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Published November 24th 2013
They really do exist
Doing fun things with your children does not have to cost you any money. There are plenty of free (or almost free) things to do with kids, whether you wish to stay at home or head out for the day.
Catch a Ferry
Don't waste hundreds of dollars on cruises, instead catch a Sydney ferry on Sunday. All day travel pass is only $2.50 per person as part of Sydney Fun Day. Sydney ferries will take you to Manly, Circular Quay, Watson, Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbour and many other destinations. Your children will love watching other boats go by and if you give them your old camera they can create a photo collage of their special day on a boat. Visit Sydney Ferry website for more info.
Sydney has plenty of great family friendly beaches, where your children can go swimming, snorkelling or just splash around. But why not make their day even more fun by organising a beach art or sculptures by the sea competition. Let your kids collect shells, sticks and other beach treasures and then create pictures or special sculptures. You can even include other children that are playing on the beach. Don't forget to take photos of their art and reward their effort with a special treat. Check out some Sydney family friendly beaches
Whether you have a pool at home, swim at a local pool or rockpool, there are lots of great water games that your children can play. Treasure dive is a popular game for children who are not afraid to swim under water. All you need to do is drop some pebbles or coins in the water and whoever picks up the most objects wins.
Another fun game is a beach ball race. Inflate a beach ball for each child and then get them to swim from one side of the pool to the other, pushing the ball with their nose. Check out more swimming pool game ideas .
If you decide to catch a ferry on a Sunday, a very special destination to visit is Cockatoo Island. Entry to the island is free and there is a lot to see and do. You can take an audio tour and hear about the lives of convicts incarcerated in the jail or find out about life of shipwrights, engineers and trades people who worked in Australia's biggest shipyard. Children will love exploring the island with Convict Clues Challenge or take part in the Ship Shape Challenge.
Enjoy the stunning views and excitement of walking across Sydney Harbour Bridge. Park your car near Burton Street, Milsons Point and you can access the bridge via a flight of stairs located on the east side. Your kids will not only get to see all the cars going across the bridge, but also hundreds of boats in the harbour and trains travelling on the west side of the bridge. At the end of the bridge, explore The Rocks including the Rocks Discovery Museum, which is completely free and also provides fun challenges for the kids. Find out more about walking across the Harbour Bridge.
If you've ever wondered how hard candy is made and how they get the pictures inside, then visit Sticky Candy Store at the Rocks. The staff at Sticky demonstrate this fascinating process for free several times each day, and at the end you even get to taste the candy.
See your favourite celebrities by going to the taping of a live TV Show. Australia's popular shows like Australia's Got Talent, X Factor, Beauty and the Geek, Funniest Home Videos and many more offer free tickets to the taping of their shows. For more information visit Lone Explorer website
Lots of fun can be had if you have a few boxes lying around. Depending on the age of your children, you can either let their imagination run wild or help them.
Create a train by placing one large box after another. Decorate the boxes and then get your kids "drive" the train. They can take turns in being the train driver.
Create monsters – this is ideal if you have boxes of varying sizes. You can use glue and different craft supplies to create box monsters,
Build a city – decorate boxes to look like shops and buildings, then let your children drive their toy cars through the town and if they are old enough to make up stories about the people they are going to visit or those that work in the shops/buildings.
You will find plenty of great pictures to print online, whether your children like Dora the Explorer, Bananas in Pyjamas or Batman. Take colouring to the next level and provide your kids with fun things they can decorate their pictures with – pieces of fabric, cotton wool, glitter etc. When their art is finished stick the best one on the fridge or put it in a picture frame.
Instead of spending a fortune during the next school holidays, get yourself organised ahead of time and you will find plenty of free things to do with your kids.