Looking for some affordable family fun? You don’t always have to spend lots of money on activities and outings to entertain babies and kids. There are lots of free and low-cost activities to do around your local area as well as at home. Here are some ideas for your family.
Visit a local park or playground
Head to your local park for hours of free fun. Local councils have invested lots of money into local parks and playgrounds.
Visit a local museum
Learn something on a family day out and visit a local museum. Although some might charge admission, there are often free days in which you can visit.
Jump on public transit
Go out for a family adventure and take the bus, train or ferry somewhere new. Often, you can get cheaper ticket rates if you travel off-peak especially on Sundays.
Enjoy free local events
Local councils routinely present family-friendly events throughout the year. Sign up for their email or Facebook notifications to learn about upcoming events.
Enjoy free fun
There’s lots of free activities you can enjoy around your local area. Just google “Free Family Fun in [Your City’s Name] to find a list of local websites that cater to family fun.
Birdwatching is a fun and free activity to do with your family. All you have to do is head outside and look for birds. If you’re not sure what they are, look them on the internet. Birdlife Australia has a great website full of birds. If you want to identify some bird calls, watch the YouTube video Aussie birds and their calls.
Walk or run a 5K ParkRun. This is a free timed run at many locations across Australia.
Visit your library
Borrow kids books, kids CDs and kids DVDs from libraries making it an affordable way to access books, music and entertainment. There’s also usually baby literacy sessions, storytimes for toddlers and preschoolers and school holiday activities for older kids.
Play backyard games
Have some fun in your backyard. Consider pool noodle obstacle courses, badminton, water balloon or water gun fights, hide and seek and tag.
Borrow books from a street library
Visit a Street Library in your community and borrow or donate a book. These are free libraries that have sprung up across Australia in which you can grab some reading materials.
Play a virtual game
Download and play augmented reality games like Pokemon Go or Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. They’re free to download and play.
If you can see the stars where you are, take your family outside and go stargazing. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, check out the website ABC Beginner’s Guide to the Night Sky.
Go for a walk
Get some exercise and go for a walk with your family. It can be a short walk, long walk or a scenic walk. Combine it with public transit so you don’t have to worry about a long walk home.
Go for a bike ride
If you want to go further, head out on bikes. If you don’t have bikes, keep an eye out on Gumtree or eBay for second-hand bikes.
Enjoy the water
If you live near the coast, head to a patrolled beach or ocean baths for a swim when it’s warm. Else, head to a council pool for some family fun in the water. You can also head to council splash pads to cool off.
Use your smartphone to explore outdoors by going geocaching. It’s a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices.
Do yoga together
Do a family yoga session together and stretch and relax. There are some great kids yoga videos on YouTube that you can enjoy together. Story Hive Yoga for Kids has sessions that are 25 minutes long – perfect for kids who can’t sit still for long while Cosmic Kids Yoga have yoga, mindfulness and relaxation videos designed especially for kids aged 3 that involves a story.
Have a dance party
Get your dance on! Get the kids to create their own Spotify playlists and then get dancing. Choose different genres for a dance party like boy bands, K-pop or disco. Extra points if the whole family gets dancing.
Cook with your kids
If you’re home with the kids, have some fun cooking. Bake cookies, cupcakes or get them involved in making dinner. They learn something and you get some help in the kitchen.
Go out for a picnic
Pack a picnic and head outdoors. Or bring some snags and cook them up using a free barbecue at the park.
Go where kids eat free
If you would rather someone else do the cooking or catering, head to a cafe or restaurant where kids eat free. You can get substantial savings by choosing a night where kids eat for free. Just confirm the specifics before you order. Check the Kids Eat Free guide or website for your city or town.
Have a family movie night
Skip an expensive movie night out and instead have a movie night at home. Borrow a film from a friend, the library or stream it. Here’s an extensive list of family movies that you can watch with your family. Pop the popcorn, get treats ready and enjoy the movie.
Become LEGO Masters
Spend some hours playing LEGO. If you need some inspiration or projects, google “LEGO challenges”. You’ll find tons of projects that you and your kids can work on together.
Doing craft is a great activity for kids of all ages. Create a standard craft kit full of coloured paper, textas, crayons, stickers, feathers, pom poms and glue that can be pulled out for some fun. If you don’t have lots of craft supplies, just hunt around your house. Paper towel rolls, old newspapers and magazines, aluminium foil, pens, pencils can all be used to create artistic works.
Solve a jigsaw puzzle
Keep some jigsaw puzzles around. They’re great to play with for a bit and then come back to when you feel like it. Choose simple puzzles (under 50 pieces) for young kids under 5. If you feel like more of a challenge, older kids can handle jigsaw puzzles with more pieces like 250, 500 and 1000 piece sets.
Make playdough or slime
Let the kids get messy and create with playdough and slime. This tactile activity gets kids creating and designing. Just put down old newspaper if you’re concerned about the mess. It’s super easy to make homemade playdough and slime.
Blow bubbles in the backyard
It’s so much fun blowing bubbles. Either use bubble wands or make your own or use this CSIRO bubble mix recipe. Experiment with different bubble wands. You can make some cool shape bubbles using paperclips, wire and string.
Do science experiments
Have some fun and learn! There are so many science experiments you can do at home using things that you have lying around like rulers, pencils, strings and more. Check out Cool Science Experiments Headquarters website for some great video tutorials.
Have fun with a cardboard box
Go to your local appliance shop and see if they have any free cardboard boxes available. Then hand over to your kids and let them decorate, climb in, and turn into a fort. Hours of fun for kids.
Bowl at home
Go bowling in your backyard or down a long hallway. Just use empty plastic bottles and knock them down with a ball.
Throw a frisbee
Have some fun with a frisbee in your backyard or at a local park. Check if there’s a disc golf course near you. Disc golf is just like regular golf except you use a frisbee.
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