School holidays are drawing to a close which means thousands of Aussie preppies are about to walk through the school gates for the first time. All the memories of a summer at home or away will soon make way for new experiences.

But what about the mums and dads who will still have their little sidekicks for another year or two? The mighty fine weather will continue long after this week and there’s still lots of fun to be had.

Inspired by the Carnival Cruise Tips Blog and the quest to create inexpensive moments for the family that are “worth millions”, I’ve come up with things to do with your tiny tots that cost $5 or less and will keep them busy bees and creating memories everyone will treasure.

  • Walk on down to the local fro-yo store and scoop up an icy treat
  • Visit the botanic gardens in your capital city with a packed lunch and make it your mission to learn the botanic name of two tree species
Run free in the botanic gardens
  • Head to the beach for a sandcastle building session and work up an appetite to share a minimum chips from the nearest fish ‘n’ chip shop
Sandcastles in the sunshine
  • Buy a small watering can and let the kids help you tend to the garden
The ever-helpful watering duck
  • Draw a hopscotch game on the front footpath with chalk and help your child learn to jump and hop
  • Ok, cheating here, but track down a clam shell pool/sandpit. So much splashy joy comes from one of these. You can find them for about $25 which works out at less than 1 cent per use, because you WILL use it a gazilion times. Another idea is to fill it with coloured balls to create a ball pit. You can find bags of balls at places like Kmart and Big W for $5
Splish splash and cool off
  • Here in Victoria there’s the ‘1000 books before school’ reading challenge. Register at your local participating library for a reading kit and start! It encourages a love of reading and writing in preschoolers and reading together is a lovely snuggly and quiet time for you and your child
  •  Visit Luna Park – not only will your tot be beside themselves walking into Mr Moon’s wide open mouth, some of the rides – like the historic Carousel – allow adults to ride free with a paying child (single ride tickets are $4.95 for ages 0-3)
  • Pick up a pack of sunflower seeds and grow your own flowers
It’s simple to grow your own sunny sunflowers
  • Let your kids ‘camp’ indoors by bringing their bedding into their teepee or creating a cubby out of couch cushions and a sheet
  • Grab a pack of mini cupcake mix and have a little baking session (Millie loves the Frozen cupcake mix right now, mainly because of the edible pictures you get to stick on the icing)
Mix and bake and then eat!
  • Create tracks on the carpet for toy trains and cars using a roll of self-adhesive road tape from Kmart. For $2 you’ll have the kids revving their wheely toys for ages. My daughter loves using the Thomas Mini trains you can buy at supermarkets for around $3
  • Make bubbacinos using the froth from your own morning cuppa and have morning tea together
  • Stir up some dishwashing liquid bubble mix and pop bubbles in the park

I hope this little list helps prove that it doesn’t have to cost a lot to create family memories that will last a lifetime. It’s the little things with minimal cost that create moments worth millions, so check out the Carnival Cruise Tips Blog for lots more fun content and tips and tricks for travelling with the family.


4 Comments on Fun for a fiver (or less)

  1. The new children’s area at the Melbourne Museum is amazing, even better now that school is back for older children. It’s free to enter and you can take a picnic and eat it in the outside area.

  2. Hi,

    I was interested in that 1000 books before school, but I think that link doesnt work :(.

    A watering bucket and a garden always occupied my daughter.

    • Sorry! I’ve updated the link so it should work now. Yes, watering the garden can keep them busy for ages! They’re fascinated by water.

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