Free kids fun at Bunnings
If you’re anything like us you’re going to think “how the hell am i going to entertain the kids all day every day and on a budget!”
Yes it is true, the idea of having your little munchkins around 24/7 while looking at you and saying “what are we doing next mum” can be quite overwhelming and somewhat draining to your hip pocket!
After 22 months travelling Australia full time in our caravan, I can say we’ve learnt a thing or two about how to manage this…
And i think it’s important to note, that the kids have actually taught us quite a lot of this!
Less Is More…
So often we make life harder for ourselves thinking more is more, but we find it’s quite the opposite.
Too often we see families arriving to a caravan park with pretty much their whole lives from home, from the dryers, hand held blower vac, boxes of kids toys to every piece of sporting equipment you could possibly own, to boxes full of clothes and not to forget the ipods & ipads, only to see them leave 2 days later!
My point is, we can live with less. That may create a lot of fear for some, feeling they can’t live without something for a quick trip away, but living with a lot less has actually taught us all that it is possible and we used to hang onto a lot of things that we didn’t actually need.
Our kids have shown us that they are happiest when they are surrounded by nature and outdoors making their own fun with what they find in their environment.
Kids don’t really need much; let them show you what they want and what they are interested in.
Visit Bunnings on a weekend
This is our kids favourite! Every week the kids request a Bunnings trip and think we are the best parents in the world for accommodating their needs. City / Metro stores generally have it all, inc character dress-ups, art/craft, plant potting, animal demonstrations, indoor play areas (ideal for wet days) and of course a cafe for mum and dad. You can grab your hose fittings for the van while you’re here, but this is otherwise a completely free fun-filled trip which fills the morning on a Sunday regularly for us.
Get them Outside…
There are so many amazing parks around the coastal parts of Australia, but also many in country towns too.
The local councils and tourism boards of popular areas do a great job in ensuring the local parks are up to scratch.
A few standouts for us are Broadbeach Parklands Gold Coast, Tamworth Regional Parklands and Townsville water park and playgrounds.
We find the kids always get a kick out of seeing mum and dad join in too, and it helps keep us young and connected to that playful side that we all have.
Go to the beach
What a fantastic FREE activity for the whole family. Water is not only fun and you can do so much in it but it also has such a calming and balancing effect on the whole body.
And lets face it, who doesn’t love building a sandcastle!!
Go exploring and collect shells or special sticks or rocks
Using what you find to make your own gifts, art works, mobiles, dream catchers, jewellery or gift boxes
Our kids just LOVE bugs! Any insect (apart from a cockroach!). They are fascinated by and can spend hours studying them and then creating as they call it “a habitat” for them before they release them. Most make it out alive, if Billy doesn’t get to them! He actually loves caring for them, calling them his pets but is sometimes a bit too heavy handed and oops, we have a casualty.
It is not uncommon to find us in the amenities before bed (esp in WA where the bugs were huge!) scanning the ceiling for moths to catch as a pet for the night!
Go bushwalking/riding in the Local National Park
There’s really nothing better than being out in the thick of nature, green trees all around you, fresh air, the sounds of birds that you’ve never heard before, peace and quiet.
We love bushwalking and exploring rocks and mountains. The kids are real troopers and can do trails of around 5kms return if we push them a bit, and they really enjoy it.
Go for a bike/scooter ride
With so many fantastic bike paths it’s hard not to go on that family bike ride.
Kids usually always love bikes or scooters, and what a way to burn them out!
Our 3 are on their bikes the minute their school work is done in the morning and they ride them all throughout the day. Skate parks and BMX tracks also create variance in terrain and teaches kids various new skills based upon the track visited. We remember Warrnambool Victoria as an example, which was a really fast and steep track which the kids all improved their skills and confidence on. They also lost a bit of bark each, but this is all part of the journey!
Visit the Op Shop…
I must admit prior to us hitting the road we hadn’t visited an op shop other than for a fancy dress party!
But let me tell you now we are massive fans and love a good old op shop experience.
When you can’t store a lot of stuff on board it makes perfect sense to pick up a few items for the kids from the local op shop that they can play with for a while then donate them back when they’re done.
Do arts and crafts
The girls love to knit after learning this dying art from a few of the grey nomads we love to hang out with on our travels. It’s cheap, takes up a heap of time, and inspires a sense of satisfaction in the kids as they get to create their own clothing.
Making jewellery to sell creates a source of income for young minds, and gives them a real sense of achievement when people actually pay them for their goods. So lovely to watch.
Visit the local Library
That place we couldn’t wait to get out of as school kids is actually a brilliant stimulatory experience for younger children. You’d be surprised just how advanced and well catered your local library can be, and also a great source of loanable toys for kids to enjoy while in new areas. Better still you get to hand the toys back at the end of the week, meaning that your caravan or camper doesn’t become an accumulated mess of toys as the months wear on.
Always Explore your Natural Landmark
Australia IS the lucky country! Every state has a host of popular areas both on and off the usual tourist paths. Choose your own adventure and remember to visit the tourism information centres in each area. We have been fortunate to connect with locals in each town who have always pointed us in the right direction. Thanks guys!
There is always something iconic to the local area you are visiting that you can explore. It also becomes a history lesson for the entire family.
Go fishing, crab hunting, pump for yabbies or go for a snorkel
Not much trumps the feeling of catching your own food. It’s generally the highest quality from unpolluted waters, you know when it was caught, and you don’t pay $55/kg! The kids think it’s an activity, but we call it shopping. Haha.
We hope there’s some great tips to make all your trips fun-filled and rewarding. Short or long stays will all benefit from some of these handy hints.
See you on the road
Michelle & Shannon…