The Christmas holidays can be an expensive time of the year, particularly for families with kids or close family connections.
Not just Christmas itself, but when you add around six weeks of school holidays, it can add up quickly.
There are lots of things you can do with your family that are cheap and cheerful. After all, the most valuable thing here is your time. With a bit of planning and a lot of creativity, you can keep the whole family amused. We take a look at some budget friendly ways to tackle the school holidays this year, to make your dollar stretch just that little bit further.
Scour your local council's website or your suburb's community Facebook page for free and fun Christmas events, like Carols by Candlelight, Christmas Pageants, markets and festivals.
For free school holiday activities, check out your local shopping centre, council and library. They'll often advertise their school holiday programs in advance, and most activities are low cost or no cost.
See the wonder of Christmas by going on a tour of Christmas lights around town. Buggybuddys have an interactive Christmas Lights Display map and listing for the shiniest spots in Perth.
Build a fort in your kitchen or lounge room. Your kids will love it, but let's be honest, you'll love it more. Get as elaborate as you like with the kitchen table, some sheets and chairs to make "rooms".
The weather is beautiful right now, so why not drag the tent out into the backyard for a spot of camping? It's cheap and easy on the effort because you don't even need to pack the car.
Take a look online for some suggestions on ways to keep the kids amused. From glitter jars to baking ideas, Christmas decorations to DIY dioramas, there are so many ideas out there on ways to use up things around the home to keep everyone occupied. Not sure you've got the crafty touch to back it up? Don't worry - take photos anyway and share your hilarious "Nailed it!" fail story on social media with your friends.
We all know that Perth has some of the best sunshine across Australia - with some of the best beaches! With ample free parking and often coupled with a great playground and free bbqs, pack your picnic, bathers, sunscreen and beach toys and head to one of Perth's many family friendly beaches.
Perth is now also jam packed full of free water playgrounds. Find a water playground near you.
Looking to go a bit further afield? Perth really is ok, so why not explore this beautiful city and its surrounds? There are lots of day and weekend trips that are within a few hours' drive. For a day away, take a drive to Rockingham or Mandurah and see if you can spot some dolphins cruising the bay. The Swan River is also a great spot for cycling, and you can break with an ice-cream before trekking back home - a chance for the parents to relax while the kids get worn out!
If you've got a bit more time, head up north for some snorkelling in Jurien, grab your camping gear and 4WD and head to Lane Poole Reserve, or of course down south for a weekend around Dunsborough or the Margaret River.
Even if money is not an issue, six weeks is a long time to entertain the kids and the more free options you can take advantage of to fill the time, the better! Check out local Perth blogs for more suggestions, or find out about some of the festive fitness events happening around town.
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