School holidays are awesome! Well, they are until you feel like you’re vomiting money every time you leave the house.

But despite this, we’re urging you to drag the kids out from under the doona and beat the boredom. Because we’ve got 10 activities to keep the school holiday fun alive, and all for under $20.

I tend to approach school holiday activities in two ways. We either pay for the activity and eat at home OR it’s a free activity and we can then treat ourselves to lunch or a little something sweet. It’s when you combine the two that the budget can go downhill FAST.

With that said, forget blowing the entertainment budget on day one of the school holidays. Here’s some low cost, budget-friendly options that will entertain the kids and keep them out of your hair for a while!

1. Balls of fun await at Ikea Smaland

Perhaps the ultimate school holiday hack, kids will love being let loose in Ikea’s ‘Smaland’ play area for an hour. It’s FREE, fully supervised play for kids aged 4 to 10 years. And while they’re busy diving through the ball pit, parents can enjoy free Wifi and a peaceful cuppa in a comfy Poäng chair. Don’t forget to grab some meatballs for dinner on the way out!

school holiday activities, ikea, ball pit

2. Not-at-all boring art gallery and museum visits

From time to time your local art gallery or museum will run school holiday programs for a small entry fee. Even if they don’t have anything planned, take the kids for a wander through the buildings anyway. Dinosaur bones and mummies are always a blast for curious kids.

3. Local park or wetlands walking trails

An awesome way to tire kids out when the sun is shining (or at the very least it’s dry), hit up the walking trails around your wetlands and discover all that mother nature has to offer. FOR FREE. Alternatively, head to the local park with a picnic lunch stowed in the pram/in your giant bag. Take the dog for a walk, kick a ball around and enjoy an ice cream treat. Fun AND yum!

4. Westfield shopping centre fun

Westfield shopping centres go ALL OUT during school holidays – you just need to know what’s going on! Find out what’s happening at your local Westfield, dates and times here. You can look forward to a happy campers immersive zone (pictured top of post) offering craft, pretend play, flower crown making and festival jewellery making – and that’s just the tip of the entertainment iceberg!

5. Beached as bro

The beach isn’t just for summer! Rug up in a parka, beanie and gumboots and head down to the beach to discover how moody the ocean can be in winter. Enjoy shell collecting, sand castle building and, if you’re game, the kids can even throw out a fishing line to see what they catch (maybe just seaweed?). Enjoy a fish and chip lunch or dinner before heading home.

6. Libraries are for kids too

Often believed to be stuffy and a place not for kids, many libraries encourage younger visitors to drop in with free storytelling, educational activities and lots of general book fun. Check with your local library or council to see what they have on offer and have fun discovering new books!

7. Kids in the kitchen

Can’t be bothered going out? Let the kids plan a couple of recipes they can cook to keep them occupied (and fed!) in the kitchen. Gingerbread men are an awesome cooking activity – hours can be spent making and decorating. Not up to that much fuss? Whip up a batch of easy vanilla cupcakes and let the kids go to town decorating them while you sit back and enjoy a coffee.

Vanilla cupcake recipe

8. Vegetable garden

This is a school holiday activity that requires a little patience, but it’s well worth the effort! Plant a vegetable garden (doesn’t have to be huge!) in pots, a raised bed or direct into the garden. For quick results, radish seeds can sprout in just a matter of days – excellent for not-so-patient green thumbs.

9. Movie marathon

When the weather is cold and gloomy is there anything better than throwing all the bed quilts on the couch, snuggling up and watching all the family favourite movies? Dive into the old DVD collection or Netflix and keep all the epic movie snacks coming. Popcorn and homemade choc-tops for everyone! Hurray!

10. Toast ’em hot!

Head outside with a bag of marshmallows and light the fire pit for some supervised marshmallow toasting fun. If you don’t have a fire pit (we don’t either) we have been known to throw a log in our Weber and toast on that. Yep, during school holidays, we’re those people. #nojudgingplease


Looking for more ideas to help you keep the kids entertained during the school holiday break? Here are 20 cold weather outdoor activities for kids to work through. Not feeling love for the extended break in routine? You’re not the only one, I’m not a school holiday mum either.

Author

South Australian mum and self proclaimed foodie, Lexi can most days be found in the kitchen, apron tied firm and armed with a whisk or wooden spoon!

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