Coming up: Wallet friendly activities to do with the kids

It’s that time of the school holidays when your credit card bill from Christmas has just arrived and you’re still staring down three more weeks as the Entertainment Director wondering how both you (and your bank balance) will survive.

To help you get through, we’ve rounded up a listing of cheap, mostly free options and ideas that will keep you and your kids having a stack of fun for the rest of the summer holidays.


Movies by the Boulevard

Where: Sydney Olympic Park select days until January 18

What: Grab a picnic blanket and round up the kids for free movie screenings. Kids’ activities start from 5pm, before the lights are dimmed at 8.30pm. There’s something for everybody, with recent hits such as Maleficent and Captain America, as well as a guaranteed little people pleaser: a Frozen sing-a-long.

MCA for Kids

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art, Circular Quay

What: The MCA opens its doors to kids this summer with a variety of free activities for your budding Picasso, including story corners and interactive art-making sessions. The Gallery is also running a Chuck Close Corner to celebrate the renowned Australian portrait artist, where kids can experiment with a variety of mediums to create portraits. The Museum encourages a $5 donation per family.

Family Week at the Sydney Festival

Where: Hyde Park North, 20th - 25th January 10am - 3pm

What: Sydney Festival has the last week of the school holidays covered, and the Festival Village is perfect for kids to explore. There are giant art installations, a Lawn Library, a bandstand and plenty more free entertainment.

Australia Day Ferrython

Where: Sydney Harbor Foreshore, January 26 at 11am

What: Perch at a spot along the Foreshore on Australia Day to watch the spectacular sight of Sydney ferries going head-to-head in a race.


Find some Disney Fairies

Where: Royal Botanic Gardens, Daily until Feb 28

What: If your children are inseparable from your iPads, this is a great way to get them out and running about. Download the free app and your kids will be ready to find Tinkerbell and her friends in the gardens. Once they’ve finished, they’ll get a bag of seeds to plant in their very own garden.

Express Yourself

Where: National Gallery of Victoria, until 12 April

What: Fashion duo Romance was Born have created a whimsical interactive display for kids, where they can create accessories and drawings, and explore themed rooms with spectacular multimedia displays.

Royal Australian Air Force Museum

Where: Point Cook

What: An up close and personal look at aircrafts and hangars at an active military base. Children can explore replica and original airplanes from the 1900s and can even catch flying exhibits of heritage airplanes, all for free.


Wynnum Wading Pool

Where: Wynnum

What: A stress-free way to cool off the kids, this sea-side pool fills up with thigh-deep water when the tide comes in.

It’s Monster Time

Where: Queensland State Library, Until Jan 26

What: Your little monsters can “build lairs, discover hidden monsters, dress up and play out favourite tales, and uncover the new and the unknown” at the State Library these holidays. There’s a creepy crawly crafting station, a story lab and free film screenings.

Chill out

Where: multiple venues around Brisbane until 25 January

What: A variety of free and low-cost recreation activities for kids and teenagers between 10 and 17 years old including boxing, various sports, Laserforce, games and more. Bookings are essential.


Haigh’s Chocolate Factory Tour

Where: Haigh’s Visitor Centre, Adelaide

What: Whether your kids want to be master choclatiers or just have sweet tooths, this free chocolate factory tour will turn you into Willy Wonka. You’ll even be treated to special tastings and can sample fine factory-fresh chocolate. Bookings essential.

Australia Day in the City

Where: Elder Park, Adelaide

What: Kick off the evening with the annual Australia Day Parade at 6 p.m, followed by a free concert and fireworks finale. The parade features vintage cars, horses, giant floats and an RAAF fly-past, while the concert has featured the likes of Ricki-Lee and Jimmy Barnes in the past.


Free Flicks for Kids

Where: Northbridge Piazza, Perth every Saturday 5.30pm

What: This summer, you can catch the ultimate collection of kids’ films at Northbridge Piazza. Grab a picnic blanket or stake out one of the bean bags every Saturday afternoon.

Teddy Bears Breakfast at the Summerset Arts Festival

Where: Inglewood Library, January 30, 9.30am - 11am.

What: An exciting new interactive performance of the favourite ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’, featuring puppets and pop-ups. Clare Stace will delight children of all ages.

Rock away beach

Where: Perth cultural centre, James Street Amphitheatre until 1 Feb, movies wednesday and sunday nights at 7.30pm

Perth's pop-up beach installation returns the seaside to the city with deck chairs, beach umbrellas, shady trees, giant board games and the feeling of sand beneath your toes.