• WORDS Mia Kyrikos

S.O.S! School Holidays are Here!

Important notice to parents; SCHOOL HOLIDAYS ARE COMING! Yes, you heard correctly. No longer will there be lunch-packing, uniform-ironing, homework-helping and the everyday drama that comes with school. A moment of reprieve. At least that’s what you thought. But, reality check, school holidays are here. This can mean only one thing - the kids are here too! Every waking minute of the day. And, did we mention these July school holidays are a whole two weeks?

What on earth do you do with your crazy bunch over this period? Don’t worry! We have you covered. We’ve rounded up all the activities you need to survive these school holidays. With a mixture of free and paid events for kids of all ages, you can be sure to keep your heavenly angels (or little terrors) busy without breaking the budget.

Newcastle Region Libraries

It’s no secret; holidays are tricky business. Even more so, trying to keep kids off the screens. Inspire a little cultural creativity with plenty happening across the region’s network of libraries. All activities are free, and for kids of all ages, you are sure to find holiday activities that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Kick-off the school holidays with some serious fun at the Celebrate NIADOC Week Story Stomp. Free of charge, kids ages 3-7 can enjoy a morning learning about our culture with stories, movement, songs, and art.

Are you seeking the perfect way to get the kids reading more? Bring the teddies and get them to We’re going on a bear hunt… Story Stomp. Alternatively, join in some pirate fun at the Pirate mischief Story Stomp where kids can ah-ha me hearties all morning! The little ones will love reading one of some of their favourite stories.

For those with budding movie directors, discover the epic world of film at Adventure in a box workshop. Learn how to create your very own adventure movie using the pizza box green screens. A fabulous way to get the kids off their screens and working on the screen instead. Or, inspire the adventurer within at the Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? Workshop. Following clues to travel across the globe and around the library, kids will hone their detective skills in search of master thief Carmen Sandiego.

If you have a legendary scientist in the making or a future pilot on your hands, make sure they head to the favourite Paper planes workshop! Enjoy some serious folding and fun, and of course, a little competition for those that are willing to put their flying capabilities to the test. Moreover, be sure to check out the Family maker lab to enjoy and explore the Makerspace with your tweens for some creative fun and inspiration.

The hit event for all tweens, The Great Lego Challenge is also back this holidays. The sky’s the limit as kids get hands-on, delving into the world of simple circuits. Help them flex their creative muscles in a bid to be the new Lego Master.

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

Lake Macquarie Libraries

Kids are sure to enjoy all that’s on offer these school holidays, delighting in a range of activities across the various Lake Macquarie Council libraries.

Budding artists will love the Crafty Kids sessions where they can create their own Aussie animal collage. Additionally, they will also love the pop-up art workshops like the Crazy Critter Recycled Art class at Charlestown Library, or the Traditional Basket Weaving classes with Aboriginal artist, Michelle Napanangka Earle at Belmont Library.

Back by popular demand, teens can head over to Toronto Library and journey back in time using virtual reality at the VR Awaba workshop. Also at Toronto Library, teens who love drawing can enjoy the Comic Us workshop to learn about progressive comic drawing challenges.

For the bookworms, discover the various story times available across libraries, or join the awesome children’s Book Club: Go Wild at Morisset Library. Notably, the Wombat Stew Puppet Show & Storytime is the perfect way to enjoy a morning at Toronto Library with wombat songs and stories based on the Australian Classic.

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

Newcastle Museum

Every day is a new opportunity to learn, and school holidays are no exception! Head to the museum and keep the little minds firing with a range of exciting exhibitions, shows, and workshops.

Kids are invited to get their hands on and delve deeper into the secret life of a spy at the Detectives Table. Learning all the tricks of the trade and kids will become an official museum detective! Continuing the Inspector Gadget trend, your little one can explore special spy equipment and test their skills at codebreaking and reading invisible ink at the new family-friendly exhibition, SPY: Espionage in Australia. Qualifying as a mini Sherlock Holmes, kids can continue their spy journey throughout the museum. Help them as they find clues, read the stories and discover new and interesting things with the free SPY MISSION and SPY STORY adventure trails.

For kids who are fascinated by all the wonders of the world, head to the new museum show, Shake & Quake! Discover why there is custard inside the Earth, learn about how rocks can fold, snap, melt and explode, and have some fun with liquid nitrogen as we explore volcanoes and earthquakes. With free daily sessions running Tuesday 9+16, Thursday 11+18, this is one not to miss!

Be sure to book soon; spaces are limited. For more details and dates visit www.newcastlemuseum.com.au

Newcastle Art Gallery

Keep those creative minds buzzing when you head to Newcastle Art Gallery. Open every day of the school holidays, both kids and parents alike are sure to delight. Wander the gallery and discover incredible exhibitions, or book into one of the awesome workshops.

Discover the creative genius within and explore the colour and vibrancy of the Virginia Cuppaidge exhibition. Kids will create their own colour-filled works of art at the Tissue Paper Painting workshop while learning about the Skyspace Series with gallery educators. The workshop will have three sessions daily from July 8–12.

Be sure to book them into the incredible Sculpture Building workshop, for a hands-on experience.

Drawing inspiration from the James Drinkwater exhibition, kids will create their very own sculptural works. Using pieces of cardboard and oil pastels, children will learn about James’ sculptural practice from gallery educators then create abstract sculptures that relate to important people and places in their own lives.

Alternatively, 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 Tissue Paper Painting and Sculpture Building 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

Blackbutt Reserve

Looking for the perfect way to get outdoors and enjoy that beautiful winter sun? Get the family to Blackbutt Reserve for the perfect day out! Enjoy the Crafty Creatures workshop at the Wildlife Arena. With sessions running Monday to Friday ($3 per child), the kids will get creating their favourite clay creature to take home! While you are there be sure to enjoy an amazing reptile show at 11am daily ($3 per person) or let the kids blow some steam at the adventure playground at Richley Reserve.

For more details visit www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/Blackbutt-Reserve

For more amazing School Holiday Fun and Activities click here

Get Out and About

Come holiday time, most kids are itching to get out and about. Thankfully, there are plenty of activities to see and do to help them burn off that energy.

Why not enrol your little fish into the Learn to Swim – Holiday Intensive program at West Wallsend Swim Centre, or head to the Toronto foreshore to enjoy all the Westlakes NAIDOC Celebrations on July 9. For more information visit www.lakemac.com.au

Toronto Croquet Club will be holding a Junior Come & Try Croquet Day at 10am on Friday, July 19 at Ron Hill Oval, Short Drive, Toronto. Bring your lunch and stay as long as you like – it's free!

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