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The best school holidays activities in Melbourne

Find our picks of the best at-home and lockdown-friendly activities for kids during the spring school holidays which run from September 18 to October 3

Rebecca Russo
Nicola Dowse
Written by
Rebecca Russo
&
Nicola Dowse
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School's out, restrictions have slightly eased and it's school holiday time again. That means kids are keen for a break and parents are keen to keep their kids entertained. We hear you and we come bearing solutions. Here's a stack of at-home activities and resources to help keep children in Melbourne engaged during the spring school holidays. 

Need more things to do? Here’s what’s happening across Melbourne this week. Need a reminder on how far to travel? Calculate your 10km bubble here.

Things to do with kids in Melbourne

As per usual, the State Library has managed to set up a wonderful selection of at-home activities for kids these school holidays. There’s the children’s storytelling workshop with author, illustrator and former zoologist Andrew Plant (suitable for ages 5-8). Next, it’s the hour-long livestreamed Book Party in the House which celebrates books and fun (ages 5-10). Crafty kids can also tune into several videos on how to have fun with paper. Check it all out on the SLV website

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  • Games and hobbies

If you've been feeling a bit stir crazy from spending so much time indoors this winter during lockdown, take advantage of spring and the sunshine by playing some fun outdoor games with your household. From burrito dodgeball to board games that are windproof, these games are sure to keep kids entertained and help you feel connected to the people you live with. If you don't have a yard, that's OK: these games are also suitable for playing at your local park, and some can still be modified to play indoors. 

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Paint classes by Cork & Chroma have become quite the staple of our lockdowns. Now, the popular venue is celebrating the release of Netflix’s new My Little Pony: A New Generation with a 1.5-hour painting session. Cork & Chroma will host six of these Paint and Pony classes between September 21 and October 2, livestreamed on Zoom. The classes are best suited to children aged 5-12. All the details here

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If you live near Princes Park, Royal Park or Melbourne Cemetary, add a little bit of excitement to your daily walk by keeping an eye out for the native Superb Fairy-wren. Melbourne city council has partnered with BirdLife Australia, RMIT University and the University of Melbourne to track these birds and their movements to collect data on their health and habitat. These tiny birds have a round body and long upright tail, with the adult breeding males characterised by bright blue and black plumage. If you'd like to participate, you can record your observations in the Birdata App between September and November. The data will be used by wildlife experts to safely capture and fit the birds with coloured leg bands that allow them to identify individual birds and track their movements. 

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Throughout the school holidays, Queen Vic Market will be running five interactive cooking classes for kids. The workshops will run for around 45 minutes via Zoom. Kids can learn how to make pizza, cookies, muesli bars, doughnut muffins and even a special AFL Grand Final sausage roll. Ingredients lists, equipment requirements and recipe details will be sent via email once you’ve booked in. More details on the QVM website

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  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies

The outside world can be stressful enough as it is, so you won't find any aggressive, bloody first-person shooters or unnerving apocalyptic games on this list. Instead, we've compiled a list of games that have cute graphics, soothing soundtracks and relaxing gameplay that will give you a much-needed distraction during lockdown while putting a smile on your face. Every game on this list is available on Steam.

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  • Things to do
  • Games and hobbies

Ever since everything changed in 2020, congregating together and getting sweaty while running around breathlessly in a locked room seemed like a really bad idea. Which should tank the entire concept of a high-stakes escape room, right? Wrong. Turns out everyone’s favourite panic-inducing entertainment has made the switch to digital too. The rapidly expanding at-home take on the escape room genre comes in many forms. Some will have you interacting with an actual actor on a video call, some are glorified surveys and others are a bit more video game-like. Here are a few of our faves to keep you screaming for more clues/time/chill while you're stuck at home.

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Melbourne's zoos are closed to human animals right now, but those with feathers, fur or fins are definitely still in residence, and just as active as ever. You can catch up on their antics from home – including the cutest residents of all, the Asian small-clawed otters. Otter parents Paula and Odie and their four pups (Murphy, Rodney, Gunther and Squid) are on camera 24 hours a day on Melbourne Zoo's livestream. The webcam captures their sleeping quarters, so you can watch them snoozing in a giant otter cuddle pile, which is just as adorable as you think it is. 

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  • Games and hobbies

If you're looking for a fun way to keep your mind sharp and stay connected to the people you live with during lockdown, board games are the answer. From quick two-player games like Coup that test your poker face and bluffing abilities, to the immersive fantasy game Lords of Waterdeep that can take a couple of hours to play, this list has something for everyone. Order a few of these games from a local Melbourne store like Gameology and put board game night in your calendar. 

Keen for a swing at the playground?

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