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Free school holiday activities in your state
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By MyBudget Editor

Wondering how to keep the kids entertained during the school holidays without breaking the bank? We’ve selected some of our favourite free school holiday activities. For our Victorian readers, there’s a bevvy of free online activities and, for the rest of the country, a wide range of (socially distanced) indoor and outdoor fun.

New South Wales, 26 September - 11 October

  • The Powerhouse Museum offers free entry for children under 16.  There are over 250 exhibitions covering design, innovation and technology.  Current exhibits include ‘Space’, all about considering the practicalities of what it’s like to live and work in space: What do astronauts eat? How do they go to the bathroom? And other important questions! Free entry, but timed tickets are essential - book online. www.maas.museum/event/space/

WA shipwrecks museum

  • Free guided tours of famous Sydney sites.  Enthusiastic Sydneysiders volunteer their time to guide you through the sites and sounds of Sydney.  Older kids may also enjoy the evening tour of The Rocks that covers tales of murder, muggings and mysteries.  Tours start at 10:30 am most days. Bookings essential to comply with Covid-19 restrictions. www.imfree.com.au/sydney/sights/
  • We Clue is a city based ‘Amazing Race’ style challenge for the whole family.  You’ll find yourself cracking codes, taking up crazy dares and snapping photo challenges.  You can choose your level of difficulty and type and duration of race through the app.  Race your friends or yourself and discover new and hidden parts of the city.  The app is free with in-app purchases for the race. www.whatson.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/events/we-clue-app-based-city-adventure

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  • It’s 20 years since Cathy Freeman’s historic gold medal victory at the Sydney Olympics.  Relive the memories by visiting Sydney Olympic Park. There is a BMX track, bird watching hides, the award-winning Brick Pit ring walk, sculptures and art throughout, cafes and food services, and more sports facilities than you can poke an Olympic torch at. The website is a wealth of information, including some excellent online resources under the ParkLive section. www.sydneyolympicpark.com.au/
  • Take a virtual tour of ArtExpress.  ArtExpress brings together the most outstanding works submitted by NSW high school students for their HSC.  Students have developed their works throughout the final years and the symbolism, meaning and message is as diverse as any public gallery of art. Take a walk through ArtExpress with your kids and discover what the artists of tomorrow are creating. www.artexpress.vr.artsunit.nsw.edu.au/

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Queensland, 19 September to 4 October

  • The Brisbane Festival runs from the 4th to 26th September so there is plenty of time in the holidays to experience the weird and wonderful festival offerings. Be wowed by enormous puppets, ambushed by ‘Exercise Surprises’ popping up around the city, and intrigued by the curious and mysterious artefacts and stories that make up The Lost Lending Library and the Curious Arcade at the Powerhouse, all for free. www.brisbanefestival.com.au/

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  • We can’t travel interstate at the moment but we can go to some of the wonderful regional areas of Queensland to scratch that travel itch. Toowomba is only 1.5 hours west of Brisbane and is celebrating the Toowomba Carnival of Flowers from September 18 - 27.  Enjoy the night garden for a different experience of Queens parks, take in the light show on the Rowes building, or simply soak up the colour of the thousands of flowers blooming in spring. There’s plenty of free, family friendly fun to be had. www.tcof.com.au/family/
  • Eat Street Northshore Drive Thru Dessert Festival.  These dedicated dessert makers will not let a global pandemic keep them down.  The much loved shipping container dessert mall is offering drive-thru dining each weekend of the school holidays.  See all the mouth watering details on their Facebook page. www.facebook.com/EATSTREETNorthshore/

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  • Visit the Children's Art Centre at GOMA.  Take in the free kid-friendly exhibits that GOMA offers to inspire your kids and soak up some art. Also enjoy the massive, hanging installation Boomerang by Ai Weiwei, made up of 270,000 crystals. www.qagoma.qld.gov.au/whats-on/kids
  • Swell Sculpture Festival at Currumbin Beach is on until 20 September and is free and open air. Catch the last two days of this epic sculpture festival on the Gold Coast. Over 30 large-scale sculptures take over the beach delighting and intriguing young and old alike. www.swellsculpture.com.au/visitor-info/

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South Australia, 26 September - 11 October

  • ‘Start at the Gallery’ is a free fun, art filled day designed for families with kids aged 3 to 12.  It’s hosted by the Art Gallery of SA and held on the first Sunday of each month. There are also online resources to extend your Start Art experience when you return home. Sunday 4th October. www.agsa.sa.gov.au/whats-on/ongoing-programs/start-gallery/ 

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  • There’s something for everyone at the Adelaide Comic and Toy Fair at Marden. From comics, toys and Lego, to retro video games, vinyl records and books, there’s plenty of variety as well as appearances from local comic book artists and creators.  Kids free up to 11 years, then $5 for 12 and over. www.adelaidecomicandtoyfair.com/

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  • Older kids will enjoy the free Museum of Discovery or MOD. Part of the University of South Australia, MOD is a unique museum experience, blurring the lines between art and science, always looking to the future. Designed for 15-25 year olds, but younger children will enjoy exhibits with some guidance. www.mod.org.au/

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Victoria, 19 September to 4 October

  • You can’t get to the gallery, but you can learn and create Art From Home with a program developed in collaboration with artists and the National Art Gallery.  Make masks inspired by Sidney Nolan’s Ned Kelly, create shadow puppets and explore indigenous led art. Art from Home is designed to bring out the artist in everybody. www.nga.gov.au/learn/artfromhome/

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  • Melbourne Zoo has developed some online resources to help its visitors stay in touch with the zoo inhabitants.  Take a virtual tour of Healesville Sanctuary, watch the live cam of the penguins and find out what gorillas do when no one is watching. A new animal keeper talk is added every week. www.zoo.org.au/animals-at-home/
  • Perhaps the perfect antidote to lockdown is heading to the vast realm of space—at least online, through the terrific NASA website.  It has a huge amount of content to help families learn about space and space technology. It’s divided into games, activities, crafts and media, so there’s something to suit every personality.  Or head to your backyard and find Saturn, Jupiter, Mars and Venus in the night sky. Scienceworks has lots of information to help you get started. www.museumsvictoria.com.au/scienceworks/visiting/melbourne-planetarium/skynotes/

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  • Have you visited Spoonville lately? Visit a Spoonville near you (hint: they’re sooo cute!) and add some new faces to the community! Spoonvilles are popping up all over Melbourne during lockdown and bringing a bit of joy to those out for their hour of exercise. Have we piqued your interest? Discover what Spoonville is here: www.facebook.com/SpoonvilleInternational/ 
  • If your kids are looking at screens for hours a day, perhaps they can contribute to some scientific research while they’re at it! The Citizen Science Games site has dozens of science projects that have been gamified so players can easily add to scientific research while getting the feel-good reward that comes with achieving gaming goals.  There are even top scores and leaderboards for the most skilled players. Searches can be filtered by device and outdoor projects. wwww.citizensciencegames.com/games/

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Western Australia, 26 September - 11 October

  • The school holidays start just in time for the final weekend of the Quokka Birthday Celebrations on Rottnest Island. DJs, musicians and party games are happening in honour of the quokka. Wildlife Wednesdays offer free ranger talks and the Quokka Detective Treasure Hunt is available until 11 October. www.campaign.rottnestisland.com/quokka-birthday/quokka-birthday-party/

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  • Food Truckin’ for a Cause is taking place at Bell Park Reserve, Rockingham on Sunday 11 October. There will be music, kids games and a selection of food trucks so everyone can have whatever their belly desires. Check out their Facebook for all the details. https://bit.ly/352oMJ4

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  • Pack a picnic and head to the country races at Northam, 1.5 hours north-east of Perth.  The Kids Big Day race day includes free bouncy castles, rides, face painting, and kids entertainers, plus all the excitement of being trackside at a race meet.  Entry is free, with food available to buy or BYO picnic. www.northamraceclub.com/race-schedule/kids-day-out-27th-september?eID=83
     
  • Vist the WA Shipwrecks Museum to appreciate how hazardous the West Australian coastline is and how far we have come in making sea travel safer. The museum has a number of activities to entertain and inform the kids.  Entry is free with a donation appreciated. www.museum.wa.gov.au/museums/shipwrecks#whatson

WA-shipwrecks-museum

Book a free money coaching session during the school holidays

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