We’re staying in Sydney with family for Christmas and are making the most of city life enjoying all the incredible activities and events happening over the school holidays.
Being on a tight traveling budget we have researched all of the best free things to do over December and January with the kids – there’s so much to see, do, make and visit that it will be hard to choose!
Let us know in the comments if there is anything else that we should check out
Sydney Olympic Park
Starting on December 16th – there are loads of free and cheap activities for kids of all ages at Sydney Olympic Park. There are clue trails, bike and scooter tracks, disc golf and the Amazing Chase (a puzzle trail around the park). You can learn about the Green and Golden Bell Frog in the Brick Pit Walk or get your moves on at the free Sports Star and Dance Star sessions. A full list of free activities can be found here.
There is a free family outdoor film festival in January – with 12 family friendly movies being shown during the month including kids’ activities. See the full schedule here
There are also heaps of creative workshops and activities happening – you can write your own book or try your hand some dragon drumming – see the full list of activities here. (fees apply)
From now until Christmas you can enjoy free festive family movies in Tumbalong Park, there’s a giant walk through bauble and a free workshop where kids can make their own to take home. Find more info on this link.
The State Library of NSW
The library has free kids’ activities during January – there is a bug themed activity centre where you can make a bug ring, a spider headband and some kooky bug eyes, then settle in to some drawing and reading about the wonders of the natural world. There are also free kids’ tours of the library giving you an exciting behind the scenes look into some of the collections. Find out all the info here.
The Royal Botanic Gardens
Dinosaurs have invaded the gardens this school holidays! This free event takes you on a prehistoric safari to find Australian Dinosaurs and megafauna hiding in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. Grab your FREE map from the Garden Shop.
You could win a double pass to the kids’ holiday program the Bees Knees at the Calyx in the Royal Botanic Gardens where you get to learn all about bees, taste the home grown honey and make a beeswax candle! All you have to do is to head to the Gardens and upload a creative photo of your kids in The Calyx to Instagram with #thecalyxkids and tag@rbgsydney for your chance to win! More info here.
The Museum of Contemporary Art
Down in the Rocks you can enjoy a Christmas village during December – and a visit to the MCA will give you the chance to get creative with free art making for kids. You can read more on their website – they also have a full schedule of school holiday arts activities to sign up to as well.
Australian National Maritime Museum
General admission to the museum is free which includes entry to the permanent galleries and use of the Mini Mariners play area (for under 5s), as well as several exhibitions. From December 28th to January 28th you can also enjoy the Container or Gapu-Monuk Saltwater Kids activity trails for free. You can also visit the cabinet of curiosities discovering curious creature specimens and artefacts related to the Arctic and Antarctic that the kids can touch and feel. Find out about all their events here.
Giant Gingerbread Train!
At the Shangri-La Hotel there is a 4 metre train made out of gingerbread! This year’s work of art combines 1,000 kilos of gingerbread bricks, 500 kilos of lollies, 100 kilos of fondant, 200 lollipops and liberal lashings of icing. Entry is free – there are loads of Christmas goodies for sale in the pop up store. More info can be found here.
For older kids up later you can visit the animated, family friendly ground projections in Martin Place and Customs House Square from dusk to 1am.
You can also go online and leave a message on their interactive tree!
Christmas at Myer
Escape the heat for some festive fun at Myer – Myer Sydney has created a special place for families to relax that captures the magic of shopping at Christmas. On level 6 – Myer have created an in-store, immersive experience and recreation of a magical, winter-wonderland.
The key showpiece of the in-store experience is the Santaland Express – a life-size train that will whisk shoppers of all ages away on a virtual journey from Myer Central Station to Santaland.
Kids can also enjoy Santa’s workshop with various interactive Christmas-themed play stations. Santaland is also home to the Claus’s residence for photos with Santa.
Make sure you start your journey to Wonderland by Myer on the Rocket Ship Elevator accessed from the ground floor of Sydney City.
Coco Family Festival
Celebrating the Australian cinema release of Disney Pixar’s latest animated, heart-warming fantasy adventure film, Coco. Disney, Show & Tell and Mumtastic Australia are getting together to throw one colourful Coco Family Festival.
There will be a whole heap of Coco-inspired fun to be had for parents and kids alike. Enjoy performances by Mexican dancers and a mariachi band, a cooking demonstration plus a stack of arts and craft activities.
It’s all completely free! If you’re looking for fun and inspiring school holiday activities for the whole fam, this is where the magic will happen. 10am – 4pm in Martin Place.
As part of the Sydney Festival there is a free exhibition at Town Hall that all dinosaur lovers will adore.
Jurassic Plastic is art for both kids and grown-ups. A fun exercise in creativity and nostalgia, while contemplating mass consumerism. Japanese artist Hiroshi Fuji recycles and reinvents unwanted plastic toys into colourful ‘Toysaurus’ dinosaur sculptures and landscapes.
For more info click here
For all events happening during the Sydney Festival from January 6th – 28th click here.
Little Darlings Night Owl Film Festival
Little Darlings Night Owls Kids Film Festival returns to nest these summer holidays for 17 nights of free outdoor cinema.
Expect balmy nights packed with the coolest family friendly flicks, fantastic short films and live entertainment.
The main event kicks off from 6.45pm every night, with a fun-filled program of free screenings.
From the 2017 remakes of Beauty and the Beast and Pete’s Dragon, to 90s throwback hit Home Alone.
Watch crowd pleasers The Lego Batman Movie, Red Dog: True Blue, Despicable Me 3, The BFG, Moana and Sing.
There’s something for every member of the family. Visit their website here.
Over to you….
Have we missed anything? Let us know below what else we should see these Sydney school holidays!