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Top 25 Things to do in the Summer School Holidays in Canberra 2018/19

Home > Canberra > Christmas | Community Events | Family | School Holiday Activities | School Holidays | Lists
by Sue W (subscribe)
Lover of exploring, family, food and fun!
Published November 22nd 2018
Summer family fun in the Capital
The summer school holidays are almost here and there is so much going on, the kids won't have time to tell you they are bored! Of course there are all the festive events around the city with Christmas Carols, markets and festivals in December, and then the party continues on through January with more activities and fireworks for Australia Day! Kids will enjoy every minute of the summer school holidays in Canberra, with swimming pools to cool off in, the Murrumbidgee River to splash in and escaping the heat inside the local cinemas, museums and shopping centres on those really hot days!

The ACT school holidays run between Saturday, 22nd December to Tuesday, 5th February, with many events announced and many more to come - so ensure you check back with Canberra Weekendnotes for the latest event details. These are just some ideas to keep the kids busy these school holidays...

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Free fun for kids at Maths Alive! Image: Raytheon Facebook


All School Holidays

1/ Maths Alive! is a free and interactive exhibition space at East Gallery on Queen Elizabeth Terrace between 1st December - 17th March. Kids will enjoy the 6 different activity zones which show how maths is used in all aspects of our lives. If you love Questacon, you will love this! The exhibition is presented by Raytheon. See details here.

2/ Family Space - Face Lab
is a free activity space that is open at the National Portrait Gallery for the whole school holidays. Each school holidays this area has different stations for craft, drawing and interactive play which relates to a current exhibition. See details here.

3/ The Discovery Zone at the Australian War Memorial is a free interactive space for kids, with a helicopter to sit in and a submarine to walk through. For a full article on what there is to do, see here. The Australian War Memorial also has a host of events for kids all school holidays, with Story time, Family Tours, Hands on History and more. See details here.

4/ KSpace is a free interactive game at the National Museum of Australia, which is open all school holidays. It will take you on a journey back in time, with a variety of challenges along the way. This one isn't just for the kids - adults will enjoy it too! See details here. For a full article on KSpace, see here.

5/ Summer at the Mint is a range of school holiday activities - both drop-in and booked - at The Royal Australian Mint in Deakin. See details here when on their website. For a full article on what to do at the Mint, see here.

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Learn about how coins are made at the Royal Australian Mint


Saturday, 22nd December

6/ Christmas in Canberra Extravaganza is a magical evening at the Canberra Miniature Railway in Symonston, with Christmas lights, train rides, markets and Santa. The cost is $15 per person. Buy your tickets here.

7/ Headhunt! is a free and interactive iPad experience for kids aged between 7 - 15 at the National Portrait Gallery, until 24th December. See details here.

8/ The Sunset Cinema will be running in the gardens of the Australian National Botanical Gardens between 28th November - 12th January. Check out the full program here.

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Outdoor movies at the National Australian Botanical Gardens. Image: Sunset Cinema Facebook


Thursday, 27th December

9/ Portrait Play is a popular school holiday activity at the National Portrait Gallery, where kids learn about a portrait and then create their own drawing and craft activity in the same theme. This summer, the theme is Who are You? The cost is $7, see details here. For a full article on Portrait Play, see here.

Monday, 31st December

10/ New Year's Eve in the City is a popular night for families, with a concert at Civic Square followed by 9pm fireworks overhead. See details here.

Wednesday, 2nd January


11/ Story time at the National Portrait Gallery will be the book How Birds Got Their Colours, by Mary Albert and Pamela Lofts. Kids then will have the opportunity to create their own visual response. The cost is $7 per child, see details here.

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Story time at the National Portrait Gallery. Image: National Portrait Gallery website


Thursday, 3rd January

12/ Summernats will be held at the EPIC between 3rd - 6th January, with hot-rod cars, loud burnouts, rock bands and a whole lot of car action! On Thursday, 3rd January there will be a City Cruise through the centre of Canberra city, so that the public can see the range of streetcars that will be at the event. If your kids love cars, they will love this! See details here.

Sunday, 6th January

13/ Wiradjuri Echoes is an event at the National Portrait Gallery, where Wiradjuri Echoes share Aboriginal culture and storytelling through music and dance. Children are welcome to join the dancers and learn to dance to the didgeridoo. See details here.

Monday, 7th January

14/ The National Film and Sound Archives will be showing school holiday movies about cats in the morning and dogs in the afternoon! This school holiday movie event runs between 7th - 13th January and includes movies such as Oddball, Red Dog, Puss in Boots and The Lion King. Tickets cost $10. See details here.

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Cats versus dogs at the National Film and Sound Archive! Image: NFSA website


Tuesday, 8th January


15/ Create Space at the National Gallery of Australia is a free drop-in activity for kids on each Tuesday in January, between 10:30am - 1pm. Get crafty and appreciate different artworks around the gallery. See details here.

Thursday, 10th January

16/ Little Engineers: Crocodile Capture is a fun robotic and coding activity for kids aged 5 - 8 years at the Kippax Library. See details here. Also check out all the other free school holiday activities at ACT Libraries here - book in early as places fill up fast!

Friday, 11th January

17/ Ickle Pickle Productions will be showing Once Upon a Mattress at Belconnen Arts Theatre, between 11th - 25th January. Support Canberra's local talent and introduce your kids to the magic of live theatre. See details here.

18/ Junior Robotics Monkey Mayhem
is a free coding and robotics activity at the Woden Library for children aged 9 - 11 years. See details here.

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Little Engineers: Crocodile Capture at Kippax Library. Image: Eventbrite


Monday, 14th January


19/ Snakes Alive is a live exhibition at the Australian National Botanical Gardens, where kids and adults can learn about endangered snake species. This exhibition will be open between 14th - 20th January and it costs $5 child and $6 adult to enter, with all money raised funding conservation projects. See details here.

Wednesday, 16th January

20/ Child Players ACT will be performing Pied Piper The Musical in Acton between 16th - 19th January, with 8 performances. Tickets cost $18. See details here.

Thursday, 17th January


21/ Storytime Ballet: Coppèlia
will be held at the Canberra Theatre Centre between 17th - 19th January, designed for all lovers of ballet over the age of 3. The show runs for under an hour and includes comedy, magic tricks, life-size toys and enchanting costumes. Tickets start from $43. See details here.

Thursday, 24th January

22/ Art Explorer: Collage and Creation with Sally Smart is a hands-on activity at the National Gallery of Australia using textiles, cardboard boxes, paper and other materials to create work inspired by Sally's NGA Play installation and Picasso's costume designs for the Ballet Russes. The cost is $30 per child. See details here.

Saturday, 26th January - AUSTRALIA DAY!

23/ Australia Day is a HUGE celebration in the Nation's Capital with family-friendly events and of course, fireworks! See details here. Also check out the celebrations at the National Museum of Australia and in Queanbeyan, across the border.

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Australia Day fireworks over Lake Burley Griffin. Image: ACT Events Facebook


Sunday, 27th January

24/ The Bungendore Show
is a popular country show, with a sideshow alley, rides, tug of war competitions, a pet parade, children's novelty events, dog high jump and flat chat race. Bungendore is located 35 minutes east of Canberra, so why not take a country drive and support the local community. The kids will enjoy the traditional games and country hospitality. See details here.

Friday, 1st February

25/ The 91 Storey Treehouse theatre production will be held at the Canberra Theatre Centre on 1st and 2nd February, with tickets costing $34 child and $39 adult. Kids will enjoy seeing the book they love so much, brought to life! See details here.

Still looking for more things to do?


Then check out the activities at the National Museum of Australia, free movies at Australian Parliament House, nature activities at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, school holiday fun at the National Arboretum, what's on at the Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, PlayUp at the Museum of Australian Democracy, science shows at Questacon, nature activities at Jerrabomberra Wetlands, Twilight Tours at Mulligans Flat and all the attractions at Gold Creek Village, just to name a few!

The best part of the summer holidays in Canberra is enjoying all the events, activities and free things to do around the city. It is a good opportunity to get the kids outside, meet other kids and perhaps play games they may have never played before...

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...such as the Egg & Spoon Race at the Bungendore Show! Have fun kids! Image: Bungendore Show Facebook

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Why? Summer fun in Canberra!
When: See individual websites for details
Where: Various venues around the city
Cost: See individual websites for prices
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