Post-Christmas budget kicked in? Here’s ten free activities to suit children of all ages across Australia – that even the adults will enjoy!
The January school holidays are luxuriously long, meaning plenty of time to just kick back and relax, catch up on some reading and hang out with mates.
Once the novelty of the free-time free-for-all has worn off however, the endless tune of ‘I’m bored’ can drive many a parent crazy
Given the post-Christmas bank balance is unlikely to scream ‘let’s go away on a holiday or hit a few theme parks', we’ve put together this handy list of free events and activities to help save your sanity these school holidays.
1. Hit up your local parks
While the one at the end of your road might be little more than a patch of lawn and a lone tree (which is still great for a cricket match or game of tag), most local councils have a kid friendly park or two on their books, complete with swings and play equipment.
If you’re keen to venture a little further out, bigger hub suburbs or those close to the city often have larger parks (some with cafes where you can swing yourself a fresh brew.) Not sure how to find them? Google your local council page, and look under their ‘parks and facilities’ section.
2. Build an arts and crafts table
Keep this activity free by finding scrap material and packaging around the house to make crafty items out of. You'll be surprised at what you can find laying around the house that can provide hours of joy for creative children.
3. Explore arts and cultural events
The start of the year is a great time for getting your culture on – with capital cities and major regional hubs hosting a variety of events for all ages and stages. State Art Galleries also offer free exhibits and activities over the school holidays. Here’s a quick line up of events around Australia:
• Sydney Festival
• Queensland events calendar
• What’s on in Canberra
• Visit Perth City
• What’s on in Adelaide and South Australia
• Northern Territory Events
4. Check out the Bunnings workshops
Bunnings runs year-round workshops covering a range of fun crafts and skills based projects for kids of all ages and stages. Check out their website for details and locations and book in – you may jag a last-minute spot, but it’s best to secure your space to avoid disappointment.
While you’re there, many stores also have large indoor playgrounds, and plenty of take home DIY projects for little folk (you can also find a range of ideas on their website that use common household objects to complete.)
5. Make an indoors obstacle course
Connect with your inner kid and grab pillows, washing baskets and rearrange the furniture to build a fun obstacle course that your children can have fun navigating.
Just be careful to make sure your obstacles are safe and secure so no mishaps occur.
6. Check out concerts and outdoor movies
Local councils can come to your school holiday rescue once more, with many running a range of outdoor movie or concert nights, which really kick off at this time of year thanks to the excellent weather.
While you can often get your hands on a beverage or a snag in a bun, make it even cheaper by packing a picnic (and don’t forget the mozzie spray and a blanket.) Stay in the loop by bookmarking their website or Facebook page, or ask for flyers at your local library.
Nothing on in your area? Set up your own outdoor movie theatre at home! Follow our guide, here.
7. Get to know your neighbours
Always wanted to get to know the other familie that live on your street? While this one works better with the littlies (most preteens and above will not take kindly to you organising play dates on their behalf), why not invite them around for an afternoon play date?
If they all get along, you could be creating an awesome 80’s style neighbourhood where kids keep each other entertained rather than looking to you when they are bored.
8. Pack your bags and head out camping
An oldie but goodie, camping is free or low cost at many national parks and beaches, and it gives kids a chance to roam free and get away from the screens and digital distractions.
It’s also a great way to get away from the housework – one of the biggest bonuses of camping is the jobs tend to be more evenly distributed across the whole family, meaning more downtime for all!
If getting away isnt an ooption, pitch the tent in your own backyard and let the kids enjoy the great outdoors
9. Visit your local library
Libraries run a wide range of events, from story time, to computing workshops and author visits, so bookmark their page, or drop in for a ‘what’s on’ flyer. Even on days when there are no set events, an arvo spent browsing the free-to-borrow books in air-conditioned comfort and borrowing the wi-fi for a free computer sesh is worth saving up your sleeve for tetchy days.
10. Go stargazing
Pick a clear night and set up some blankets in your backyard to see what you can spy in the sky. Have fun detecting the Southern Cross, Milky Way and even some planets like Mars.
If your place is too light-polluted, head out to a less lit up area and set up camp.