April 2017 School Holidays: What’s On in Newcastle & The Hunter

There’s no excuses for bored kids as there’s loads of indoor and outdoor activities to keep kids occupied for the April school holidays. Whether your kids are interested in art, books, science, movies, or outdoor fun, there’s something for everyone. And it’s not just for school-aged kids, there’s plenty of holiday activities planned for the under 5 crowd.

Visit the Events page on The Mummy Project website for a day-by-day guide for what’s on around the area.

Libraries & Museums

Starting with the libraries, there’s plenty to keep kids occupied. Newcastle Region Library is offering Easter storytimes and science storytimes at different branches to entertain kids. There’s also LEGO Master Builders challenge as well as a selfie cross-stitch workshop.

Bring your teddy and some snacks and enjoy a Teddy Bears Picnic in Lambton Park on 20 April. There will be stories, songs and a craft session.

Join the SMART Team from Newcastle University as Newcastle Region Library launches our new preschool science program and school age hands-on science resources. They’ll kick off celebrations with the Best of SMART show – the popular liquid nitrogen show at Wallsend Library on 11 April. There’s also sessions to get hands on with robotics and make optical illusion.

Maitland City Library has a variety of fun workshops revolving around the theme “Paper Planet”. These workshops covering a range of activities from writing your own story, making artworks with paper and learning 3D paper crafts. There’s also Smurf-inspired sessions involving making Smurf vllages and a Smurf-Tastic musical noisemaker.

For budding artists, Punkii (Sharni McDermott), a professional performer and creator will share her love of culture, the Dreamtime, Australia and animals through literature and art. Kids can get inspired by Australian stories and then create drawings and paintings based on the stories. Kids can learn about the environment with Ship O’Fools performing the Waste Wrappers Show, a fun, interactive show full of juggling, song and music with a cool environmental message.

Lake Macquarie City Library has a number of activities to keep kids entertained. From Crafty kids sessions to Ozobots coding, there’s lots of fun planned for the holidays.

To keep kids entertained, Charlestown Library is presenting JD’s World of Magic. Join  award winning magician Joel Howlett at his all new show that’s suitable for all ages.

Dancing Charli

Join author Ant Wood and illustrator Lorraine Robertson for the launch of their new book Dancing Charli followed by craft and yummy treats. There’s also a special storytime featuring local author Nancy Watson, reading her book Flossie the Fairy. There will be lots of fun with games, songs and craft.

Spend some time at Newcastle Museum, a great destination during school holidays. Join Julie Logan Music at Newcastle Museum for Music at the Museum: We Can Sing a Rainbow on Friday 21 March from 10am – 10.30am or 11am – 11.30am to celebrate the mixing pot of cultures that make up our vibrant Hunter community. This session will inspire the whole family to Swing, Sway and Play songs and dances from around the world. Suitable from Birth to 6 years, older siblings welcome too. Dress Code: National Dress optional but encouraged! Bookings essential.

There’s also a Bricks for Kidz LEGO workshop for kids 5+ inspired by NASA and Star Wars. Kids will learn about real-life space exploration and build models related to the NASA space program. In addition the workshop includes LEGO® Star WarsTM themed models, group games and challenges. Bookings essential.

The always popular science shows will be on as well during the school holidays on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the holidays at 11:15am, 12:15pm and 1:15om. Tip: Get there early for the science shows as there were long lines during the last holidays and some people missed out! Plus, there’s all the other great activities and attractions at the Museum such as Supernova and the BHP Steel show. Remember Newcastle Museum is open every day during school holidays from 10am to 5pm.

Join local author Jess Black at her book launch to introduce her latest kids book series. In the Little Paws series,Jess writes about puppies that train to become Guide Dogs and the families that help raise them. The launch will be held at Ground Up Cafe, Young St, Carrington on Saturday April 22nd at 3pm. There will be furry friends there too!

Family Day at Newcastle Writers Festival

Don’t miss the Newcastle Writers Festival! A Harry Potter celebration, hunting words, art fun and an opportunity to meet acclaimed author Jackie French are just some of the fun activities planned for the 2017 Family Day for the Newcastle Writers Festival on Saturday 8 April. The Family Day offers kids the opportunity to meet and interact with some of Australia’s leading writers and illustrators as well as learn and create. The Wheeler Place hub will inspire creativity with a range of fun activities for children. Special guests include Jackie French, Richard Roxburgh, John ‘Stinker’ Clarke and local illustrators Liz Anelli, Gwynneth Jones and Kirrili Lonergan.

Arts, Crafts, Drama & Music

School Holiday Programs at Newcastle Art Gallery

Photo supplied by Newcastle Art Gallery

For arty kids, there are plenty of art activities on offer these school holidays. The Newcastle Art Gallery has workshops for 5 to 12 year olds inspired by the current exhibitions Magic Mike: Michale Zavros and Alex Seton: The Island. In Swimming Self Portraits, kids will make their own self-portrait that looks like an underwater masterpiece while in the following week for the Paper Toy Boats workshop, children will create paper boat dioramas and explore paper-folding techniques as well as setting a scene and telling a story through a work of art.

Photo supplied by Newcastle Art Gallery

There’s also a special Egg-cellent Easter Torchlight Tour  at Newcastle Art Gallery on Saturday 8 April. Kids can enjoy an Easter egg hunt and guided tour around the exhibitions before making some Easter craft. Bookings essential.

Love the book Josephine Wants To Dance? The Newcastle Youth Orchestra returns with a very special Kids Classics concert. Composer William Jeffery brings to life the story of Josephine, a young Kangaroo, who wants to dance. Narrated by Australian author Jackie French, this concert is bound to excite all audiences with its beautiful story and dynamic melodies. The concert will be held on Sunday 9 April from 12pm to 1pm at Harold Lobb Concert Hall, Newcastle Conservatorium.

Lake Macquarie Art Gallery is featuring cool children’s workshops relating to printmaking and 3D artwork. Preschoolers don’t miss out with Rainbow Connection which features storytime and craft activities.

At Maitland Regional Art Gallery, there’s self-guided kids activities. Code Breaker 1.0 and Code Breaker 2.0 are suitable for kids 10+.

Sports

Cheer on the Newcastle Knights at a special Family Fun Day Out as they play the Sydney Roosters on Good Friday on April 14, 2017. Organised by Newcastle Knights match day sponsor, Red Energy, a 110% Australian owned energy supplier, this event promises to be a high-energy event with plenty of match day fun. Bring the whole family and enjoy the free Knights Kids Zone (petting zoo, bungee run, facepainting and a photo booth) before the game. Gates open at 3:30pm at McDonald Jones Stadium in Broadmeadow. A Family pass of four starts from $16.55 per person and can be purchased through Ticketmaster.

Pivot Netball Academy are hosting a number of school holiday programs during the April break at Genesis Fitness Cooks Hill. Clinics include the 2 day skills clinic for players turning 7 to 12 in 2017. The 2 day skills clinic focuses on developing strong ball handling skills, solid catching and passing techniques and includes an introduction to footwork to assist with strong attacking skills.

Outdoor Fun

If your kids like to be out and about, there’s loads of events and activities to choose from.

Blackbutt Reserve is holding its popular free Junior Ranger Fun Day on Wednesday 12 April 2017 at Richley Reserve (off Freyberg Street) from 11am to 1pm. The theme of this Newcastle Permanent Junior Ranger Fun Day is Nature Adventure, with jumping castle, environmental activities, craft, interactive games and critter encounters on offer. No bookings required, however parental supervision is compulsory and children must wear fully enclosed shoes.

Hunter Wetlands Centre

Photo supplied by Hunter Wetlands Centre

Meanwhile over at Hunter Wetlands Centre in Sandgate, there will be sessions for Bush Skills (8 to 12 years) and Wetland Explorer Club (5 to 8 years). There’s also drop in sessions for facepainting, sand art and plaster model fun. Every day, there will be free magpie geese feeding and reptile encounters where kids can get up close and learn about  reptiles, frog and fish. Hunter Wetlands Centre also offers $2 entry for kids 12 and under during school holiday periods. At other times, all tickets are $5 for adults and kids over 5. It’s worth a visit to check out the Discovery Playground or try dipnetting from the jetty.

Children and their parents can head to Nelson Bay’s D’Albora Marina in Port Stephens for a host of free, family fun activities these school holidays, including reptile shows, markets and live music on the weekends. Children can get up close and personal with snakes, lizards and other scaly friends at the Blackbutt Reptile Encounters, held at D’Albora Marina on selected days.

For the school holidays, Hunter Valley Gardens is channelling Kung Fu Panda 3. Families can see the Warriors of Peace Training Academy Show featuring PO from Kung Fu Panda. This energetic show will engage your children and let their imaginations run wild, plus children will also have a chance to meet and greet PO!

There’s also loads of parks and playgrounds to explore in Newcastle and surrounds, so visit a place you haven’t been before. For some inspiration, visit the Parks & Playgrounds section of The Mummy Project.

Events

The Next Step

Dance fans, get ready for The Next Step Live in Newcastle! Following their September 2016 sell out Australian tour, the cast of The Next Step is returning to Australia and coming to Newcastle for the first time ever on Thursday 13 April. Featuring ten of the cast of the hit television series, The Next Step – Live on Stage will be a brand new show that offers fans a chance to get up close and personal with cast members from the global hit TV show. (The Next Step screens in Australia on ABC Me and is a worldwide hit with tweens aged 8 to 14!) The 90-minute stage show features solos, duets, trios and group numbers with choreography by The Next Step’s own Jordan Clark and Trevor Tordjman who have created a whole new show and an immersive live experience exclusively for the fans in Australia. Tickets available through Ticketek starting from $71.30 + booking fee.

Take part in a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party on Thursday 13 April and Thursday 18 April at the Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley. It’s their very first kids themed Alice in Wonderland tea party where we’ll have lots of delicious savoury and sweet food, live entertainment and face painting. There will even be an award for the best fancy dress!

The Young People’s Theatre in Hamilton is presenting a theatrical production of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie throughout the school holidays. With words and music by Peter Combe, this musical is based on the much-loved Australian children’s book, ‘The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie,’ by May Gibbs. Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, the gumnut babies, live in the Australian bush and are intrigued and a little scared by the thought of meeting a human. A must see for all ages! Tickets are $18 and available online.

For train lovers, Hunter Valley Steamfest is on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 April at the Maitland Railway Station Precinct.  Visit Steamfest and experience the fun and family friendly look into days gone by with a diverse program including historic steam train trips, vintage machinery displays and demonstrations, live music, interactive heritage walks and displays, a vintage car display, market stalls, food stalls, kids activities and much more.

The Brickman Experience is coming to Newcastle. It will be at Newcastle Entertainment Centre from 9 to 30 April. It’s Australia’s biggest exhibition of LEGO works for all ages, featuring 60 exhibits, interactive kids zones and over 5 million spectacular LEGO bricks!

Indoor Fun

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)

On sale for $38, 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 or laser skirmish at Strike Bowling Bar
  • 60 minutes of Quickplay at Megamania
  • 30 minutes of free play at Timezone. Plus unlimited standard and ticket games and 50 pre-loaded power tickets.
  • 1 x McDonalds® Kid’s Meal including a grilled chicken snack wrap, CalciYum® milk and fruit bag
  • 1 x small juice or smoothie at Boost Juice

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 2017. We’re planning to use ours during the school holidays and have some fun.

Visit Charlestown Square for free facepainting, free plaster painting sessions and Minimania, a pop-up play venue. Megamania also has craft and circus workshops as well as a school holiday disco.

Don’t forget about the movies as well. It’s a great choice to keep kids entertained. There’s plenty of new release family movies on this school holidays.

The Boss Baby (G) is a hilariously universal story about how a new baby’s arrival impacts a family, told from the point of view of a delightfully unreliable narrator, a wildly imaginative 7 year old named Tim. With a sly, heart-filled message about the importance of family, DreamWorks‘ The Boss Baby is an authentic and broadly appealing original comedy for all ages.

Beauty and The Beast (PG) is an adaptation of the Disney fairy-tale about a monstrous prince and a young woman who fall in love.

In The LEGO Batman Movie (PG), Bruce Wayne must not only deal with the criminals of Gotham City, but also the responsibility of raising a boy he adopted.

Smurfs: The Lost Village (G). In this fully animated, all-new take on the Smurfs, a mysterious map sets Smurfette and her best friends Brainy, Clumsy and Hefty on an exciting and thrilling race through the Forbidden Forest filled with magical creatures to find a mysterious lost village before the evil wizard Gargamel does.

Check out your Entertainment Book for savings at the movies and other attractions.

Whatever you do these school holidays with your kids, have fun and enjoy it. What are your plans for the school holidays?


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