The school holidays are almost upon us and if you aren't hitting the coast or heading north for the last of the warm rays, then there is a HUGE amount of things to do, right here in Canberra. I have previously written about the April school holiday programs on offer and also kids events and activities in April, however many of these cost money - and if you have more than one child, school holidays can get expensive. We are fortunate that Canberra's shopping centres, libraries, galleries and museums all have such a wide variety of free things to do each school holidays.
The following list contains 14 FREE things to do these school holidays so there is at least one thing to do each day of the holidays. The kids (and your wallet!) will think it's awesome!
Holiday fun at Gungahlin Marketplace! Image: Original photos from Gungahlin Marketplace Facebook and website
1/ Gungahlin Marketplace has a huge line-up of free fun these school holidays! Bakers Art will be in the centre in the first week, so kids can get creative with making Cookie Monsters or Baker's Bun Decorating - see here for details. For the second week, they will be hosting live shows every day at 10am, 10:45am, 11:30am and 12:15pm. See here for details.
2/ Majura Park shopping centre, near Canberra Airport, will be having BRICKS 4 KIDZ at the centre for some fun, educational LEGO building activities. No bookings are necessary, just drop in and play between 10am - 1pm. The dates are Wednesday 18th April, Thursday 19th April, Monday 23rd April and Tuesday 24th April - so jot those dates down in your holiday diary! See here for details.
3/ Canberra Outlet Centre in Fyshwick will be having Paw Patrol live on stage (outside Monkey Mania) daily between Monday 16th April - Friday 20th April. Sing and dance with Police Dog Chase and Fire Dog Marshall at their 11am, 12pm and 1pm shows. See here for details. If your kids love Skye, she will be available for photos daily near Harris Scarfe at 10.30am, 11.30am and 12.30pm. See here for details.
4/ Woden Westfield will be having a free Peter Rabbit Activity Zone in the second week of the school holidays (excluding Anzac Day), between 11am - 2pm. See here for details.
5/ Tuggeranong Hyperdome will be having a Smurf Show in the first week of the school holidays at 11am, 12pm and 1pm. The second week they will have a Monopoly Immersive Zone, where kids can play on a life-size Monopoly game. See here for details.
Also check out the free activities at Cooleman Court shopping centre with Finger Bun Decorating, Decorate Your Own Apron, Make Your Own Pizza and Make Your Own Chef Hat!
Paw Patrol fun at the Canberra Outlet Centre. Image: Canberra Outlet Centre Facebook
6/ ACT Libraries have free workshops all school holidays for kids aged between 3 - 12, such as Favourite Authors: Pamela Allen (for ages 3 - 5), We're Going on a Book Hunt (ages 3 - 5), Little Engineers (ages 5 - 8), LEGO Brick Club (for ages 5 - 8), Junior Robotics (ages 9 - 11), Dr Graham's School Holiday Science (ages over 10), Library Ninjas (ages 8 - 12) and more. See here for details - bookings essential. 7/ Googong Fishing Fair will be held on Saturday, 14th April at the township of Googong, 30 minutes from the city centre. If your family enjoys fishing while you are at the coast, why not visit Googong and learn about fresh water fishing in Googong Dam. Watch fly fishing demonstrations, check out local fire trucks and have a jump on a jumping castle. Whilst there, also check out the brand new playgrounds dotted around the township. See here for details.
8/ Henry Rolland Park Opening Day is an exciting family event on the calendar, with a new grassy play space opening besides Lake Burley Griffin on 28th April. There will be free entertainment, live music, games and family fun. Where better to have a picnic than at Canberra's newest park and boardwalk! See here for details and the You Tube video below, for a 3D flyover of Stage 1.
Free Activities at the Galleries and Museums
9/ The National Library of Australia will have a free activity room called Word Play open for the whole school holidays, with paper craft, books, puzzles and giant games to play with. See here for details. Also, check out the free movie screening of Love Bug on 24th April.
10/ The Australian War Memorial has a whole host of free school holiday activities, with Family Tours, Hands-On History, Story time and the popular craft workshop Make and Create. See here for details. They also have a free and exciting kids area called The Discovery Zone, where kids can walk through a submarine and sit in a helicopter. 11/ The National Gallery of Australia has a free kids area as soon as you walk in the door called NGA Play: Indieguerillas with a little slide, iPad games, interactive technology and paper craft fun. This popular area will be closing in May, so ensure you get one last visit in before it ends. There are also free tours and a free activity called Sketchy Tuesday on 17th April. This gallery is just opposite the National Portrait Gallery, which has a free Art Cart activity, so you can do two free activities in one day!
NGA Play: Indieguerillas at the National Gallery of Australia
12/ Parliament House will be showing free movies in their Theatre on Level 1 - The Man from Snowy River and Playing Beatie Bow. See here for details.
13/ Brick by Brick: Build Your Own Capital is a free Lego™ and Duplo activity space at the National Capital Exhibition at Regatta Point (next to the Canberra and Region Visitor Centre). Kids are encouraged to build a Canberra landmark, or just have free play. See here for details and also for plans, so you can build your own creations at home.
14/ Kspace at the National Museum of Australia is a free and interactive activity where kids design their own time-travelling robot via full length touch screens and then play a computer game to send their robot back in time to a period in Australian history. See here for details.
Autumn is also the perfect time to have a play in Canberra's creative playgrounds, go for a bike ride, have a picnic and take advantage of all the free things to do around this fascinating city. With so many options of things to do, the 14 days of the April school holidays will fly by!
The only problem you may have is - where do you go first?
Portrait Play at the National Portrait Gallery - where children look at portraits and then do a craft activity. (Image: Portrait of Nick Cave, by Howard Arkely)