19 budget-friendly things to do with kids

Activities that won't break the bank!
Activities that won't break the bank! Photo: Getty Images

Now that summer is over and the weather is chilling down, looking for activities for kids becomes that little bit harder. We've collected a few ideas of things for you to do, rain, hail or shine.

1. On a chilly day take the kids to a museum. There are museums covering all sorts of interests, from arts to sports. As well as general history, most museums put on seasonal exhibitions that are sure to enthral any child and parent.

2. Take the family for a wander (or brisk walk depending on the chill factor) along your local pier, but make sure there's a café within close proximity, because the kids will like nothing better than wrapping their little cold hands around a super-hot chocolate.

3. Go for a ferry ride if the weather is sunny. Live like a tourist for the day and head out to see parts of the city you've never seen before.

4. Our capital cities are blessed with the most beautiful botanical gardens, so pack a picnic and head for a welcoming shady tree. Make the most of the autumn season and let the kids loose to enjoy one of life's little pleasures: kicking up carpets of fallen leaves.

5. Go camping. While there may be places close by to camp, you may prefer something a little less stressful and a trip that requires very little planning. If you have the room, just set up camp in your own backyard. Get yourself a little fire pit, some marshmallows and a 'prepared-in- the-comfort-of-your-own-kitchen' damper.

6. Be a tourist and head into the city for a day out on a CBD tourist bus or tram. The advantage of this, other than the fact that it's free, is that all the sightseeing is planned for you. You just hop on and off.

7. Kids love the party atmosphere of a market. Add to this the free live entertainment they usually boast and the amazing and cheap food available (hot jam donuts), it's easy to spend a whole day at your local market. Did I mention the hot jam donuts?

8. Surprisingly many of our capital cities actually have small bushwalks you can head to if the day is sunny but a little cool. Get the kids out into nature, where they can check out the local wildlife while you recharge your batteries.

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9. Take the kids for an art lesson. Some art schools cater to little ones, helping them release their inner Picasso. There are also ceramic painting classes for kids too, if they're more craft-inclined.

10. Wanting the kids to experience something a little different? Head to a kids yoga class.

11. With so many bike tracks on offer, grab the kids, the bikes and a packed lunch and go on a riding adventure. Head for some wetlands where you can also include a bit of birdwatching and make sure to pick a bike track that suits all of you, as little legs may get tired sooner than you plan.

12. When an indoor activity is necessary, take the family to an art gallery. Many now cater to a younger audience and include activities for the littlies after you've finished browsing the exhibits.

13. Plan your own chocolate walking tour. This one takes a little planning but really is simple to organise. Look up a few chocolate selling stores in the CBD, map out a walk and take the kids on your very own chocolate tour. All this will cost per child is a chocolate at every stop. And possibly a headache for the parents once the sugar rush hits!

14. Some artisan lolly shops now put their lolly making skills on display to draw in the crowds. Find one in your city and head on over as the kids will absolutely love watching the process and the sweet reward at the end.

15. Let the kids loose in the kitchen (someone else's) and take them to a cooking class. They learn to cook and you don't have to clean up.

16. Whether it's an adventure playground, a giant hill slide, swings or flying foxes, the modern playground has come a long way since our time. Some also include climbing trees so it's still possible to share this experience from your own childhood with your kids. There's nothing like the exhilaration of reaching the top of a tree, and having to get back down again.

17. The end of summer doesn't have to mean the end of water fun. You can head to your local indoor pool or aquatic centre. Most have fantastic school holiday programs to keep the kids happy and wet.

18. Pop on over to your local library. You can't beat the school holiday programs offered by libraries, especially on a chilly rainy day.

19. Grab the kid's scooters, bikes and helmets and head for the local skate park. Skate parks have seen a huge growth in the past couple of years and most include a section for the smaller kids too, so no one misses out on the fun.

For more of Marianne's honest parenting advice click on over to Enough With the Lemons

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