Our favourite low-cost school holiday activities for kids
As a stay at home Mum I’m grateful to be able to spend school holidays and weekends with our Boys … However it can be exhausting keeping them occupied (and screen-free). It can also cost a lot taking kids out and about all the time.
Over the years I’ve trialled loads of different school holiday activities for kids. These have included things to do at home as well as places to go. Some have been successful, some have not.
We’re sharing only those activities that have been a big hit with our Boys. All of these activities are either free or cost very little. They’re perfect for school holidays but also weekends and after school.
Indoor school holiday activities
1. Be a scientist for the day. Experiments don’t have to be complicated. Did you know adding vinegar to a few spoonfuls of bicarbonate soda makes a volcanic eruption?!
2. Have a picnic lunch on a blanket indoors. It’s the small things!
3. Schedule a bedroom makeover. Sketch out a plan and make the changes together. Even just moving furniture into new positions can be exciting for kids.
4. Make a cinema in the lounge room. Close the blinds, make some movie tickets and serve popcorn. Watch an old favourite or a new release you missed at the movies.
5. Lego is always a big hit. Head to our blog ’10 cures for boredom using Lego you have at home’.
6. Make bath time the highlight of the day. Just add extra bubbles! My boys also get endless excitement from an old pump soap bottle. They put a little bit of soap in it, hook it on to the end of the tap and as it fills with water it explodes. Warning: this can get messy!
7. Stock up on cheap activity books and craft sets from bargain shops perfect for a rainy day.
8. Turn up your favourite tunes and have a dance party. Wondering what music to play? Head to our blog ’10 kid-friendly pop songs that get my boys up and moving’. Add in some party games like ‘Freeze’ and ‘Musical Chairs’.
9. A cheap $2 packet of balloons provides hours of fun. Our favourite game is “see who can keep their balloon off the ground for the longest”.
10. Set up a treasure hunt. Place age-appropriate clues around the house eventually leading to an exciting treat at the end.
11. Simple games using pen and paper. My boys love the game where you fold a piece of paper into thirds. One person draws the head, one the body and the other the legs. Unfold the paper to see what creature you’ve created.
12. Bake something yummy together and eat it for afternoon tea.
13. Build an awesome cubby with cushions, chairs and blankets.
14. Pick a new board game to play. Our favourites are Mouse Trap, Scrabble Junior and Guess Who?
15. Where’s Wally? or any seek and find books are perfect for getting kids to sit and relax.
16. Shopping centre school holiday activities provide perfect free entertainment.
17. Play a fun ball game that will encourage your kids to talk about their feelings. Head to our blog ‘Teaching our kids about feelings’ for more details.
18. Visit your local library. There’s always heaps of activities on during the school holidays and after school. Story time for pre-schoolers is great and make sure you borrow some new books to read.
19. Babycino or hot chocolate dates never get old.
20. Get crafty with bits and pieces from a bargain store. Head to our guest blog ‘Easy Peasy School Holiday Crafts’ for inspiration
Outdoor school holiday activities
21. Visit a new skatepark with your scooters.
22. Set up an obstacle course. Use furniture, scooter ramps, pool noodles … anything you can find. Time each other to see who’s the fastest.
23. Explore nature by drawing up a list of items to find. Use these items to make a collage or craft when you get home.
24. Take your kids with you to your favourite walking spot. If they have a Fitbit or Garmin get them counting steps and have a target to reach. My boys love it when there’s a playground or exercise equipment to stop at along the way.
25. Get creative outdoors with a packet of coloured chalk. Drawing a picture, hopscotch squares and four square are just a few ideas.
26. Make the most of a windy day by flying a kite.
27. Bouncing on the trampoline can go next level just by playing music. Our boys also love having a picnic on a trampoline.
28. During the Summer months water play is awesome. A few ideas are getting the kids to ‘paint’ the fence with an old paintbrush and a bucket of water, cheap spray bottles filled with water and freezing a bowl of ice with toys inside for kids to chip away at.
29. Play a game of beach or backyard cricket.
30. Set up a mini golf course at home. We buy cheap toy balls (and golf clubs) from the bargain shop so there’s no risk of broken windows. Make your own score cards and flags for the ‘holes’. Objects like pool noodles and skate ramps can make the course a whole lot more interesting.
31. Take a train, ferry or bus ride. Kids love public transport.
32. Geocaching is free and allows you to explore areas you’ve never been to before. It’s a treasure hunt using a GPS enabled device and can be done all over the world. Head to www.geocaching.com.au for all the details. Our boys love it!
33. Be a tourist in your own town. Explore a new suburb or somewhere new in the city.
I hope you find these ideas helpful and inspiring. Feel free to ask any questions or provide feedback in the comments below. Happy holidays!