Six weeks is a long time to have children at home, especially when the novelty of their Christmas presents begins to wear off.
But don’t despair – there are lots of things to do that will have little or no cost – just use your imagination.
If you already have a tent this is a cheap adventure. You can enjoy some toasted marshmallows, watch the stars and moon, tell spooky stories and play games in the dark.
Make a movie date
Hire or borrow a couple of movies, pop some popcorn, make up some sugar-free cordial and sit and enjoy some family time. You can wait until the grown-ups get home from work and make it a family night.
Create a necklace
Gather some string or elastic and different macaroni sizes and you have the beginning of a beautiful necklace. Some paint could make it to be a colourful treasure.
Visit a museum or art gallery
Most museums and art galleries are either free or relatively cheap in admission. Plenty of them also have interactive displays where children can learn about life or create masterpieces.
Write and act out a play
Get the children to either write or dictate a play - with a beginning, middle and end - and then have them practice it, ready for a performance in front of family and friends
Picnic in the park
Have the children help make sandwiches, fill water bottles and cut up fruit so they can enjoy a picnic in the park. It is especially nice if the park has stimulating play equipment to enjoy as well.
With some paper plates, elastic, string, feathers, glitter, paint and more, why not create some beautiful masks to wear at the family’s masquerade ball.
Day at the beach
Make sure the day is not too hot, then pack your towel, sunscreen, food and drink and enjoy a day at the beach. It will cost you next to nothing but the family will surely have a day to remember.
Plant a herb/veggie garden
You can either dig up a part of your garden or find some old pots and containers to plant some herbs and vegetables. Make sure you create tags to label your plants so you know what you’re picking later.
Hide some type of treasure, it could be a treat or money, and create a treasure map which will have clues at different stops along the way. This could keep the kids busy for hours.
If you have some fishing rods, dig up some worms or buy some bait and spend the day relaxing under a tree or on a beach with your rod cast. Who knows, you may even come back with dinner.
Grab some of the adults older, disused clothing - including shoes and handbags - and let the children put on a fashion show with a difference. You could even film it for them to review later when they are settled.
All you need is some paper, crayons or pencils and you are almost there. Take the children for a walk around the park or even just up and down the street to find some wonderfully-shaped leaves. Put the paper over them and rub gently with the crayon.
Visit the public library
Over school holidays there are usually some free activities at the public library. You can also teach your children how to borrow items such as books, toys and even DVDs. It is place they will then enjoy for years to come.
Afternoon tea party
Get out the crockery and teapot, makes some dainty sandwiches, fairy bread and biscuits and sit down to enjoy a quiet moment as you all enjoy afternoon tea. You may even want to dress for the occasion.