Backpacks, budgets and brilliant adventures – A family-friendly guide to creating a fun day out that doesn’t break the bank or your brain.

Does anyone else feel as though term two has flown by?  I mean, it literally just feels like we were buying new backpacks, lunch boxes and school shoes to start the year, and here we are, nearing the end of the first semester.  Don’t even get me started on Christmas approaching at warp factor speed.

The general tone of families at the moment is the worrying undercurrent of the rising cost of living.  Groceries, entertainment, household bills … you name it, and we have all noticed the increases … Yikes!  Like the speed at the year is flying by, we all wish these increases would slow the heck down, right?!

Sooo … it is nearly time to slide into the school holidays, where we can marinate in PJs, swoon into slow morning and navigate our way through what’s new on Netflix.  Sounds divine, doesn’t it?  Only one minor issue, this dreamy itinerary isn’t going to cut it for the entire holidays.  Cabin fever will indeed set in, and you will need to get out of the house to reconnect with the real world, ground yourself in nature and bask in some vitamin D and fresh air … oh, and grab yourself a barista-made coffee that you totally deserve!

We all know that stepping outside of the house literally costs $150.  It doesn’t matter what you are doing or where you are going; it seems that by simply stepping outside of your front door, you are instantly poorer…eek!

If you love a challenge, try this $30 day out.  What?  That sounds impossible, right?

We have taken the guesswork out of creating a fun, inexpensive and memory-making day by putting together a list of websites showcasing the best FREE play spaces and playgrounds in each capital city.

Get your kids involved in the decision-making of where they think the day out should be.  Kids love having input into all the little details of adventures, and applying them will make this day so much more special, creating core memories and giving them independence.  Once you have decided where you are going to go, begin writing a checklist of what you will need.  Again, this involvement will amplify their excitement about your big adventure.

A checklist might look something like this …

o            Backpacks

o            Water bottles

o            Lunch

o            Snacks

o            A bag to collect trinkets (see below)

o            Comfortable walking shoes

o            Sunscreen

o            Hats


Check out these sites for some amazing ideas:

Sydney and Canberra






Next, ask your kids to help plan the homemade picnic menu for the day.  Think homemade sandwiches, a thermos of chicken noodle soup, cut-up fruit, home-baked cookies or whatever you have in your pantry and whatever makes your day run smoothly for you and your little loves.  Your day … your rules … order $5 worth of hot chips if that’s what your kids love … (the $5 will come out of your $30 budget, though, hehe)

Ok, so you’ve loaded your backpack with all the goodies, yummy homemade lunch, snacks and anything else that will make your day extra special.  Time to head out and venture to the destination you all decided on.

At the risk of hearing the words “I’m bored” once you arrive, why not organise a scavenger hunt?  Once printed, staple or sticky tape it to a brown lunch bag for your kids to start foraging for trinkets.  There are lots of great scavenger hunts online.  Here is a lovely simple one courtesy of the Pyjama Foundation.  It’s a light weight, imagination provoking activity that is fun and free. Win Win!

So back to the $30 challenge.  Packing a homemade lunch and bringing your own water in your backpack leaves you thirty whole bucks to splurge on …. 

  • Ice creams
  • Coffees and Hot Chocolates
  • Treats from the bakery
  • McDonalds Sundaes or better still an 85-cent cone
  • Public transport to your destination to save you driving

Or you could always use your $30 to go to the supermarket and buy some treats for a movie night to finish off your big adventure.  Now that sounds like a perfect end to the day!  Popcorn, slippers and a spot on the couch … surely wine is in the $30 budget too, hehe!

Happy School Holidays.