Regardless of whether you’re a Sydney-sider or a visitor staying for two days or two weeks, there is an array of fun, and in some cases FREE activities to keep the little ones busy these school holidays.
Be prepared for the worst and keep these wet weather activities up your sleeve, just in case.
Family Yoga at Yoganic, Willoughby – Sydney yoga studio Yoganic offers three different family yoga classes, catering to children from crawling age right through to 17; it’s perfect for breaking up a rainy day. Classes vary depending on your child’s age, from songs, rhymes and games through to basic yoga postures, meditation and guided visualisation to let little minds run wild. Teens will benefit from the relaxation and meditation techniques which can provide excellent relief from stress and help with concentration. Yoga is known for its benefits for both body and mind, and this needn’t be restricted to the ‘big kids’.
Have a Bake-Off, various locations – Prefer to stay in? Why not rally the troops and release your inner MasterChef with your very own cooking competition? Work together or in teams as you cook up a storm, which can later be enjoyed by all! Plus, the kids might even learn a few things along the way. If you’re in need of some kitchen inspiration, take a look at former MasterChef contestant and host of ‘Kitchen Whiz’ (on GO! Channel) Alice Zaslavsky’s children’s cook book, Alice’s A-Z of Food.
Can’t handle the thought of a whole day cooped up at home? There are a few great cooking schools scattered throughout Sydney offering classes tailored specifically to children, such as Kids Love to Cook (various locations), About Life (Double Bay) and Brasserie Bread (Banksmeadow).
Sky Zone Trampoline Park, Alexandria – If you’re staying in one of the great Sydney hotels these holidays or find yourself locked away at home due to unforgiving weather conditions, you may be in need of a fun physical activity to work off some of that pent up energy! If the kids just can’t sit still, take them on an excursion where they can bounce off the walls – literally! Sydney’s Sky Zone Trampoline Park has over 100 trampolines where you can bounce, jump and flip to your hearts content. While the dedicated ‘Little Leapers’ program for those under the age of 5 doesn’t run during the school holidays, there is a dedicated toddler area to ensure they are out of harm’s way. In the words of Sky Zone ‘if they can walk, they can jump’.
Take in the fresh air and make the most of the great outdoors with one of these three top picks…
Volunteer at your local community garden, various locations – Make a difference in your local area and develop good habits by spending some of your free time contributing to local community garden projects. Make sure you go back to visit at a later date so the kids can see the growth and change over time, whilst learning valuable skills by working together on a bigger project that benefits friends, family and neighbours. If you reside within the City of Sydney, you may like to investigate the council’s footpath gardening policy, which allows local residents and businesses to collaborate and work together to add a little extra greenery to the streets’ pathways
Teddy Bear’s Picnic – No picnic with the kids is complete without your treasured stuffed animals and furry friends! Enjoy a leisurely morning or afternoon in the great outdoors with some pre-prepared nibbles and games for little to no cost at all – just don’t forget the teacups! Clifton Gardens is a fantastic location for those of you looking for a bit of everything - picnic grounds, beach for swimming and harbour views. Alternatively, Manly Dam, The Basin and Bronte Beach are some family friendly picnic spots , which will please children of all ages, all year round.
Sydney Park Bike Track, St. Peters – Get little legs pedaling, scooting and skating at Sydney’s bike track, complete with miniature roads, traffic lights, bridges and tunnels to teach children essential riding skills in a safe environment. The use of the track itself is free; you’ll just need to BYO wheels and a helmet to participate. The track is situated within Sydney Park in St. Peters, near the suburb’s train station so you can take the whole family and their bikes, plus there is also parking on site if you choose to drive.
While the school holidays provide children with a well-earned break from indoor classes, learning out of the classroom can be both informative and fun!
Australian Museum, Sydney CBD – When it comes to balancing education and entertainment, the Australian Museum does it best. What’s even better is that kids under 16 are eligible for free general admission. Winny the Dinosaur Puppet is a must see attraction, particularly for anyone wondering what a dinosaur would look like with its skin on!
Stargazing at the Sydney Observatory, Millers Point – Get away from TV screens and computers and look up to explore stars and galaxies near and far. This educational experience is a must-see for explorers and curious minds of all ages. The Observatory is free for daytime general admission to the grounds; however this does not include access to the telescope domes, planetarium and some other indoor areas.
Alternatively, for a small fee you can sign up for a day tour. If the kids are allowed to stay up a little closer to bedtime, we highly recommend securing a spot in one of the night sessions. Spending the evening stargazing with your family is sure to be a special experience to savour and treasure. If the skies aren’t clear, never fear, telescope viewing will be replaced with an alternative session in the planetarium. Night sessions require pre-payment and bookings, so be sure to contact them ahead of time to secure your selected date.
Birdlife Discovery Centre, Sydney Olympic Park – Your weekend is sorted with a visit to the Birdlife Discovery Centre situated within the Newington Armory at Sydney Olympic Park. Learn a thing or two about birds in their natural habitat and tag along to one of the free Guided Bird Walks which run on the last Sunday of each month.
Got some extra time to spare or looking to escape the hustle and bustle? Explore one of these out of towners for a day or two of regional reprieve.
Barcoos Farmstay, Perthville – Get away from work for a few days and make the most of the kids being off school by spending a few days on a farm in Central West NSW. Barcoos Farmstay, situated just 10 minutes from Bathurst is a great option, offering a range of family friendly and interactive farm activities as part of the accommodation package. Farm life varies from day to day and depending on the weather and time of year, however activities may range from milking the cows, feeding the animals or pony rides. If you get lucky you might just get to see some baby animals too! Please note, a two night minimum stay applies during school holiday periods.
Sunday Day Trip, various locations – If you’ve only got one day, make the most of Sydney’s bargain public transport tickets on Sundays (formally known as Family Funday Sunday tickets) and venture out to destinations including the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Newcastle! These tickets are available to Opal Card holders, and include all day unlimited travel via train, bus, ferry and light rail, so pack a picnic and explore some of Sydney’s outer regions, minus the stress of driving!
Jamberoo Action Park, Jamberoo – Kids rides, waterslides, chairlifts, bobsled, an aqua playground – what more could you want from an adventurous day out of the city. Jamberoo Action Park is located just an hour out of the city and will provide endless hours of fun, splashing around in the sun.
Fuel hungry little bellies at affordable, family friendly locations in and around the city.
Sydney Tower Buffet, Sydney – Please even the fussiest of eaters with a meal at the Sydney Tower buffet, while looking down at the city from above. With 360° views of Sydney, this is a great spot for tourists and locals alike. The menu includes a variety of cuisines and offers both vegetarian and gluten free options. Kids eat free here on Mondays and Tuesdays year round, so this is a great option for an early week treat with an amazing backdrop.
Catmosphere Café, Surry Hills – For a truly unique and cuddly dining experience, pay Sydney’s very own Catmosphere Cat Café a visit. This venue features both a regular café and two separate rooms where you can schedule in time to play with some adorable kittens as you sip on a hot drink and snack on a cat shaped cookie. Bookings are essential, and funds go towards taking care of rescue cats and kittens. For a more permanent arrangement, you can have coffee with the ‘kitten cadets’ as part of the cat adoption program, or sponsor one of the resident felines.
Crayz Espresso, Matraville – This location is not only kid friendly, but has a designated children’s playroom space to keep everybody happy. According to Little Eats the play area is decked out with crayons, toys and books. As an added bonus, the menu at this Matraville local (just south of the CBD) boasts fresh juices, smoothies, jaffles, and a bundle of other healthy and sweet treats available at reasonable prices.
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