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.
Published December 17th 2012
Keeping the kids active during the holidays
Sporty School Holiday Activities in Perth
One of the things I dislike about school holidays is finding the kids playing with electronic games the whole day long, and when I tell them it's time to stop, they have all this pent-up energy that is then spent on mischief, causing sibling fights, broken rules, and a wrecked house.
Playing games from morning til night.
One effective way to combat this is by sending them off to sports activities that are guaranteed to spend their energy in a healthier way. However most regular sports calendar follow school terms and take a break during the holidays. As such, we have to resort to school holiday activities conducted by sporting organizations/ venues. What are some of the options that we have in Perth?
Swimming is perhaps the easiest sports you can get into during the holidays. The cost is relatively low if you use the facilities provided by Department of Education, namely VacSwim. They charge $1 per day and run holiday classes for children five years and up in spring and summer holidays. You still have to pay for entry fees to your chosen venue, however if you choose a venue that is free of charge (such as Hillary's Boat Harbour or any of the beach locations), then $10 is all you have to pay for two-weeks swimming lessons. Needless to say, classes fill quickly so book your spot early (I'd recommend one to two months in advance). Booking is either online or by post.
Please note that most VacSwim classes are conducted outdoors and you aren't guaranteed your first choice of venue and timing. If that doesn't suit you, then you'll have to go to your local public pools such as Terry Tyzack Aquatic Centre for their holiday classes. Fees are higher, however you'll know your enrolment status immediately and your children get to swim indoors.
Learning to swim at the local pool
Trying the trampoline and rings
Gymnastics is an excellent school holiday sports because it's indoor and you can book your child into a session without worrying about the weather forecast.
One gymnastics school that offers school holiday activities is Vital Gymnastics (2/3 Collingwood St, Osborne Park). It is located at a warehouse-like structure with a large floor space, super high ceiling, plenty of gymnastics equipments, and padded floors. They conduct holiday activities that are a combination of gymnastics (with instructors at hand), arts and craft, and party games.
At the time of writing cost is $30 per child with discount available if you book multiple days or siblings. Kids need to be at least three years old and bring their own packed lunch and drink bottle.
Indoor rock climbing is gaining popularity recently, not just for adults but children as well. Many parents and children do it together as a family too.
One indoor rock climbing establishment that offers school holiday programs is City Summit (2/26 Harris Rd, Malaga). One of their programs is called "Kids Open Day" where kids can join them for a whole day of climbing for a single fee (around $15-$20) with pizza and drink included. There will be induction given for the unexperienced climbers with instructors at hand to supervise. Parents can relax in the café overlooking the kids' area. There are also holiday courses varying in length from three days to five weeks if you'd like your child to develop the skills of climbing.
If your child is undecided on which sports they like, you could always book them into a holiday program with multi-sports activities. These types of programs usually offer different sports within one session, so the children can dip their toes into some territorries that they perhaps have never tried before.
One option like this is the Morley Sports & Recreation Centre's School Holiday Clinics. They offer something called Multi-Sports Clinics (6-12yrs) where children participate in a variety of sports drills and games. Some of the sports may include soccer, tennis, basketball, floorball, and cricket. They also have something a bit different called Combo Clinics (5-12yrs) in which children will be involved in activities including cheerleading, dance, gymnastics, and acro. They are generally priced at around $20 for a three hour session and a few weeks before every school holiday they'd publish a time schedule on their webpage. You have to be fast as places are filled pretty quickly.
Another organisation that provides something similar is the ECU Kids Holiday Program which is based at the two ECU campuses (Joondalup and Mt. Lawley) . They offer kids a variety of sports to participate in and provide a full-day or half-day options for you to choose from.
Wriggly Reptiles is in the menu
It's probably debatable whether nature-based activity is a type of sport or not. However what's important for us is that it's an activity that is fun for kids and allows them to spend their energy in a productive and healthy way.
Department of Environment and Conservation's Nearer to Nature programs have various children nature-based activities for every season. For example an activity like "Downy Ducklings" (4-7yrs) would be available in spring, "Fungi" (7-12 yrs) in winter, whereas other activities like "Adventure Caving" (8-14 yrs) may be available all year long. Activities differ in terms of parents' involvement as well. "Wriggly Reptiles" (6yrs ) is designed for the whole family to join in. Whereas if you need a quiet night for yourself, why not book them into a "Big Kids Camp Out" (8-12 yrs).
Every season, N2N would publish a calendar on their website with activities available almost everyday of the school holiday at various locations. For indication, the "Big Kids Camp Out" costs $37 at the time of writing whereas activities for the youngest age group (4-7 yrs) would fall somewhere between $12-15.