Out and about with kids on a budget: 7 fun summer ideas
When your kids say, "Mum, I'm bored. What can we doooooooooo?" it's always a good idea to have a list of fun things prepared. We've got seven fun ideas to keep your kids entertained these summer holidays - and, best of all, they're super-budget-conscious too.
Just remember when you head out with the kids to pack the essentials - water, snacks, sunscreen and a hat - and there really will be almost no reason to spend any money at all!
1. Throw a pool party
A summer essential is a pool party - but you don't need a pool in your own backyard to throw one - you can just as easily throw a pool party in the local public pool or ocean baths. Simply round up some kids, pack a cooler with some food, bring plenty of sunscreen and hit the pool.
A simple snack menu is ideally suited for pool parties, with fruit platters a particular fave to hit the sweet spot and provide plenty of energy. Pack some water iceblocks in the Esky too. Combine free-swim time with a few water games and you're set.
2. Wacky water Olympics
Outdoors and exercise seem to be a great mix. And, when you just-add-water, you up the fun factor. Here are some great soggy activities that your kids'll love:
Make two teams. Have kids lie nose to toes, with knees drawn up to their chest.
The aim of this game is to pass a large, water-soaked sponge (the large figure eight ones you wash the car with) from person to person, from start to finish - using only their feet.
Be careful - it's too much soggy fun!
Water balloon catch
Make a scoop from a two-litre milk bottle for each player. Players have to catch and throw a water balloon without dropping it or allowing it to break. Yes, there will be soggy casualties. Yes, it will be fun.
You know dodge ball? Well, this is dodge sponge - simply replace the ball with a wet sponge - and make sure players only aim below the shoulders!
Fill an ice cream container with water and place on each competitor's head. The aim is to run from starting line to finishing line with as much water remaining in the container as possible, using only one hand to hold the container. At the end, pass the container on to the second person in line, and continue. The winning team has the most water in the container after each member has had a go.
3. Have a bake-off
Do you know what kids love better than decorating cupcakes? Decorating cupcakes that've been baked in ice cream cones! Set up a decorating station with lollies, sparkles, icing and sprinkles, bake up a batch of these cuties and decorate away.
4. Go for a family hike
With so many national parks to choose from, why not find one near you and take the family to explore? Visit here to find a park near you. Dress the family in comfortable hiking shoes (good trainers will be fine), a hat and sun-sensible clothing. Take a map, pack a picnic lunch, slather on sunscreen, pack lots of water and explore the designated hiking trails. What natural wonders will you see?
5. Have a drive-in movie in the living room!
Grab some big boxes, spend the day helping the kids decorate their 'cars'. You'll need paper plates for wheels and a steering wheel, paint, pipecleaners and other decorations to make for a really awesome ride. Don't forget pillows for a comfy seat. Once evening rolls around, park yourselves in front of the TV for movie night - don't forget the choc-tops and popcorn!
6. Go on an "Alphabet Tour" of the neighbourhood
Make a list from A- Z on each line of a piece of paper. Now, get the kids ready, pencils in hand, and go for a wander around your neighbourhood. The aim of this game is to find something in your neighbourhood that starts with every letter in the alphabet (you might need to get creative - say, X is for Xroads!). When you get home each child can help draw up an alphabetised neighbourhood map!
7. Have an opposite day
Have breakfast for dinner, walk in the back door instead of the front, say goodbye instead of hello! Have dessert BEFORE your main meal. Wear PJs during the day, and get changed into daytime clothes after the nightly bath. Ask the kids for ideas the day before - they'll come up with some doozies!
This article was written by Linda Drummond for Kidspot, New Zealand's best parenting resource.