I have a love/hate relationship with school holidays. I love not having to hustle anyone out the door early in the morning. I love the lack of school run. I love hanging out with the kids…
Except when I don’t. You know, because kids are incapable of amusing themselves. Or, perhaps I’m just really amusing, so they’d rather I do it for them. That can get difficult when they can’t agree on what to do. It can also get pricey if you don’t keep good track and mix up the free activities with the paid ones.
The Easter/end of term 1 school holidays in Sydney have two main features. There is the Sydney Royal Easter Show, which is a yearly bone of contention, because all the kids see is rides and junk food and show bags. I like the animals and arty stuff. But the reason we don’t usually go, aside from our general dislike of enormous crowds, is because I’m not a human ATM. I know I sound like a terrible Easter grinch (is that a thing?) but the idea of walking around, doing my best Oprah impersonation and splashing out my cash to everyone I see just doesn’t appeal to me!
Seriously, for a big family like ours, we’d be dropping over $160 just to step through the gates!
The other stand-out feature at this time of year is the weather. Although we’ve had a prolonged summer here in Sydney, our trademark Easter wet weather is bound to make an appearance, so I like to plan things that can happen indoors. Here’s a few ideas for things to do in the school holidays:
Stuff to do at home.
- Pick a movie, make popcorn and relax. Hot tip: you choose the movie. It doesn’t have to be a democracy. Save your sanity and tell the kids what they’ll be watching!
- Have a cook up. Biscuits, cupcakes or a slice are all easy options that kids can make with age appropriate supervision. Our bigger kids are quite capable of making simple meals and get quite a lot of satisfaction out of it. It can be as simple as a taco kit, they’ll still get a kick out of plating up dinner for their parents! (If you can’t bear the thought of cleaning up after- look into kids cooking classes- there are quite a few available around Sydney!)
- Board games. An obvious but often overlooked option. For a twist, we’ve been known to hit the local op shop to get a vintage game or two. A cheap option as well as one that amuses the kids who are fascinated with “retro”games- just make sure all the pieces are there!
- School holidays in Sydney can get expensive if you’re not careful. We don’t mind spending a bit on a few things but try to balance it out with the free or inexpensive things. The great thing for us about school holidays? Sydney has heaps and heaps of things to do and places to go.The Art Gallery of NSW has free entry (extra fees for special exhibitions) and is good for a wander. You can join free tours if you want to get all serious about it, or take a leaf out of Mallory Ortberg’s book and make up caption for classical artworks that will have your kids in stitches.
— Mallory Ortberg (@mallelis) March 9, 2016
- The Australian Museum has free entry for kids under 16 as well, like the Art Gallery. You can choose to pay extra for certain exhibits but there is plenty to see and do without it.
- Indoor trampolining is a great way to burn off some energy at places like Sky Zone Trampoline Park. Kids can literally bounce off the walls! Even little ones can kangaroo around in the under 5’s area while you relax with a well earned coffee.
- Don’t forget Sundays! If you have an Opal card, you can have unlimited train rides for $2.50 per person on Sundays- a good excuse for a day trip! Bring your bikes or pack a picnic and head out to somewhere you wouldn’t normally go. Why not throw in a bit of geocaching?
Feeding Their Faces.
Cafes are much of a muchness, right? Wrong! There are so many now that are themed or specialty venues with great options for kids.
- Crayz Espresso at Matraville, with a family friendly menu and dedicated play area, is a good option for families with little ones.
- Sydney Tower Buffet has a ‘Kids Eat Free’ deal on Mondays and Tuesdays if you’re after food with a view.
- For us, I have a few places in mind for something indulgent. Up the top of my list is the Catmosphere Cafe in Surry Hills. We are definitely cat people. What could be more appropriate than coffee, cookies and kitties??
Got any sure-fire school holiday survival tips?
This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Accor. Check out their infographic for more ideas here.