As a single Mum I'm always looking for things to do with my boys that aren't going to cost the earth. Especially these days family entertainment can be so expensive but following Kylie's fantastic tips and suggestions it doesn't have to be.
Take it away Kylie.
50 free or cheap family activities
As I mentioned I am going to be spending more time with my family. So last night I sat down and had a think about free and cheap things we could do together as well as ideas you might like to try.
1.) At the beach – Build sand castles, go swimming, surfing or body boarding, investigate the rock pools, surfing, watch for dolphins, do a photo scavenger hunt for things like crabs, anemones, purple seaweed, shells and things. At some beaches they even have sand sculptures at different times of the year, or surf competitions you can check out.
2.) At a river or lake – go down water rapids, canoeing, jump off trees, make a rope swing, hire paddle boats, go fishing or feed the ducks.
3.) Go for a bush walk or hike. You could look up local flora and fauna before you go and see how much you spot.
4.) Borrow DVD from another family/library and make some popcorn to eat. You can actually pop ¼ cup of kernels in a brown paper bag in your microwave to make pop corn cheap and healthy.
5.) Visit the library. This might not sound fun, but they often have story time and a toy library for younger kids, sometimes author readings, there are magazines and DVD’s for older kids and often during school holidays they show different movies.
6.) Go to the local park, play on the swings, go down the slides and just play games.
7.) Bike ride. This is cheapest if you already own bikes if not you can usually hire them for fairly cheap.
8.) Go to markets. There are lots of different type of markets such as trash and treasure, farmers markets, homemade or outdoor markets. Sometimes there are street performers there, or you can taste samples of food.
9.) Gardening. This might not sound exciting but creating a garden as a family can be fun. I once created a fairy garden with my little sister and she loved it. If you create a vegetable garden not only is it fun to create and grow, you get to eat it too.
10.) Fruit picking. There are many areas you can go fruit picking for the day as a family and then purchase discounted fruit or get it for free. Some places where you pick grapes let you create your own wine the old fashion way by stomping it with your bare feet and bottling it for you. Of course, you won’t drink it!
11.) Kids cook dinner. This gives mum a night off and the kids get to have fun in the kitchen. If you start teaching them when they are young by the time they are 10 or 12 they should be able to make some simple dinners for you and they will feel special doing it.
12.) At home ice cream sundaes. Get nice ice cream, a few toppings, nuts, marshmallows, chocolate, whatever it is you like on your ice cream and let everyone go wild with their imagination and creations.
13.) Farm visit. Some farms are open for the public to come see the animals and have a look at farm life. Kids get to play with the animals and see where some of our food comes from.
14.) Outdoor cinema. These are often on in summer at parks. They are free, you take a blanket, a picnic and enjoy.
15.) Art gallery. There are many which are free and you can go see and appreciate some art. During school holidays there are sometimes classes run for kids which are free or cheap as well.
16.) Museums are the same. Many are free or you make a donation and there is so much to see. You could watch The Night At The Museum after you have been.
17.) Food fair. At different times there are different food fairs on which can be a great way for your family to try new foods from different cultures.
18.) Expos. There are different expos on all the time. Some are free others have an entry fee, but there are often samples and discount vouchers at them. Look up your local area to see what is on or Google something of interest then add expo and your city i.e. Travel expo Sydney
19.) Public holiday events – On Australia Day and many other public holidays there are things happening everywhere such as BBQ’s, face painting, horse rides and fire crackers in the evening. Your local paper will usually have advertisements showing what’s on in your area.
20.) Spring fair/festivals are usually held at the start of spring and can have everything from stalls, to rides, animals, show bags and demonstration, much of which is free.
21.) Factory tours can be fun as well as educational. You can see how something such as chocolate is made, taste samples and buy at a discount at the end.
22.) Astronomy – You can find constellations using the internet as a guide in your own backyard or visit a local observatory.
23.) Bird watching – Find out what birds are local to you and go bird watching. You can take pictures and look them up when you come home
24.) Sport - tennis/cricket/football or any sport you like to play can be a fun family activity. If you like to watch them but a professional game is too expensive you could watch a local team or see a professional team train. Some training sessions are open to the public and can be just as exciting for kids to meet their idols.
25.) Green st Patricks day. Have green pancakes for breakfast, decorate the house with green balloons and streamers, bake green cupcakes and eat green food and lime cordial the whole day.
26.) Halloween trick or treating is so much fun. Dress the kids up and go door knocking in your neighbourhood or arrange with friends and family beforehand to door knock their places so you know where you are going they are ok with it.
27.) View Christmas lights. It is amazing the effort some people go to each year. Drive around and look at the lights.
28.) Make Easter eggs – You can melt chocolate and make your own specialty eggs with chocolate molds and add things like sprinkles, nuts or honeycomb. Alternatively you could dye eggs for Easter.
29.) Heart attack – This is where you cut out a bunch of hearts on from cardboard or paper, write nice messages on them, stick them to skewers then when it is dark stick them in someone’s lawn. You can stick a chocolate or lolly to each heart if you like. Then you can leave it for them to discover later or everyone hide, then one of you knock and run. This is great especially if you know someone who could do with cheering up.
30.) Cook biscuits, wrap them up, leave them on someone else’s door step then knock and run. Children of all ages love to knock and run, plus giving to others makes you feel good.
31.) Go to the theatre. If a full on production is too expensive look for college or high school productions as they are usually fun and much cheaper.
32.) Camping can cost to set up initially, but once you have the basics which will be used over and over again it is great for a weekend away. You can find lots of places to camp for free too.
33.) Horse shows are often free to watch and can be amazing to see the tricks and jumps.
34.) Start a collection. It might be feathers or rocks or bottle caps. Whatever it is you could start collecting something as a family, then when you go out everyone can keep their eye out to add to the collection.
35.) Family picnic. This can be as simple as ham and cheese rolls with cake for dessert by a lake or at a park.
36.) Fishing if you have the equipment can be great fun. If you don’t have and rods, check with friends and family or you might be able to hire a one for a few dollars.
37.) Historical walk. Every area has some sort of history. Learn a bit about yours then take the family for a walk explaining about different areas, statues and things.
38.) Kite flying. You can make your own kites then go fly them.
39.) Collect and press wild flowers. There are so many varieties everywhere that you can collect, press, then display on a canvas. It is a free collection too. Just check you are allowed to pick wildflowers in you area.
40.) Cloud watching. Lay on your backs in the grass and make animals and things with the shapes of clouds.
41.) Roll down hills. The rolling down is the fun part, the climbing up not as easy, but you can race each other to the top. Kid seem to be able to do this over and over for ages.
42.) Botanical gardens are beautiful and have different walks you can take as well as plaques explaining more about the plants.
43.) BBQ either at home or at a park. All you need is some sausages or hamburgers, salad, rolls and drink.
44.) Visit a dam and see how they work.
45.) Multicultural night – Have everyone pick a country then one night everyone comes dressed as their country, with a food, something from the country and a little bit of information on it. Younger kids might need help with the food.
46.) Police station/fire station tours. Not all stations give tours, but sometimes there are open days where you can see how it all works, sit in a police car or fire engine and have fun.
47.) Build cubby houses. You don’t have to make a big wooden structure in the back yard. With some sheets, blankets and a table or chairs you can create a home for each of your children.
48.) Ghost tour you can go on one in your area or research the haunted areas of your town and make your own ghost tour.
49.) Glass blowing – there are different galleries around where you can go see how they create vases, beads and other things by blowing glass. At some of the galleries you can even create your own bead.
50.) Street performers can be seen in different areas doing things such as juggling, miming or magic acts. They can be great entertainment and the children love going up to put some money in the hat.
There are many more things you can do as a family. Look up free things to do in your area or just use your imaginations.
Kylie Ofiu is author of 365 Ways To Make Money. She blogs about the ways she is making money and her goal to become a millionaire by 2015 at www.kylieofiu.com
Thank you so much Kylie for letting me a part of your blog tour and sharing your savvy tips with my readers. I wish you all the very best with your new book. I can't wait to get a copy myself and learn from the pro.