Brisbane writer and busy mum of two boys. See my parenting articles at www.brisbaneschild.com.au and www.kidsonthecoast.com.au.
The 5 Best Free School Holiday Activities Winter 2012
The winter school holidays are just about to start, and parents all over Brisbane are thinking about how to entertain their children for two weeks without breaking the bank.
When my kids were younger and money was super-tight, I was always happy to find free activities that were fun and good-quality. I thought I'd share some of my old favourites and some of the new ones I've spotted coming up over the next couple of weeks. It's amazing how many wonderful things are on for free that lots of people don't know about.
Bazil Grumble is a great Brisbane company that runs a wide variety of creative arts workshops for children. They offer everything from paper-plane making to pottery, animation and juggling workshops.
Fiona and Grant from Bazil Grumble normally run workshops that you have to pay for at venues such as schools and the Brisbane Powerhouse.
But, thanks to funding from Brisbane City Council, they're offering a heap of free workshops in parks in June and July. You can do circus at Ipswich, ribbon twirling at Coorparoo, pottery in the Valley, and lots of other free, fun arts activities.
BCC's Chill Out Program offers fantastic activities for kids aged 10 to 17 -- which is great, because it's often this older age group that is hardest to entertain.
This holidays, Chill Out offerings include skateboard coaching clinics at Fairfield, an art race at the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens, Italian cooking classes at Bowen Hills, and rock-climbing at Sunnybank -- all for free. The program also includes some other activities (e.g. longsword skirmish!) for a low cost.
You can get more info and make online bookings at the Chill Out page on the council's website. Get in quick if you're interested, because these workshops will book out in the blink of an eye.
NAIDOC Family Fun Day
Friday 6 July is the date for the NAIDOC Family Fun Day at Musgrave Park in South Brisbane. NAIDOC stands for the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee, and the family fun day is a family-friendly celebration of Indigenous culture.
The NAIDOC website promises performance stages, food, kids' rides, arts and crafts and more. You do need to give a gold coin donation to enter, but the rides and many other parts of the festival are free.
The festival runs from 9am to 5pm, so you can make a day of it if you like, or combine it with a trip to South Bank or some fun at the Lego Education Centre in South Brisbane.
This is one of my favourite free Brisbane 'secrets' for kids. The university has large, beautiful lakes with ducks to watch, lawns to sit on, and scenic paths to cycle or wander.
You also have heaps of options for getting there -- across the pretty Eleanor Schonell Bridge, on a CityCat for a river adventure, or by bus or car. And you can also take a picnic or eat at one of the uni's food outlets to complete your adventure.