10 Children’s Activities For Decmeber / January School Holidays In Melbourne

The post below is for 2009. Please go to my current post for school holiday activities by clicking on the link below:

School Holiday Activities Melbourne December & January (2010/11)


I am writing up the school holiday activities earlier than usual for the forth coming school holidays. The main reason for this is that many of them book out quickly, so by posting them up now you actually have a chance of enrolling in them! This list contains a number of activities that I have listed previously across other months or holidays, but I have included them because I think that they are great value for money or even better are fantastic free activities for kids.

We are going to do a couple of these activities over this summer’s school holidays, but by planning them out now, I am spacing the key activities over the holidays, leaving plenty of time for unstructured fun and relaxation.

1. Gasworks Summer Holiday Program

School Holiday Activity - December and January

Gasworks is a not-for-profit community arts centre in beautiful park surrounds, on the site of the former South Melbourne gas plant. The Summer Holiday Program runs in two discrete blocks from Monday 21 to Wednesday 23 December 2009 as well as Monday 18 to Friday 22 January 2010. Their program has a wide variety of activities including:

  • Fencing – we have previously attended this activity and you can see some what fun we had here.
  • Dance – Learn a step-by-step dance routine with actual moves from the Thriller film clip.
  • Animation – Learn the techniques of stop motion animation over three days with animator and tutor Alex Machin
  • Photography – Learn some great tips on composition, lighting, and making the most of your camera by looking at the world with a fresh eye.
  • Ready Set Play Summer Boot Camp – play games that will get you fit and see how well you succeed in our boot camp challenges.

2. Fairy Fanfare – Fitzroy Gardens

Fairy Fanfare Fitzroy Gardens 2010

We went to this last year and the younger children (5 y.o and 2 y.o) loved the show. In my review of the show I also include some tips on how to get the most out of the activity with small children. Fairy Fanfare is a free performance filled with acrobatics and fabulous fairy antics for both boys and girls. Held in the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens in East Melbourne near the Fairies Tree, (Melway ref: 2G C3).

Performance are daily from Saturday 16 January to Sunday 31 January at 10am and noon.

3. Mr Sandman Sand Sculpture and Free Workshops

School Holidays - Sand sculpture workshop

Image by Banana Donuts – Half Baked Photography

This activity is on at Waterfront City, Docklands. Artists will sculpt 20 tonnes of sand into a sand installation in the heart of Docklands which will be on display from Monday 11 January to Sunday 31 January.

There will also be Sand Sculpture workshops where kids can create their own sand carvings Th workshops are free and run for 30 minutes, daily from Wednesday 13 January to Sunday 17 January at 10.30am, 11.15am, noon and 12.45pm. Bookings are essential and can be made on 9658 9658.

4. 2010 Global Art Project for Peace

The Global Art Project is an International Art Exchange for Peace. Here’s how it works: Participants create a work of art in any medium, expressing their vision of global peace and goodwill. The art is displayed locally in each participant’s community. Global Art Project then organizes an international exchange by matching participants—group-to-group and individual-to-individual. The exchange occurs April 23-30 biennially, resulting in thousands of people sending messages of Peace around the world at one time—visions of unity simultaneously encircle the Earth. The art is sent as a gift of global friendship and exhibited in the receiving community.

Source: Global Art Project for peace

Box Hill Community Arts Centre are a local organisation that is contributing to the world wide project and they have a range of sessions that children and families can participate in:

For Children (6 – 12 years):

  • Peace Flags – Monday 18th Jan from 9.30am – 11.00am
  • Artist Books – Concertina Style – Monday from 18th Jan 11.30am – 1.00pm
  • Personal Peace Postcard Packages – Monday 18th Jan from 1.30pm – 3.00pm

Workshops are $5 per person and bookings can be made on 03 9895 8888.

For Families:

  • Painting on canvas – Saturday 6th Feb from 11.30am – 1.30pm

We participated in the family canvas activity in the September school holidays. It was an activity that we all enjoyed and we have a lovely keep sake from it as well!

There was not a price listed on the website but bookings are required and can be made on 03 9895 8888.

5. Kids In The Studio

ACMI January Free School Holiday Activities

We also participated in the Kids In The Studio school holiday activity in September as well. You were not allowed to take photos, so the above is an image courtesy of ACMI.

These sessions require the children to work in a large group and follow instructions from the team at ACMI. Using green screen technology kids learn the secret tricks of movie-making. It was a lot of fun and it although it is recommended for children between the ages of 5 to 9, our 3 year old participated enthusiastically.

Each workshop runs for 45 minutes with sessions beginning at 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm. Places are limited; please register for your preferred session on the day.

Dates: Mon 11 Jan – Fri 15 Jan, 12pm-4pm and Mon 18 Jan – Fri 22 Jan, 12pm-4pm
Location: Studio 1, ACMI, Federation Square
Admission: Free

6. The Pool

Indulge me here for a second, for one of those when I was child moments….. When we used to go to the swimming pool in the summer holidays, there was just a pool! Now there are inflatables, tarzan ropes, waterslides and wave pools. I have listed just a couple that I am aware of, be sure to check you local pool as most run some type of school holiday program which are reasonably priced.

  • Aqualink Boxhill – Week days from 11 – 15 January, 18 – 22 January and 25 – 29 January (except public holidays) Sessions run from 1.30pm – 3.30pm and are included in the normal pool entry fee ($3.80 for a child, $5.00 an adult). Activities include the inflatable, Tarzan rope, dive boards and our a brand new aqua trampoline. All children under the age of 10 years must be actively supervised by an adult (16 years & over).
  • Monash Aquatic and Recreation Centre – along with traditional wave sessions, has big board sessions where you can take along your body boards. Children under 10 must have an adult with them in the water. The Big Board sessions are run on Tue and Fri nights from 5:00pm-6:00pm and 7:00pm-7:30pm. They also run on school holidays, but you will need to check the website for exact details.
  • Maribyrnong Aquatic Centre – has a range of interactive pool waterplay features to entertain the kids during school holidays. There are inflatables each day so that kids get a chance to try all sorts of new play experiences. Bring the kids along to try the giant inflatable, Buccaneer, Nessie the Monster, the Zilerator or the Log Roll. Times were not listed on their website so call 039317 0250 for further details.
  • North Melbourne Recreation Centre – Some friends of mine will tell you that this is about the best outdoor pool there is in Melbourne! It has a 25 metre, 8 lane lap pool, learners play pool, toddlers pool and infant splash pool. Prices: adult $4.50, child $2.60 and family (2 + 2) $11.40.

7. Kids Fest – Cool Caribbean

Held at the Immigration Museum, Kids Fest, Cool Caribbean will include performances, workshops, music, cricket, craft and food.

Taste the mix and excitement of the Caribbean all in one day. Make your own cricket bat, create a mini drum kit, weave rasta bracelets with friends, decorate a toucan or parrot mask and enjoy delicous Caribbean food.

Kids Fest celebrates the Caribbean Callaloo exhibition with the special performances Sweet Sweet Jamaica – which includes a dance workshop and show, featuring Jigzie Campbell and rapper RuCL.

The Kids Fest is on Sunday 10 Jan 2010 from 11:00am until 4:00pm. It is Included with museum entry which is only $8 for adults and kids are free. (MV Members receive FREE museum entry.) Children must be accompanied by an adult.

8. Morning Stories

Held in the new Kids Corner at the National Gallery Of Victoria , these sessions are on”
Tue 12, 19 & 26 Jan; Thu 14 Jan;  Fri 15 & 22 Jan; Sat 16, 23 & 30  Jan 10am–12pm

During January come and enjoy storytelling and drama activities in the NGV Kids Corner. Followed by a related activity in the Education studios. Parent/carer supervision required.

Presenter: Theatre Attack
Cost: Free
Venue: NGV Kids Corner, The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Cnr Flinders and Russell Streets, Melbourne

9. Toys: Science at Play

Children's Activities Summer School Holidays - Scienceworks

Image by Myki Roventine

Toys: Science at Play exhibition returns to Scienceworks and includes robots, dolls, hula hoops, building blocks, toy timelines and kaleidoscopes. This exhibition provides plenty of opportunities for all ages with enquiring minds to tinker with toys.

Why does a spinning top stay upright? What makes the patterns in a kaleidoscope?

Why do magnets attract? How do dolls talk? How do building blocks stay up and fall down?

Many of the toys we love work because of physics. You can find out how they work, and the answers to many more questions, in this fun and interactive exhibition.

The exhibition runs daily from 19 Dec 2009 – 18 Jul 2010 from 10:00am – 4:30pm. Scienceworks is located at 2 Booker Street Spotswood. This is included with museum entry which is only $8 for adults and kids are free. (MV Members receive FREE museum entry.)

10. SYN FM Summer Workshops

A dear friend sent me an email the other week, which showcased a new addition to the Melbourne arts scene. Signal is Melbourne’s first arts studio dedicated to people aged 13 to 20 interested in a wide range of art forms. It is great to be able to include and activity specifically for older kids. This summer holidays Signal has a number of programs running, one of which is SYN FM Summer Workshops. SYN is Melbourne’s only independent youth media organisation.

SYN FM is presenting a series of summer workshops covering various aspects of making digital media pieces, including recording, editing and publishing.

Workshops will cover podcasting, radio plays, video basics and how to promote your digital media piece.

For more information on the workshops and SYN FM, visit SYN FM.

January 13: Podcasting
January 14 – 15: Video Basics
January 20: Podcasting
January 21: Radio Play
January 22: Promote your Digital Media piece

Time: 10am – 4pm
Cost: free
Bookings: www.syn.org.au