Family fun... without breaking the bank!

Do you ever feel like it costs an arm and a leg every time you go out with your family? These days, even a simple outing has to be carefully wedged into the budget. For example, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone 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 much money to keep little kids entertained or spend quality time with older children. When you get creative and plan ahead just a little, there’s a lot a family of four (or more) can do for not that much cash.

Here are a few ideas

Visit an art gallery or museum - FREE

Most big art galleries and museums in Australia and New Zealand are free, whereas in other countries, even locals have to pay for tickets. The bigger galleries and museums often have displays and activities 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 new.

Go to the park for a picnic – FREE

No matter where you live, you’re probably within walking distance (or within a short public transport journey) of a decent park, reserve or beach. 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.

Host a potluck/bring-a-plate dinner party – as cheap as you like!

Having a bring-a-plate gathering has advantages for you and your guests. It can be kid-friendly, budget-friendly, and suitable for any occasion. The general rule is that everyone brings any dish they want, about as much as they’d expect to eat. The exception is if the host divides the guest up into courses; 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!)

Head to the aquatics centre or local baths – for a few dollars per 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 – perfect for a dip in winter when the beach just isn’t an option.

Start a garden

Visit a nursery, buy lettuce seedlings, plant lettuces or herbs in a pot or garden at the beginning of the holidays, and enjoy eating them in just a few weeks. In addition, you can learn to sprout and enjoy eating salad sprouts in a few days.

Foods of the world

Create a little project for the children to use the internet to find information on different countries and learn about the food. Select a country and the food, write the ingredient, shop and cook and enjoy. It can be as simple as a Greek salad, to an exotic Moroccan rice dish!

Why not have an international week and something from a different country daily? 

This article was brought to you by Benestar – supporting us with resources to let you take charge of your own wellbeing and become ‘your best you’.