The Top 5: Free Activities for Kids for the School Holidays – September 2013

The school holidays are here – what to do? Everyone has a different perspective of what constitutes a relaxing holiday at home. For some, time at home and the odd pyjama day are just what everyone needs. Others like to have plenty of activities organised to avoid boredom and mischief setting in. While I like to slow down and not have too much on, I find that by planning an activity for the mornings, our afternoons tend to take care of themselves with the kids happy to play in the backyard, in their rooms or go for a scoot or bike ride to the local park.

There are so many great things to do in Melbourne with kids in the school holidays. We have wonderful Zoos and Museums and lots of other attractions. September offers even more with The Royal Melbourne Show and AFL Grand Final.

Below I have suggested activities that are either free or inexpensive that might fill in a few hours or a day, depending on what you are looking for.

A visit to the library

A visit to the library is a fun and inexpensive way to spend an hour or so over the holidays. In addition to the usual borrowing and story times, some local municipal libraries offer a special school holiday program.

The City of Whitehorse and Manningham libraries offer a range of free or inexpensive activities for young children including art and craft, magic shows, cooking and book launches. Bookings are essential for some activities and the full schedule is available here.

You can check out the City of Boroondara libraries’ school holiday events here. The City of Stonnington’s libraries’ school holiday program is available here although most of their activities are booked out but waitlists are available.

Go to a different park

With a bit of extra time, the holidays are a great opportunity to discover new parks around town, particularly, if like us, you tend to have your regular haunts.

There are some fantastic parks in and around Melbourne.

Some of our favourites are:


  • Beckett Park in Balwyn is a great park for older primary school aged children with its forts and maze. It also has a large enclosed sandpit;


  • Bayswater Train Park is a fantastic park for all ages and those with a particular interest in trains;


  • Eltham North Adventure Playground is undercover and has lots to entertain children of all ages including a massive fort and flying fox. Edendale Community Farm is also a short walk away.


Visit Federation Square

This week, there is free entertainment every day at Federation Square to celebrate AFL Grand Final week. Activities include face painting, appearances by various AFL players, a Brownlow Medal footy panel, fashion parade and a free footy clinic. The full details are available here. Don’t forget that the Grand Final Parade is on Friday 27th September 2013 from 12 – 1pm.

Do a Toy Audit/Clean Out

Anyone who has ever tried to smuggle toys out of the house to give away, will know that if the kids get a whiff of toys leaving the house, they will suddenly profess undying devotion to said toy and you will have a hard time extricating it from them.

If the children are getting a bit ratty and bored, it might be worth doing a clean out of the toys and try and get the children to sort out what they are happy to play with and part with. Just be prepared for the children being reluctant to part with anything, but on the upside, they will have spent a few hours playing with old toys.

Local Shopping Centres

There are lots of free activities at local shopping centres during the school holidays.

Eastland is running a “Lego Brick Event” from 10am to 5pm daily where children can play with Lego bricks. There is also Duplo available for younger children. In addition, a Lego mascot will also be doing the rounds, there is a Lego lounge to play Lego games and a Lego colouring competition. There is also a Plaster Fun House outside Big W for those who love their art and craft, from $5.

Chadstone Shopping Centre has a “Family Spectacular”, featuring a Monster’s University Activity Zone, face painting and giveaways from Monday 23 to Friday 27 September from 11am to 2pm.

Victoria Gardens is running “Mt Patch My City” from 11am to 2pm daily. My Patch My City is a workshop in which children to learn and explore their creativity in designing a scale model for a sustainable city of the future. All workshop participants are invited to be designers, planners, architects, landscapers and eco-heroes for a day. If the kids are happy doing an activity for a while, you might even be able to negotiate a trip to IKEA on the side!

Westfield Doncaster is offering a number of free activities including free Muffin Break cookie workshops outside Target and free face painting outside Bing Boy and a Turbo Interactive Zone with free games and activities next to the playground.

These are a few of many possible free activities for the school holidays. What are you planning to do? Is there anything activity or place you would recommend?