top of page

Entertaining Kids on a Budget During School Holidays

Holidays (including school holidays) are a wonderful time of year, but they can also get expensive fast. If you're trying to keep your kids occupied while also staying within a budget, here are a few ideas to help you out.

Try a Staycation

Seriously, this has become one of my favourite ways to enjoy some time off ever since my daughter and I did backyard camping when we were in lockdown.

We packed the car with all the essentials - tent, fire pit, sleeping bags, games and set off on an adventure in our backyard.

The only rule? No access to the house (our downstairs bathroom and garage fridge were the only places we could peruse). Read more about it here.

Visit your local library

One of the best places to take your kids during the holidays (or really any time of year) is your local library. Most libraries offer a variety of programs and activities for kids of all ages, and they're usually either free or very low-cost.

Check with your library to see what they have going on during the holidays and take advantage of all that they have to offer.

Get Crafty

Crafting is another great way to keep kids busy, and there are plenty of ways to do it on a budget. One idea is to make cardboard cubby houses that the kids can decorate with paint, stickers, old magazine cutouts and or cotton wool balls. You can also turn these into a puppet theatre and make toilet roll puppets!

You probably already have most of the supplies you need at home, so this is a great activity to do without having to spend any money.

Print colouring pages for free

Colouring in is a great activity for kids of all ages (and can be a nice way to spend one on one time with your children, too)! Simply search for [your child's favourite character] colouring pages and print straight off the web. Cheap and cheerful.

Rotate toys

Rotating your children's toys means they will always have something "old but new" to play with. It helps alleviate the sense of overwhelm when it comes to excess toys and also creates a space where they can re-discover their appreciation for the things they have instead of asking for more new toys - saving you money as well. It fosters creativity and concentration.

Play Games Outside

Spending time outdoors is always a good idea, and it's especially nice if you can get some fresh air while also getting in some exercise. Take advantage of the warmer days by playing some games outside with your kids.

If it's not too cold, try doing some yard work together or going for a nature walk. And if it's raining, put on your rain boots and go splash in some puddles! No matter what the weather is like, there's always something fun to do outside.

Don't forget to bring your own snacks and water to save money on buying snacks.

Invite friends over for play dates

Tag team with another family to have friends over during the holidays. The children will enjoy spending time with their friends and you'll be able to catch up with the parents.

If you are working from home during the week, save money on vacation care by doing the same. The children will be entertained and you will be able to get work done while saving money.

Let them be bored

Children in today's day and age are often overstimulated and know too well the instant gratification of TV, screen time and being catered to every minute of their lives.

Let them be bored - switch off devices and after a few moments of boredom, their creativity will start to shine. You might be surprised how quickly they will come up with a game or scenario that they'll engage in playing for hours.