July school holidays can be tricky. The weather can be a bit unpredictable so here’s loads of indoor and outdoor activities to keep kids occupied for the July school holidays. Whether your kids are interested in art, books, science, movies or being outdoors, there’s something for everyone. And don’t forget to enter our school holiday giveway (at the bottom of the article). Your family could win a Family Entertainment Pass from Charlestown Square – perfect boredom buster!

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


Visit a local library during the holidays. There’s plenty of fun activities to keep kids occupied.

Newcastle Region Library

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

Activities include:

  • Variety of Story Stomp storytimes for kids aged 3 to 7 at different branches including NAIDOC Week, STEAM, We’re Going on A Bear Hunt and Pirate Mischief.
  • Makey Makey sessions – kids 8 to 13 can get creative with simple circuits.
  • Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego – Kids can follow the clues to travel across the globe and around the library in search of master thief Carmen Sandiego.
  • Map making with Liz Anelli.
  • Spooky tails at night at Newcastle Library and Wallsend Library.
  • The Great Lego ® Challenge – kids 5 to 12 can have fun making LEGO creations at different library branches.

Bookings required. For more information and to book holiday sessions, visit City of Newcastle website.

Lake Macquarie City Library

Lake Macquarie City Library has organised loads of fun school holiday activities in their libraries.

  • Art & craft sessions including crafty kids Aussie animal collage
  • Storytime – discover frogs at Speers Point Library and Morisset Library.
  • VR Awaba: experience history through virtual reality at Morriset Library and Toronto Library.
  • Wombat Stew puppet show and storytime at Toronto Library
  • Traditional basket weaving for tweens and adults at Belmont Library with Aboriginal artist, Michelle Napanangka Earle from Kilipiynpiyn.

There’s also the Transformations: Art of the Scott Sisters’ exhibition at SEEN@Swansea.  Harriet and Helena Scott were two of 19th-century Australia’s most prominent natural history illustrators. Beautiful and intricate, this stunning exhibition features framed reproduction watercolours, which form a fascinating record of the lives of Harriet (Hattie) and Helena (Nellie) Scott.

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 “Arty Party”. It’s all about creativity, real and imagined for kids these holidays.

Activities include:

  • Mosaic Magic – Kids can create their own masterful mosaic using recycled bottle tops.
  • Wearable Tech: Kids can delve into the world of simple circuits, electronics, and design to make their own unique wearables such as armbands, headbands or badges.
  • Colour Flavours – Create an own artistic self-portrait as kids turn a photo of themselves into art.
  • Mixed Media Masterpieces – Have fun while exploring a variety of different media including paint, photos, fabrics and pencils. 
  • Drawing Nature – Budding artists will enjoy the Drawing Nature workshops presented by Gillian Hewitt from Imaginaturalist, where they use microscopes and magnifying glasses to observe nature and then create their own realistic work of art.
  • Puffy Paint Events – Is it science or is it art? Learn how to make puffy paint and use it to create an awesome wall mural for the library.
  • The Lion King: Passport to Africa – Inspired by the new Lion King movie, solve an African puzzle, create a traditional African mask and paint an African animal masterpiece. 

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

Cessnock Library

Enjoy free school holiday activities at Cessnock Library and Kurri Kurri Library.

Activities include:

  • Aboriginal Art Workshop at Cessnock & Kurri Kurri Libraries – kids can learn about traditional indigenous art and its symbols in this hands-on workshop presented by local Aboriginal group Kiray Putjung. $5
  • NAIDOC Storytime at Cessnock & Kurri Kurri Libraries – Special NAIDOC week storytime and art activities for kids aged 2 – 6.
  • Fly me to the Moon Storytime at Kurri Kurri Library – Stories, songs and craft celebrating the 50th anniversary of the moon landing for ages 2-6.
  • It’s Rocket Science at Cessnock & Kurri Kurri Libraries – kids can test the principles behind rocket science in this hands-on science workshop.
  • The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever Dance Practice at Cessnock Library – kids can be part of the worldwide celebration of The Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever – come along and learn the dance – find your inner Kate Bush!
  • JD Howlett All New Magic Show! at Cessnock & Kurri Kurri Libraries – JD’s been in his magic workshop this year, tinkering away – what great new tricks will he have to show us? $7
  • Stop Motion Animation Workshop at Cessnock & Kurri Kurri Libraries – Kids can learn the technique of stop motion animation using clay, lego and props.
  • Art Attack Workshop at Cessnock & Kurri Kurri Libraries – Kids can create beautiful outer space scenes using printing and marbling techniques – wear an old shirt, as this could get messy!

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.


Newcastle Art Gallery

Featured exhibitions: VIRGINIA CUPPAIDGE: the nature of abstraction & JAMES DRINKWATER: the sea calls me by name

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:

  • Tissue paper painting workshop – Inspired by the VIRGINIA CUPPAIDGE: the nature of abstraction exhibition, kids will learn about the Skyspace Series with Gallery educators before drawing geometric shapes and learning to paint with tissue paper to produce colourful blended artworks.
  • Sculpture building workshop – Drawing inspiration from the JAMES DRINKWATER: the sea calls me by name exhibition, kidswill create their very own sculptural works using pieces of cardboard and oil pastels.
  • Art Cart every Saturday and Sunday morning.

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

Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery

Lake Macquarie Art Gallery is featuring a couple of children’s workshops during the school holidays that will be held at Belmont Library (while renovations at the Art Gallery are ongoing)

School holiday activities include:

  • Traditional basket weaving for tweens (10 – 14) at Belmont Library with Aboriginal artist, Michelle Napanangka Earle from Kilipiynpiyn.
  • Traditional basket weaving for teens 14+ at Belmont Library with Aboriginal artist, Michelle Napanangka Earle from Kilipiynpiyn.

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

Maitland Regional Art Gallery

Enjoy ‘Cool Art July’ school holiday fun and activities for all the family at MRAG during the holidays.

  • Drop into MRAG these school holidays to do a series of self-directed activities throughout the gallery. Every day there will be something to do at MRAG!
  • Crack the code in one of the Code Breaker activities!
  • Visit the front desk and ask for Code Breaker 1 & 2,Colour Code Breaker or Search for the Golden Poo

Wander through MRAG and see the new exhibition. Operation Art is an exhibition of 50 selected artworks by students from schools across New South Wales who have been invited to create uplifting works for other children. The exhibition is an initiative of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in association with the NSW Department of Education and will include artworks by students from Hunter and the Central Coast schools.

There’s also Free Art Sundays to enjoy. Every Sunday families are invited to drop into the art gallery for free art activities inspired by the exhibitions on display. Our activities are designed for kids of all ages, and as a family you can all join in and get creative. Each activity takes around half an hour to complete.

For more information, visit Maitland Regional Art Gallery website

Newcastle Museum

Have fun at Newcastle Museum during the holidays with activities reflecting current exhibition.

The new exhibition SPY: Espionage in Australia. Become a top-secret agent and solve the mysteries at our new family friendly exhibition. Explore special spy equipment and test your skills at codebreaking and reading invisible ink. This free family-friendly exhibition runs from 12 July to 15 September. The exhibition featrures free SPY MISSION and SPY STORY adventure trails. Kids can find clues, read the stories and discover what it takes to be a spy.

School holiday activities include:

  • Detectives Table Workshop – Kids can get hands on and delve deeper into the secret life of a spy at an activity table at Newcastle Museum. Learn the tricks of the trade and become an official Museum Detective. Wednesday 10 & 17 July from 10.30am – 1.30pm. Family friendly, parental supervision required. Free.
  • Shake & Quake Science Shows on Tuesday 9 & 16 July and Thursday 11 & 18 July  at 11:15am, 12:15pm and 1:15pm. Rock on at the new family-friendly science show! Find out why there is custard inside the Earth, learn about how rocks can fold, snap, melt and explode, and have some fun with liquid nitrogen as Newcastle Museum explores volcanoes and earthquakes these school holidays. Free but parental supervision required.

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.


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 create a MONSTERS INC themed production at Kotara South Public School. Their workshop program includes drama, dance, singing and sets and prop making. All the elements are co-ordinated to create a performance at the end of the 5 days under the guidance of their professional teachers. They help the ideas of all participants come to life!

There are 3, 4 & 5 day enrolment options & sibling discounts are also available. Places are limited.

For more information, visit the Rhubarb Jam website.

Hudson Street Hum

Join Hudson Street Hum for a cross-disciplinary workshop combining clay making and creative writing during the holidays. Your young creative (suitable for 7+) will start off the workshop getting messy with their hands. They’ll be creating clay monsters using basic hand-building techniques such as pinching, pressing and moulding. Hudson Street Hum finds making and drawing things is a great way to begin the planning process when writing stories! After the kids have created their monsters, Hudson Street Hum will take them on a fun creative journey using storytelling techniques to help them bring their clay monsters to life.

Hudson Street Hum is also offering Skate Deck Art workshops for kids 8 – 12 on Tuesday 9 July Hudson Street Hum and Skate Deck Art workshops for kids 13+. Kids can kick start the school holiday creative juices with a rad skate deck art workshop at Hudson Street Hum. Resident skater, artist and educator, Lu Quade, will share tips and tricks on design elements to make skate decks pop! Kids can bring your ideas to life using a variety of different techniques and materials. Then best of all, they get to take home their very own, personalised deck ready to hang on your bedroom wall. Order for 2 (friend or sibling) and get a $20 discount.

For more information, visit the Hudson Street Hum website.

Hive Creative Studios

All Aboard Hive’s amazing themed workshops that include art, drama and musical theatre with the Hive’s team of talented creatives. 
Choose from an exciting range of options including: Perfect Potions (make your own bath bombs, body scrubs, lip gloss and more!), Monster Slime Masterchef (Tie-Dye & sculpting), Greatest Showman (musical theatre) Drama with their NIDA trained drama teachers, Shipwrecked & Moana Sky-themed Painting And much more!

Hive workshops are held in their purpose built classrooms at the Hive in Charlestown. Their centre is renowned for its highly skilled and talented teachers and for being a safe, clean environment for children. High staff ratio and small group sizes ensure that each student receives quality instruction. They look forward to being part of your child’s creative journey!

For more information, visit the Hive Creative Studios website.


Blackbutt Reserve

Here’s some school holidays activities at Blackbutt Reserve.

  • Crafty Creatures school holiday fun. Visit Blackbutt and make your favourite clay creature. 2 sessions 1pm & 1:30pm Monday to Friday. $3 per child – all ages. No bookings required. Pay at kiosk on the day.
  • Reptile Show – weekends and school holiday at 11am for $3 per person. No bookings required. Pay at kiosk on the day.
  • Feeding times – every day – free – 10.30am Wombats / 10.45am bird brunch / 1.30pm Nocturnal animals / 2pm Koalas.


Hunter Wetlands Centre

Get outdoors and visit the Hunter Wetlands Centre in Sandgate. There’s plenty of tracks to go walking, a discovery trail, dipnetting and a super fun playground. Bring your bike and ride around the site. Hire a canoe and view the site from the water. Closed in shoes and insect repellent recommended. Adults: $8; Children 3-12 years $5 ; Under 3 free.

They also have some special activities planned to help you get to know the Wetlands and its residents better.

  • Guided Canoe Tour for Families – Mondays 8 & 15 July – $20.00 per person. 10.30am – 12.30pm  Conditions apply. Bookings essential.
  • Behind the Scenes Tour (8 – 12 year olds) –  Wednesday 10 July – $20. 10am – 12 noon. Bookings essential.
  • Waterbird Drawing Workshop (8 – 12 year olds)  – Thursday 11 July – $15. 9.30am – 11am. Bookings essential.
  • Buggy Tours for Families (30 minutes)  – Tuesdays (9 & 16) and Thursdays (11 & 18) $5 per person. 9.30am  – 12.30pm. Book at Reception on the day.
  • Birdwatching at Water Ribbon Pond. Mon 8, Thurs 11, Tues 16 & Thurs 18. 10am – 12 noon FREE

For more information, visit the Hunter Wetlands Centre website.

Go whale watching

If you don’t feel like heading north to see the whales, hang out locally. May to August is whale watching season and Lake Macquarie and Newcastle are on the whale migration route. It’s estimated that 10,000 humpback whales pass this region heading north between May and August. Hang out at Nobbys Headland, Newcastle Beach, Merewether, Redhead or Dudley Beach and see if you can spot passing whale.

You can also explore the coast of Newcastle with CoastXP, the adventure boat tour and see whales migrating up the coast. June and July are peak whale watching months. Newy with Kids did a tour last year and saw seals, dolphins & humpback whales as well as travelling past our beautiful coastline.

Play in the snow

If your kids like to be out and about, there’s loads of events and activities to choose from.Enjoy all things winter without having to travel to the snow at Snow Time in the Garden at Hunter Valley Gardens. Your family can enjoy ice skating, playing in the snow, building snowmen, ice tobogganing and the opportunity to see ice sculpting. This three week event runs from Saturday 29 June to Sunday 21 July 2019.

Enjoy inflatables

Inflatables on the Green at Club Charlestown is back for the July school holidays from Monday 8 July to Sunday 14 July from 10am – 2pm. Entry is $5 per child per day or $15 per child to come for unlimited entry over the duration of event.

There’s also a daily sausage sizzle for an easy lunch option or the bistro is open for lunch. Kids Eat Free is available every Monday – 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.

Visit a new playground

Stockton Active Hub

There’s been loads of playgrounds opened in the past year like Stockton Active Hub in Stockton, Fletcher Park Reserve in Adamstown and Cressington Way Reserve in Wallsend. For more information, visit the Newy with Kids Parks & Playground list.

Family walks

It’s also an ideal 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.

Indoor Fun

Disney on Ice is an entertaining outing for the whole family featuring your favourite Disney characters. Grab your mouse ears and get ready for a party as Disney On Ice celebrates Mickey and Friends skates into Newcastle again. This year, Moana and Maui will be skating around the ice as part of the highly anticipated addition of Disney’s Moana to the show. The show also features exciting moments from Disney Pixar’s Toy StoryFinding DoryMoanaInside Out and Frozen and will leave the whole family with memories that will last a lifetime. The Newcastle shows run from Friday 12 July  to Sunday 14 July 2019 (during school holidays) at Newcastle Entertainment Centre.

Hog Watts is back this July school holidays with a brand new magical adventure for Potter fans young & old! Hog Watts is an immersive lunch/dinner & show experience set within the magical walls and halls of 48 Watt St. Family matinee sessions are almost sold out! There’s also 18+ evening events for those who want to leave the kids at home. The event runs from Friday 12 July until Sunday 21 July.

The Cat in the Hat stage show is coming to Newcastle during the July school holidays. The show based on Dr Seuss classic book is scheduled for Wednesday July 10 with two shows at 10:30am and 1pm at Civic Theatre Newcastle. Tickets start from $25.

Newcastle Brickfest is Newcastle’s first and longest running LEGO Fan event running on Saturday 13 July and Sunday 14 July. It’s a community event, created by local volunteer LEGO fans, for LEGO Fans of all ages, showcasing LEGO creations and collections from across NSW. It features 60 exhibitors and over 180 tables of exhibits to enjoy. This is a family friendly, not for profit event which supports local Newcastle schools and charities. The event will be held at Newcastle Racecourse. $5 per person. Kids under 2 are free. There will be limited tickets at the door ($8 each).

Young Peoples Theatre, a not-for-profit youth theatre company in Newcastle is presenting The Hundred and One Dalmatians performance during the school holidays.This production is 2 hours in length including a 20-minute interval. Fun for the family and suitable for all ages! Tickets start from $20. YPT is also having a reduced sensory performance on 28 July. This performance is especially designed for children and adults with ASD, ADD, ADHD, dementia, intellectual disabilities and sensory sensitivities.


Charlestown Square

Charlestown Square is turning 40 this year and is inviting the public to celebrate this nostalgic milestone in Newcastle history starting July 1.

Get ready to party like it’s 1979!

  • Pop-up roller skating rink situated in Centre Court during the July school holidays. Tickets are $5 for a 45 minute session. Book online or purchase in-centre. Plus, received a $5 off Dymocks voucher with every roller skating ticket.
  • Enjoy a 70s rolling skating party on Saturday 13 July. Expect 70s makeovers, Charlie’s retro lolly bar, roller skating performances and funky DJ beats.
  • Hang in Charlie’s Disco Lounge. Snap a groovy baby 70’s selfie at Charlies Disco Lounge -a funky disco lounge for capturing the perfect insta pic. 70’s backdrop, costumes, mirror balls and funky beats will set the scene for a snap destined for mega-likes. Don’t forget to share it with hashtag #charlieturns40 for your chance to win a $250 Charlestown Square Gift Card.
  • Take a trip down memory lane. Come and check out 40 years of funky memories in the giant photo cube exhibition located on Level 1 near the Customer Service Desk. 

For more information, visit the Charlestown Square website.

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.

Wallsend Village

Stuck for ideas to keep the kids entertained these school holidays? Visit Wallsend Village for FREE Winter-themed school holiday activities. Kids can personalise their own winter-themed porcelain dinner plate. This is a wonderful keepsake that can be used by children for years to come. Workshops run on a drop-in basis from 10am to 1pm on Tuesday 16 July, Wednesday 17 July and Thursday 18 July outside Aldi. For more information visit the Wallsend Village website.

Stockland Jesmond

Take advantage of Stay n’ Play at Stockland Jesmond opposite Cooper’s Cafe near the main entrance off Blue Gum Road from 10am to 2pm daily from Monday 8 July to Friday 12 July. Your children will be cared for by qualified childcare professionals with plenty of fun activities to keep them entertained including arts, craft, toys, dress ups and books. The service is free for the first hour and $10 per child for each hour after. Stockland recommend a maximum of two hours though to avoid little ones from missing their carer too much. PLUS when you book in your child you receive a FREE coffee which you can enjoy on the day. This gives you a chance to get the groceries done or find that outfit for the upcoming special occasion or some timeout to get that skin treatment you’ve had your eye on, or perhaps refresh your look with new nails or a haircut.

There’s also school holiday workshops in celebration of NAIDOC week: ‘Interwoven’ Traditional Aboriginal Weaving presented by Speaking in Colour. Kids can learn about Traditional Aboriginal weaving and then create a keepsake woven bracelet to take home! There’s also get crafty sessions at Centre Court and free facepainting fun.

There’s also free Art Appreciation Workshops in celebration of NAIDOC week on Thursday 11 July from 10am-1pm in Centre Court. Children will learn about traditional Aboriginal art and then create a contemporary keepsake to take home on the day! No bookings required.

For more information, visit the Stockland Jesmond website.


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 including the much anticipated Toy Story 4


  • Rating: PG
  • Release Date: May 23, 2019
  • Duration: 128 minutes
  • Description: “Aladdin” is the exciting tale of the charming street rat Aladdin, the courageous and self-determined Princess Jasmine and the Genie who may be the key to their future
  • Trailer: Click here to watch the trailer

The Secret Life of Pets 2

  • Rating: PG
  • Release Date: June 20, 2019
  • Duration: 86 minutes
  • Description: The Secret Life of Pets 2 will follow summer 2016’s blockbuster about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day.
  • Trailer: Click here to watch the trailer

Toy Story 4

  • Rating: G
  • Release Date: June 20, 2019
  • Duration: 85 minutes
  • Description: Woody and Buzz embark on a quest to find Woody’s romantic interest, Bo Peep.
  • Trailer: Click here to watch the trailer


Thanks to our friends at Charlestown Square, Newy with Kids is giving away a Charlestown Square Family Entertainment Pass which include a movie & popcorn at Reading Cinemas, bowling at Strike or mini golf at Holey Moley + lots more. Fill in the form below and tell us your favourite thing about school holidays to be in the running. Enter before midnight Sunday 30 June 2019. (BE SURE TO FILL IN THE RECAPTCHA TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY)


Giveaway Terms and Conditions

  • The name of the promotion is: Charlestown Square Giveaway
  • The promoter is Newy with Kids in conjunction with Charlestown Square
  • The conditions of entry are: answer the question provided, one entry per person, contact details must be provided in above form.
  • Employees, immediate family members, retailers, suppliers, associated companies and agencies are not eligible to enter.
  • The giveaway will close on Sunday 30 June 2019 at midnight (Newcastle time). Comments submitted after this time will not be considered for the giveaway.
  • This is a game of skill. The winners will be awarded based on the strength of their creative answer to the question “What is your favourite thing about school holidays?”
  • Judging will be done by Reena of Newy with Kids.
  • The prize will be in the form of a Charlestown Square Family Entertainment Pass (4 passes)
  • The results of the giveaway will be published on this website on Tuesday 2 July 2019.
  • Prizes are not redeemable for cash and are non-transferable. The total prize value is $160.
  • The competition is open to Australian residents only.
  • If for any reason beyond the Promoter’s control the agreed prize is not available a product of equal or greater value will be provided.

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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