Rejoice! The Christmas holidays are almost upon us and for some, that means time off work, summer reading and travel! However, the holidays mean something very different to those rearing a gaggle of energetic kids. Holiday-time can mean never ending road trips in a stuffy car, the Frozen soundtrack playing on repeat. It means two hour lines at a theme park on a 42 degree day. Beaches that look more like ant-hills, and a very expensive time of the year.
But there are alternatives to all the hassle and expense of keeping the kids amused during the long Christmas holiday period. We have come up with 5 quirky school holiday activities on a budget, which won’t blow the bank this year:
1. Look after somebody else’s pet (and get paid for it)Ah, the age old question parents have been brushing off for centuries. As a natural progression of growing up, most kids at one point or another, will have their heart SET on having their own pet. Though for some families this just isn’t possible and dealing with a scorned, pet-less-child can become a true and ongoing battle, especially come Christmas.
Like a god-send for such parents, today there exist businesses that act as ‘Airbnb for pets’ such as Madpaws, whereby you can pet-sit for nearby locals who are off travelling and don’t wish to put their beloved pet in a shelter (and earn some pocket-money while you do).
Take the kids to the park with a pup or lend them the love of a fluffy house-cat; it’s the perfect school holiday treat for animal-lovers without the ongoing commitment of dedicated pooper scooper.
2. Hit up your local trampolining arena
Especially useful for those looking for family-entertainment on a budget – there are indoor trampolining arenas such as Flip Out all over Australia that cater to holiday-fun that has the health benefits of exercise but requires the effort-levels of turning on cartoons. And the kids can literally jump for hours while you kick back with a coffee and a book, so you could almost consider it a baby-sitting service…
The best part? Trampolining is in vogue for kids of all ages, so you needn’t worry about your ‘too cool tween’ refusing to participate in the family outing.
Cost: 1 hour pass $15; Family pass (2 adults, 2 kids) $50
3. Get your craft on
The idea of craft incites fear in the best of us. Where do I start? How long is this going to take? Why doesn’t it look like the picture?
Believe it or not, there are online retailers like CleverPatch that actually make craft-time easy, not stressful. They take the panic out of papier mache by giving parents a step by step DIY/how-to guide and easy-access to the products required to get creative.
So now you can drip in glitter, not sweat.
Cost: Starting from under $10
4. Visit the giant bug display
You’re already intrigued, aren’t you? Some kids love adventure, but they’re too small for the rollercoaster and they’re not quite old enough to go swimming with sharks yet. As you’d imagine, this poses quite the dilemma for their parents.
This year try something a bit different, like Mega Bugs. It’s the largest animatronics bug display in Australian history, where kids can get up close and personal with GIANT interactive bugs reaching up to 8 metres tall. Located at Hunter Valley Gardens it also makes for a nice (and not too long) family day trip.
Cost: Single $20; Family (2 adult, 2 kids) $77
5. Pick a charity
VOLUNTEER. Have some fun and feel good about it at the same time. There are plenty of charities that cater to kids over the holidays, from fundraising and local event volunteers to gift-wrapping or community gardening.