Canberra School Holidays 2020

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We look forward to them all term, but when they finally roll around, we are left with a houseful of restless kids. And by the end of them, well, we can’t iron that uniform or pack that schoolbag fast enough.

The school holidays – whether you love them or hate them, there is no evading them.

Four times a year, families with children are given a little respite from the daily grind of lunchboxes and homework assignments. With a bit of planning and forethought, the school holidays most certainly don’t need to be an occasion to dread.

Whatever age your kiddies are, this is your ultimate guide to surviving the Canberra school holidays in 2020. We’ve got a whole bunch of fun ideas that keep kids, tweens, and teenagers entertained. Let’s get started.

Canberra school holidays 2020 dates

Typically, workplaces offer leave of a first-come, first-served basis. Of course, the school holidays will be in hot contention. Our advice: secure your leave dates as soon as possible.

Here are the ACT 2020 school terms and school holiday dates.

ACT 2020 school terms and school holidays
Term 1 4 February – 9 April 2020
Term 2 27 April – 3 July 2020
Term 3 20 July – 25 September 2020
Term 4 12 October – 18 December 2020

Fail to prepare and prepare to fail

It’s an age-old maxim – and it couldn’t be truer.

A little planning goes a very long way when it comes to avoiding restlessness, mini-meltdowns, and full-scale tantrums. Putting together your own timetable of outings, activities, and home days will help keep your kids engaged, occupied, and happy all school holidays long.

Here’s a quick tip: get your children involved in the planning process. Ask them what they really want to do – and what they absolutely don’t! They’ll be less likely to complain of boredom on home days because they agreed to them beforehand.

If you’re looking for some inspiration to get you started, here are a few ideas that are sure to delight even the fussiest of kids. Or, have a read through our article on the best school holiday programs and activities in Canberra.

School holiday ideas for the littlies (ages 5-7)

  • Play centres with cafes. Rally together a few fellow parents and take on the school holidays together. How? By visiting one of the various play centres in the Canberra region. The adults can chat over a much-needed cup of coffee while the kids run wild and wear themselves out. It’s a win-win.
  • Visit the best parks in Canberra. The kids of Canberra have it pretty good when it comes to outdoor parks. A few to put on your school holiday list include Yarralumla (complete with BBQs, train rides, and a mini-golf course) and Boundless playground (situated in Kings Park, you’ll find slides, swings, water play, musical instruments, and more).
  • Try something new. Feeling adventurous? Even the smallest members of your family can try something new in the school holidays. Pay a visit to Kambah Inflatable World in Tuggeranong or the Power Kart Kids racetrack.
  • Take a free National Gallery of Australia guided tour. The National Gallery of Australia runs free guided tours daily at 11am during school holidays (next dates are from 10 April to 26 April 2020). Suitable for all ages, kids will enjoy searching for animals, colours and shapes on a 45-minute tour through the collection. Bookings aren’t required; just turn up to the information desk.

School holiday ideas for tweens (ages 8-12)

  • Keep them learning. Who said education had to be put on hold over the school holidays? Canberra offers ample opportunity to keep kids learning – all while having an absolute blast. Questacon, packed with interactive science exhibitions, is always a fantastic day out. A trip to the National Museum of Australia is another great choice.
  • Get up close with animals. The National Zoo and Aquarium is a school holidays no-brainer – especially for kids in their tween years. Wander around the many enclosures or book a Close Encounter or Zooventure Tour for an extra special experience.
  • Stay cool over the long summer holidays. The summer holidays tend to drag on. Keep kids cool and entertained at the many swimming pools across Canberra. You could also make a trip to Big Splash Water Park, which offers several waterslides and pool inflatables.

School holiday ideas for teenagers (ages 12-15)

  • Try their luck in an escape room. Put your teenagers’ communication and problem-solving skills to the ultimate test in one of Canberra’s many escape rooms. Do keep in mind, these puzzle-based experiences can be tricky. An adult or two will have to join in the fun. Metaphysica is a great, new escape room that uses VR technology, which is unique to Canberra.
  • Indulge in some classic arcade fun. There’s something for every teenager at iPlay, one of Canberra’s favourite arcades. Find laser tag, bowling, dodgem cars, and more.
  • Celebrate the great outdoors. A little fresh air is a perfect cure for school holiday boredom. Head out to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, situated 40 minutes from Canberra city. Or, pack a picnic and soak up some much-needed vitamin D at the scenic Uriarra Crossing.

School holiday programs 2020

Can’t get time off work or need a break? One of the following school holiday programs could be just the solution.

Australian Sports Camps

Whether your kids are avid cricket fans or aspire to be the next Australian netball greats, you’ll find a school holiday sports program to suit on Australian Sports Camps. It brings together details of sport camps across Australia, including several in Canberra.

Young Music Society programs

Are you raising a budding Beethoven? The Young Music Society’s school holiday music programs give students musical experience and opportunity in a supportive, fun environment, guided by professional musicians and teachers.

Capital Region Community Service youth school holiday program

Free for 12-25 year olds, Capital Region Community Service’s youth school holiday program aims to reduce the social isolation and boredom that school holidays can bring for vulnerable young people. Based at the Belconnen Youth Centre, activities encourage social, emotional and skill development.

Dynamic Motivation school holiday camps

Dynamic Motivation school holiday camps are ideal for kids who love mountain biking and the great outdoors. Day programs and overnight camps are available, with a focus on riding and fun.

Communities@Work holiday programs

Catering to children aged 4-12, Communities@Work school holiday programs focus on fun. With qualified and reliable educators, they provide a range of activities from cooking, art and craft, music and dance, to sports, science, and exciting incursions including obstacle courses and laser tags. The holiday programs offer a new adventure every day, each school holidays, across 10 locations in Canberra.

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