Finding fun activities for your kids during school holidays can be exhausting, and not just on the hip pocket.
For Jessica Waring, entertaining her two daughters Charlotte, 10, and Juliette, 6, is always a priority in the weeks leading up to the holidays.
The Brisbane mum loves going out with her children and said exploring the city center district of Southbank and riding scooters in local parks topped the list of cheap ways to keep boredom at bay.
“At Southbank there is the river and we can watch the boats. There is also a garden to explore and there is often free entertainment,” says Ms Waring.
“The playground there is also a highlight for the girls.
“We also like to play in Mt Coot-tha creek and go on adventures using public transport. Sometimes kids can even travel for free depending on the day we go.”
Here is a list of cheap holiday suggestions around Brisbane and wherever you live.
Free source of silent creativity
If you haven’t joined your local library, now might be the holiday to check that off the list.
Not only is it a free source of great books and games that can be borrowed and used at home, but many libraries also offer sessions during school holidays to teach computer and video game skills and creative workshops. on crafts, music and painting.
Sometimes they offer the use of toys, such as Lego, allowing your children to develop their spatial awareness and creativity and giving you a chance to sit quietly and read.
Ask your council if they also run a toy library.
It’s a great way to refresh your stock of toys for kids and it’s totally free.
Dive and discover near you
Whether it’s Kedron Brook, Ithaca Creek or Enoggera Reservoir in Brisbane; Fourth Creek from Morialta or Brownhill Creek from Mitcham in Adelaide; or the Werribee River in Melbourne, the waterways near our towns and cities are a great source of free activities during school holidays.
Pack rubber boots and towels and help the kids search for fish, yabbies or lizards in and along the waterways.
Or, if you’re in a more temperate climate, throw away the swimmers and goggles and let the little ones have fun.
Either way, kids are spending quality time in nature and will learn how the wild world works.
Also indicate the various traces of trees, leaves and animals or excrement.
Most waterways near populated areas have barbecue facilities, so why not pack a picnic too?
Just make sure you are safe near or in the water.
Come inside for simple and easy fun
Don’t think of your local mall as an indoor distraction – they’re air-conditioned, clean, and offer people-watching while enjoying a coffee or milkshake.
Many shopping centers organize entertainment during school holidays such as musical performances, group activities or have small playgrounds.
If you’re still a little nervous about indoor activities in our COVID times, that’s okay too – we’re not done with the outdoor options.
Discover the natural world
There are dozens of places across Australia that celebrate our local flora and fauna and also provide family spaces to learn or relax.
Botanical gardens often offer fun workshops for children focusing on food, medicine, tool-making, native plants, or host informative tours.
Explore your city
Even mom and dad, grandparents, aunts and uncles could benefit from picking a bus, train or ferry route and riding it to the end.
There will be new parts of the city to explore and new people to meet along the way.
Public transit is usually only a few dollars per passenger, and your city may have all-day savings that cost even less.
Small children often travel free on certain days and times of the week, which offers another savings to enjoy.
So, download your city’s public transit app, pick a route, and go on a trip.
Adventure in the palm of your hand
A few years ago, smartphone apps like Pokemon Go were all the rage. There is still strong popularity for the game which allows players to capture virtual Pokemon in the real world.
Geocaching is another activity that will get the family outdoors and adventuring in your neighborhood.
Satellite locations on the app show where people have hidden “caches” and there will be hints to follow to help you find the prize.
Once located, trade small trinkets or simply write down your number as proof of your success.
The basic model is free, but you can subscribe for a fee to access more locations.
Soak up some culture
Want a little more educational guidance for your excursions during the school holidays?
Then look no further than the local museum or art gallery.
Most of these institutions offer a free exhibition to the public which can be visited as many times as you wish.
Plus, for a small fee, you can book the kids for an art class or museum tour where they learn a specific skill or hear curators talk about all the behind-the-scenes action.
Adults might even enjoy this one too.
ABC Everyday in your inbox
Receive our newsletter for the best of ABC Everyday every week