There’s no reason to hear an “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 | Indoor Fun | New release Family Movies

FEATURED ACTIVITIES

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley Summer Holidays

Enjoy the summer school holidays with Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley and the Water Dragons Kids Club. There’s a whole program of fun planned to keep your kids entertained. Enjoy kids cooking classes, an Inflatable World, magic shows, wildlife shows, Lego sessions, crafts and more! No matter what your kids are interested in, there’s a workshop for them.

And if you feel like a break, don’t forget the Adventure Pass for kids 3 – 12 who can enjoy access to supervised kids activities at Water Dragons Kid’s Club, while you enjoybreakfast in Redsalt Restaurant, lunch in The Lovedale Bar, a game of golf or a visit to Ubika Spa.

School holiday workshops and Water Dragons Kids Club are available to all families, not just those staying at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley resort. However, if you have time, why not get away for a short school holiday break at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley in Lovedale. Keep the kids entertained with their massive range of activities and relax by the large resort pool.

Strike Bowling and Holey Moley

If your kids start complaining they’re bored, head to Strike Bowling and Holey Moley at Charlestown Square. They are having some epic offers for school holidays for the whole family to enjoy.

Loosen up your bowling arm and challenge your family members to a game of bowling or practise your putting on 18 holes of mini-golf on their super-cool course. It’s $40 for 2 kids and 2 adults to play either one game of bowling at Strike Bowling or 18 holes of mini golf at Holey Moley. (Bookings required).

Don’t want to play but prefer to watch the kids play while you sip a beer or cocktail at Holey Moley? Book them for 18 holes of mini golf for $15 per person. If you really want to tire them out, take advantage of unlimited golf and bowling for $25 per person. (Walk-in only).

LIBRARIES

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

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.

  • Pirate school storytime
  • Crafty Kids: Superhero costumes
  • Crafty Kids: Under the Sea I spy pictures
  • Insights into snakes sessions
  • Snap circuits for beginners hands-on electronics workshop
  • Write your own adventure story with author Kaz Delaney
  • Drawing workshop with illustrator Liz Anelli
  • Mindfulness for students and parents with clinical psychologist and author Lynn Jenkins.
  • Wombat Stew storytime and puppet show
  • Textile try out

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 “Summer stories”. Stories are everywhere this summer, waiting to be discovered, devoured and written by your kids. Activities include:

  • Funky Chicken Family Fun Show Fantastic Beasts with award-winning author Chris Collins.
  • Howzat! A cricket-themed session involving cricket trivia, caricature drawing and fan letter writing.
  • Road trip challenge
  • LEGO building challenge
  • LEGO robot workshop
  • Paper mache scarecrow head masterclass
  • Papermaking workshop
  • Model clay sculpting of local historic buildings
  • Vision board workshop

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 Under the Sea Story Stomp, Sail Away Story Stomp and Beach Party Story Stomp storytimes.
  • Beach Yoga Story Stomp at Camp Shortland and Dixon Park Playground.
  • Park Yoga Story Stomp at Lambton Park.
  • Summertime Sand Art
  • Decorate a Beach Bag
  • Summer Lego ® Challenge
  • Badge-making Bliss
  • Lessons of a LAC puppet show with Lynn Jenkins and Kirrili Lonergan
  • Fun with author Deb Kelly – Join local author Deborah Kelly for an hour of marine-themed fun to celebrate the release of her latest book The Thing About Oliver.
  • Family movies on Friday evenings at Wallsend and Newcastle Libraries. Films include Lilo & Stitch, Surf’s Up, Black Beauty, The Little Mermaid, The Parent Trap and Storm Boy (2019).

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

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

MAC (Museum of Art and Culture)

Museum of Art & Culture Lake Macquarie

Museum of Art and Culture (formerly known as Lake Macquarie Art Gallery) is featuring a variety of children’s workshops during the school holidays.

Featured Exhibition: us. universal stories, we.wiyelliko and be. be remembered.

School holiday activities include:

  • Storytime for 3 – 6 years. These popular holiday sessions for little ones and their carers include art activities and storytelling.
  • Constructable cardboard – kids can enjoy imaginary play through creative cardboard construction
  • Become a puppeteer – spark imagination during this puppet making workshop where participants can create your own character using re-cycled materials
  • Pain a mythical lake creature – Make art to help protect the little critters living happily in the mysterious underwater world of Lake Macquarie
  • What makes us – Express yourself through a large-scale mixed media artwork all about you.

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 run on Sunday from 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 a month 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. It’s all free so come SEE-MAKE-DO at the Art Gallery this summer! Workshops, dance, comics, yoga, and more.

For more information, visit Maitland Regional Art Gallery website.

Newcastle Art Gallery

Photo credit: Newcastle Art Gallery

Featured exhibitions: BETWEEN TWO WORLDS & WISH YOU WERE HERE

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:

  • Chinese Festive Decorations – Come and explore the exhibition BETWEEN TWO WORLDS, learn the Chinese character for ‘Rat’ and create your own hanging rat decoration using red felt with a tassel tail and other embellishments. A beautiful hanging decoration or gift for Chinese New Year.
  • Mini Beach Scultures – Responding to the exhibition WISH YOU WERE HERE, kids will sculpt their own mini beach scenes, focusing on hand-building techniques to construct their own beach elements such as a beach ball, umbrella, fish or crab.
  • Art Cart every Saturday and Sunday morning.

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

Newcastle Museum

Newcastle Museum Garden

Enjoy some summer fun at Newcastle Museum! Activities to suit all ages with most activities free of charge. Some programs require booking and payment.

School holiday activities include:

  • Morphing Mini Beasts Workshop – Kids can transform recyclable objects into your very own mini beast!  Bookings required.
  • Insect Mania Science Shows are on Tuesday 7, 14 and 21 January and Thursday 9, 16 and 23 January during the holidays at 11:15am, 12:15pm and 1:15pm. Go crazy for insects at the science shows these holidays.  Come and MEET them!  Come and EAT them!  Come and find out how they can split light into rainbows, slurp their food through straws and vomit it right back up again onto your sandwich.  It’s going to be a whole lot of gross-out and fascinating science fun!
  • Transport yourself into the Summer Sensory Garden – a bright and colourful world beyond your imagination. Dress up as an insect and creep and crawl your way through fluffball flowers and glowing rainbow furry delights. Created by local artist Bliss Cavanagh, the free Summer Sensory Garden will be at Newcastle Museum from 3 January to 2 February.

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

Rhubarb Jam Productions

Are you looking for the gift of EXPERIENCE for your child this Christmas?
If you have a creative child, Rhubarb Jam Productions have you covered. Primary school-aged children will SING, DANCE, ACT, MAKE SETS & PROPS and PERFORM in a SHOW this January. Rhubarb Jam’s school holiday workshops are centred around developing creative expression in children in a safe and fun environment.  Children make new friends and build their confidence. 

If you have a child who loves to perform – this workshop will definitely get the creative juices flowing. The workshops go from 20 – 24 January at Kotara South Public School with 3, 4 & 5 day enrollment options available. Doors open at 8am and close at 5pm. Sibling discounts are available and Creative Kids Vouchers accepted. Places are limited. For more information visit the Rhubarb Jam Productions website.

Broader Learning

Introduce your kids to coding and robotics with Broader Learning’s holiday coding camp. This 1-day program for kids aged 6 – 12 will work to build your child’s knowledge and skillset while encouraging the value of creativity, teamwork and problem-solving skills. Broader Learning provides the interactive resources, instructors and friendly robots —all you need to bring is your child and a packed lunch. 

The 1-day workshop runs from 9am – 3pm on Friday 10 January 2020 at Belair Public School. The workshop is eligible for Creative Kids Voucher. $99 per child or $0 with NSW Creative Kids Voucher.

For more information or to register, visit https://broader.com.au/holidays

ANIMALS & NATURE

Blackbutt Reserve

Here’s some school holiday activities at Blackbutt Reserve.

  • Reptile Show – Hear experts discuss Australia’s reptile wildlife at length during the popular reptile shows daily from 6 January at 11am. Tickets are $3 per person. No bookings required
  • Craft activity also occurs in the Wildlife Arena at 1pm on weekdays from 6 January. Tickets are also $3 per person.
  • 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

For more information, visit the Blackbutt Reserve website.

OUTDOOR FUN

Waterworld Central

For those of you craving that summer sun and fun outdoor activities, get excited because Waterworld Central, Australia’s first mobile water park, is coming to The Station in Newcastle for the first time! Come splash with us these school holidays from 10 January – 27 January, 2020!

Join in for some summer school holiday fun with giant inflatable pools and slides to splash and play around in. Enjoy activities like sliding through the Shark’s mouth or if relaxing is more your thing, head to the wading pool to chill out. For the daredevils at heart, take a ride down the massive Dino Slide!

For more information, visit the Waterworld 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. General admission $5; Preschool admission $2 .

School activities include:

  • Magpie Geese Feeding – 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.
  • Wondrous wetlands art workshop on Tuesday 21 January. The 2-hour art workshop is lead by Ashlee Jedrzejak, an experienced artist and art tutor, guiding the exploration of art materials, experimentation and art techniques. 

For more information, visit the Hunter Wetlands Centre website.

Club Charlestown

Inflatables on the Green at Club Charlestown is back for the January school holidays from Monday 13th January to Sunday 26th January. There are now two sessions per day with the morning session from 10am to 1pm and NEW Twilight sessions from 5pm to 8pm. Entry is $6 per child per session or $25 per child to come for unlimited entry over the duration of the event.

There’s also a daily sausage sizzle for the morning sessions for an easy lunch option or the bistro is open for lunch & dinner. Kids Eat Free is available every Monday for members – when 1 adult purchases a main meal, up to 2 children may eat free. Advance bookings are not required – you can just turn up and purchase day passes for a fun family day out.

There’s a toddler zone with two inflatables for under 5s plus three larger inflatables for the older kids up to 12 years of age. 

For more information, call 4943 3766 or  visit the Club Charlestown Facebook event.

Club Charlestown (formerly the Charlestown Bowling Club) is located at 5 Lincoln Street in Charlestown.

Cool off at the beach or pool

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 inflatables usually make an appearance at this time of year (dates & times to be confirmed).

In Lake Macquarie, pools are open in Charlestown, Speers Point, Swansea, Morisset and Toronto. The Aquatic Challenger will be at Speers Point on Wednesday 8 January and Friday 17 January, at Swansea on Monday 6 January, Wednesday 15 January and Friday 24 January. It will be at Charlestown on Friday 10 January, Monday 13 January and Monday 20 January.

Visit a new playground

Elbrook Reserve Playground

There has been loads of new playgrounds opened in the past year like Elbook Reserve and Coldstream Crescent playgrounds in Rankin Park, Cressington Way in Wallsend and the Laneway Park in Adamstown. 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

Ken and Audrey Owens Walk

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 Fernleigh Track, Ken and Audrey Owens Walk, Awabakal Walk and Yuerlarbah Walk in Glenrock Lagoon.

INDOOR FUN

Charlestown Square

Charlestown Square Entertainment Pass 2020

To keep kids entertained these school holidays, get them an Entertainment Pass from the Customer Service Desk at Charlestown Square. These passes are great for savings at Reading Cinemas, Megamania, Strike Bowling, Holey Moley and Timezone. On sale for $39, the pass includes:

  • 1 x movie and 1 small popcorn at Reading Cinemas Charlestown –  excludes Premium, TITAN Luxe and Gold Lounge
  • 1 x game of Bowling or Laser Tag at Strike
  • 9 Hole Round at Holey Moley
  • 30 minutes Time Play at Timezone Inc. All You Can Play Yellow and Red Swiper games and 50 Powertickets
  • Any item off the Kinder Menu (12 yo and under) or a German Hot Dog (over 12 yo) at The Bavarian
  • 5 hours free parking at Charlestown Square

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 2020.

Jesmond Central

Join the FUN at Jesmond Central with free school holiday activities! Visit Wallsend Village for free wildlife-themed school holiday activities! From Tuesday 7 January to Thursday 9 January, enjoy playing with LEGO. Play, build and learn with free LEGO workshops. Experience something new with a different theme available each day. The following week from Tuesday 14 January to Thursday 16 January, prepare for back to school with Spendless Back To School workshops. Get back to school ready and colour in your own pencil cases, notebooks and sticker books. Plus, get a $5 Spendless voucher!

Wallsend Village

Stuck for ideas to keep the kids entertained these school holidays? Visit Wallsend Village for free wildlife-themed school holiday activities! From Tuesday 7 January to Thursday 9 January, enjoy a native reptile show. Share cuddles and photos and learn more about these amazing creatures. The following week from Tuesday 14 January to Thursday 16 January, kids can enjoy free wildlife theme face painting and balloon twisting.

Wallsend School Holidays

Enjoy the Magic of Harry Potter at Hog Watts

Hog Watts is back for the January 2020 school holidays with an encore magical adventure for Potter fans young & old of Harry Watter & The Full Moon’s Curse. In this parody account, a dark wizard has escaped and is desperate to display his softer side to the wizards of Watt Street. Although most sessions have sold out, the Saturday 18 January night Hog Watts event session has just been changed to All Ages. These are the last tickets available for January and only 100 are available.

Ticket includes entrance to the magical world of Hog Watts, a two-course meal & interactive show hosted by Dumbledore & Hagrid. Meal includes Roast Dinner. Vegetarian & GF alternatives available only (no Vegan). For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the 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.

Frozen 2

Frozen 2 Movie
  • Rating: PG
  • Release Date: November 28, 2019
  • Duration: 103 minutes
  • Description: Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven leave Arendelle to travel to an ancient, autumn-bound forest of an enchanted land. They set out to find the origin of Elsa’s powers in order to save their kingdom.
  • Trailer: Click here to watch the trailer

The Addams Family

  • Rating: PG
  • Release Date: December 12, 2019
  • Duration: 87 minutes
  • Description: Get ready to snap your fingers! The Addams Family is back on the big screen in the first animated comedy about this creepy and kooky clan. You may think your family is weird but the outlandish, bizarre, and completely iconic Addams Family, will have you thinking again.
  • Trailer: Click here to watch the trailer

Koko : A Red Dog Story

  • Rating: G
  • Release Date: December 12, 2019
  • Duration: 78 minutes
  • Description: An ordinary dog, whose good fortune and ability to connect with people, catapults him to fame.
  • Trailer: Click here to watch the trailer

Playing with Fire

  • Rating: PG
  • Release Date: December 12, 2019
  • Duration: 96 minutes
  • Description: A crew of rugged fighters meet their match when attempting to rescue three rambunctious kids.
  • Trailer: Click here to watch the trailer

Playmobil: The Movie

  • Rating: G
  • Release Date: December 12, 2019
  • Duration: 99 minutes
  • Description: When her younger brother Charlie unexpectedly disappears into the magical, animated universe of PLAYMOBIL®, unprepared Marla must go on a quest of a lifetime to bring him home.
  • Trailer: Click here to watch the trailer

Jumanji: The Next Level

  • Rating: PG
  • Release Date: December 26, 2019
  • Duration: 123 minutes
  • Description: In Jumanji: The Next Level, the gang is back but the game has changed. As they return to Jumanji to rescue one of their own, they discover that nothing is as they expect. The players will have to brave parts unknown and unexplored, from the arid deserts to the snowy mountains, in order to escape the world’s most dangerous game.
  • Trailer: Click here to watch the trailer

Little Women

  • Rating: G
  • Release Date: January 1, 2020
  • Duration: 134 minutes
  • Description: Little Women draws on both the classic novel and the writings of Louisa May Alcott, and unfolds as the author’s alter ego, Jo March, reflects back and forth on her fictional life. In this version, the beloved story of the March sisters – four young women each determined to live life on her own terms — is both timeless and timely.
  • Trailer: Click here to watch the trailer


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Newy with Kids

Started in late 2012 by a local mum and newcomer to Newcastle, Newy with Kids has grown into a thriving go-to family guide for the Newcastle & Hunter region. Parents visit the Newy with Kids website to find things to do with babies, kids and teens. Whether it’s local attractions, upcoming events, kids eat free, school holiday activities or birthday party ideas, Newy with Kids is the best website for local parents to find local kid-friendly activities and information 24/7.
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