School holidays: we love not rushing in the mornings, but the days can be very long with a house full of kids all wanting to be entertained – especially in these cold, wintry months. So, we sat down with our friends and the kids and compiled a list of the best places we’ve taken the kids . . . and the best things we’ve done at home with them. Hope it helps you!
- Scienceworks – the brick wall building is a favourite, along with the make-your-own-computer-game-character. for older kids, the Planetarium is pretty amazing.
- The movies – try to tag team with another friend, so there’s two adults to manage toilet trips without taking all the kids out of the cinema. (BYO bags of pop corn and pop tops to save $$). We then go for milkshakes afterwards.
- Local indoor swimming pool – this uses up lots of energy.
- Ice skating – our local skate centre has little ‘penguins’ that the beginner kids hold onto, to help them around the ice. It is cold and wet, so don’t do as we did and go in an Elsa costume – think wet weather gear!
- Fizz Kids – we’ve done parties here and the kids love creating their own science experiments.
- Look out for Swinburne University holiday workshops – they do great science ones for kids.
- Melbourne Museum.
- Docklands – glow in the dark mini golf.
- Docklands – Snow Play.
I know it’s cold out there, but as long as it’s not too wet, my kids still like it best when they’re bundled into coats and beanies and get outside. These are their favourite trips:
- Ashcombe Maze (They think it’s like the Harry Potter maze.).
- Hedgend Maze plus a visit to the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie (we’re all cheese fans, so we also stop at the Yarra Valley Dairy, too).
- Healesville Sanctuary.
- The Zoo. (So many interactive experiences for kids at the Zoo now. We bring a picnic, which the kids help put together the night before – another thing to keep them busy.)
- Puffing Billy.
- Chesterfield Farm (bring gum boots!).
- Collingwood Children’s Farm.
- Botanic Gardens – both Melbourne and Cranbourne (great water play in warm weather). The kids like climbing the ‘volcano’ at the Melbourne RBG and playing in the children’s garden. Jardin Tan cafe is also great for breakfast or lunch.
- Mount Dandenong – Sherbrooke Forest and William Ricketts Reserve is magical for kids; Burnham Beeches, on the edge of the forest, is easy family food.
- Local farmers markets (Look for one with pony rides and jumping castles. The kids could happily spend a few hours there, eating from food trucks, patting dogs and riding ponies.)
Out of town
If you’re looking for a few winter day trips, or even over-nighters, try:
- Lake Mountain – make sure you’ve got waterproof gear and a thermos of hot chocolate.
- Sovereign Hill.
Look for ones with a BBQ area, bring along sausages, bread and sauce to keep the kids happy. Our favourite local picks are: Valley Reserve, Phoenix Park, Kangaroo Road park, Markham Road park.
On a budget
- Kid’s ‘High Tea’ at home. Sure, the Langham is amazing, but expensive! We spent $10 at the local $2 shop to decorate the table and baked little cakes, tarts and pies. Any food on sticks is popular. Invite a couple of friends and it’s a party.
- Backyard camping – especially if you have a fire pit for marshmallows. We’ve even done it on the back deck, under the roof.
- Family movie day/night – make your own pop corn and choc tops.
- Fort making – create packs of sheets, pegs, rope and torches for each child.
- Art play – buy canvases and paint from the $2 shop.
- Treasure hunt around the house. Our older kids like making maps for the younger ones to follow.
- A spy/mystery kit. My sister-in-law created one for my son, complete with mysteries to solve, cards of clues, notepad, police badge and magnifying glass.
- Grandma’s house. A win for everyone!
- Ikea – seriously, my kids think the children’s bedroom set ups are like a play area, then I take them to the café for a cheap cinnamon bun.
- Plan a play date: get your child involved with making an invitation, planning a snack to make (write a shopping list for ingredients, bake it), set up an activity with them.
- Storytime and Holiday Program activities at your local library.
Of course, the best thing to keep them occupied, is to buy a Brilliant Box!! Send us an email to find out what we can put together for you!
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