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School holidays in Sydney

Find our picks of the best activities for kids these summer school holidays

Kids play dress up at the Opera Houses Junior Adventure

Photograph: Ken Leanfore



By Olivia Gee

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Looking for ideas to coax the kids out the front door? We’ve found the best children’s theatre shows, workshops, outdoor activities, festivals and museum exhibitions during the summer school holidays. So get them away from screens and into adventure mode.

Then, if you need a family meal without any fuss, check out  the best family-friendly cafés and best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney . Or, get the whole gang out into the sun and set up for lunch at these 20 picturesque picnic spots around Sydney .

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Keep them active at workshops and festivals

Two people dressed in horror make-up.

Photograph: Supplied
Kids, Active events

The Howling



Soundworks Studios, Marrickville


Some little weirdos are just naturally into the macabre, and prefer The Shinning over High School Musical. Quit them nagging you to watch the more blood-curdling horror movies by sending your kids to a workshop where they can create their own horror films.

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Woman walks through a crowd with a glass of bubbles.

Photograph: Karl Schwerdtfeger
Things to do, Fairs and festivals

So Frenchy So Chic



Federal Park, Annandale


While French wine and garden dining might immediately entice Sydney’s Francophiles to this annual Parisian summer party, the music at this year’s So Frenchy So Chic will really bowl them over with a completely lady-powered line-up. And it’s family-friendly, with kids activities and free entry for those under 12.

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Kids doing craft.

Photograph: Ryan Hernandez
Kids, Exhibitions

Craft Wars



Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo


This full day workshop lets little padawan learners harness their craft abilities to create some stellar Star Wars projects. Armed with thermoplastics, cutter printers, articulated joints and mechanisms, they’ll create their own Star Wars character to take home.

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Kids posing with Santa.

Photograph: Supplied
Kids, Fairs and festivals

Christmas Wonderland



Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park


Sydney Showgrounds is getting a frosty festive makeover when Christmas Wonderland sets up from December 15-24. The Christmas carnival will bring real falling snow, unlimited ice skating, winter tube slides and photos with the big red man himself. 

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Kids at vet camp

Photograph: Supplied
Kids

Future Vet Kids Camp



Waverley College, Waverley


This five-day holiday workshop gives kids a behind-the-scenes look into the world of veterinary science and animal care. There’s three individually tailored age categories that’ll provide a mix of hands-on learning, vet and farm tours, and interaction with animals. 

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Boy puts hand in green goo.

Photograph: Supplied
Kids, Active events

Gross and Gory



Centennial Park, Centennial Park


Children have a certain fascination with sticky substances and the messy parts of life. This half day holiday workshop gives them the opportunity to get as gross as possible in the name of science. 

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Kids pat a snake.

Photograph: Supplied
Kids, Active events

The Australian Wildlife Show



Centennial Park, Centennial Park


The kids will get to meet and learn about native species, grab a snap with their favourite animal, and then play on the Wild Play Garden afterwards. It’s perfect for mini zoologists aged 4-10.

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Kids building a robot.

Photograph: Ryan Hernandez
Kids, Exhibitions

LittleBits Droid Inventor



Powerhouse Museum, Ultimo


The fictional galaxies of Star Wars have been igniting imaginations for decades, and kids are becoming more excited about robotics than ever. In this full day workshop, they can learn how to create their own mini Star Wars bots, from your R2D2 types to a more classical C3P0 friend. 

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Kids play with building cut-outs.

Photograph: Supplied
Kids, Exhibitions

How Cities Work



Museum of Sydney, Sydney


[Sponsored] If your little roadrunners have a fascination with the concrete jungle, you can blow their minds with urban design facts at How Cities Work. This exhibition will showcase the city’s green spaces and the secret underground world of sewers in the belly of the city.

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Boy throws a sponge.

Photograph: Supplied
Kids, Active events

Kids vs Wild – Water Fun



Centennial Park, Centennial Park


This educational workshop keeps kids entertained running wet sponge gauntlets and fishing in ponds, while they also learn useful science skills. It’s best suited to kids aged 5-12 and will prep you littuns for next year’s STEM subjects.

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Take the kids to a show

One man pours green slime on another.

Photograph: Supplied
Kids

Ickypedia



Lend Lease Darling Quarter Theatre, Sydney


The Listies have garnered quite the reputation for being every parents favourite kids’ entertainer. In their latest show, Ickypedia, expect a stage full of slapstick comedy, improvised chaos, giant inflatable snot monsters, toilet roll cannons, and bin juice bubbles on stage.

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Actors using a boat on stage.

Photograph: Supplied
Kids, Music events

A Ghost in My Suitcase



Sydney Opera House, Sydney


Based on Gabrielle Wang’s award-winning novel, A Ghost in My Suitcase follows 12 year old Celeste who’s travelling from Australia to her family’s ancestral homeland in Shanghai to scatter her late mother’s ashes. Here, Celeste reconnects with her family and her cultural heritage. 

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Two men perform kids show on stage.

Photograph: Supplied
Kids, Book events

The 91-Storey Treehouse



Sydney Opera House, Sydney


At this live storytelling event, Andy Griffiths’ and Terry Denton’s best-selling book, The 91-Storey Treehouse, will come to life with another 13 wacky levels added to the funny structure in the internationally renowned Treehouse children’s book series.

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Families enjoy a film outside at the Village Green

Photograph: Supplied
Kids, Fairs and festivals

Little Darlings Night Owls Kids Film Festival



Darling Quarter, Haymarket


Free outdoor movies return in January as the Little Darling Night Owls Kids Film Festival sets up roost on Darling Quarter’s Village Green for another year. There’ll be 17 nights of free movies and live entertainment out on the green, with plenty of eateries close by for grabbing dinner. 

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Man rides a unicycle dressed as Mozart.

Photograph: Supplied
Kids, Music events

Wolfgang’s Magical Musical Circus



Sydney Opera House, Sydney


Meet Wolfgang Mozart: a man with dexterous moves, a daredevil’s spirit and a musical talent beyond your average circus performer. In this lively kids’ performance the artistry of Mozart will become more than music on the stage of the Sydney Opera House. 

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Man and young woman dance in colourful ballet costumes.

Photograph: Supplied
Kids

Storytime Ballet: Coppélia



Multiple venues


This comic ballet isn’t traditionally performed for crowds of tutu-clad children, but this rendition of Coppélia will delight kids aged three and up. The recital runs for just under one hour, with magic tricks, colourful costumes, toys and friendly narration.

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People dressed in green paint.

Photograph: Supplied
Kids, Play spaces

The King and Queen of Green



Centennial Park Labyrinth, Centennial Park


The King and Queen of Green explores the topic of landfill, and you can help reduce unnecessary waste through composting, recycling and worm farms. The 45-minute show will entertain kids aged 4-10, and they’re encouraged to dress up.

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Steve Backshall with Reticulated python

Photograph: Supplied
Kids

Deadly 60 Down Under



Sydney Opera House, Sydney


Naturalist and television presenter Steve Backshall will bring his adventure and wildlife series Deadly 60 back to Australian audiences for a live performance, sharing footage from his recent Aussie adventure of death defying experiences in the Australian outback and bush.

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Characters in costumer.

Photograph: Supplied
Kids, Music events

The Jungle Book: The Next Chapter



Vaucluse House, Vaucluse


If the bare necessities made you forget about your worries and your strife as a littlun, take your own brood of kidlets to the next exciting step in Mowgli and Baloo’s jungle adventures. This new production follows the whole gang reunited several years after Mowgli has left the jungle. 

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Kids do craft at the cinema.

Photograph: Jared Vethaak
Kids, Active events

Family Films at Event Cinemas



Around Sydney, Sydney


Give everyone a few well-earned hours off from all the summer madness and organise a family movie day these school holidays. Event and BCC Cinemas are offering extra bang for your entertainment buck, with free kids’ art and craft activities set up around Sydney’s big screens. 

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Explore treasures at a museum

Kids at the Taronga Zoo Dinosaur exhibit.

Photograph: Supplied
Kids, Active events

Rise of the Tarongasaurs



Taronga Zoo, Mosman


Ten life-size animatronic dinosaurs will join the herd at Taronga Zoo until February 3 on the Dino Trail. The whole family will get a thrill searching for the monstrous Tyrannosaurus Rex, the feisty Raptor, and the spitting Dilophosaurus. There’ll also be dinosaur talks presented twice a day and a dig for fossils running during the program.

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Kids in Whales | Tohorā exhibition.

Photograph: Nick Langley
Kids, Exhibitions

Whales Wednesday



Australian Museum, Darlinghurst


This summer is an ideal time for you and your little zoologist children see the epic Whales | Tohorā exhibition. Every Wednesday you’ll get to bring a friend (or kidlet) along to the exhibit free of charge when you purchase one ticket either online or at the museum and whisper the code ‘Whales Wednesday.’ 

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James Cameron at Challenging the Deep

Museums, Science

James Cameron – Challenging the Deep



Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour


Film director James Cameron is best known for his blockbusters Titanic and Avatar, but he’s also an avid deep sea explorer. Kids can explore his underwater worlds and get a behind-the-scenes look at Cameron’s cinematic masterpieces.

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They’ll be busy while you enjoy a beer

Scrabble at The Newport Arms

Photograph: Anna Kucera
Kids

The best kid-friendly pubs in Sydney

Rock climbing, giant Scrabble, flying foxes – there are pubs in Sydney that have amazing facilities for kids. 

Read more


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