Superb summer fun on a budget
Summer! We wait out the long, cold winter and impatiently pass through spring to reach the ultimate time as a Kiwi kid – summer school holidays! Make the most of the summer with our guide to fun and frugal things to do with the kids and make those amazing summer memories without breaking the bank.
1. Active kids are happy kids
Kidspot's Activity Finder literally has hundreds and hundreds of fun games, crafts and activities for all ages. Try some fun science experiments, play a new pool game, create your own playdough or bubble mixture, reminisce with some old-fashioned games and so much more!
2. Take up a sport
Some sports clubs offer have-a-go sessions during school holidays for kids wanting to give a new activity a try. Or just grab a friend and head to the park or courts to practice some skills.
3. Have a movie night
Choose a favourite movie or a new DVD for a special film screening for family and friends. Kids can create their own movie posters and tickets for entry. Bake some yummy movie snacks (don't forget the popcorn!) and sell for play money at a concession stand made from a large box or small table. You can even have a theme and dress up for added fun. Or share around a few funny props like hats, glasses and wigs, for fun pre-movie selfies of your guests. Then lower the lights and show guests to their seats by torchlight.
4. Visit a garden
Beautiful botanic gardens can be found in most cities with spaces, sculptures and structures to explore. Most also have a children's playground and many offer free activities for families during summer. Towns will also usually have a domain or open space for the public so enjoy the natural surroundings, plan a picnic, take a football, bike the paths or feed the ducks.
5. Start a family fun jar
Buy a large glass jar or repurpose one from home (just wash and remove the labels). Using a piece of paper, create a 'Family Fun Jar' label and glue this to the jar. Choose a range of fun activities; a picnic, hopscotch, trip to the zoo, pizza making, play a card game, etc. Write each one on a small piece of paper so you have one for every day of the holidays, fold them and pop them into your decorated jar. Every other day, take turns at choosing an activity to do together.
6. Camp out under the stars … or in the living room!
If you're unable to get away for a few nights vacation, then pop up the tent and let the kids camp out in the backyard. Toast some marshmallows on a brazier (check your local fire regulations!), tell some campfire stories and don't forget the obligatory game of spotlight. Or just construct a fort in the lounge, throw in the sleeping bags and pillows and share out some glowsticks for some fun in the dark.
7. Throw a garden tea party
Time for tea! Throw a table cloth over an outdoor table in a shady spot and decorate your backyard with balloons or paper chains. Set up a tea party for your child and a few little friends with a toy tea-set (be sure to include favourite teddies on the invite list). Bake some special treats like cute cupcakes or browse our Kids Cooking section for more easy treats.
8. Turn trash to treasure
Collect up odds and ends like coloured card, ribbons, egg cartons, bottles, etc into a 'treasure' box. Add some craft essentials like paint, crayons, glue and glitter and kids can make all sorts of wonderful creations from the contents. Extend the fun by creating games, ie paint the inside of empty plastic bottles to create your own ten pin bowling game or make a super-sized marble run using empty foil and cling film rolls.
9. Hit the beach for the day
Grab your togs, towels, hats and chilly bin for a full day of fun at the beach. Pack a bat and ball for beach cricket, sand spades and buckets for sandcastle making and lots of sunscreen! Explore the rockpools, splash in the waves and don't forget to treat the kids to an ice-cream before heading home.
10. Get gardening!
Don't forget, whenever the family is outside in the summer sun, remember to slip, slop, slap and wrap and supervise children around water.
This article was written by Julie Scanlon for Kidspot New Zealand.