Christmas is around the corner peeps and I am freaking out due to low funds. Therefore I believe a well curated hit of inspo on how to entertain our kids cheaply and easily is in order. Particularly when we are looking at six weeks hard labour ahem, school holidays… Not from South East Victoria? No problem, many of these free activities in the Casey Cardinia region for families can work in your area as well.
Before I continue, it’s probably worth mentioning that I used to work for my local council (hey there Cardinia Shire) and if there is one thing I learned, it’s that council websites can be a relatively untapped resource for upcoming free family-friendly activities, playgrounds and parks to visit and playgroups to join. I would suggest no matter where you are, jumping on and getting familiar with your Council’s website to see what’s happening in your neck of the woods. Alrighty, let’s dive in.
Merry Christmas ya filthy animal. Once you’ve snuck in the Christmas family movie classics such as ‘Home Alone’ 1 and 2 (but not 3 or 4), continue the holiday cheer at your local Christmas Carols, sing some songs and get frisky with hubby during the fireworks. Personal challenge: to tell Santa that you’ve been very naughty this year, while winking.
Caldermeade Farm is fantastic to kill half a day. Upon arrival you can snuggle some sheep, greet some goats, chase a chook and so much more. Warning: gumboots advised. There is sloppy duck doo doo lying in wait for the soles of your shoes under fluffy, innocent looking hay. Only an exorcist can get that shit out, along with a strong spray of water. Still, totally worth it, thumbs up emoji.
3. Emerald Lake Park
Emerald Lake Park is great anytime of year, however summer is fab for free family-friendly activities due to its concert series, held in the bandstand every Sunday from 12.30pm in February. Pack a picnic, relax on lush green lawns and enjoy the good vibes.
Akoonah Park Market
Markets are great for a Sunday stroll, there are heaps of sights, sounds and smells to stimulate the senses. My tip: buy your family’s weekly fruit and veg there (usually better, fresher and CHEAPER than the supermarket). Now that the sun should be out (hint hint Victoria) the Akoonah Park Markets are doing Friday night markets with over 35 food trucks and live music. Zero charge for parking or entry, yippee!
Libraries are AWESOME for free kids activities, who knew? There are story-time sessions for different age groups, there’s a LEGO club, a STEAM club and even a Code club during school term. And then there’s a kick-arse school holiday program, including magic shows and craft. Note to self: bookings open two weeks before school holidays.
Trial a class in the Casey Cardinia region
Did you know that many kid’s activities offer a try before you buy (or commit) class? Why not look into karate clubs or ballet schools and enjoy a FREE class? Scouts have a three night trial before you have to commit. Bang.
Visit a fire or police station
Depending on how busy they are, you may be in luck and get a tour of the station and get up close to the emergency vehicle. My husband Evan took Griffin to the Pakenham Police station and a lovely constable was nice enough to let him (Griff, not Ev) in the car, flashing lights and all. Winning!! Alternatively, emergency services have open days and local appearances throughout the year, so jump onto their social media or web page to see what’s coming up.
Playgroups can be a great way to relieve the boredom, while providing some adult stimulation. Jump onto playgroup.org.au to find one locally, Google or check out your council’s website to find supported groups. You could even start your own!
Lakeside Pakenham Lake
Pakenham Lake is picturesque and offers a walking (or running) track, depending on your motivation. Play the Pied Piper with the local ducks and swans, who will follow you around the lake if you give them a good bread incentive. There’s also a playground and BBQ area if you want to make a day of it. The Cardinia Cultural Centre is right there, offering a café for those inclined. Keep an eye on their webpage as they occasionally offer free family activity days that are worth a look.
Wilson Botanic Gardens
Located in beautiful Berwick, the Wilson Botanic Gardens are a good space for a free family day out. It offers beautiful gardens, native animals, BBQ facilities and a playground. Bring the family pooch for a walk, or strike up at game of cricket with the kids at the dedicated ball games area.
So that concludes our top 10 free activities in the Casey Cardinia region for families.
We’d love to hear from you guys. What fun, free activities do you do with your family? Please share below.