way too.
5. Build Forts
My kids love doing this indoors and out. Inside we use the lounge, cushions, sheets, pegs and any furniture. Create a fort kit with an old pillowcase, old sheets, some ropes and pegs. This way, whenever your kids want to make forts, it’s not your linen cupboard they are pulling out.
Old boxes work great too and can be used inside or out. Along with tarps, camping gear, wood and anything else they find outside. I used to love making cubby houses and shelters in the bushland near our home growing up.
6. Free Festivals
Check Facebook, community noticeboards and ask others about any free festivals coming up. There are usually quite a few in school holidays. When we were based in Melbourne we found numerous cultural festivals which were great for kids, hobbyist festivals e.g. old school bikes, rocks, new age festivals etc.
I let my kids see and choose which festivals to go to and they usually got to pick a treat. They love giant pretzels so that meant a minor expense but the festivals were still great.
7. Free Activities
Check your local tourism board, Facebook, Meetup and similar sites to see what’s on for free. Festivals were our favourite as mentioned above but there are so many other free events from movies in the park to Tai Chi.
8. Library Fun
Coding classes, robotics, art, movies, storytime, there is so much happening at your local library. I’ve done a few workshops on ways to make and save money when requested by the library. Libraries are an incredible resource for free entertainment. Of course, there are books, DVD’s and more too.