Originally published at Finder.com.au

While the bigger kids are back at school and the little ones have kinder or day care, their inquisitive minds are always looking for things to do.

Here’s some great free or low-cost boredom busters to keep your little people busy and entertained.

  1. Set up an arts and crafts table. Find an old table – or pick something up from hard rubbish – that the kids can great creative on without worry of leaving marks. If you don't mind spending a little bit, you can buy arts and crafts materials like pipe cleaners, cardboard, glue, coloured pencils and buttons and let the kids create things they’ve designed themselves or follow videos on You Tube.
  2. Stream something. Watch the flicks from the comfort of your home Many of the streaming services have free trial periods. You just need to make a note to yourself to cancel them if you’re not seeing the value of the subscription.
  3. Make an indoor obstacle course. Grab all the pillows and quilts, move the couches and build an obstacle course they can run around in.
  4. Learn origami. Download a free design online to get them crafting with paper.
  5. Bake and decorate. A lazy afternoon is the perfect time to clean out the pantry and see what's lying about. Bake cupcakes or biscuits and get the kids to decorate them with icing and sprinkles. Their reward? A delicious treat.
  6. Play dress-ups. They can do this with their own clothes or your old clothes. You’ll be surprised at what they find fascinating. Hint: hide your lipsticks!
  7. Draw a picture. All you need is some cards and coloured pencils and they'll take care of the rest.
  8. Write a story. Got a chatterbox with a huge imagination? Ask them to write it down or get them to tell you the story and let them see their thoughts turn into words on a page.
  9. Perform simple science experiments. Google "simple science experiments" and use household materials you already own.
  10. Complete a puzzle/activity book. Activity books are a fun way to keep them occupied throughout the day. You can even download activity pages online.
  11. Read a book. Harry Potter anyone? It really is best to start them off early.
  12. Make fingerprint animals. All you need is an ink-pad, paper and a pen. Press your fingerprint onto the sheet and use it as a head or body to draw animals.
  13. Hold a family board games night. From Connect Four and Guess Who to UNO, Go Fish or Happy Families. Sometimes the cheapest card games are the most fun. They’ve stood the test of time!
  14. Go on a treasure hunt. Make a map for your kids to find a bounty that you've stashed somewhere. You can set it up the night before and then start the hunt the next day when they need a distraction.
  15. Create a paint station. Grab some butcher's paper and a couple of pots of colourful paint and the rest is up to them.
  16. Build a scrapbook or collage. All they need is some old magazines, a pair of scissors and some glue. It might help to give them a theme
  17. Make crazy fruit juices. This is a top way to get them eating fruit and having fun in the kitchen. Give them a station of fruit to choose from and mix them up in the juicer with some ice. Or cube up fruit an add some glitter or sprinkles from the baking aisle.
  18. Play hide and seek. 2 words: endless fun. You might also like to play tag, dodgeball or pretend the floor is lava.
  19. Perform a play. Have the kids perform a play for you. The smallest minds are the most creative.
  20. Do face painting. You can do this or you can let them have the fun. Just don't forget the baby wipes. Don't have face paint? Makeup will do, just don't let them near your good stuff.
  21. Make a flower crown or pressed flower bookmark. Pick some flowers from the garden or ask a neighbour if you can pick their flowers. You can find instructions online for how to make simple crowns or unique bookmarks.
  22. Make macaroni necklaces. This is a fundamental component of any childhood. All you need is a piece of string and a packet of dried macaroni and the rest is up to their imagination.
  23. Make fairy dust dough. For a unique, scientific play session, they can create fairy dust playdough by mixing hair conditioner and cornflour and adding food colouring and glitter. You Tube has great instruction videos.
  24. Host a sleepover. Invite your kids' friends over for a night of movies, games and all-round fun. If you share duties with other parents you can each take a turn hosting a sleepover throughout the year.
  25. Host a fashion show. This could be with their own clothes or with yours.
  26. Have a dance party. Turn up the volume on the radio and cover the lights with cellophane for a musical evening.
  27. Make eggheads. Give eggshells a new lease of life by filling them with alfalfa and asking the kids to draw faces on them.
  28. DIY aquariums. This super fun activity is perfect after a day at the beach. Ask them to collect shells and pebbles which they can then place into jars of coloured blue water to marvel at and keep.
  29. Make masks. Paper plates and spare cards are perfect for these. They can then roleplay their characters with the masks.
  30. Play with a cardboard box. From building a cart or a dollhouse to crafting a rocket ship or mini-golf course, a cardboard box can offer so much play for kids.
  31. Get them gardening. Hit the shops and let them choose the seeds they'd like to grow. Get them to plant them in the garden and look after them throughout the holidays. To keep this one free you can have them help weed or replant botanicals you already have in your garden.
  32. Be a photographer for a day. Give them camera or phone (if you trust them not to break it and you’re comfortable they can’t access inappropriate material) and see what shots they come up with. You can choose to print or frame their best ones.
  33. Spend a day in the park. If a trip to the theme park is off the cards then a local park is just as good. Choose one with a colourful and extensive playground area and your afternoon is set. Pack a picnic lunch too for when they get tired and hungry.
  34. Take a coastal walk. On a nice day, taking a coastal walk is a relaxing way to get out.
  35. Go camping. If you can't get out and about for a family camping adventure you can keep it local and make this an in-the-house or backyard affair. Pitch a tent or grab a table and lay a long cloth over it. They can camp during the day or stay inside at night – with a dinner delivery service, naturally.
  36. Play some sport. Throw the footy around, play basketball, hit a tennis ball or simply pull the hula hoops out of storage.
  37. Go star gazing. Set up some blankets in your backyard and lay yourself down to stare at the stars.
  38. Go fishing. Grab the tackle and fishing rods and go on a fishing trip.
  39. Visit the beach. A classic free school holiday activity, spend a sunny day at the beach, have a splash in the water and make some sandcastles.
  40. Visit a farm. Heaps of local farms offer fruit picking or let you visit the animals. For something closer to home, try a petting zoo.
  41. Go bushwalking. There are walks for all ages. Just visit the website of local parks to find something age-appropriate for your kids.
  42. Go for a bike ride. Cycle streets wherever you are.
  43. Go to the pool. This is a low-cost day out in general, and some are free to enter. Look up free pools for your city
  44. Catch public transport. This can be an activity you might never have thought about. The thrill of hopping on a train, bus or tram to anywhere is one of the simple joys of being a child.
  45. Visit a museum or public library. Free museums and libraries for kids are situated in every major city in Australia.
  46. Walk the city. To little ones, anywhere outside of the home is an adventure. Take them on a trip through the city to explore its iconic sights.
  47. Visit an art gallery. Many galleries offer free entry to their general exhibition spaces.
  48. Go to the markets. Always a fun day of colour – whether it’s the local weekly market or a farmers or craft market.
  49. Visit your local botanical gardens. Bursts of colour and wildlife will distract kids to no end.
  50. Finally, when you've exhausted all your other options… visit family. Family connection is important, and it provides you with support. You can even drop them off for a day to play with them… (hint, hint, nudge, nudge). You'll thank yourself and your relatives later.