School’s out, and that doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune trying to keep the kids entertained. Check out our 50 favourite ideas for summer fun, and let us know on Facebook or Instagram – what will you be doing for free these summer holidays?

  1. Go to the beach: it’s an obvious one, but we couldn’t leave it off this list! With so many beautiful beaches right on our doorstep, you could easily spend all summer exploring them.
  2. … or drive along it: here in Queensland, we’ve got kilometres of beautiful beaches that you’re allowed to drive on! So, pack a picnic, the fishing rods or simply an umbrella and a good book and find yourselves your own slice of paradise.
  3. Play in the park: let the kids run wild while you enjoy a coffee in the shade or, in reality, while you push them on the swings for 45 minutes. Pick a park with an awesome playground for maximum fun.
  4. Have a picnic: head out or stay home and set up a picnic in your living room or backyard. It’s a good way to turn mundane mealtime into a fun holiday activity, while also clearing out the fridge!
  5. Have a movie marathon at home: this one is particularly great for night time or rainy days, but it’s Christmas time – so you can get away with watching Christmas movies all day long! Grab some popcorn and log into Netflix for a fun, free school holiday treat.
  6. Go for a bike ride: did you buy a bike convinced you were going to ride it every weekend when, in reality, it’s gathering dust in your garage? Get out into the sunshine and explore the city from the back of your bike (we’ve even found the Gold Coast’s best bike tracks).
  7. Go to the art gallery: art galleries provide endless school holiday fun, and Brisbane’s GoMA and the Gold Coast’s HOTA have loads to see and do for free!
  8. Off to market: Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Byron Bay all pride themselves on offering some of the best markets around, so check out which ones are on this week (we’ve done the hard work for you: [link to markets page])
  9. Go to the planetarium: the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium offers loads of informative, exciting activities, shows and exhibits to make sure your school holidays are out-of-this-world. And, it’s free to access the main area!
  10. Hit the library: borrow some new books or get involved with the activities on offer! There’s always something going on at the library, particularly on the Gold Coast.
  11. Have a barbecue: embrace the warmer weather and fire up the backyard barbie! You don’t need a ‘you beaut’ four-burner hooded barbecue to get the full effect, simply pick up a simple one and a couple of snags and enjoy the perfect summer afternoon.
  12. Or, hit up a public barbecue: there are so many great public BBQ spots around town, so make the most of them with an afternoon at your nearest park (check out the latest edition of scout magazine for our top picks).
  13. Explore local history: climb to the top of the iconic Brisbane City Hall Clock Tower (which, to be fair, isn’t free, but costs about the same as a Macca’s soft serve!) or stroll through Logan’s Forest of Memories to better understand the stories that created the cities we live in today. Talk about an enriching school holiday experience!
  14. Go to a water park: grab your boardies and bikinis and check out your local water park! The Broadbeach Rock Pools and South Bank’s Aquativity area are just a few good (and free!) ones.
  15. Go fishing: our nearby beaches offer more than fun in the surf – they’re also good spots to cast a line!
  16. Build a sandcastle: make like a pro and build a sandcastle that will delight any beachgoer who sees it! Bonus points for creative use of things you find on the beach.
  17. Go beachcombing: whether you’ve got a metal detector or not, a walk along the beach looking for forgotten treasures is a great way to spend the afternoon. Then, see what the kids can create with their finds!
  18. Go for a hike/bushwalk: there are so many great walks in and around town, so lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails for a school holiday activity that will get you out and about and make the kids crave an afternoon nap, too – double whammy!
  19. Or climb a mountain: the Gold Coast’s Mount Warning is a wildly popular destination (and for good reason) but Mount Tibrogargan and Mount Coolum north of Brisbane are also worth the drive.
  20. Make a garden: enjoy the sunshine and beautify your living quarters while you’re at it! Whether it’s a window flowerbox or a larger veggie patch, creating your own garden is a school holiday activity that you’ll be benefiting from throughout all of next year.
  21. Make beehives: support your local bee gang and get crafty creating some makeshift beehives! Fill two wire baskets with pinecones, tie them together and boom – beehive. String them up in your backyard to help increase your struggling local bee population.
  22. Bake something: keep the kids occupied AND score a yummy treat at the end! Make a festive treat – like rum balls, gingerbread or a plum pudding – to get into the Christmas spirit and, if the kids are adamant about doing it on their own, try some of the kid-friendly no-bake recipes floating around the internet.
  23. Go to a night market: funky food and culture markets are popping up all over Brisbane and the Gold Coast. From Mt Gravatt Marketta right down to Miami Marketta, there is no shortage of fun food markets to satisfy your cravings.
  24. Build a cubby: get out those spare blankets and replenish the peg supply – building an indoor cubby house is one way to keep the kids entertained for hours! Then, once the cubby’s built, they’ll have somewhere they can chill out leaving you in peace and quiet. Genius.
  25. DIY a jigsaw puzzle: have them draw a picture on plain paper, glue it to some cardboard, draw jigsaw puzzle-shaped lines over the drawing and then cut along them! You’ll have a personalised puzzle for them to complete, and they can make as many as they like.
  26. Or take on a massive one yourself: there’s nothing like the feeling of completing a 1000+ piece jigsaw puzzle, and there’s no time like the summer holidays to take one on!
  27. Host a dinner party: ‘tis the season to entertain! Whether you keep it casual or go all out with your dinner party, just be sure you invite your nearest and dearest over for some great food and have loads of activities (board games, movies, etc.) for your younger guests to enjoy with your own kids.
  28. Put up your Christmas tree: is your Christmas tree still lying forgotten in your attic or garage? It’s time to bust that baby out and get decorating!
  29. Make a scavenger hunt: think like a pirate and create a scavenger hunt around your home or the local park, offering up chocolate coins or other treats as the treasure. The harder you make it, the longer it will keep the kids entertained.
  30. Learn to surf: make the most of the beautiful beaches right on your doorstep and hit the waves! Surfing is one skill that will see you through until your older years, so it’s never too late to pick up a board and give it a go.
  31. Play beach sports: cricket, soccer and volleyball are all made extra challenging when they’re played on sand, so go wild this summer playing your favourite sports on the beach!
  32. Go camping: scour the internet for the best camping spots, or hit the open road in search of a place to set up camp. However you do it, you’re sure to enjoy limitless summer fun when you go camping. If all else fails, camp out in the backyard!
  33. Throw a pool party: summer is here, and so is the warm weather. If you’re lucky enough to have a pool, why not share in the fun by throwing a backyard bonanza! All you need to do to host an epic pool party is dust off those blow-up toys and blast the tunes.
  34. Make a backyard waterslide: but you don’t need to have a backyard pool to cool off for free – simply lay down a tarp, get some dishwashing liquid and add a bit of water!
  35. Try an at-home science experiment: whether it’s slime or one of the many other fun science experiments floating around the web, there’s so much you can do with the items in your kitchen pantry.
  36. Play hopscotch: it’s something of a forgotten playground game, so it’s time to rediscover the fun that can be had with a few pieces of chalk and a bit of concrete!
  37. Learn something new: get handsy and practice a new-found skill these holidays! Knitting or crochet are two timeless, super-useful skills that a lot of kids might never pick up in those modern age – but, with the growing trend of knitted clothes and crochet keepsakes, now is a great time to learn!
  38. Make some art: whether it’s painting on a canvas or page, drawing with chalk on an outdoor surface or trying a new craft activity like macramé or making beaded bracelets, there are so many ways to help your kids explore their creativity when they’re not at school. Plus, it usually keeps them quiet!
  39. Try a free kids’ program: if there’s one thing that beats fun school holiday activities, it’s FREE fun school holiday activities. The Little Days Out program at Brisbane’s South Bank is one example, but there are always loads of free things going on at local shopping centres, museums and parks – a quick Google will reveal dozens in your local area.
  40. Free lorikeet feeding at Currumbin: among the many must-try, free activities on the Gold Coast is bird feeding at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Seeing hundreds of rainbow lorikeets descend upon the Sanctuary in the mornings and afternoons is seriously priceless.
  41. Play board games: from Monopoly to Yahtzee, there are so many great board games to play these holidays. Take a picnic rug outside to soak up the sun while you play!
  42. Or make your own: they’re a tried and true way to keep children entertained, but have you thought about showing them how to make their own? Noughts and Crosses, Guess Who and Tic Tac Toe are a few examples of games they can recreate, but they could also make up their own if they’re feeling inspired! Pick up some coloured card, clue and a set of coloured markers and watch their imaginations run wild.
  43. Take in the views from the top: you don’t need to climb a mountain to get a killer view! There are plenty of great lookouts around town, including Brisbane’s Mt Coot-tha lookout (which you can drive up!), Currumbin’s Elephant Rock and Byron’s famous lighthouse.
  44. Hit the rockpools: the Gold Coast is home to some of the best rockpools around, so head to Snapper Rocks or Currumbin beach to change up your beach routine.
  45. Or, go inland: from Cedar Creek in Brisbane’s north to the inland Currumbin Valley rockpools, as well as Killarney Glen’s famous heart-shaped rockpool, there are plenty of inland rockpools to explore, too!
  46. Watch the sunrise: being up with the sun is one of life’s most simple joys, so head somewhere scenic (we recommend Burleigh Hill) to take it in. And, if you’re not an early riser, pack a picnic and head there at sunset.
  47. Go to a farm: ‘The Farm’, that is! Byron Bay’s farm-like attraction promises plenty of free fun, whether you’re picnicking in the macadamia orchard or trying to summon the fluffy highland cows.
  48. Try a free exercise class: if there’s one thing the Gold Coast does well – and note, we said ‘if’ – it’s free workouts. Whether it’s yoga or tai chi, or some other form of exercise, the Active and Healthy programme will have something new for you to try every day.
  49. Go geocaching: have you heard of geocaching? It’s the ultimate fun, free activity to get your kids involved in these school holidays! Read all about it here.
  50. Make an ‘I’m Bored’ jar: if you’re sick of hearing those two dreaded words, write down a tonne of ideas on a sheet of paper (you can use this list as a starting point!) and cut them up, placing them in a mason jar to be chosen at random. Boredom? Busted.
Anastasia White

Anastasia White

Anastasia (‘Anny’ to her friends and family, thanks to some nickname experimentation in year 4 that unfortunately stuck) is a born-and-bred Brisbanite with a love of coffee and her cat, Olive. Having recently finished a degree in journalism, Anastasia loves being able to learn and write about so many different topics for a variety of audiences.