In our house, school holidays are always something we look forward to.  However if we’re not careful, staying at home for the holidays can end up costing you more than actually going away. Movies, museums, play centres and even craft activities can end up costing you a fortune.

That in mind, we’re always on the lookout for fun and free school holiday activities.  And if those activities get my kids out of the house (and off the screens) it’s even better.

Like most children, whether it be boys or girls, my kids love bikes, skateboards and surfing (well none of them can actually surf but they love the idea of surfing because Daddy does it).  So you can imagine their delight when they gathered around YouTube with Daddy one night and he showed them this clip …

Tarp Surfing on YouTube – the big boys show us how it’s done.

Yes, it’s called Tarp Surfing and once our kids saw this clip, they immediately wanted to do it! Obviously we couldn’t replicate the YouTube clip exactly (our tarp was silver, much smaller and the kids can’t ride a skateboard well enough yet) but it was still huge amounts of fun.

The best thing about it?  It proves that fun and free school holiday activities really do exist.  Granted we already owned the tarp for camping but they are really cheap to buy (especially the light blue coloured ones)

So how to Tarp Surf?

Lie the largest tarp you have on a wide open grassy area – in these pics we were camping down at Blackfellows Beach so had lots of space.  But we have been known to tarp surf in the front yard, at the local park and even in the school playground.  Then grab one corner of the tarp, extend your arm and run diagonally across the tarp.  Keep your arm up high and move fast – the wind catches in ‘the barrel’ of the ‘wave’ creating the space where the kids can skateboard, ride or run through.

Tarp Surfing - free school holiday activities
The wave starts to shape up …
In the barrel - free school holiday activities
T-bone gets ‘barrelled’
The line up - free school holiday activities
The ‘line up’ – the kids wait for the next wave!


Little A takes on a 'monster wave' made by Dad.
Little A takes on a ‘monster wave’ made by Dad.

So, lots of fun and very active for everyone.  Fun and free school holiday activities do exist!

What’s your favourite free school holiday activity?

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  • Ha! Handy when the hotter months are around the corner. Oh what, they’re already here


  • Looks like a great way to entertain the kids


  • Looks cool, thank you for sharing.


  • Not sure I’m confident on exactly how to make this happen, but could be fun in trying


  • yeah def’ a fun tarp idea. so cheap to do


  • This is interesting! Thank you for sharing this!


  • I’ve never heard of tarp surfing before. Looks like so much fun. We usually use tarps to make cubby houses or teepees.


  • Great suggestions, I love it.


  • aaww so many things that kids love dont cost a cent.
    They really just cost some time. I always loved school holidays …i miss those days


  • What a cute idea! Sending hubby out to get a tarp asap :P


  • this is a good idea! i already own a tarp but i thought that this would actually involve water somehow! maybe you could have a little on the tarp and let the kids do “tom cruises” through it or just slide around


  • Thanks for sharing this article.


  • Such a cool and cheap idea!


  • We often go camping at a very beautiful but very windy beach, this would be absolutely perfect!


  • I’ve never heard of this before, it looks fun & would make for some great photos.


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