Cheap and cheerful family activities

So, how are your school holidays going? We’ve had our moments of tantrums, sibling fights, and tears over the daytime technology ban. I found myself turning into my parents by doing the ‘back in my day we had no iPads or kids tv channels… whats wrong with lego and colouring books…blah blah etc etc’, you know the rest. With the short attention span of my kids, and their aversion to doing anything that doesn’t have a screen attached to it, I have succeeded in doing some cheap and cheerful activities the kids have enjoyed. Here’s a few of the best.

They may be reluctant at first, but once we’re off on a bush walk the kids have a great time. Lots to see, things to climb, caves and creeks to explore, its good outdoor fun.

kids in the cave bushwalking

I discovered a new free app from Wildwalks that has 955 walks described, photographed and all mapped up ready to download to your phone. At the moment it only has walks for New South Wales, but it is growing with new walks added all the time. Hopefully in time it will extend to other states. When you install the app you can select to use your current location, and you will get a list of all the walks near your area. The descriptions are very detailed. The great thing about this is its all on your phone, so no need to print off maps and directions. There are some in-app purchases to make if you want to download longer walks, but at 99c its not going to blow the budget.  Alternatively you can get descriptions and maps for all walks from the website at no charge.


Pet rocks
This craft activity is great fun, and afterwards the kids play with their creations. All you need is to collect some suitable pebbles from your garden, park or beach, then get creative with the paints. I use clear nail polish to finish them off and seal the paint in – otherwise the paint ends up coming off on your couch/carpet etc.

painted rocks

This one keeps my girls happy for a couple of hours, and even my son likes to get busy in the kitchen. He’s become an expert pizza dough maker, and gets busy creating different toppings. Its great for me as dinner is sorted without too much effort on my part. The cleaning up after is a bit of a challenge though.


Insired by Fast Ed from Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, May issue


We usually find something for everyone here, with a bit of coaxing even my son was happy. The girls found some great books on learning to crochet and knit and my son found a book on fishing.

library books

We bought a couple of cheap kids fishing rods for 9 bucks each a while back and have used them every school holidays. Bait is cheap at about 4-5 bucks, and we have a national parks pass so we go down to the water and spend a good afternoon fishing. The kids usually catch quite a few fish, we always throw them back as they are not big enough to keep, but they love it. If you are near the beach then a couple of hand lines are super cheap and can be dangled around rocks to entice the crabs. Hours of fun to be had.

fishing off the kayak

Fishing off the kayak


Fire pit
Our last one rusted away so next on the list is to get a new fire pit and toast some marshmallows. This is always a hit with my kids.

What have you been up to these holidays? I would love to hear your ideas.






7 thoughts on “Cheap and cheerful family activities

  1. I love the pet rocks, so colourful and cute too. My big kids will be doing lots of fishing this fortnight while we’re away on holiday, they’re rather good at it.

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