School Holidays: what’s on in Newcastle & the Hunter!

There’s no reason to hear a “I’m bored” complaint from your kids with a range of offerings this summer. Whether your kids are interested in art, books, science, movies, or the great outdoors, there’s something for everyone. And it’s not just for school-aged kids, there’s plenty of holiday activities planned for under 5s.

LibrariesMuseums & Galleries | School Holiday Workshops | Animals & Nature | Outdoor Fun | Shopping Centre Activities | New release Family Movies

Visit the Events page on the Newy with Kids website for a day-by-day guide for what’s on around the area.

LIBRARIES

Cool off on a hot day and visit a library. There’s plenty of fun activities to keep kids occupied.

Cessnock Library

Enjoy free school holiday activities at Cessnock Library.

Activities include:

  • Build a kid-size cubby out of old newspapers
  • Upcycled T-shirt tote bag workshops
  • Game on challenges on library Wii or PS4 or board game
  • Coding meetup
  • Virtual reality pop ups
  • That’s gross! Poo science
  • That’s gross! Body Science

Places limited, pre-booking essential. To book, visit Cessnock Library website or ring Cessnock Library 49 934399 or Kurri Kurri Library 49 371638 to enquire.

 

Lake Macquarie City Library

Lake Macquarie City Library has organised loads of fun school holiday activities in their libraries and also at parks and local pools.

  • Art & craft sessions
  • Insights into snakes sessions
  • Fantastical Creatures and where to find them session for J.K. Rowling fans.
  • Shark facts
  • Meet the author and illustrator session: Join author Lynn Jenkins and illustrator Kirrili Lonergan as they share their newly released book Grey-glasses-itis.
  • Dinosaur imposter storytimes
  • Harry Potter trivia
  • Holiday code clubs
  • Water themed science workshops with Curious Cubs at Charlestown and Speers Point Swim Centres.
  • African drumming in Speers Point Park
  • Dinosaur Imposter party

There’s also the Dinosaur Imposters exhibition at SEEN@Swansea. Discover the intriguing world of dinosaur imposters – fascinating prehistoric creatures that roamed the land, sea and sky. Marvel at more than 200 items, from tiny trilobite fossils to full-size partial casts of a woolly rhino and Megalodon.Activities include:

For more information and to book holiday sessions, visit Lake Macquarie City Council website.

 

Maitland City Library

Maitland City Library has a variety of fun workshops revolving around the theme “Curious Creatures”. It’s all about creatures these school holidays, real to the imagined, the mythological to the robotic.

Activities include:

  • Fantastic Beasts scavenger hunt
  • Join in for an afternoon of Dr Seuss science and creative fun.
  • Discover weird and amazing facts about the human body in The Body Detectives.
  • In Crazy Critters on The Move, kids can create a crazy play dough creature that can move through the magic of stop motion.
  • Join Maitland City Library in re-enacting Maurice Sendak’s book Where the Wild Things Are, make a monster mask, monster feet and create a wild rumpus in the library.

For more information and to book holiday sessions, visit Maitland City Library website.

Newcastle Region Library

There’s loads of fun at Newcastle Region Library during the January school holidays

Activities include:

  • Variety of storytimes for kids aged 3 to 7 including The Gruffalo, Bigfoot and Alien Invasion storytimes.
  • My Pet Dinosaur – interactive show with lots of dinosaur facts and ‘real’ dinosaurs! Presented by Just Dream Productions.
  • Star Wars Challenge – games, trivia and crafts.
  • Unicorn Party – Glitter, gems, magic wishes, stories, dance and bubbles with Stephanie the Unicorn!
  • Mermaid Party – Kids go ‘under the sea’ to meet a beautiful Mermaid!
  • The Curious Lego ® Challenge.
  • Monster Fest – Kids can test their skills in creating a scary, creepy or cute clay monster.
  • Knit for Need – Kids can learn how to knit squares.
  • Marvellous Monsters – Create amazing monsters that light up with paper pin circuits.
  • Curious Clay Creatures – Kids can make amazing, weird and very curious creatures using Fimo® clay.
  • Percy Jackson Adventure Challenge
  • Greek gods quizze, games and drama activities with Karen from Storyspot.
  • Family movies on Friday evenings at Wallsend and Newcastle Libraries. Films include Dumbo, Pete’s Dragon, Cars 3, The Good Dinosaur and James and the Giant Peach.

Bookings required. For more information and to book holiday sessions, visit Newcastle Region Library website.

If your kids (aged 8 to 16) love to write, register them for the Newcastle Region Library writing competition Walk in My Shoes. Get kids to choose one image from the Home Dignity Justice or Nikon-Walkley Award exhibitions to spark their imagination and then create a 500-word short story. Entries close 30 January.

If your kids prefer reading to writing, the Summer Reading Club is on as well at all local libraries. Get kids to participate in this fun program. www.summerreadingclub.org.au.

MUSEUMS & GALLERIES

Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery

Lake Macquarie Art Gallery is featuring a variety of children’s workshops during the school holidays.

Featured Exhibition: Obsessed: Compelled to Make

School holiday activities include:

  • Rainbow Connection for 3 – 6 years. These popular holiday sessions for little ones include art activities and storytelling.
  • Portrait painting – Participants will create their own life-size portrait paintings
  • Assemblages workshop – Participants will create their own assemblage sculpture using everyday objects and materials.
  • Architectural models – Participants will create their own architecturally inspired model.
  • Traditional Aboriginal Weaving for Teens – oin Aboriginal artist, Michelle Napanangka Earle from Kilipiynpiyn, as she introduces participants to techniques used in traditional basketry

Drop in to do some art at Art Space. Young children and their families can enjoy simple free art activities in Art Space. Supervised by friendly staff and gallery educators, these sessions give children the opportunity to engage with the exhibitions and enjoy some creative processes of their own. Parents can get creative and join in as well. Drop-in sessions Sundays 10.30am – 12pm.

For more information and to book holiday sessions, visit Lake Macquarie City Council website.

 

Maitland Regional  Art Gallery

Maitland Regional Art Gallery is hosting Free Art January which includes 25 days of Fun Art Trails, hands-on & self-guided art activities for all ages inside and outside the gallery during January. There is something for everyone throughout the month long extravaganza with activities for 0-6, 6+, tween and teen. Available Tuesday – Sunday 10am-5pm except Public Holidays.

For more information, visit Maitland Regional Art Gallery website.

Photo credit: Newcastle Art Gallery

Newcastle Art Gallery

Featured exhibitions: Olsen Ormandy: A Creative Force & The Erskine Pledge

The Newcastle Art Gallery has workshops for 5 to 12 year olds inspired by the current exhibitions.

School holiday activities 5 to 12 year olds include:

  • Art apron workshop in which kids will use a range of pattern techniques, exploring colour and developing unique results.
  • Geometric necklace workshop in which will use wooden beads, coloured yarns and strings, and pops of paint pen colour to create a geometric necklace of their own design.
  • Smart Space: Olsen Ormandy. Kids can explore how artists Louise Olsen and Stephen Ormandy use organic forms and bright colours, and collect a copy of our sticker sheet activity to make your own abstract work of art.
  • Art Cart every Saturday and Sunday morning.

For more information and to book holiday sessions, visit Newcastle Art Gallery website.

Newcastle Museum

It’s the Supernova Summer of Science at Newcastle Museum! Question and explore science at its broadest through exciting programs, events and new interactive  to spark the scientist in everyone.Events run from Tuesday 3 December – Sunday 24 February. Activities to suit all ages with most activities free of charge. Some programs require booking and payment.

School holiday activities include:

  • Crocodile Encounters Wildlife Shows -Learn about Australian wildlife and see reptiles, stick insects and bird eating spiders. Hands-on experience for kids and for adults too!  No bookings required.
  • Slippery Slime Making Workshop – Kids can create their very own coloured slippery slime and have some ooey-gooey fun! Bookings required.
  • Gums to Bums Science Shows on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the holidays at 11:15am, 12:15pm and 1:15pm. Follow your breakfast through the body in our new science show. Find out if you are a supertaster, help make poo, and cover your ears as we light up intestinal gas with a bang. Just don’t plan on having lunch straight after! No bookings necessary but shows fill up fast.

Newcastle Museum is open every day during the school holidays from 10am – 5pm. For more information and to book holiday sessions, visit Newcastle Museum website.

SCHOOL HOLIDAY WORKSHOPS

TooniSparx

For the very first time, TooniSparx brings together the hands-on STEM and robotics of MiniSparx and the cartooning and stop-motion creativity ofToonWorld into the two exciting workshop events! Taking place within the beautifully restored Newcastle Station event space, TooniSparx will be running two themed school holiday workshops that will have kids engaging in everything awesome that STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) can be! Not only will our young sparky engineers be planning and constructing robots and automated vehicles – they’ll be animating them too! Our friends at ToonWorld will work alongside our MiniSparx educators to help guide the kids through the processes of cartooning and stop-motion film which will bring even more life into each participants’ sparky robo-invention!
For more information, visit the Animated Creatures and Animated Robots event booking websites.

Hive Creative Studios

Does your child love to paint, draw or just enjoys being creative? Hive holiday workshops are the perfect place to inspire their creative mind and develop their artistic skills. These holidays, children can get involved in a range of different art workshops like: clay sculpting, painting, drawing and mosaic art. Choose from kid-friendly art themes like Underwater world, shopkins, Minecraft, My little Pony and Manga Drawing (Japanese Cartoon style) and take home high quality artwork to be proud of.
Workshops are available in a range of ages from 4yrs to 16 yrs.

For more information, visit Hive Kids website or call 1300 03 03 79

Curious Cubs

Try something new in the New Year and ‘Experiment with Fun’ at Curious Cubs! Curious Cubs is running three workshops of fun, interactive experiments and science-based activities for 3-5yr olds to enjoy with a parent or carer. Witness your child turn “Why?” into “WOW!” as they explore chemical reactions, robots, forces, light, biology, colours, slime and more! Curious Cubs nurtures natural curiosity and helps you find new ways to play, explore, build and discover with your child. The workshops run from 10am – 10:45am on Wednesday 30 January, Thursday 31 January and Friday 1 February 2019. in Adamstown. Limited places. Booking essential.

For more information and to book holiday sessions, visit the Curious Cubs website.

Toonworld

This January School holidays Toonworld is going drawing and animating mad in one day in Newcastle. Due to popular demand, Toonworld will again be offering its famous Cartooning and Animation workshops they deliver to school children world wide. In the morning Cartooning session, Toonworld invites your kids to come on a journey filled with creativity and challenges where you will meet fun characters and we will design our own wonderful heroes while defending the lands against the Evil Rubbix and his rampaging stickmen army! There’s no erasers ! Because There’s no mistakes, erasers are the enemy ! – we give the kids the power to believe their pencils are the “Sword of Destiny” and can defeat the enemy. In the afternoon, Toonworld invites kids to the wonderful world of Stop Motion Animation. In this simple and exciting workshop we learn the simple hints and tips on how to animate effectively and each child will get to construct their own cool clay characters that they can take home and make their own movies! Children must attend both sessions.

For more information, visit Toonworld event website

Broader Learning

Broader Learning’s holiday coding camp for kids provides a great opportunity for your child to be introduced to coding and robotics in a supportive and engaging environment over two days. This program will work to build your child’s knowledge and skillset whilst underlining the value of creativity, teamwork and problem solving skills.

These camps teach through practical experiences designed to make the learning process as engaging and intuitive as possible. We provide the interactive resources, instructors and friendly robots — all you need to bring is your child and a packed lunch.

For more information, visit Broader Learning website

Rhubarb Jam Productions

Put on a show these school holidays. At Rhubarb Jam Productions, they offer vacation care of a slightly different flavour…. Their workshops are designed to help your children connect with others, develop their creativity and skyrocket their confidence. All through a collaborative process combining singing, dancing, acting & sets and prop making to put on a unique performance.

Children aged 5-12 years are invited to sing, dance and act and create a show in 5 days! These holidays, they will be using ‘PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN’ (aaarrrrggghhh!) for a theme. Rhubarb Jam invite the children along with their ideas. They then work together to turn these ideas into a live performance. If you have a child who loves to perform – this workshop will definitely get the creative juices flowing. The workshops go from 14 – 18 January at Kotara South Public School with 3, 4 & 5 day enrollment options available. Places are limited.

For more information visit the Rhubarb Jam Productions website.

ANIMALS & NATURE

Blackbutt Reserve

Here’s some school hols activities at Blackbutt Reserve.

  • Reptile Show – weekends and school holiday at 11am for $3 per person – not available public holidays and staff development days – no bookings required
  • Feeding times – every day except for Christmas day ( as animal exhibits closed) – free – 10.30am Wombats/ 10.45am Lorikeets/ 1.30pm Nocturnal animals/ 2pm Koalas

Blackbutt Adventure Playground Newcastle

The new adventure playground has opened at Richley Reserve. Here’s the Newy with Kids review. 

For more information, visit the Blackbutt Reserve website.


OUTDOOR FUN

Lake Macquarie Outdoors Program

Lake Macquarie City Council has organized a ton of outdoor fun for kids and parents as part of its outdoors program. It includes beach safety, sea caves exploration, junior fishing clinic, Disc golf at Rathmines, kayaking, introductory sailing session and stand up paddleboarding sessions.  There’s also different guided walks including a geology stroll, seagrass saunter, rockpool ramble and fossil walk as well as an exploration of Glenrock.

For more information and to book holiday sessions, visit Lake Macquarie City Council website.

Hunter Wetlands Centre

Get outdoors and visit the Hunter Wetlands Centre in Sandgate with plenty of tracks to go walking, a discovery trail, dipnetting and super fun playground. Bring your bike and ride around the site. Closed in shoes and insect repellent recommended. Adults: $5; Children 3-12 years $2 (special Christmas holiday rate); Under 3 free.

School holiday activities include:

  • Sand art fun (drop in for 4+)
  • Bush skills adventure ( 8 – 12 year olds) – bookings essential
  • Daily at 10.30am the Magpie Geese are fed on the artificial grass mat on the edge of BHP Pond near the dip-net jetty.
  • Reptile display

For more information, visit the Hunter Wetlands Centre website.

If it’s hot outside, visit one of the many beaches around the area and cool off. Or head to a local pool or the ocean baths at Newcastle and Merewether. For patrol times and baths cleaning schedules visit Newcastle City Council website. Lake Macquarie City Council lifeguards patrol Blacksmiths, Catherine Hill Bay, Caves Beach and Redhead beaches annually from October through to April.

In Newcastle, pools in Lambton, Mayfield, Wallsend, Stockton and Beresfield will be open. The Giant Inflatable will be floating around Beresfield pool between 12:30pm and 2:30pm on most days during the school holidays. Check the schedule.

In Lake Macquarie, pools are open in Charlestown, Speers Point, Swansea, Morisset and Toronto. The Lake Macquarie pools will have Aquatic Challenger inflatables at Speers Point from 12pm – 2pm  on Wednesday 9 January, Friday 18 January  and Monday 21 January; Charlestown Swim Centre from 12pm – 2pm on Friday 11 January, Monday 14 January and Wednesday 23 January and Swansea Swim Centre on 12pm – 2pm on Monday 7 January, Wednesday 16 January and Friday 25 January.

There’s also water themed science workshops for kids aged 3 – 8 with Curious Cubs at Charlestown and Speers Point Swim Centres. Science + swim = fun!

Swim with the Stars at Speers Point Swim Centre. Kids can improve their skills and techniques with Olympics silver medallist James “The Missile” Magnussen, Commonwealth Games backstroke silver medallist, Bradley Woodward, and breaststroke bronze medallist, Matt Wilson, at this all-day clinic. Bookings required.

Visit a new playground

There’s been loads of new playgrounds opened in the past year like Warner Park in Warners Bay, Smith Park in Hamilton and the adventure playground in Blackbutt Reserve. Or try a beach and a playground combo like Redhead Beach. For more information, visit the Newy with Kids Parks & Playground list.

There’s also the updated Newy with Kids Top 100 Summer Fun List packed with fun things that you can enjoy with your family this summer in Newcastle & surrounding area.

Family walks

It’s a great time of year to get out and go for a family walk. Check out the Family Walks section of Newy with Kids. New articles have been added about the Stockton Shipwreck Walk and Lake Macquarie Sculpture Walk.

Stockton Shipwreck Walk

SHOPPING CENTRE ACTIVITIES

Charlestown Square

To keep kids entertained these school holidays, get them an Entertainment Pass from the Customer Service Desk at Charlestown Square. (There’s an additional pass for adults). These passes are great for savings at Reading Cinemas, Megamania, STRIKE Bowling and Timezone.

On sale for $39, the pass includes:

  • 1 x movie ticket (under 15 years) at Reading Cinemas – excludes 3D movies, TITAN XC and Gold Lounge
  • 1 x game of Bowling at Strike or a 9 Hole Round at Holey Moley
  • 60 minutes of Quickplay at Megamania
  • 10 Yellow Swiper Games at Timezone
  • 1 x Little Beef Burger or 1 x Little Chicken Burger with chips at Ribs & Burgers

What’s great about these passes is that you decide how you want to use them. You can use the pass in one day for a mega-filled fun day. Or you can use them over multiple days or even over months as the passes don’t expire until December 2019. We’re planning to use ours during the school holidays and have some fun.

 

Wallsend Village

Stuck for ideas to keep the kids entertained these school holidays? Visit Wallsend Village for their free LEGO workshops. Plus, meet the LEGO man and have your photo taken. Workshops run on a drop-in basis from 10am to 1pm on Tuesday 15 January, Wednesday 16 January and Thursday 17 January. LEGO Man Meet & Greet Time: 10:30am, 11:30am and 12:30pm. Meet and greets run for 30 minutes. For more information visit the Wallsend Village website.

NEW RELEASE FAMILY MOVIES

Want to take the kids to the movies during the holidays? As usual, there’s a few new-release family-friendly movies to choose from.

Ralph Breaks the Internet

  • Rating: PG
  • Release Date: December 26, 2018
  • Duration: 112 minutes
  • Description: Six years after the events of “Wreck-It Ralph,” Ralph and Vanellope, now friends, discover a wi-fi router in their arcade, leading them into a new adventure.
  • Trailer: Click here to watch the trailer

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

  • Rating: CTC
  • Release Date: January 3, 2019
  • Duration: 105 minutes
  • Description: As Hiccup fulfills his dream of creating a peaceful dragon utopia, Toothless’ discovery of an untamed, elusive mate draws the Night Fury away. When danger mounts at home and Hiccup’s reign as village chief is tested, both dragon and rider must make impossible decisions to save their kind.
  • Trailer: Click here to watch the trailer

Storm Boy

  • Rating: PG
  • Release Date: January 17, 2019
  • Duration: 99 minutes
  • Description: ‘Storm Boy’ has grown up to be Michael Kingley, a successful retired businessman and grandfather. When Kingley starts to see images from his past that he can’t explain, he is forced to remember his long-forgotten childhood, growing up on an isolated coastline with his father. He recounts to his grand-daughter the story of how, as a boy, he rescued and raised an extraordinary orphaned pelican, Mr Percival. Their remarkable adventures and very special bond has a profound effect on all their lives.
  • Trailer: Click here to watch the trailer

Whatever you do these school holidays with your kids, have fun and enjoy it. What are your plans for the school holidays?


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What's on in Newcastle for school holidays? Here's a massive list to keep kids busy in the January 2019 holidays in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie & Hunter. #boredombuster