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When the school holidays roll around, entertaining the kids can be expensive with outings and treats. So it’s time for some fun activities and ideas that won’t break the budget!
With these free and cheap winter school holidays activities and ideas, there’s no reason to be bored! Have a blast, create lasting memories, and embrace the joy of the winter season without stretching your budget.
Here are some fantastic and affordable ideas to keep you entertained during the winter break:
1. Visit Your Local Library
The first thing we always do for school holidays is visit the library! Your local public library is a treasure trove of free winter school holidays activities. Borrow books and movies to enjoy at home and save money on entertainment. Many libraries also offer free activities and workshops for children during the school holidays.
2. Host a Movie Marathon Day
Stay warm and cosy indoors by hosting a movie marathon day. Gather your favourite movies (or visit your local library and borrow some), prepare the popcorn and snacks, and snuggle up with blankets and pillows. It’s a great way to relax and enjoy some quality time with your loved ones without spending a fortune.
3. Go Ice Skating
If you are lucky enough to have an ice skating rink in your local area, ice skating is a fantastic way to enjoy the winter season. It’s a fun and active way to spend your winter school holidays.
4. DIY Hot Chocolate Bar
Warm up from the winter cold with a Do-It-Yourself Hot Chocolate Bar. Lay out toppings such as marshmallows, whipped cream, and sprinkles for the kids to help themselves, and experiment with different flavours like caramel, white chocolate, or peppermint.
5. Get Crafty
Let your creativity shine by engaging in craft and art projects. Pick up cheap supplies from a department or discount store, raid your cupboards or recycling bin for items that can be used (cardboard boxes, empty yoghurt containers) or look at Pinterest for inspiration. Crafts are a great cheap indoors winter school holidays activity and can provide hours of entertainment for kids and adults alike.
6. Go on a Winter Hike or Nature Walk
Bundle up in warm layers and explore the beauty of nature during wintertime. Find a nearby trail or park and take a leisurely winter hike or nature walk. Feel the crisp air, admire the winter scenery, and enjoy being out in nature. Add some extra fun to your walk with geocaching.
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7. Build a Fort
Set aside a space in your house to build an epic fort for the kids to play in and enjoy for the duration of the winter school holidays.
8. Game Day Fun
Pull out your favorite board games or decks of cards and enjoy a day of friendly competition. Board games and card games offer endless entertainment for all ages and are an excellent way to bond with friends and family members.
9. Play Dress Ups
Gather all the kids dress ups, add any fun items from your own wardrobe (such as bags or hats), and any fun fabrics, blankets or towels can be used. My kids also loved putting on some makeup to complete their look and then putting on a fashion show for the adults to enjoy.
10. Get Your Bake On
Gather in the kitchen to bake some delicious treats to enjoy during the winter holidays, or even to stock up the freezer for school lunchbox treats. Or maybe whip up a big pot of yummy, nourishing soup to warm up on a cold day. It’s a great way to get the kids involved in the kitchen and teach them how to cook.
11. Have a Picnic!
Get outside and enjoy the winter sunshine with a picnic! If the weather isn’t nice, turn your living room into a cosy picnic spot. Spread out a blanket, prepare some simple finger foods like sandwiches, fruits, and snacks, and have a fun indoor picnic with your family. It will bring a change of scenery and create a memorable experience without spending much.
12. Host a Talent Show
Take turns showcasing your unique talents by organizing a family talent show. Sing, dance, tell jokes, perform magic tricks – let everyone’s skills shine. It’s a great way to foster creativity, build confidence, and entertain one another in a budget-friendly way.
13. Explore Local Museums and Exhibitions
Check out local museums, art galleries, or exhibitions that offer discounted or even free admission during the school holidays. Visiting museums and galleries are cheap winter school holidays activities and an excellent opportunity to learn something new.
14. Have a Backyard Campfire
Enjoy the outdoors on a crisp, clear winter evening with a backyard campfire. Don’t forget the marshmallows and toasting forks!
15. Organise a Winter Treasure Hunt
Create a winter-themed treasure hunt by hiding small treats or clues around your home or garden. Make it more challenging by creating riddles or puzzles for participants to solve. It’s an interactive and exciting activity that encourages problem-solving skills and teamwork.
16. YouTube It
For the days you are stuck for ideas or you want the kids to have some ‘educational’ screen time, YouTube videos have your covered. From science experiments and ideas (we love Mark Rober!), how to draw (Art for Kids Hub) or even yoga (Cosmic Kids Yoga), kids and adults can learn a new skill, and the options are endless for free and cheap winter school holidays activities.
17. Start a Puzzle
We have an extensive collection of puzzles, so at the start of each school holidays one is pulled out onto the dining room table and we slowly work away on it over the holidays. The kids also love that we often end up having lounge room picnics for dinner once the puzzle grows and takes over the dining table! If you don’t have any puzzles, you can pick up some cheap ones from department or discount stores, garage sales and op shops.
18. Set Up an Obstacle Course
An obstacle course can be set up either indoors or outside, using items you already have at home, and is a great free school holiday activity for kids to burn off extra energy! Obstacle courses are a fun way to keep kids active and help develop their gross motor skills. We have used hoola hoops for jumping through, pegged out rope on the ground for the kids to army-crawl under or weave through, a broom or mop handle to jump over or limbo under, place chairs to climb over, or even just drawn a maze on concrete with simple activities to complete (hop 3 times, count to 10, sing a song) as they progress through.