The holidays sometimes mean something very different to those rearing a gaggle of energetic kids.

Holiday time can mean never ending road trips in a stuffy car, the Frozen soundtrack playing on repeat. It means two hour lines at a theme park on a 42 degree day. Beaches that look more like ant-hills. And most commonly, a very expensive time of the year.

We have come up with 5 quirky school holiday activities on a budget, which won’t blow the bank this year:

1) Look after somebody else’s pet (and get paid for it).

Ah, the age old question parents have been brushing off for centuries.

As a natural progression of growing up, most kids at one point or another, will have their heart set on having their own pet.

Though for some families this just isn’t possible and dealing with a scorned, pet-less-child can become a true and ongoing battle, especially around Christmas.

Like a god-send for such parents, today there are businesses that act as ‘Airbnb for pets’ such as Madpaws, whereby you can pet-sit for nearby locals who are off travelling and don’t wish to put their beloved pet in a shelter (and earn some pocket-money while you do).

Take the kids to the park with a pup or lend them the love of a fluffy house-cat; it’s the perfect school holiday treat for animal lovers without the ongoing commitment of a dedicated pooper scooper.

Cost: $0

2) Hit up your local trampolining arena

Especially useful for those looking for family-entertainment on a budget – there are indoor trampolining arenas such as Flip Out all over Australia that cater to holiday-fun that has the health benefits of exercise but requires the effort-levels of turning on cartoons. And the kids can literally jump for hours while you kick back with a coffee and a book, so you could almost consider it a baby-sitting service.

The best part? Trampolining is in vogue for kids of all ages, so you needn’t worry about your ‘too cool tween’ refusing to participate in the family outing.

Cost: 1 hour pass $15; Family pass (2 adults, 2 kids) $50

3) Get your craft on

The idea of craft incites fear in the best of us. Where do I start? How long is this going to take? Why doesn’t it look like the picture?

Believe it or not, there are online retailers like CleverPatch that actually make craft-time easy, not stressful. They take the panic out of papier mache by giving parents a step by step DIY/how-to guide and easy-access to the products required to get creative.

So now you can drip in glitter, not sweat.

Cost: Starting from under $10

4) Visit the giant bug display

You’re already intrigued, aren’t you? Some kids love adventure, but they’re too small for the rollercoaster and they’re not quite old enough to go swimming with sharks yet.

As you’d imagine, this poses quite the dilemma for their parents.

This year try something a bit different, like Mega Bugs. It’s the largest animatronics bug display in Australian history, where kids can get up close and personal with GIANT interactive bugs reaching up to 8 metres tall.

Located at Hunter Valley Gardens.

Cost: Single $20; Family (2 adult, 2 kids) $77
5) Pick a charity

Volunteer. Have some fun and feel good about it at the same time.

There are plenty of charities that cater to kids over the holidays, from fundraising and local event volunteers to gift-wrapping or community gardening.

Cost: $0

Can you add anything to this list? Please share in the comments below.

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  • Clever post – thanks


  • We love our craft and I must check out CleverPatch! Thanks!


  • Yay, holidays are nearly over and my son who is 15 can now finally (mostly) entertain himself. These are all fabulous tips but thankfully, I don’t need to concern myself with these anymore.


  • Some lovely ideas ! A pity the holidays are nearly over.


  • That certainly is a list of unusual school holiday activities. Some are fun and some are very entrepreneurial. I like the charity one, great way to show the kids there are always those worse off then ourselves and we can help them


  • The do something for charity idea is a bottler!


  • sounds awesome and looks great


  • I wish we had the bug display here in SA. My 2yr old daughter would love that. We are lucky enough to have an excellent museum though, and we make the most of that :)


  • Thanks for this articles , nice ideas


  • love this, I am In SA and we have a fantastic museum that runs school holiday programs, I have a friend who refers to the museum as the dead animal zoo, and my kids love it, they have a dinosaur skeleton there, lots of stuffed animals, Egyptian room and constantly changing exhibits, most of it is free, and public transport is cheap to get there, take a picnic as there is lots of parklands and seating around and it is a cheap entertaining outing. my kids loved it and also the train ride in.


  • Interesting thank you for all the tips


  • Some great ideas here. We did the trampolining these holidays but it wasn’t cheap! Fun but not cheap.


  • I volunteer during the school days weekly at our local animal shelter so the kids enjoy coming and seeing where I “work” and cuddling the kittens and pups over the holidays


  • perfect, thanks!


  • Yep quirky but I love these ideas! (-:


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