New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published December 7th 2016
Over 25 ideas to get you started
The city is buzzing with Christmas cheer and kids are now counting down the last days of school. With so much going on before Christmas, it can be a hectic time of year for many families with Christmas parties to go to, end of year school concerts, Christmas carols, Christmas markets and also organising any school holiday programs the kids may want to do in the new year. There is a lot going on - and that doesn't even include Christmas Day!
The following are some fun activities lined up for these school holidays - many are free and others you pay for. We are fortunate to have so many museums, galleries and theatres in Canberra that pull out all the stops in the January holidays. Hopefully the kids will find these Summer school holiday activities "cool" and also - with most of them in air conditioned comfort - parents will find them cool too!
Portrait Play at the National Portrait Gallery. Source: NPG website
The National Archives will be having a "School Holiday Family Corner" where kids can enjoy puzzles, play a board game and read a book from their selection of Australian stories. Suitable for ages 8 - 12. Free. See details here.
ACT Libraries will be hosting Storytime and craft activities relating to the books "Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas", "The 65-Storey Treehouse", "Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?", as well as a "Tales of Heroes and Villains" evening where kids visit the library at night in their PJ's. See the ACT Libraries website for the full list. Free. Bookings open December 15th. See details here. The National Portrait Gallery will be hosting "Portrait Play" each day in the school holidays, for kids aged between 4- 8 to explore portraits through drawing. Cost is $5. See details here. There will also be craft activities in their Family Space. Free. See details here.
The Royal Australian Mint has free school holiday activity books so kids can walk through the galleries and answer questions, learn about Australia's currency and have fun. There is also colouring-in for younger children. Free. See details here.
Learn all about the robot Titan, who tips the drums of coins in the factory. He will be having a rest over Christmas, however you can still see him through the viewing windows
3rd - 23rd January The Australian War Memorial will be holding Family Tours between Mondays and Thursdays these school holidays. These 30 minute interactive tours start at 10:15am and highlight some of the fascinating stories behind the objects in the galleries - in a family friendly way. Free. See details here. Also downstairs kids can get involved in "Hands On History", which is held after the tour at 11am, Mondays to Thursdays. Free. See details here.
4th & 25th January The National Portrait Gallery will be having Storytime with the book "A Lion in Paris" by Beatrice Alemagna and then the children create their own visual response. All materials are provided, suitable for all abilities and ages.Cost $5. See details here.
4th, 11th, 18th and 25th January The National Gallery of Australia will be having a Storytime "Tales from the Palace", in relation to their Versailles: Treasures from the Palace exhibition. Catch up on all the court intrigue, listen to some cool stories and discover who's who in the Versailles court. Free. See details here.
6th - 21st January The Peter Pan Musical, by Ickle Pickle Productions will be held at the Belconnen Theatre these school holidays. Why not book the Fairydust VIP Package which includes premium seating and photos with Peter Pan, Wendy and Captain Hook on stage after the show. Ticket prices apply. See details here.
9th - 13th January & 16th - 20th January Old Parliament House (The Museum of Australian Democracy) will be having "Arts and Crafts Under The Trees" in their terraced courtyard for two weeks in the school holidays. This drop in activity will be held between 9:30am - 12:30am for children up to the age of 12, with an accompanying adult. Cost $10, including entry fee. Adults are $2 to get into the museum. See details here closer to the date.
9th - 20th January The National Museum of Australia will be having an interactive drawing activity called "History of You", which relates to their exhibition A History of the World in 100 Objects. Children bring in an object or toy from home that tells the story of their life in 2017. Cost $10. See details here. Whilst at the museum, also check out Kspace - a free and fun area for kids to create their own virtual robots and send them back in time.
11th January The National Portrait Gallery will be hosting a "Dream Pet Workshop" where kids aged between 6 - 10 create a three dimensional portrait of their real or imagined pet with modelling material. This activity relates to their current The Popular Pet Show exhibition. Cost $20. See details here.
11th - 20th January The National Film and Sound Archive will be showing Pixar Classics these school holidays. See "Finding Nemo 3D", "Ratatouille", "Finding Dory", "The Incredibles", "Inside Out" and "Brave". Cost $8. See details here.
Finding Nemo 3D. Source: National Film and Sound Archive website
12th January The National Gallery of Australia will be having a workshop called "Art Explorer: A Grand Design" for kids over 7 to design their own 3D palace. This workshop is inspired by their current blockbuster exhibition Versailles: Treasures from the Palace. Cost $60. See details here.
12th, 13th, 19th, 20th and 27th January The Australian War Memorial will be having "Drop In Craft" activity, where kids get involved in making paper slouch hats, gum leaf bookmarks, etching, and poppies to take home. This activity is extremely popular, held between 11:30pm - 1pm, on the Lower Ground Floor (next to The Discovery Zone). Free. See details here.
12th January - 19th February Ben & Jerry's Open Air Cinema is back for another year, set up on the Patrick White Lawns outside the National Library. Kids latest releases "Trolls", "Sing" and "Moana" will be showing. If you visit on Sundays there is also live music and free ice creams. See details here.
14th January The National Portrait Gallery will be showing the movie "Oddball", as part of their The Popular Pet Show exhibition. This adorable movie is rated G, so it is suitable for all ages. Free. See details here.
16th January The National Archives, together with children's cooking school "Kids Pantry", will be hosting "Explore and Cook Archival Recipes with Kids Pantry". Kids will learn how to make healthy recipes from years gone by. Suitable for kids 8 - 12 years of age. Cost $20. See details here.
16th - 22nd January The Australian National Botanical Gardens will be having "Snakes Alive 2017", which is an up close and personal reptile encounter with dragons, goannas, geckos, large skinks, legless lizards, frogs and more. Cost $6 adult, $5 concession and $3 student/children – with proceeds to local research projects. See details here.
Snakes Alive 2017. Source: Australian National Botanical Gardens website
17th January The National Gallery of Australia will hosting a tour called "NGA Underground: Fountains and Fanfare" - where kids explore the gallery grounds, fountains and water features. This tour is inspired by their current blockbuster exhibition Versailles: Treasures from the Palace.Tours are divided into ages 7-10 and 11-13. Cost $12. See details here.
18th January The Australian War Memorial is holding a school holiday workshop titled "Film, Flight and Feathers" for kids aged over 8. They will view the animated film "Valiant" (PG) about Valiant the pigeon's efforts get a job with the Royal Homing Pigeon Service in London. After the screening, children can make their own pigeon puppets to take home. Cost $20 per child. See details here. The National Archives will be hosting "Make a Gingerbread House" where kids are taken on a tour of the "Iconic Houses" exhibition and then make their own gingerbread house. Cost $20. See details here.
Making a Gingerbread House. Source: National Archives website
18th - 21st January The Wizard of Oz, by Child Players ACT, will be held at the Canberra Repertory Society in Acton. This classic story will be told on the stage to a whole new generation of fans. Ticket prices apply. See details here.
19th January The National Archives will have a drawing workshop called "Drawing Bold Buildings with Sarah Summers" for kids aged 8 - 12. They will learn how to draw a lighthouse, and then move outside to draw the beautiful National Archives building using a variety of mediums. Cost $20. See details here. The National Gallery of Australia will be having "Art Explorer: Grandeur in the Garden" for kids to create their own sculptures in the Sculpture Garden. Cost $60. See details here.
20th January The National Archives will be having an "Introduction to Circus Skills" workshop with the "Warehouse Circus" school, where kids get to learn the basic skills for a fun two hours. Cost $20. See details here.
23rd January The Australian War Memorial will be having a school holiday workshop titled "From Horse to Bushmaster", for kids aged over 6. This will include learning about the different types of transport in the war and then kids construct their own transport models from recycled materials. Cost $10. See details here.
25th January Mr Maker will be in town with his Shapes, entertaining kids at the Canberra Theatre. There will be a big 'make' to take part in as well as watching him get crafty with items from the doodle drawer. Ticket prices apply. See details here.
28th January The National Portrait Gallery will be showing the movie "The Secret Life of Pets" (rated G) as part of the The Popular Pet Show exhibition. Free. See details here.
Back to School...and ready to do it all over again!
Visit The Popular Pet Show exhibition whilst at the National Portrait Gallery. Painting: Bonny by Lucy Culliton. Source: National Portrait Gallery