I am a freelance contributor also known to my kids as Super Dad...and I happen to live in Perth!
Published September 28th 2016
A Personal Account from a 'SuperDad'
There are many things that one can do with your kids. Some activities may be expensive while others don't cost a cent. I found the latter to be the most enjoyable and the idea of low-budget activities dawned on me when I gave my little girl a very expensive remote control car from Christmas but she had more fun playing with the box. I thought to myself, 'What are other things could I do with the kids, which they found more fun and won't break the bank?'
A Typical Sunset by the Beach in Perth (image by SuperDad)
Being in Perth, we have an abundance of beaches, national parks, museums, trails, picnic spots and many more venues which are, on the most half, free. However, the 3 ideas listed below are a result of years of trial and error. Notably, my kids are a lot older but these activities have proven to be the most enjoyable out of everything we have done to date.
3. Outdoor Movie Night
With Summer approaching, this might become very popular. We have a very small enclosed patio which is hardly used. I spent a while trying to figure out what can be done with the space when the idea came to mind!
With a computer in hand and a second-hand projector I bought for $40.00, I set up our personal 'Outdoor Movie Theatre'. It was a winner for the kids and my wife, who noted that the mess was taken outside of the house!
I placed a double bed foam mattress we sometimes use for camping on the ground and I had my kids choose their spot by adding their bedding.
With homemade microwave popcorn, some drinks (mine might have been a beer) and a rental video, we proceeded to enjoy an evening watching a video under the stars.
Apart from the projector (which you may need to purchase) the night cost a total of $20.00 for a family of four. This included the hire movies, popcorn and drinks.
2. Road Trip
I have figured out that a road trip for our family should not take longer than two hours of driving before everyone seems to become a little 'cranky'.
The kids help prepare our picnic basket by adding plates, serviettes and other little things one normally forgets. When they were younger, I made sandwiches with ingredients they selected. However, as they are older they make their own sandwiches and add other snacks they may enjoy during the trip.
Because the trip could take us into 'no mans' land, I generally take a flask of coffee. The kids will have drinks and we always carry enough water.
Our road trip is uniquely different. We generally choose a place to visit but rarely end up at that destination point. With a wife that loves taking photos and kids that enjoy a little adventure, we often travel only moments out of Perth before we stop. Notably, we have our picnic, enjoy a walk along a trail we may have found and then head home.
Overall the day costs the price of fuel for the car and food already bought from the week's shopping. On occasions, I may stop and buy an ice-cream but I tend to keep this to a moment of a surprise than an expectation.
This is my kids' favourite activity. I am sure if we put it up for vote, it would be given the 'Kids Choice Award'.
Perth has barbecue spots all along the coast. We don't have a favourite place as we generally go where it may be a little quieter.
Because we have done this activity a number of times, we have quickly learnt about the things we normally forget. To help you, if this is your first time, I have listed all the essentials which you can check off:
Egg Lifter (Spatula)
Plates (to eat on and to place food on)
Kitchen Towel (or two)
Plastic Bags (for waste and for wrapping dirty dishes)
Salt and Pepper
Food which includes: Eggs, Sausages, Bread, Onions, Tomatoes, and Fruit. Believe it or not, kids eat the latter first while waiting for breakfast.
Flask of Coffee
Soccer and Footy Ball
It took me a while to figure out why this activity is the best. However, I came to realise that it is mostly about family time. While the food is being cooked, kids will play a little ball. During summer, they may even go for a little swim. After breakfast, we end up talking about a range of topics and end off with the kids favourite activity - kicking the footy ball with the whole family. Even my wife joins in for this activity.
The event may have a setup cost of acquiring a footy ball and a steel egg lifter. Notably, my first mistake! However, most of the items needed are found in the cupboard and the setting has been shifted from inside a house to the great outdoors. Personally, it is my favourite too.
I hope I have given you a couple of ideas for your kids. However, the most important thing I have learnt is that kids love the simple things in life. To me that sums it up as my 'Cardboard Box Theory'!