How to get through school holidays and enjoy them without spending a small fortune.

It’s school holidays again, they seem to come around so quickly and as always, we’re faced with the problem of how we’re going to entertain the kids Every. Single. Day. without it being super expensive.

So, what can you do during the school holidays to keep your kids entertained?…

Here are our best tips and favourite free or low cost activities.

Royal Melbourne Show

It’s the Term 3 school holidays here in Victoria, which means we have the Royal Melbourne show happening, so let’s start there.

The show can be an extremely expensive day out.

Carl and I took our eldest Eva to the Melbourne Show several years ago, we were rookies, we didn’t know what we were doing, and it cost us an absolute small fortune. We spent hundreds of dollars.  We walked out thinking ‘What just happened?’. Clearly, I’m not an expert on saving money at the Melbourne Show, so I asked the members of my Facebook group ‘Mindful Money Mummies’ for their ideas. Here’s what the members came up with:

If you go after 5 p.m. on the last day of the Show, a lot of things are discounted

Pack lunches and snacks

Try going to a small country shows such as Berwick, Doveton and Dandenong.

Give your child a budget for the day. They can plan out how they’d like to spend their budgeted amount. They can plan out how many showbags they want to buy, whether they want to use some of the money for a couple of rides if they want to buy some treat or toys. This offers a valuable teachable moment. It’s a great opportunity for them to practice money management and build their financial literacy.

Local Council, community centres & libraries

Investigate the programs your local council and community centres have on offer. We live in Seaford, Victoria, so our local council is Frankston and our closest community centres are Carrum Downs, Frankston North and Seaford.

Frankston Council has a school holiday program and a lot of their activities are free. Frankston North Community Centre has lots of activities including cooking and craft. Many of the activities are free or ask for a gold coin donation.

Going to the library is a great option as well. For younger children libraries offer Storytime, some libraries have activities for older kids as well.

The great outdoors

Another idea is to get outdoors and enjoy nature. The Mornington Peninsula and surrounds offer an abundance of free and cheap activities for families. Here are our top picks:

  • Exploring different playgrounds
  • Visiting the ducks at Seaford creek
  • Wandering around McClelland Sculpture Park
  • Exploring Rock Pools
  • Even if the weather is a little bit icky (like it often is here in Melbourne) you can still rug up and get out. We enjoy hanging out at the beach year-round.

Having fun indoors

I enjoy baking with my kids. It’s fun but it also helps to build kids financial literacy. One of the keys to financial literacy is to have solid foundational math skills, especially understanding fractions and percentages. Measuring ingredients is a hands-on approach to learning these essential mathematical concepts.

Zoo memberships

Consider giving your kids a Zoo membership for their birthday or as a Christmas present. The membership grants you entry to Melbourne Zoom Healesville Sanctuary, Werribee Open Range Zoo and reciprocal entry to five interstate zoos

There you have it, fun school holiday ideas that won’t break the bank.

I’d love to hear your ideas to keep the kids entertained during the school holiday, in the comments.

If you enjoyed this article and you’d like to chat with other like-minded parents about all things money related, you’re very welcome to you our Facebook group – Mindful Money Mummies.

Jo Violeta co-hosts the popular lifestyle and renovation show the Dream Home Movement on RPPFM and iTunes. Along with Carl, Jo is the co-contributor Finance Expert for Kid Magazine and Peninsula Kids Magazine. As well as being a busy mum of 2, Jo manages the Mornington Peninsula Business Women’s group.
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