Budget Friendly Spring School Holiday Ideas

Today is the last day of term 3 in NSW. Term 3!! What?! I know Queensland have already been on holidays for a week now, but I feel like it’s just much too soon! Didn’t the term just start?
We are heading away for a few nights at the end of next week, but other than that we don’t have a lot planned. I have exams coming up so I will be spending as much time as I can studying. We will take advantage of the beautiful weather though and get outside as much as we can, even if I have to take my books with us!

To view my other posts with school holiday ideas click here.

Go on a nature walk – Spring is the perfect time to get outside in the sunshine and explore! Check out your local area’s website for bush walking tracks near you and see what you can find.

Spring school holidays 3Plant some seeds  – In my 5 Ways to Save This Spring post, I mentioned now is a great time to plant a veggie garden. Why not get the kids involved and put them in charge of their own little project these holidays? Let them pick what they would like to grow and who knows, it might even encourage them to try a new veggie or two come harvest time (I can always dream right?).

Rock painting – I use the term “painting” loosely here. You can  use a few different mediums to create beautiful rocks; paint, chalk, decoupage, even textas. Collect a few rocks from your backyard or pick up one or two when you’re out on your nature walk (be very careful you don’t disturb any critters though), get the craft box out and see what the kids come up with. You can then use them to decorate your new garden, if you’re planting one!

Spring school holiday ideas 2Chalk Drawing – Another great idea for getting creative outside is chalk drawing. You can pick up chalk for only a few dollars, set the kids up outside, preferably in a shady spot, and let them go nuts! The best part is clean up is simple, it will wash away next time it rains. Just make sure you snap a picture before the masterpieces disappear!

Learn a new talent – My son got a thumb chuck for his birthday and is slowly learning how to do tricks with it. Maybe your kids would love to be able to juggle? Solve a Rubik’s cube? Or do magic tricks? Check out YouTube for how-to videos or Google tutorials for their chosen skill, and let them go for it!

What do you have planned for the school holidays? I’d love to hear some more ideas in the comments.

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Budget Friendly Winter School Holidays Ideas

Yesterday was the last day of term 2 in NSW. This post was supposed to go up then but apparently I was already in holiday mode and it just didn’t happen. Better late than never though right?

Be sure to have a look at some of the school holidays activities I have posted previously.

  1. Whale Watching – If you are fortunate enough to live on the East Coast of NSW (or you somehow find yourself there these holidays), make sure you spend some time whale watching. Rug up warm, check out this website for the top spots in your area and enjoy a great day out.
  2. Play ‘The Floor is Lava’ – Some days it is just too cold to venture outside but the kids still need a way to get their sillies out. Tell them that the floor is now lava so everyone has to stay off it for the day. This seems to be everywhere on the Internet right now, but it’s also a great way to amuse the kids. Spread some pillows around so that there are safe areas to jump between and spend the day hopping around the house. Make sure to have a good giggle when someone inevitable forgets and “melts” in the lava.
  3. Make hot chocolate – Hot chocolate is a great way to warm up when it’s chilly outside, and is a great treat to enjoy for morning or afternoon tea. Whip up some cream, get out the sprinkles, and let the kids go to town.
  4. Have a pyjama day – These are my son’s favourite days. The days when he gets to wear his jammies ALL day, no matter what we do. I don’t always participate but some days it is just too tempting to stay snuggly and warm in my pyjamas and slippers.
  5. Make soup – Soup is another great way to warm up when it’s cold. Add it to your meal plan one night and then get the kids to help measure ingredients and chop vegetables. They’re more likely to eat it if they helped make it!

What do you have planned for the school holidays? I’d love to hear some more ideas in the comments.

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More Budget Friendly School Holidays Ideas

Today is the last day of term 1 in NSW. I feel like the last 11 weeks have gone by in a flash! These holidays I have my youngest brother coming to stay with us for a week. Fun fact: My youngest brother and my son are actually the same age! The two of them are like chalk and cheese and so this week I’ve been trying to come up with a few extra ideas to keep them both entertained and I thought I’d share them here. I’m sure we’ll also get up to a few of the school holidays activities I have posted previously.

  1. Check out the local shopping centre for free or cheap activities. Our local centre usually has some great holiday activities for kids. Sand art, Lego competitions, petting zoos, and scavenger hunts are just a few things we’ve participated in. Most of them are free or just a few dollars so we’ll have a look and see if there’s anything that interests the boys.
  2. Play board games. I’ve posted before (in this post and this one) about how awesome board games can be. We have quite the collection these days so I’m hoping there is enough variety that they will keep them entertained for a while.
  3. Build a blanket fort. I think this is an awesome idea for those rainy days when we’re all stuck at home inside.  I can throw a blanket over the dining table and rearrange the couches a little so both boys can have their own little base. Bonus points if I can set it up just right so that they can both see the TV and then they can double as snuggle nests for a movie night.
  4. Try GeocachingThis has been on my list of things to try for a while and I think both the boys will get a kick out of it. For those of you who don’t know what it is it involves real life treasure hunting using GPS. If it’s a hit I might do a separate post of how we go.
  5. Lego. When all else fails I’m just going to get the Lego out. Both of the boys love Lego (Let’s be honest, even I love Lego!), and they can then play with their creations once they’re built. Two activities for the price of one!

What do you have planned for the school holidays? I’d love to hear some more ideas to keep these boys busy in the comments.

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5 Ways to Teach Your Children About Money {Guest Post by Fi Morrison}

Fi Morrison is a first time Mum to an adorable 7 month old bub she calls Starfish. She is a teacher (currently on maternity leave) who writes an awesome blog for new mums over at Mumma Morrison

As a teacher, there are lots of things I need to teach my students. I need to teach them how to tell the time. I need to teach them how to add and subtract. I need to teach them how to write sentences, paragraphs and whole texts. It is a big, daunting, and amazingly rewarding job.

And then I became a parent. And I realised that as a parent (albeit to a 7 month old), I too need to teach my child things. At the moment, I need to teach him to track objects. I need to teach him to listen to speech sounds and mimick my noises. I need to teach him to sit (and eventually crawl and walk and talk). This too is a massively daunting but wonderfully rewarding task. I am a lucky woman.

I have to admit though, as a teacher I have come across many a parent who delegated full responsibility for teaching their child onto me – without considering their own ability (and RESPONSIBILITY) to teach their kids. Understanding money and how to use it is not only part of the curriculum they are required to learn at school, but it is a LIFE skill that all children need to become adept at (this is a pet peeve of mine – people who don’t know how to deal with money!!). I’ve included 5 simple and easy ways for you to teach your children about money at home – I hope you find them useful.

Chores/Reward charts – One of the things I remember growing up was doing chores for ‘pocket money’. I would get $2.00 for washing dishes, or $5.00 for ironing shirts (was a lot of money when I was growing up!). Not only did it teach me important lessons about money such as the coins/notes and adding them together (if I iron the clothes and wash the dishes I’ll earn $7.00), but it also taught me the VALUE of money. I need to earn money to receive it, and I will be more thankful to have money once I realize all the hard work I’ve gone through to get it.

For those parents who might not like the idea of giving their toddlers pretend money (they might not comprehend it as much at such a young age), a reward chart can work very similar. If you have a reward chart for your child doing chores, and they recognise that they’ll earn a star or a sticker (or whatever you choose!) every time they complete a chore, they’ll begin to understand the concept of “earning” something for their work.

Of course, this can be a difficult line to balance. While we want children to do their chores ‘because they want to’ (we want them to be intrinsically motivated), we know that the real world is just not like that. We earn money by working hard and doing our ‘job’, and our children will learn that one day too. Even by earning a simple ‘star’ on a star chart for doing their chores can be reward enough for them.

5 Ways to Teach Your Children About Money {Guest Post by Fi Morrison} - 2Games, such as Monopoly – A lot of us grew up (and are still to this day) playing Monopoly. Known for being tediously long, it is also beneficial in teaching children about money. While it deals with larger sums of money, children are once again not only learning how to add up and subtract sums of money, but they are learning the value of money (they are using their money to buy property, etc). It contains numerous life skills within the game, such as rationing your money and making decisions on what to spend money on (and what not to) in order to survive.

play - pretend shoppingPlay – Pretend shopping – Something that children do from a very young age is engage in dramatic play. They enjoy playing “pretend” and playing in the kitchen, in the home, or in the shops. This is a great opportunity for young children to start to understand the use of money (to buy things) and to practise exchanging money for items. While little people don’t need to fully understand the value of the coins or items they are purchasing, simply getting involved in a ‘transaction’ is developing their understanding of money. Give your child plenty of opportunities to pretend play in shopping situations (even if they had a pretend shopping till or coins).

Catalogues/brochures – For older children, catalogues and brochures are another way to teach them how to use/spend money. This has been a great teaching lesson that I have used in several different contexts (including when I taught for a couple of weeks in Fiji!). Giving your child a catalogue and telling them they have a certain budget (maybe your weekly family budget), ask them what they would buy. This activity can pave the way for excellent conversations about buying what we want (e.g. chocolate!) versus what we need (e.g. fruit and veg). Ask your child what would happen if you spent your whole budget on confectionery – what would we eat for dinner? What would you use to wash yourself in the bath or shower? This is another excellent lesson in the value of money for older children.

Conversations at the shops – Following on from the above activity, never underestimate the value of a good, contextual conversation. Taking your children shopping with you and letting them see what you purchase is a great way for them to learn the value of money. Involve them in some decisions, such as whether you should buy the expensive brand of detergent versus the cheap brand – you might find some good insights and discussions about the pros and cons of each. This will teach your children to always make judgment calls on what they purchase, not just defining ‘cheap’ and ‘expensive’ brands (for example, you may need to buy an expensive brand of laundry powder because it is more sensitive for your eczema).

These are my top, easy-to-implement activities for parents to do at home with their children to teach them the value and use of money. What are some of your favourite activities?

Be sure to follow Fi on Facebook and Instagram, and check out her lovely website Mumma Morrison.

School Holiday Activities

We’ve now moved into the second half of the school holidays here and I can sense the boredom growing. So far my son has been fine finding things to entertain himself with, needing little guidance from me, but he’s starting to look for something new to interest him. So I thought I’d share a few ideas I will be suggesting to him over the next couple of weeks before school goes back. Also if you haven’t already be sure to check out my Budget Friendly School Holidays Ideas.

  1. Make your own book. Fold pieces of paper into 4 and staple a few together. Get out the art supplies and let them go nuts. For younger kids draw pictures and then help them fill in the words.
  2. Make a movie. Most phones these days have video capabilities. Show older kids how to use it and let them film their own movie, using either younger (hopefully willing) siblings or toys as characters. Once they have finished filming, upload the video files to a computer. Windows 10 comes with video editing software (Movie Maker) and I’m fairly certain most Mac’s come with something similar. Find a straight forward YouTube video to teach them the basics and off they go. Organise a special movie night to premiere their masterpiece!
  3. Rediscover a love for play dough. Now that my son is 9 he sometimes tells me he’s too old for play dough but I find if I just get it out without saying anything he doesn’t complain and can spend hours making and playing with his creations.
  4. Head to the Park. Sometimes a change of scenery is all they need. Take bikes or scooters, hats and a drink bottle, and spend a morning enjoying the fresh air.
  5. Get out the paddling pool. When all else fails set up the paddling pool and splash around. If you don’t have a paddling pool, let them play in the bath. There is just something so wonderful about water that I find makes the whole day feel awesome.

What are you doing to fill in the last few weeks of school holidays?

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