Parents of young children will know that the winter struggle is all too real. Your small people need to let off steam but you have no wish to sit in a park freezing your tush off or worse still – end up in a dreaded playcentre. What to do, what to do? Several solutions are at hand and you won't have to pay out a whole heap of money to keep them occupied with these low-cost ideas:
Embrace the warmth of an indoor pool
There are now plenty of leisure pools around Melbourne that have fantastic facilities for kids. Splashing around and whizzing down slides for a couple of hours is a great energy burner and the kids will have a blast. You could almost imagine you were on a tropical holiday somewhere with the humid atmosphere and the blue waves lapping at your toes. Almost. Our favourites are GESAC
• AFL matches.
Every Sunday kids go free at AFL matches
, making this a very cost-effective exercise especially if you pack your own snacks to take along. Nothing screams Winter-in-Melbourne like a dose of footie. All that fresh air and yelling will work wonders come bedtime.
• Drive In Cinemas.
Get the family to the footie this winter
Big chain cinemas can get costly if you have several children, so it's much more affordable to take a carload of family to the drive-in. My kids prefer the excitement of seeing the latest release at the local drive-in where they can enjoy the night sky as part of the show, so it's a win-win situation. The best thing about seeing films in winter is that it gets dark early so you don't have to keep everyone up late. Our local is Lunar Drive In
located in Dandenong.
The best bit – completely free! Check out my article here
that gives details of all the benefits of joining your local library. My favourite time to use ours is in the school holidays when most libraries run activity programs. We have whiled away many a morning joining an activity and then browsing for books and DVDs.
There's lots of learning to be had at library events
If they're literally bouncing off the walls, a spot of climbing might calm them down a bit. There are lots of climbing centres in Melbourne that either specialise in kids' climbing or have a beginners/kids section, such as Clip N Climb
and Bayside Rock Climbing
. Children as young as four can climb safely and they are bound to have a whole heap of fun.
If you can't beat the weather, join it. Rug up and wear out the kids on a fun walk or hike. The best ones have interesting things to see along the way, like wildlife, streams or even rocks – you'd be surprised at the things which appeal to the curiosity of a pre- or primary schooler. Two of our favourite walks are the Sherbrooke Falls walk
in the Dandenongs and the Sweetwater Creek Nature Reserve
So there you have it. Nothing that will break the bank and some good family fun thrown in to keep those little tykes out of mischief.