• Mia Kyrikos

Your Guide to the Best School Holiday Ever!

With the April school holidays nearing, it is hard not to feel the sudden dread that comes with the thought of trying to keep your energetic tribe busy for the next couple of weeks. While the promise of Easter and a basket full of chocolate eggs normally keeps the kids occupied, the question remains: How do you keep the kids entertained once the Easter bunny has officially left the building?

Let’s face it; school holidays can be a tricky business. Luckily, we’ve done the hard work for you! We’ve rounded up everything you need to keep the kids busy these school holidays. With a mixture of free and paid events for kids of all ages, you can be sure to beat the school holiday blues and keep the kids busy without busting the budget.

Newcastle Region Libraries

Keen to get the kids off their phones these holidays? There is no better way than hitting the books! With plenty happening across the region’s network of libraries, look no further for boredom busting holiday activities that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Kicking off the holiday season, take the kids to visit Terry Denton’s The Many Story Treehouse exhibition at Newcastle library. Free of charge, kids can enjoy exhibition workshops that will explore the crazy ideas and stories developed with author Andy Griffiths.

For those seeking the perfect family morning out, make sure to stop by at No Baths Week: Book Launch, Storytime and Dog Picnic on April 16. There is even coffee and stalls for the adults to browse (thankfully!).

If you have a budding artist on your hands, enjoy a bunch of free workshops that will let imaginations run wild. From crafty story time sessions to artsy colours and flair, kids will enjoy some seriously creative fun. There is even something for the tweens, with hands-on workshops that delve into the world of simple circuits or help them flex their creative muscles in the ultimate Lego challenge. The sky’s the limit these school holidays!

Bookings for all activities are essential. To find out what’s on near you, check out www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au

Newcastle Art Gallery

Looking for activities that will inspire a little cultural creativity? The kids are sure to delight when you head to Newcastle Art Gallery. Open every day of the school holidays (except Good Friday) from 10am–5pm; this is the perfect activity for both kids and parents alike. Wander the gallery and discover incredible exhibitions, or book into one of the awesome workshops.

Inspired by the FLORIBUNDA exhibition, your little Monet can learn the delicate art of papier mache by decorating their very own flowerpot! The workshop will have three sessions daily from April 15–18, letting your kids creativity run free while leaving the mess out of the house.

Make sure you book the kids into the SODEISHA exhibition inspired Clay Nest workshop. Kids can get messy and enjoy a hands-on workshop that will teach them how to sculpt a nest out of clay. Three sessions will be running daily on April 23–25.

If you are looking to keep costs at the minimum, then join in the fun of Art Cart. This is a free workshop led by gallery educators every weekend, where the kids can explore the exhibitions through discussion and art making!

Both the Papier Mache Flowerpots and Clay Nest workshops are suitable for children aged 5–12, at the cost of $12 per person, with bookings essential. For more details visit www.nag.org.au

Newcastle Museum

Just because school is on holidays doesn’t mean those little minds can’t keep learning! Head to the museum and keep the little minds busy with a range of exciting exhibitions, shows, and workshops.

Kids of all ages are invited to learn about endangered flora at the awesome Pop-Up Garden installation. For those who have an interest in both science and drawing, enjoy the Illustrators Alive! Exhibit. Here, kids can get up close to natural history illustrators to see the magic behind the creation of their drawings.

If you have a mini Sherlock Holmes on your hands, make sure to join in the fun at the Museum Whodunnit – Case of the Missing Brain show. Free for all ages, kids can examine clues, dust for fingerprints and extract DNA.

For kids who are fascinated by selfies and taking photos, book them into the Flora & Photographs workshop on April 17 ($10 per child). For kids aged 5-12, this workshop will teach traditional photography methods and help the kids create their very own cyanotype blueprints to take home! Be sure to book soon; spaces are limited. For more details and dates visit www.newcastlemuseum.com.au

Blackbutt Reserve

Spending time together as a family is a great way to create some special memories of these school holidays. Get the family to Blackbutt Reserve for the perfect day out! Enjoy the Fantastic Phasmids workshop at the Wildlife Arena. With sessions running Monday to Friday ($5 per child), the kids will get crafty creating a stick insect to take home! While you are there be sure to enjoy an amazing reptile show or let the kids blow some steam at the new adventure playground at Richley Reserve. For more details visit www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/Blackbutt-Reserve

Lake Macquarie Libraries

Get crafty these school holidays with a range of activities on offer across the various Lake Macquarie Council libraries. A sure way to get rid of that school holiday boredom, enjoy the Dog-danas workshop at Swansea Library where kids will get to make a custom bandana for your pet.

For your tweens, head over to Belmont Library and journey back in time using virtual reality at the VR Awaba workshop.

For the readers and artists alike, enjoy a morning at Cardiff Library with Kathy Langlade as she presents her first picture book ‘Who Stole My Sausage Roll’. At Toronto and Charlestown, kids will be sure to enjoy the fantastic art-making workshops, including Cut and Paste, and Water Colour Wonderland.

There will be plenty more activities on offer. Visit www.library.lakemac.com.au for more information, prices and to book your place.

Out and About

Many kids are bursting with boundless energy, and thankfully there are plenty of activities on these school holidays to help burn some of that off. Why not enrol your little fish into the Learn to Swim – Holiday Intensive program at West Wallsend Swim Centre, or discover the Curious Cubs workshop, an interactive water-themed science wonderland. At Warner Park, delight in stories, songs, and art under the trees at Art in the Park.

Indulge in a bit of fun on April 17 at The Great Easter Egg Hunt within Swansea Swim Centre, and, later take the kids to enjoy the special Cats and Dogs, All at Sea exhibition in SEEN at Swansea. For more information visit www.lakemac.com.au

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