10 Outing Ideas for Kids (that don’t cost a fortune)

During the school holidays, there is opportunity to do many outings with the kids, but it can be (very) expensive. Below are 10 outings ideas I’ve enjoyed with my kids that didn’t cost a fortune!

10 Outing Ideas for Kids (that don't cost a fortune)

1. Visit a Pet Shop/Aquarium

outings for kids -- visit a pet shop

pet shop

Visiting/walking past a pet shop is something my kids enjoy. We don’t spend a lot of time in the pet shop but the entire outing takes a good chunk of a day. From the time we get ready to go — getting there, seeing the animals, then stopping for a bun and a coffee for mum, and ending with a few errands — a few hours have gone by.  I do this sort of activity (sometimes yes, even visit the toy section to look but don’t buy toys) on school holidays; for me it’s about making a trip to the shops, fun.

2. Visit a craft shop

outings for kids -- craft shop

craft shop

I love browsing through craft shops for inspiration. As an activity, I give my children each $5 to spend of craft items. When we are home, they create something. I love the floors in Craft Riot.

3. Visit an Op Shop

outings for kids -- visit an op shop

op shop

Op Shops are full of awesome finds.  Even $1 will buy your something!  The kids can buy items to make a thrift shop cubby, buy buttons for a necklace or craft, find an old jar to display collections, or just to browse and see if there is any treasure lurking.

4. Visit a national Park or Beach

outings for kids -- visit a national park

Mt Glorious

National parks and beaches are gold for kids as far as I’m concerned. There are many wide space to run and play as well as trees and other fun things to discover.  The kids made a jungle home under the tree in the picture (above).

5 .Go on a Quest

outings for kids -- go on a quest


I’m a huge fan of quests because it’s adventurous and exciting! The idea is to go for a drive (or walk) and look for something.  We’ve hunted for pine cones, street names corresponding with our family, cool letterboxes and geocaching treasure.

6. Visit a Park Out of Town

outings for kids  -- visit a different park

Wellington Point Park

Just recently, the children and I visited a park (about 40 minutes from our house) by the sea with a mini lighthouse. Going to a different park is exciting and new.

7. Just Drive

outings for kids -- just drive


On New Year’s Eve, the children and I went on a mini road trip. One of the reasons why I enjoy driving around is because I know the kids can’t move all the kids are safe, so this gives me time to just sit between stops. I have been known to just go for a drive (to anywhere and nowhere) for 30 minutes when things are a bit hairy at home, and having a GPS I know I can always find my way home again.

8. Go out for Ice-cream

outings for kids -- ice cream


Ice-cream and holidays seem to go hand in hand for me. The kids and I don’t eat much ice-cream during the year but I sometimes go out with the kids purely to get an ice-cream as an activity on the school holidays.

9. Have picnic dinner

outings for kids -- picnic dinner

picnic dinner

Head down to a local park for an early picnic dinner. Ham and salad sandwiches with cut up oranges is a staple for us.

10. Free attractions

outings for kids -- free attractions and events

GOMA – Brisbane

Many museums, environmental centres, libraries and shopping centres offer free activities and attractions for kids. I recently visited the gorgeous “we miss you magic land” display at Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Brisbane with Mardi from MummyCino.

What are some cheap outings you like to do with kids?

Other School Holiday Posts

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Kelly loves life at both ends of the spectrum: wearing high heel shoes one day and hiking boots the next; sipping tea out of a pretty cup and slurping hot coffee from a camping mug; challenging herself physically and stopping for quiet unhurried moments to feel the wind on her face. Kelly and her husband Matthew seek to live a fun and adventurous life with their four children and pet bird.

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  1. Laura says

    Thank you. One and a half weeks before school starts and such hots days is making it hard to find entertaining things to do.

    • says

      It’s so hot isn’t it! We are staying indoors much more during the day and venturing out either early morning (not so good for me; not the best morning person HA!) or late afternoon…and we can stay out later because there’s no school for the next day!

      • says

        we buy annual passes which is less than $100 for a year for the whole family (i think it might be the cost of two visits and you can pay the difference and upgrade during your first visit). we go numerous times each year so for us it works out super cheap. probably about $10-$15 a visit for the whole family. my son plays in the little nippers railway yard for hours.

        love the post btw! some great ideas to get out and about and not spend a forture.

        i took your advice and headed straight over to GoMA and checked out Kusama and we miss you magic land. almost got a parking fine as i couldnt drag my son away from the place when it was time to go! (lucky for me the parking attendant started at the other end of the carpark!)

  2. Coral Ashford says

    My grand daughter loves me taking her to the Mt Cootha Botanic gardens where we visit and feed the ducks, turtles & lizards with small pieces of stale bread. Its also lovely walking around all the various areas looking at the different trees, plants etc. Lots of things to do! Another favourite is Southbank, Redcliffe & Wynnum playground areas for children with the childrens swim areas!

  3. Kelly Tracey says

    Talking about pet shops ans aquariums, we often take our boys down to Neilsen’s native nursery and aquarium on Beenleigh-Redland Bay Road at Loganholme/Cornubia. They have a great cafe, the boys love all the plants and we practically have to drag them out of the aquarium section. Kills a couple of hours easily all in the one place!

  4. says

    Kelly, I appreciate most of your ideas and truly like your posts. My family contains two kids and two cats. I’m afraid if I take the kids to a pet store I’ll end up with a new pet. It’s winter where I am and it’s freezing cold out. I’m planning to take the kids snowshoeing a couple weekends from now if we don’t get snowed in first. 😉

    • says

      Sheila, I had a chuckle at your comment because I really know what you mean about not wanting to take any more pets home! I tell my kids that we are only going to look (just like I do when we browse the toy section and I never give in so the kids know I mean it) but if it was going to be a drama, I agree I would def give it a miss too!

      Oooo, snow! It’s just such a different life to us here in Oz and I just can’t imagine life with snow. We hope to move to England for a year for my husband’s work in a few years so that will be interesting.

  5. Michele says

    Im with Laura. Our heat indexes are well above 100, and I can’t take much of this heat. The craft store and op store ideas were great ones that I hadn’t thought of yet. Think I’ll pickup an unfinished coat rack and let my son paint and decorate it so he’ll have a place in his room to hang his belt and backpack. School starts in 3 days……my kids are ready too!

    • says

      That’s tough Suz, and I can totally relate having a child with major sensory issues. Every single outing was SUCH a strain. Fast forward over 5 years and we are doing so much better with it all but it’s a process. Biggest help for me was seeing a specialist developmental paediatrician. He’s helped me so much.

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