Cheap School Holiday Ideas with The Kids

“Mum, I’m bored!” Are you wondering what to do with kids these school holidays? While camping out and going to the beach to swim are common, you can do other cheap & fun activities too! Here are some suggestions that will surely excite the kids and make lasting memories.

Fun competitions at home

  • Hold a cooking competition. Invite their friends over and make them prepare a simple meal, like pizza! Making dough from scratch is a messy and inexpensive way to have fun. You get to taste and you’ll be the judge who makes the most awesome pizza. This will be a hit because you all get to eat the results later. The best part is you don’t even have to cook dinner!
  • Set up a mystery and play a detective game. Hide toys around the house or bury them in the garden. These can serve as clues for a more challenging game. Give the kids magnifying glasses, maps, and notebooks for jotting down clues. The first to solve the problem gets a price, plus this helps develop their analytical and discernment skills!
  • Have a design and fashion show competition, ala Project Runway. This should have a theme and be time restricted. Let the kids roam through your wardrobe and see what design they can come up with. They can also use macaroni or beads to make bracelets, necklaces, and more. You’ll be amazed at what they can do with your hats, coats, scarves, and other recyclable materials in the house. Make them wear their creation and have them parade down the runway to judge who wins! This is great with girls, but boys can have a good time too.

Visit a local park

Go the extra mile, figuratively and literally, and visit a local park you’ve never been before. Search online for recommendations and choose one where there are climbing frame, water play, sand play, swings, and flying foxes. These can be a lot of fun for parents too!

Join them in picking up leaves around the park and do leaf rubbings. Put a leaf under a paper and rub a pencil or crayon across to make leaf imprint. Make a bunch of imprints then put it in frames or an album when you get home. You can also use these to make cards for any occasion or when you make a collage.

Later on, grab a pair of binoculars and go birdwatching. Make a list and look up information on the internet about the birds you saw. Who says holidays can’t be educational?

You and your kids can also go for a bike ride or rollerblading around the park. The family can also make their own kites and play with them. Or just let the kids run around and play while you relax under a tree.

kings park

A road trip involving ice cream

Turn ice cream into an adventure by going to a gourmet ice cream outlet not too close from home. Nothing excites kids more than delicious ice cream, the impressive kind you won’t get out of a supermarket tub or your local petrol station.

If it takes quite a while to get there, it will be a perfect time for talking or enjoying the car music. It will be worth the wait once you arrived at the destination because by then, the trip becomes about a lot more than the ice cream.

If you are still one of those parents trying to keep their cars reasonably clean, the kids can eat their ice creams while walking around and exploring the busy hub. Then you’ll have a group of happy and satisfied kids to drive back home. They may even fall asleep for a quick nap.

Community Events

Check out your local community calendar (often put up by your local council) and take the gang to the nearest community days being held. These kinds of events can include sports days, festivals, and interesting one-offs, all of which should be free to join. When money is tight, the last thing you’re going to feel like doing is going out on a spending spree with your credit cards and cash in hand. Community days are vibrant, all-day events that usually contribute to some form of great cause.

Listen to a Podcast for Kids

Don’t fancy going out? Save money by staying in instead! Podcasts are great because there are loads of publishers releasing great child-friendly entries that are free to listen to. They’ll be kept calm and peaceful for hours while safe and potentially learning from a wealth of valuable content.

Podcasts are usually always either filled with easily digestible lessons or are wildly entertaining. This one’s a life saver if you’ve had enough of hysteria and want a solid hour or two to unwind.

One of the best ways to save on your monthly costs is to cut back on pricey groceries. Take the kids out and they’ll likely be harassing you every time you pass something sweet looking. Keep them in for some great listening and you’ll steer clear of tempting treats.

Bake Something

Of all the constructive things you could do in the house, baking is perhaps one of the easiest to control in terms of spending limits. Bake bread and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how affordable all the ingredients are. You could even save yourself a pretty penny by baking a large batch and freezing the excess for future meals. Things might get messy, but that’s half the fun!

Take a Trip to the Museum

Not only are museums great if you’re low on cash, but they’re also educational. Most large museums are free to enter and include collections large enough to keep your little learners occupied for most of the day. Bring a packed lunch to land extra savings!

Most indoor activities will cost you a small fortune for the whole family, so a museum a great option if you think you might struggle to make it to your next payday.

In recent years, our team at Cigno have seen a spike in the amount of school holiday loans we’ve had to help people with, so we know all about the financial pressure that a lot of parents will be feeling over the coming weeks. If you are experiencing financial need, feel free to apply for a short-term loan.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that Cigno Loans’ articles do not replace advice from an accountant or financial advisor. All information provided is intended to be used as a guide only, as it does not take into account your personal financial situation or needs. If you require assistance, it is recommended that you consult a licensed financial or tax advisor.


Ordered by the Federal Court of Australia

The Federal Court of Australia has found that Cigno Australia Pty Ltd (Cigno Australia) and BSF Solutions Pty Ltd (BSF Solutions) have breached the law by engaging in unlicensed credit activity and charging prohibited fees.

In the period from July 2022 to 3 October 2023, over 100,000 consumers have been lent a total of $34 million, and charged fees of over $70 million, under the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’ operated by BSF Solutions and Cigno Australia. At no time has either BSF Solutions or Cigno Australia held an Australian Credit Licence.

The Court also found that Mark Swanepoel (director of Cigno Australia) and Brenton James Harrison (director of BSF Solutions) were involved in these breaches of the law.

With effect from 24 May 2024, the Court has granted permanent injunctions preventing Cigno Australia and BSF Solutions from:

  • demanding, receiving or accepting fees or charges, including amounts of loan principal, from consumers in relation to credit provided under the ‘No Upfront Charge Model’; and
  • engaging in further credit activity pursuant to the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’, including by entering into new agreements with consumers, for so long as they do not hold an Australian Credit Licence.

Cigno Australia was ordered by the Court to, by 5th July 2024, send written communications to consumers who between July 2022 and December 2022 entered into agreements with Cigno Australia and BSF Solutions under the ‘No Upfront Charge Loan Model’.

The Court will later determine whether (among other things) Cigno Australia and Mark Swanepoel ought to pay a pecuniary penalty in respect of this conduct, and whether Mark Swanepoel should be restrained from carrying on a business engaging in credit activity.

Cigno Australia, BSF Solutions, Mr Swanepoel and Mr Harrison intend to appeal the decision of the Court and have filed an application for leave to appeal. If the appeal is successful, some or all of the orders of the Federal Court of Australia may be set aside.

Where can you get more information?

Where to go for further support

You can access legal advice in your state at: Free legal advice –

If you are experiencing trouble with debt, or money worries in general, contact:

  • the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 or online chat (9:30am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday).

If you need someone to talk to, contact:

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