School holiday hacks: Fun ideas to keep the kids entertained for little to no cash

Save money, make memories.
Loading the player...

A fun and memorable school holiday doesn’t need to break the bank. So before you send your kiddo off to a dance, art, acting, etc camp, consider these budget-friendly options. Not only will they have fun, but you’ll be building memories you’ll cherish forever.

family around kitchen having breakfast
You don’t need to be a famous family to have an amazing school holiday. (Image: Supplied)


Head out for a hike (and maybe a picnic too) at a national park that you haven’t visited for a while. Before you go, download the Birda app. It makes identifying and logging birds easy.

Consider the Australian Tree ID app as well to help identify species of trees, conifers and palms. Make it a game of who can spot the most varieties. National park websites have lists of walking trails and their grading to help you choose your route.


Who says grocery shopping during school holiday has to be boring? Put the kids in charge at the supermarket or farmers’ market by getting them to plan a dinner party for the family.

First, get them to choose the cuisine, then draw up an ingredients list. And together you can do the shop and help them prep the meal.

Don’t forget dessert! Encourage them to be creative by designing place cards and a centrepiece for the table. Then all dress up for your grand dinner party!


kids sliding down a big brightly coloured slide at a fair
Sliding into the school holidays. (Image: Supplied)

Remember when we were young and encouraged to get creative with arts and crafts? Once we get older with jobs and kids, it seems there’s no time for such artistic endeavours. Rediscover creativity this school holiday as a family by exploring free art galleries and museum exhibits in your local area.

It’s incredible how inspiring these can be. Afterwards, sit down together and try your hand at arts and crafts as a collaborative family project. See what you can come up with – it might become a masterpiece to talk about (or perhaps, laugh about!) for years to come.


It’s easy to whack on a film and watch it together as a family. But a planned movie festival is much more fun! Go with a theme like animals or superheroes, for example. Each family member can then pick a film along those lines.

Keep that theme going with snacks and even dress-ups like animal print PJs or superhero capes. Of course, popcorn is a must. It’s a great and budget-friendly way to spend a winter’s day inside.


State tourism websites often list free events for families. These often cover everything from festivals to community fun days.

Eventbrite also lists free events – simply type in “school holidays free for kids” and your location for all the latest. Pack a lunch and plan a day adventuring at art galleries or national parks all school holiday long.

Related stories