I'm a freelance writer living in Perth. Having 2 young kids with endless energy, we are always on the lookout for new outdoor activities.
School holidays, weekends & Australia Day - all covered
Free Perth Family Activities in January 2013
If there's one good thing about school holiday, it's that you don't have to confine yourself to the weekend for activities that involve the children. Visiting grandparents, playdates, or participating in events could all be done at anytime. This article reflects this, as activities are more spread out this month, although a healthy proportion still falls on weekends.
As usual, you can take a peek at the calendar, select the activities that suit your preference and availability, and find the details in the following sections.
The good old public libraries never fail to deliver something to relieve the boredom of school holidays. Many libraries did their bit in December around the time when school finishes, but some still have something for us in January.
Make Your Own Book When: Thursday, 10 January; Tuesday, 15 January; and Thursday, 17 January; 10-11.30am. Where: Midland Public Library, 45 Helena St, Midland. Website:www.cityofswan.com
In this school holiday activity, children get to write and illustrate their very own book to take home and share with family and friends. Using a large piece of paper and a few folds, they can create their own 8-page book without using any staples. The books are "published" on the spot using a colour photocopier. This event is suitable for children aged 5-12 years and adult supervision is required on the day. Bookings are required at 9267 9020.
Children can learn how to make their own balloon creations in this workshop. Bookings are essential at 92906725. And while you're at the library, why not read a book or two and make a whole morning out of the trip there.
Going to the movies is a relatively easy way to entertain the kids during the holidays. However it's not cheap if you have multiple kids and have to go repeatedly all summer long. So why not check out the ones that are free-of-charge below.
The ever faithful Free Flicks for Kids continue with the following offerings in the month of January: 5 January: Shrek II (2004)-PG
12 January: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)-G
- 19 January: Lilo & Stitch (2002)-G
- 26 January: The Lion King (1994)-PG
A special note for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: No, it is not a typo, the animated movie did get made in 1937, it was the first full-length animated feature from the Disney Studios. If you remember it from your childhood, then it's perhaps time to introduce it to your kids.
Cinema Under Starlight
When & Where:
- Saturday, 12 January at Elsie Austin Oval, Chidlow St, Mt Helena.
- Saturday, 19 January at Helena Valley/ Boya Oval, Scott St, Helena Valley.
Gates open from 6pm. Website:www.mundaring.wa.gov.au
Living up on the hills and too far to go to Northbridge for an outdoor movie? Not to worry. The Shire of Mundaring conducts a series of outdoor family movies this summer school holiday. Bring a blanket or chair; refreshments and snacks will be available. Gates open from 6pm and the film will begin at approximately 8pm or as soon as the sun goes down. The movies on offer would be:
- 12 January: Happy Feet 2
- 19 January: Dr Seuss The Lorax
Additionally, there is also a low-cost Outdoor Movies on Friday, 4 January 2013 at Swan View Youth Centre (116 Salisbury Rd) showing "Finding Nemo" (G). Tickets are $5 including popcorn, hotdog, and a drink.
Outdoor Live Music
If you prefer listening to watching, then ditch the free movies and come to the live music events below instead.
Music in the Park
When: Saturday, 12 January, starts 6pm. Where: Caledonia Park, Currambine. Website:www.joondalup.wa.gov.au
Music in the Park is a series of free concerts organised by the City of Joondalup. They promise a night of family-friendly blues and roots music, so bring a picnic and enjoy an evening under the stars with live music at hand. This week, the concert features Jeff Lang with special guests Lucky Oceans and Felicity Groom. Picnic starts at 6pm, and concert from 7pm.
Courtyard Music is a series of live performance every Sunday afternoon organised by Fremantle Arts Centre. It presents a line-up of local acts, touring musicians, and up-and-coming artists. You can bring your own picnic, buy a drink at our bar, or grab lunch from the café there as you relax under the plane trees and enjoy the free music. The line-up for the month of January as follows:
- 6 January: David Hyams and the Miles to Go Band
- 13 January: The Layabouts
- 20 January: Seamie O'Dowd and Aminah Hughes
- 27 January: Pugsley Buzzard
I love these trial sessions. They introduce your children to that particular activity, whether it's music or sports, give you information in case you're curious as to what's involved for future participation, and there is no obligation to then continue with the real paying classes. If you or your kids are not keen, just say "thank you and goodbye" at the end of the trial session.
Yamaha Music School
When & Where:
- Saturday, 12 January at Campbell Primary School (Campbell Rd, Canning Vale).
- Saturday, 19 January at John Forrest Senior High School (180 Drake St, Morley). Website: www.yamahamusicschool.com.au
The Yamaha brand from Japan has been dabbling in the music arena for a long time now, 125 years to be exact. And it has established music schools in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth. This January, they conduct free trial sessions at two of their Perth branches, with three sessions available at each location:
- 9.30am (for children aged 3˝)
- 10.30am (for children aged 4˝ to 6˝)
- 11.30am (for children aged 6˝ to 8˝)
The trial sessions are usually conducted by their most experienced teacher, so it would be good and engaging.
ECU Kids Holiday Program
When: Weekdays, 14 to 31 January. Where: ECU Joondalup and Mt. Lawley campuses. Website:ecu.edu.au/sports/kids
The Edith Cowan University (ECU)'s Kids Holiday Program is a program structured around a variety of different sports daily, suitable for children 6-12 years old. The program runs for the whole day but parents have an option of either paying for the whole day, morning only, or afternoon only sessions. They offer a free half-day trial session for kids who have never been before and I'd recommend booking in the morning half-day since part of the afternoon half-day is actually taken up with winding down activities, for example watching a movie. Once you're booked in for the free trial session, you basically join in the paying group.
VLounge - Summer Kick off Party!
When: Friday, 18 January, 6-9pm. Where: Volleyball WA, 180 Charles St West Perth Website:www.vincent.wa.gov.au
If you have children 13-17 years, then this would be a suitable event for them. Part of a monthly series organised by the City of Vincent, VLounge offers a different theme every month, and this month it is "Summer Kick off Beach Party!" Activities include beach volleyball, cricket and other outdoor sports and games, with DJ and free sausage sizzle provided. It's a free but ticketed event, so book your ticket here or you'll miss out.
For Australia Day, the most obvious option would be to watch the City of Perth Skyworks either from Langley Park or South Perth. However, there are actually more options out there if you live too far away or don't relish the thought of fighting hundreds of thousands of people for a prime spot by the river. Find the details about Skyworks and other Australia Day events here.