Do you feel like every time you go out with your family, it costs an arm and a leg? It seems like these days, even a simple outing has to be carefully wedged in to the budget. For example, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who’s happy with the price of taking two kids and two adults to the movies – especially once the popcorn and drinks are added!
The good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to keep little kids entertained or to spend some quality time with older children. When you get creative and plan ahead there’s a lot a family of four (or more) can do for not that much cash. Here are a few ideas:
1. Visit an art gallery or museum
We’re really lucky here in Australia. Most of our big art galleries and museums are free to get in to, whereas in other countries, even locals have to pay for tickets. The bigger galleries and museums often have displays and activities just for kids, especially during the school holidays.
TIP: Don’t restrict yourself to the biggest gallery or museum in your city. Look up interesting smaller venues where the whole family can learn something new1.
2. Pick your own fruit
Starts at a couple of dollars each person, plus transport.
Picking your own fruit is great because it’s an outdoor activity, and when you’re done, you’ve got a bunch of tasty treats to enjoy! Each farm charges differently and is open different hours, so check before you go. Some even provide picnic facilities onsite, so you can make a day of it! See what’s in season near you by Googling ‘pick your own fruit’.
TIP: If you pick more than you can eat while it’s still fresh, look at how you can cook or preserve your fruit. Pie and jam don’t cost much to make, and kids of all ages can get involved.
3. Go to the park for a picnic
No matter where you live, you’re probably within walking distance (or within a short public transport journey) of a decent park or reserve. That’s because state and council authorities purposefully plan out neighbourhoods so they’ve got a certain amount of open green space for every residential development. In addition to local and state parks, there are national parks. Though they might be a bit further away by car or public transport, they’re well worth the journey.
TIP: Visit your council or state website to search for parks with shelter, BBQ and toilet facilities.
4. Host a bring-a-plate dinner party
As cheap as you like!
Hosting a bring-a-plate gathering has advantages for you and your guests. It can be kid-friendly, budget-friendly, and suitable for pretty much any occasion. The general rule is that everyone brings a dish, about as much as they’d expect to eat themselves2. The exception is if the host divides up the courses, and in that case, the host tells the guest roughly how many people they’ll need to cater for. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to show off their speciality!
TIP: Set a theme, like one cuisine or special ingredient, to make things interesting (and prevent weird combos).
5. Head to the aquatics centre
From a few dollars each person.
Many local councils will have one or more public pools, where casual entry is just a few dollars for an adult and sometimes free for kids. Outdoor pools tend to be open just in the warmer months, but indoor pools are open year-round which is perfect for a dip in winter when the beach just isn’t an option.
TIP: Why not ask friends with families to come along too. The kids will have friends to play with and the adults can grab a coffee, sit by the pool and watch them all play together (although we know it won’t be as harmonious as it sounds).
1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_museums_in_Australia Accessed 23 January 2018
2 See other rules and suggestions: http://www.bonappetit.com/entertaining-style/parties/article/potluck-rules-etiquette Accessed 23 January 2018
The trustee of Tasplan Super (ABN 14 602 032 302) is Tasplan Pty Ltd (ABN 13 009 563 062). AFSL 235391.