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
There are so many great free activities on in Melbourne during the school holidays that if you do your research you really shouldn't have to spend a cent.
But it does take research, which also takes up quite a bit of time, so here is a starting point for you. If you know of other great free activities you might like to add them in the comment section at the end so that other parents can access them.
Heide is one of my favourite secret gardens in Melbourne. It has a woodlands park as well as cottage and kitchen gardens. The landscape is also dotted with wonderful old trees (perfect coverage for a picnic on a hot day) and the extensive grounds meander down to the Yarra River. The parklands also have an amazing array of modernist sculptures. This summer there is a free activity where kids can play detectives and solve a puzzle using information they find out about the sculptures along the way.
You can download the puzzle sheet here. There is a prize for completion.
If you go there on Australia Day they also have outdoor specialists Anaconda in residence and kids can take on a rock climbing challenge under their guidance. Again this is a free activity. The program runs from 11am to 3pm.
Heide is at 7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen.
T (03) 9850 1500
Australia Day Kids' Tennis Clinic with Alicia Molik
65532;Australian Aussie tennis champion Alicia Molik at the Powlett Reserve Tennis Centre in East Melbourne. Kids can have a hit with Alicia, find out how fast their serve is and get tips on improving their game. There is also a bbq with lots of delicious Aussie produce. As well as competitions and giveaways the Bean Alliance is offering parents free Australian made coffee. There will also be free baked bean toasties. Powlett Reserve Tennis Centre is on the Corner of Albert and Simpson Street East Melbourne. The event is from 9am – 11am. No bookings required.
The Chipolatas are a magical group of children's entertainers. They have a real rapport with the little ones and their shows highlight their talents which include acting, musical abilities and circus acrobatic skills. It is not often you get to hear these guys for free but you can this school holidays in the forecourt at the Arts Centre on the 11 - 12 of January at 12pm and 3pm. Each performance lasts for 40 mins.
But if you do happen to be in paying mode you can catch a performance of Erth's Dinosaur Zoo before or after this free show. But a run in the botanical gardens across the road is also a great free option to round off the day.
Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Open Range Zoo are all free during the school holiday for all children under the age of 16. So every child has the opportunity to attend all of these fantastic child-friendly and educational venues. It is hard to pick a favourite. Werribee Zoo has the great safari through the sweeping plains, at Healesville you can walk through compounds of freely roaming kangaroos and Melbourne Zoo always has new attractions. Can't wait to catch the new seal enclosure.
There are a couple of venues doing free face painting and there is nothing slap-dash about this like you occasionally get at some fetes and markets. During Music Play at the Melbourne Recital Centre which runs from (9am – 3pm) artist Sara Hone has set up camp to paint extraordinary faces on willing subjects. There are also a number of free events at Music Play which you might like to attend as well. Click here.
Prahran Market also has free face painting. This is imaginative artistry with kids transformed into princesses, butterflies, tigers, spiderman or whatever they request. There is no waiting as kids put their name on a list and come back at pre-ordained times leaving families free to wander around this delightful market.
Tip: During some busy holiday periods it's best to come early to ensure you don't not miss out.Tuesday: 9.30am - 12.30pm Thursday: 9.30am - 12.30pm Sunday: 10.30am - 2.30pm
Location: Market Square, Prahran Market.
Free Dance Classes
Prahran Market also holds free dance classes for kids every Friday which are bun by The Space Dance & Arts centre. This is held in the Market Square. It includes not only dance, but games and lots of fun. Suitable for 2- 6 years with parents welcome to join in. Friday 10am - 10.30am For other great free activities at the market please click here. Activities include a science show with lots of entertaining experiments, a demo on milking a cow and a traditional magic show mixed with whole lot of slapstick comedy.
There are heaps of free events on at ArtPlay which you can check out here. One that took my fancy, as that little bit different, was the Massive Hip Hop Choir which involves kids in mass singing with vocalist and choir director Andrea Khoza, hip hop artist Mary Quinsacara and members of Massive: MC Yung Philly, vocalists Maz Komba, Akimera Burckhardt-Bedeau and Sam Kawuma. This activity suites children aged five to twelve years and their family.
Art Play is at Birrarung Marr, behind Federation Square it is currently closed and will re-open on Wednesday 8 January.