What’s on these school holidays

Zoe Pleasants 12 February 2018

The first term has flown by and it’s school holidays for the next two and half weeks (don’t forget Monday 24 April is part of the school holidays). If you find your kids are at a loose end, in between you dragging them to get their hair cut, taking them to the dentist, and buying them new shoes, pants and soccer gear (because they just keep growing), here are some activities to keep them entertained. There are so many options and for a really comprehensive list check out the Holiday Happenings website.


National Gallery of Australia
Creative meditation for children
When: Tuesday 11 April
Cost: $7, $5 for child members
Spend some much needed quiet time with your kids. The Gallery is running meditation sessions for kids, amongst the art. There is a session at 10:30am for kids aged 5–7 (to be accompanied by an adult) and another session at 11:30am for kids aged 8–12.

ASI—Art Scene Investigation: All that glitters is not gold
Tuesday 18 April, 10:30am–12pm
$12, $10 for child members (includes morning tea)
An art mystery for kids aged 7 and older to solve. Join a crack team of detectives to investigate. Meet at the information desk.

Tales from the palace
Wednesday 19 April 10:30–11:30am
A storyteller will beguile the kids with tales of wonder and adventure inspired by the NGA’s Versailles exhibition in the NGA Play space. Watch the NGA’s social media for extra dates.

National Archives of Australia
Hands-on at the Archives—April school holiday workshops
When: Tuesday 11 April & Wednesday 12 April 10am–12pm
Cost: $20 (plus $1.89 booking fee)
On Tuesday celebrate Nature Play Week at the Archives by joining local artist Susan Pfanner to discover the art in nature. Kids get to collect natural materials from the gardens around the Archives and make their own mandala, birds nest or collage. Then on Wednesday celebrate International Day of Human Space Flight. Kids will learn more about the planets, make their own paper solar system and check out the records of Australia’s involvement in the first moon landing. Both workshops are suitable for kids aged 9–12. Book here.


National Portrait Gallery
Portrait Play—making portraits
When: 10–14 April & 17–21 April 11am–12pm
Cost: $7 per child
Monday to Friday for both weeks of the school holidays the Portrait Gallery is running a creative activity for 4–8 year old kids to explore portraits through drawing and activity. All children need to be accompanied by an adult. Book here.

National Museum of Australia
Discovery Space: The Nature Collector
When: 10–13 April & 18–21 April 10–11:30am & 11:30am–1pm
Cost: $10 per child, free if Friends member
Take a tour through some of the Museum’s natural history collection. Check out seaweed collected during the 19th century from Tasmania and Port Phillip, experiment with natural materials to create a nature journal, and contribute to a collaborative artwork. Suitable for kids of any age, they need to be accompanied by an adult. Book here and meet at the bay window in the Museum’s Main Hall.

Afternoon Play Space
When: 10–13 April & 18–21 April 2–3:30pm
Cost: Free
Play, read and chillax with your kids in the Museum’s play space or try one of the Museum’s self-guided activities. Either way, it’s quality time.


National Film and Sound Archive
School Holiday Screenings—Book heroes on the screen
When: 11, 12, 13, 19 & 20 April 11am
Cost: $8 (children under 3 free)
The Film and Sound Archives are showing movies that successfully took the leap from book to screen.

  • The BFG (3D) — 11 April
  • Mary Poppins — 12 April
  • The Jungle Book (3D) — 13 April
  • The Wizard of Oz — 19 April
  • Coraline — 20 April
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2 — 21 April 11am (Part 1), 1:20pm (Part 2)

Australian War Memorial
Family tours
When: 10–13 & 18–20 & 24 April 10:15am
Every day in the school holidays, that isn’t a public holiday (including Monday 24 April!), the War Memorial is running 30-minute tours especially for kids and their families. No booking required, just meet at the entrance to the Second World War Galleries.

Hands on history
10–13 & 18–20 & 24 April 11am
After you’ve been on a tour, hang around for a Hands on History session. Kids get to try on uniforms, handle real objects, hear tales of Australians in wartime and, of course, ask questions. No booking required, just go to the Lower Gallery.

Holiday workshop: memorials and mosaics
12 April 10:30am–12:30pm
Cost: $20, $15 for Friends of the Memorial
Inspired by the mosaic in the Hall of Memory, which is one of the largest single mosaics in the world, kids aged 8 and over get to create their own mosaic to take home. You need to book for this, bookings close Monday 10 April.

National Arboretum
Family Walk—Mushrooms and Minibeasts
When: 18–21 April 10:30am–12pm
Cost: $12 for one child, $10 each for two or more children, adults are free
Explore the Himalayan cedar forest with your 5–7 year olds and look for small animals and fungi. Meet your guide at the Himalayan Cedar car park, a craft activity is included. To book call 6207 8484 or email arboretum@act.gov.au.

Make your own Bonsai
When: 10–13 April 10:30am–12pm
Cost: $33.50
A popular workshop for 8–16 year olds, where they plant, style and learn to care for their own bonsai. Kids will take their creation home with them at the end of the workshop. To book call 6207 8484 or email arboretum@act.gov.au.


Maker Project Holiday Workshops
10–12 April 9am–12pm & 1–4pm
Cost: $55 per session, $44 for Q Club members
Unleash the inner inventor, designer or maker in your 10–15 year old. Questacon is running a series of workshops for kids to invent, design, and make cool stuff. Workshops include Strange Devices, Gamecraft, Girls Make 3D Design, Crash Test, App Design, and Enginuity. Book here.


Old Parliament House
The Great Easter Egg Trail
Easter Sunday, 16 April 9am–12pm
If you work harder for your chocolate does it taste better? The Museum of Australian Democracy wants you to find out. They will be setting up a trail that requires you to find clues and crack codes to get to the eggs. The Gecko Gang will be there until 2pm running kid’s activities and painting faces, and the Rotary Club will be running a BBQ for those of you that would like something more substantial than chocolate for breakfast!


Corin Forest
The Great Corin Forest Easter Egg Hunt
When: April 14–17, 11am
Cost: Free
Because one Easter egg hunt is not enough, the Easter Kangaroo will visit Corin Forest all four days of the Easter long weekend! Hunt for Easter eggs in a beautiful alpine bush setting, let the Easter Kangaroo know here if you’re planning to join him.

Rodney’s Plants Plus
Easter Egg Hunt and Breakfast
When: Easter Sunday, 16 April 10:30am
Cost: Free
While the Easter Kangaroo will be busy at Corin Forest, the Easter bunny will visit Rodney’s on Easter Sunday. This Easter egg hunt is designed for children aged 12 and under. Spots are limited so you’ll need to register, call 6257 5822. And while you’re registering the kids, you may want to make a reservation at Rodney’s Cafe for Easter Breakfast.



Lavender Art Studios
Relics, Remnants and Ruins Art Workshops
First Floor, 42 Townshend Street, Phillip
When: 10–13 April 9am–12pm & 1–4pm
Cost: $60 per session (includes morning/afternoon tea)
During the first week of the school holidays, Lavender Art Studios is running eight art workshops for kids aged 5–13 which will focus on the relics, remnants, and ruins of different cultures. Run by Greg Devenny-Mackay kids can come to as many sessions as they’d like and will be supervised in the art studio during lunch break if they come to both sessions on the one day (they’ll need to bring their own lunch). More details here.


Old Parliament House
Cartooning Masterclass
When: April 10–14, 10–11:30am
Cost: $8
Cartoonist Andrew Hore will help your kids draw like a pro during this fun workshop. Suitable for kids aged 5 and over, accompanied by an adult. Book here.


Belconnen Arts Centre
Kids Art Club—School Holiday Program (5–7 year olds) with Tom Buckland
April 18–21 10:30–12:30pm
In the second week of the school holidays, local artist Tom Buckland is running daily workshops to help younger kids run wild with their imaginations. Workshops include using common household objects and recycled materials to make a robot or alien, inspect masks, castles or a beautiful bottle birds. Book here.

Kids Art Club—School Holiday Program (8–12 year olds) with Mary Kayser
April 18–21 10:30–12:30pm
And at the same time local artist Mary Kayser is running daily workshops to take older kids on different imaginative textural adventures. Workshops include wet felting, block printing, textural drawing and clay modeling. Plenty of scope to get messy! Book here.


Canberra Potters’ Society
Where: Watson Arts Centre, Aspinall Street, Watson
When: April 10–11 & 12–13 2:30–5:30pm & April 18–21 9:30am–12pm, 12:30–2pm & 2:30–5:30pm
Cost: $140 or $280
Canberra Potters’ Society is running a number of 2-day and 4-day workshops during the school holidays to teach kids to sculpt clay and throw it onto a wheel. There are wheel-throwing and sculpture courses are for kids aged 10 and over, and general courses, which include wheel-throwing, for kids aged 6 and over. Family groups are also welcome: parents and carers may enroll with their kids! Course fee includes all materials and firing. Details on how to book here.

Australian War Memorial
Drop-in craft
13, 20 & 21 April 11:30am–1pm
The Memorial is running free craft sessions, kids can make poppies and other souvenirs to take home.

Engage – Design – Innovate – Improve (edii)
Maker2Market – Market Day experience
Where: M16 Artspace, 21 Blaxland Cres, Griffith
When: 10–11 April & 19–20 April
Cost: $200+GST (materials are extra)
Do you have a young entrepreneur in the family? edii is here to help! This organisation formed last year and is passionate about working with young people to help them turn their ideas into action. edii is running two 2-day Maker2Market workshops during the holidays for kids, aged 10–17, who love making things and would like to start their own business. And then on a third day the kids get to participate in a real market day, testing their products with customers at the Old Bus Depot Markets on 23 April. During the workshops kids will:

  • Develop a logo and product prototype;
  • Understand the steps to take their product to market;
  • Create products for market day;
  • Cost their products and develop their general financial literacy skills; and
  • Develop their skills in selling to customers

More information here.


Photoaccess at Manuka Arts Centre
Kids Autumn Digital Photography School
When: 11–13 April & 19–21 April 9am–4pm
Cost: $300
Photoaccess is running two 3-day workshops to develop the digital photography skills of kids aged 10–16. Guided by experienced tutors, kids will be taken on short field trips to take photos, then they will get in front of a computer to master the fundamentals of Adobe© digital manipulation software. Kids will need to bring their lunch and a USB stick, they can bring their own camera but they don’t need to. Laptops and photographic prints will be provided. More details and book here.

Ositos COOL
Ositos COOL
Spanish Immersion Program
Where: Ainslie Scout Hall, Ebden St, Ainslie
When: Monday 10 April: 8:30am – 5:30pm, Wednesday 12 April: 8:30am – 5:30pm, Wednesday 19 April: 8:30am – 5:30pm , Thursday 20 April: 8:30am – 5:30pm
Cost: $60/day, $110 2 days, $220 4 days, 2 siblings $100/day. Materials are included i the fee.

A great introduction to the basics of Spanish for children aged 4-12 through a range of fun activities including art, puppet making, theatre and dance. Bookings are essential! To book contact: ositoscool@yahoo.com.au


Great Loritz Circus
Where: Emu Bank & Luxton Street, Belconnen
When: April 6–23, various sessions
Cost: Tickets from $18 to $40
The circus is rolling into town for the school holidays. Enjoy spectacular acrobatics, motor cycling cage riders, amazing feats and, of course, clowns. The show goes for almost 2hrs and children 12 and under need to be accompanied by an adult or a student.


The Canberra Theatre
The Next Step Live on Stage
Thursday 20 April 1pm & 6:30pm
Tickets from $71.65
Following a sell-out tour in September last year, ten cast members of The Next Step are returning to Australia in a brand new stage show choreographed by Jordan Clark and Trevor Tordjman. Cast members are: Brittany Raymond (Riley), Trevor Tordjman (James), Jordan Clark (Giselle), Victoria Baldesarra (Michelle), Lamar Johnson (West), Isaac Lupien (Eldon), Myles Erlick (Noah), Briar Nolet (Richelle), Isaiah Peck (Henry) and Shelby Bain (Amy).

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