CHEAP School Holiday Fun

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Yeah. Are you scoffing? If I saw that headline I would be too. But I’m here to tell you it can be done. Hell, if we can take four kids to Sydney’s The Royal Easter Show for all of $207 then anything is possible.

Some of us are staring down the barrel of s.i.x. weeks with the kids at home in the height of summer and that can strike fear deep into my cold dead heart.

Here’s the thing.

If you are going to survive, correction, if your kids are going to survive this break, you have to completely rethink your definition of fun. What we, as adults, think of as fun is not necessarily so for a small or small-ish child.

For example, my idea of hell? Riding on public transport for the hell of it. My children’s idea of AWESOME? Riding on public transport for the hell of it. Seriously, the other day I met some friends at a cafe near a train station and then – spontaneously – took Grover for a train ride between t.w.o stations and back again. The verdict? Best.Parent.EVAH.

NSW Public Transport offer a Family Funday Sunday travel pass and while I find the name irritating, patronising and condescending it does allow to you go as far as Wollongong or Newcastle on the smell of an oily rag.

Even if you’re not travelling on a Sunday a family fare is pretty reasonable – I’d give you actual numbers but the 131500website won’t let me onto the relevant page. Nice.

Check your local council What’s On. Guaranteed there will be free activities for kids throughout the school break.

Water. If you live near the coast then it’s pretty bloody obvious – get thee to the beach. Take an eski/cooler contraption stocked with frozen drinks, some lunch and treats, slather on the sunscreen and not only do you have an awesome activity you have kids at the end of that activity so completely knackered you wonder why you don’t do it every single sunny day.

If you’re inland the local swimming pool offers the out. Even if you have a pool, something about being at someone else’s pool makes it so much more fun. And look, so long as your local isn’t some bloody circus of slides and fountains and wave pools entry is normally very reasonable.

For tight-arse Tuesday types, just gaffer tape some garbage bags together, drizzle with dishwashing liquid and run the hose on it – instant trip to the hospital water slide.

Culture. I know I know. When I took my boys to the NSW Art Gallery I thought the boys might fall to the floor and spontaneously combust much like the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz when she gets water thrown on her but lo, they loved it. They were completely in awe of the artworks, the scale of some of them, the colours in others and so on. Sure, their attention span is not huge but it’s an outing. YOU ARE OUT OF THE HOUSE. And many of these establishments are free.

Playdates. Does anyone else hate that phrase as much as me? Hideous. Anyway, they work a treat – sure you have to reciprocate but often having a stranger in the midst changes the sibling dynamic sufficiently to eradicate much of the normal holiday assassination-by-torment attempts.

The Park. I think I’ve shared with you guys before my hatred of the park but here’s the thing, it lessens with age and as I realise how much my kids enjoy it. Often I end up striking up a conversation with another mum which makes it all the more bearable as you can get away with ignoring not hearing the plaintive cries for pushes on the swing for much longer. And guys? IT’S FREE.

Home. There will be days that staying at home is actually everyone’s preference. We’re also anticipating a wet summer so pay attention. I’m going to say something here which even I consider a dirty word. I know, I KNOW. But remember – rethink your definition of fun. If it isn’t raining set them up on the grass. If it is, newspaper. Put down lots of newspaper. Painting or homemade playdough are huge winners in this house. I just up my meds and hope for the best.

And if that doesn’t help, just remember my favourite phrase of all: this too shall pass.


What’s your hot tip for cheap holiday fun?

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Written by allconsuming

December 7th, 2010 at 1:41 pm