Get organised now if you want to survive the school holidays
Happy New Year Secret Listers. This is the 20th edition of the Secret List, a list of fun and unusual things to do with your kids each month in Perth. There is something for every family, no matter how much you have to spend, where you live and how old your kids are.
Why is it a secret? Because if you kids find out about all the things on this list: they will beg you to do everything on it.
Unless you want to spend the next month entertaining your kids yourself, you better get organised and book some of these great activities.
organise your school holidays now and you can relax all summer
Happy New Year The ancient Babylonians have been celebrating New Year's Day for thousands years, and one of their customs (which also included the ritual humiliation of their King, which we won't mention here) is that all borrowed farm equipment should be returned.
What's the relevance, you ask? Not much, but maybe you should look around the kids rooms and get them to dig out all the toys they 'borrowed' over the past year, and return them to their owners. Perhaps you can gather up all the toys they no longer play with and have a toy-swap with your mothers' groups or friends, or better yet, donate them to one of Perth's great charities.
When: Wednesday January 1st, 2014 Where: everywhere Cost: nothing
Celebrate the New Year in family-friendly style by heading along to the Shelley Community Concert. With plenty of family friendly activities, music, bands and food stalls this will be a great way to welcome 2014. And if you found staying up to midnight to watch the fireworks too difficult on New Year's Eve, console yourself with the much more sleep-friendly firework display that closes the Party at 8pm.
Kids in the Kitchen?
They might be on school holidays but that's no reason for kids to stop learning. Send them to cooking classes at the Cooking Professor. 8-12 year olds can join the Breakfast Club and learn how to make delicious breakfast and brunch dishes.
For those with a sweeter tooth, try the Cupcake class where kids will learn a range of skills for decorating the most beautiful cupcakes (which they then get to take home). Classes run for two and a half hours and still have places available but book now to avoid disappointment.
When: Breakfast Club Saturday 4th January, Cupcake Class Thursday 30th January, 10.15am
Where: 271 Selby St, Churchlands
Cost: $80 per person Click for more info.
Bring in the New Year kiddie-style with an all-Disney party at the Northbridge Piazza. With free showings of Cinderella (midday) and Tangled (4pm) there will also be a bouncy castle, face painting, balloons and all your favourite Disney characters wandering around. That won't be creepy.
When: Sunday 5th January, from noon to 6pm
Where: Northbridge Piazza
Cost: Free Click for more info.
The Biggest List of School Holiday Programs
No one can deny that the summer school holidays are verrrrry long. So if you (and the kids) need a bit of space, then consider some of the awesome school holiday programs on offer. There are so many brilliant programs it is impossible to list them all here, but here is a taster of them.
Also check out your local council and see if they have a school holiday program: many of the events are often free or very cheap for locals.
My tip: BOOK NOW if you like the sound of something. Forgot wrapping the Christmas presents, this is more important.
RSPCA: (bookings are open now)
Includes: be a pet detective, learn about puppies and cats, working with farm animals, learn about being a vet, creepy crawlies, how to pamper your pet, learn about animal poop plus much more.
Times, locations and prices vary. Check website for more info.
Fremantle Arts Centre: (bookings open December 16)
There are separate programs for 5-8 years, 9-12 years, 13-18 years and include a massive range of creative classes like mosaics, animation, music and dance, book making, toy making, jewellery making and much more.
Times and prices vary, but they are all run by professional artists, usually last a few hours and range upwards from $41-$81 for the younger groups to $62-$88 for the older kids. Check website for more info.
Where: 1 Finnerty St, Fremantle
City of Mandurah :
If you live in Mandurah you can sign your (11-17 year old) kids up to either a daily or weekly school holiday program. From $15 a day, kids will be able to do a range of activities including Adventure World, visit the Zoo, bowling, the Maze, surfing and laser combat. Book now to ensure a place.
Search 'school holidays' on the City of Mandurah website.
Fremantle School Holiday Guide:
A spectacular range of events and classes that are being run across the city include map making, sewing classes, summer rock school, puppet making, learning to make a movie, making dream-catchers, learning to sail, baby animals and much more. Definitely one to check out.
Times and prices vary. Check website for more info.
Right On at Whiteman
Whiteman Park in the northern suburbs of Perth always has a big school holidays program in addition to their normal parks and play areas. And it's always very cheap (free to $5), which is great when you're still recovering from buying all those toys for Christmas.
Programs include calico bag making, magic shows, Aboriginal dance, mime workshops, pottery making and more. Make your bookings now.
When: starts Wednesday 9ths January
Where: Whiteman Park, Entry off Lord Street or Beechboro Road, Whiteman.
Cost: varies, check the website Click for more info.
Big Southern Party
Now in its 50th year, the festival of Busselton is a week of activities and events designed to celebrate this great area and make people feel welcome. With a range of things to be involved in such as the Battle of the Bands, the Festival Queens and sandcastle competition if you are planning on being down south, make sure you check out the Facebook page to see what's on.
When: Saturday 11th January, 2014 to Saturday 18th January
Where: Around Busselton and Dunsborough
Cost: mostly free Click for more info.
Let's Go Make a Kite
Join in the fun with the Vic Park Active Family Days and learn how to make and fly a kite. Perfect for one of the world's windiest cities, the first 100 people to book will get a free kite. Bookings are essential.
When: Sunday 12th January, 9am-11am
Where: McCallum Park, Vic Park
Cost: free Click for more info.
The Cat in the Hat Comes to Town
The Cat in the Hat, that rascally brat, is in town to tempt your kids.
With a wily way, and a rhyme every day, he will simply delight you, I say.
For young and old, and short and tall, the Cat will inspire you, one and all.
So book your tickets, no delays, because he's only in Perth for a short few days.
When: Wednesday 22nd January 2014 to Wednesday 29th January, sessions at 9am and 11.30am
Where: State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, 174/192 William Street, Perth
Cost: tickets from $39.90 Click for more info.
An Epic Night at the Zoo
What's that roaring in the distance? Is it the lions or is it coming from the movie screen? Join the animals for a twilight screening of the movie Epic at Perth Zoo. With the opportunity for an exclusive twilight wander through the Savannah exhibit for premium ticket holders, this will be a family-friendly night to remember.
Bring a picnic (or visit Meerkats Café), bring a blanket and settle in to watch the show. (Shhh, parents, you can BYO alcohol).
When: Wednesday 22nd January 2014, doors open 5.30pm, movie starts 7.30pm
Where: Perth Zoo, Labouchere Rd, South Perth
Cost: Standard ticket $13.50/$17 adult/child (slight discount for Zoo Friends), Premium ticket $22/$16.50 adult/child (slight discount for Zoo Friends) Click for more info.
Don't forget there is more to the museum than the exhibits
A Day at the Museum?
Every school holidays the fantastic West Australian museums offer some great school holiday programs. Costs vary and normal entry fees still apply.
WA Museum (James St, Perth): go crazy with the little ones about the world of minibeasts with a range of buggy craft and activities, including things to take home. Alternatively get involved in the fabulous world of fashion and use exclusive papers to design your own catwalk paper-doll masterpiece.
Maritime Museum (Victoria Quay, Fremantle): explore the world of whales with the Whale Wonders exhibit with a range of activities including games, dress-ups and real whale bones. Or get crafty with Life on the Reef and make your own animal or reef sculpture.
Maritime Museum, 9.30am-5pm, Life on the Reef 10am-2pm, activities range from free to 3, suitable for kids aged 4 years.
When: during the month of January
Where: various museums in Perth and Fremantle
Cost: small fees apply in addition to normal admission fees
Extreme Water Sports
Bring your water babies and adventure seekers for a family day at Bold Park Aquatic Centre. With fabulous water activities, giant inflatable, a circus, prizes and games this will be a wet and wild day to remember. Bring a picnic or cook up a storm on the free BBQs.
When: Saturday 25th January, 12noon to 4pm
Where: Bold Park Aquatic Centre, the Boulevard Floreat
Cost: Free Click for more info.
Once A Jolly Aussie Sat And Watched Some Fireworks…
Awwstrayla Day. It means something different to everyone, but at the end of the day (literally) all of Perth look towards the sky. Most local councils hold Australia Day celebrations and the best place to check is your local paper. If there's a party, it'll be advertised in there.
Alternatively, you can stay home, sit under a sprinkler, have a barbie, drink some beer (or cordial) and play some cricket.
There are also more fireworks than you can poke a flaming stick at, and include events in Bassendean, regional fireworks in Armadale and Bunbury, the 'Indian Ocean Skyshow' in Fremantle; and the biggie – the City of Perth fireworks.
When: Sunday 26th January, start times vary
Where: look up in the sky
Mum, Can We Go To The Movies?
Yes, yes you can. Every week (Saturdays) there are free 'Flicks for Kids' in the Northbridge Piazza. You read that correctly, free movies for kids. In Northbridge. Probably not the 'drop and run' type of event, the selection of movies will appeal to families and include classics such as The Borrowers, Lady and the Tramp and Aladdin. Bring a picnic and enjoy the provided beanbags.
When: every Saturday in December and running until May 2014, films starts 5.30pm.
Where: Northbridge Piazza, Corner of James and Lake Streets
Cost: Free Click for more info.