3 school holiday activities that won’t break the bank

What’s a time of year that kids love and look forward to, but adults dread and isn’t Christmas?

Parents know this one. It’s the school holidays that seem to sneak up on you when you’re not looking.

The key to school holiday sanity (and saving you from an excessive credit card workout to keep your kids occupied) is to plan ahead.

Here are three ideas that won’t break the budget.

Local sports day

Chances are you’re not the only parent trying to think of something out-of-the-box for your kids these school holidays. Get together with some of the other parents at your kids’ school and map out a fun sports day for some of the kids.

This isn’t as hard as it sounds – between the families you may already have a good stash of sports supplies, and you may even be able to get in touch with the school to borrow some of theirs. Find a local park you can stretch out in, and decide on a handful of games to play. Running and relay races take nothing to organise, a simple volleyball net and ball are easy to set up and tossing rings are a game anyone can play and enjoy.

Don’t forget to pick up a few prizes for the participants and winners and plenty of snacks for everyone.


Scrapbooking has taken off in recent years and it’s not just grannies at it.

Take the kids to a specialised store and let them pick out a blank book and plenty of fun accessories. Set up a workspace at home and let them rip. Rip, cut and stick, that is. You may need to help out with any the scissors for younger kids, but try to let them take ownership of their creation – no matter how ugly it is. If nothing else, it’ll be a great prop to bring up at their 21st birthday party.

This is an ideal rainy day activity too and can be organised at last minute, so keep it in mind if the babysitter fails to turn up or those grey clouds are determined to ruin your day at the park.

Camping in the backyard

You don’t have to drive half the day and get lost five times to go camping.

Set up the kids with everything they need to spend a night or two in the backyard – tents, warm sleeping bags, plenty of scroggin and a pack of cards. The escape from the house will feel like an adventure for them and it will help keep them out of your hair for at least one night, and likely more.

Plus, when it comes time to go on a real camping trip you’ll already have the equipment ready to go and the kids will know what to expect.

What’s your school holiday idea that won’t break the bank?