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8 Free School Holiday Activities

Home > Melbourne > Fun for Children | School Holiday Activities | School Holidays
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Published September 23rd 2012
Free and Fun
Keep the Kids Happy

There is no reason why the school holidays should cost you big bucks when there are so many free and educational activities to entertain your kids. Try some of these activities for your child's interests and age group. Pack a picnic for these nice spring days and make a day of it with some quality family time your kids will remember.

Want to avoid this? (Photo from Wikimedia Commons)

1) Everyone Can Dance

So you think you can dance?

For kids who love to dance, Everyone Can Dance is a chance to try some different types such as African, hip-hop, swing and Bollywood. Come to one session or do them all.

There is also a playground at ArtPlay.

Location: Artplay, Birrarung Marr, Batman Avenue, Melbourne.

Contact details: Phone (03) 9664 7900 or email

Date and times: Sunday 7 October, noon - 3.00pm.

Closest picnic spot: Birrarung Marr.

2) Wacky Contraptions

This should go !

If you have a creative child who loves to tinker with mechanical devices, this might just be the activity for them. It is all about making simple mechanical toys, gadgets and contraptions just by using household objects such as balloons and elastic bands. There are no set sessions, simply drop in and go with the flow. Kids of different ages and abilities are all catered for.

Location: ACMI, Federation Square, Flinders Street, Melbourne

Date and times: Monday 24 - Friday 28 September, 11.00am - 3.00pm; Monday 1 - Friday 5 October, 11.00am - 3.00pm.

Closest picnic spot: Birrarung Marr .

3) Paper Planet Arts Centre Melbourne

Its in the bag

This constantly-changing artistic event is created by the well-known Polyglot artists. Kids get to make all kinds of paper props such as leaves, trees, rocks, and animals out of paper and cardboard. They then decorate the space with their handiwork - or some may end up decorating themselves, as in the picture provided!

Location: Smorgon Family Plaza, Arts Centre Melbourne

When: 26th - 30th September

4) Make a Book at the State Library of Victoria

Take a look at my book

Holidays are always a good time to involve children in the wonderful world of books and libraries. At the State Library of Victoria, children have the chance to make their own cookery related books. This book making activity is recommended for childen aged five to 10.

While you are there take them to visit the domed reading room, awe-inspiring for any age group. You can also visit Gusto! exhibition.

Location: State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne.

Contact details: Phone (03) 8664 7000 or email

Date and times:
Thursday 27 September, 10:30am - 12:00pm
Friday 28 September, 10:30am - 12:00pm
Monday 1 October, 10:30am - 12:00pm
Tuesday 2 October, 10:30am - 12:00pm

5) Look, Think, Draw: Children's Art Trail at the Potter

Footy is a ball

Take the kid who likes games to Ian Potter Museum of Art, where they can see soccer balls made out of paper, paintings of footy players, and a table full of retro hand held video games all part of the Basil Sellers Art Prize Exhibition 2012. There are three floors of art to explore, a whole campus to run around, and good coffee next door.

Location: The Ian Potter Museum Of Art, Swanston Street (between Faraday and Elgin Streets), Parkville.

Contact details: Call 03 8344 5148 or email

Date and times: 24 September - 7 October, 10.00am until 5.00pm Tuesday till Thursday and noon until 5.00pm Friday and Saturday.

Closest picnic spot: Try some of the lawns and gardens on the University of Melbourne campus, especially outside the university's library, or walk around the edge of the library and cross over to Royal Park.

6) Spring Open Day at Royal Botanic Gardens

Fly into spring

This is a great activity for parents and their offspring. Spring Open Day is like a special open day for the gardens; the celebration of a new lease of life, when sap surges and bird's nest. It is the only chance to tour behind the scenes at the Gardens.

All activities are free and include tours on how to find bush tucker, tree-climbing demos, a behind the scenes look at the plant nursery and herbarium, a look at the fascinating and historic Melbourne Observatory, and bird-watching. Some of the plants are even on sale. Kids will be kept engaged with activities such as planting seeds, walks, mini raft races, nest building (just like the birds), story telling, a bug discovery trail, and children's entertainment. And if it happens to be a nice spring day, this IS the perfect place for a picnic.

Location: Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne.

Contact details: 03 9252 2429 or email

Date and times: 7 October, 10.00am - 4.00pm.

7) Paint What You Hear Exhibition

Paint what you hear

Paint What You Hear has been a time to respond to live music using crayons and paint. This exhibition features group canvases and individual pieces created at three workshops, as well as photographs and recordings. If you missed previous workshops, this is a chance to draw along to music and discover where the music leads you.

The exhibition opening on Saturday 6 October includes a live performance from Ad Hoc Music Collective

Location: ArtPlay, Birrarung Marr, Batman Avenue.

Contact details: Phone 03 9664 7900 or email

Date and times: 6 October - 4 November, 10.00am until 4.00pm Wednesday - Sunday.

Exhibition opening and live performance on Saturday 6 October at 2pm.

Closest picnic spot: Birrarung Marr .

8) Vegecation

Getting a vegecation

This free programme combines growing veggies with educational activities and is designed to teach kids about creating their own veggie patch, as well as cooking basics. There are daily interactive cooking demonstrations and other activities include terracotta pot painting and a drawing competition that gives kids a chance to win a hamper full of fresh, seasonal goodies.

Location: Centro Box Hill, 17-21 Market St, Box Hill.

Dates and times: 1 - 5 October.

Contact Details: Phone 03 9843 3900.

Closest picnic spot: Box Hill Gardens
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Why? Because school holidays shouldn't cost the earth
When: School Holidays
Cost: Free
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