Keeping the kids occupied this school holidays without constantly shelling out dollar after dollar for entertainment can be difficult.
Matching the energy and momentum of kids during the holidays will either be joyous or quickly fall into torturous organisational mayhem with parents constantly juggling home and work to manage young children. For some families it can be an expensive entertainment quest they can well do without.
Some of the best places to find low cost activities for young kids during the holiday season are your local Public Library, Community Centre and Community Gardens. From Lego construction and fun craft activities to gaming and learning new tech. There are a host of school holiday programs to keep the kids minds engaged or at the very least amused.
Public libraries with their image of the thin-lipped librarian with strict code of quiet and diligence have transformed with the push to bring the libraries back to the public eye and use. Many sceptics predicted the library with its printed collection as going the same way as an aging postal service that fails to keep pace with technology or new enterprise. Some of the big libraries and centres have met this challenge by exploring how and what people want or use and giving them more of what they want. Most modern libraries have made the transition and you can find a wide range of people on the computer terminals researching, or after school kids just gaming amongst an around the clock host of activities. More importantly a library card comes with home access to professional online tutorials, ebooks, video and music downloads - all part of every library throughout the state. During the holidays they have an enormous range of activities for young minds.
The huge increase in Community Gardens has provided a great meeting place whilst providing entertainment for kids. In SA there were around 40 in 2012 and that number has grown to hundreds. These gardens have taken over as a modern day kids club where stay at home mums and dads can gather and collectively keep the kids occupied whilst having a grown up chat and literally watch the grass or veggies grow. Sometimes a collective of parents is just what you need to ease the constant guardianship of being a watchful modern super parent. Who knows the kids might even find a worm or two to eat and you can watch and debate if that’s OK or not.
Community Centres offer a wide range of activities for youth or slightly older children as well as adult education, physical fitness, community meals or well-being and self-development programs. Some of the larger centres in the North and South have such a myriad of clubs and activities associated and can even offer employment assistance and access to the wider service agencies that provide such things as emergency relief, financial counselling or cost of living assistance. These super centres have many activities each day over the holidays and whilst the kids are busy you can take part in something yourself.
So why not consider taking the kids down to the local community centre or library, or if the weather is good and you’re feeling like an afternoon in the garden check out what’s growing around your local area. Already the school activity programs are filling up fast and for the more popular events it’s worth jumping online straight away and booking. It could be a low cost way of not only engaging the kids or sparking an interest but expanding your own brain as well.
As the year gets under way the kids will soon be looking to sign up for sports and dance. Uniforms, equipment and fees can sometimes be that expense that is hard to find and kids often miss out.
Make sure you're kids are not missing out on the healthy benefits and friendships of sport and dance.
The SA Government Sports Voucher is available to all primary school children aged from reception to year 7. You can claim one voucher for each eligible child per calendar year and many sporting teams are set up to claim the vouchers directly when paying for sports fees.
All forms of Dance is now included and the SA Government has agreed to continue the program till 2021-2022.
There are many ideas for staying cool and saving on expensive utilities bills if you have your own house. When you are renting it is hard to make the changes to problem areas of the home necessary to effectively reduce your costs.
"The Renters Guide to Saving Money" helps people renting to look consider what changes they can make to save money and life sustainably and how to negotiate with landlords for a reasonable outcome.
The booklet is biased towards the East Coast of Australia but many of the practical ideas are still worthy of exploration. Concessions and laws may vary between states so it is worth checking.