September 2017 School Holidays: What’s On In Newcastle & The Hunter

With just two weeks until school holidays, it’s time to start planning what to do.  If you’re looking for some inspiration on what to do with your kids, here’s some ideas. Whether your kids are interested in art, books, science, craft or being outdoors, 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 set.

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

Libraries & Museums

Local libraries have plenty to keep kids occupied during the holidays.

Newcastle Region Library have loads of fantastic activities at their libraries during the holidays. There’s fun sessions for kids to get up close to a crocodile, learn about creepy-crawlies in the backyard as well as learn about the amazing world of bees. Kids can make a beautiful garden mobile from recycled aluminum cans and recycle old books into a bouquet of flowers.

There’s loads of storytimes during the holidays with a different theme for each session that’s perfect for kids under 8. Join local author Deborah Kelly for a special storytime and craft morning as she reads from her new picture book Me and You at Hamilton Library and New Lambton Library.

For May Gibb fans, there’s also a special storytime and craft celebrating her classic stories of the Australian bush. Your family can also enjoy a Friday Bush Dance at Wallsend Library on Friday 29 September. Dust off your dancing boots and celebrate the season with a traditional bush dance.

For older kids ages 12 to 18, there’s workshops to upcycle t-shirts, create DIY flower crowns and create stop motion animation.

Maitland Library has a variety of fun and interesting workshops revolving around the theme “Itsy Bitsy”. Workshops include science fun, arts and crafts, coding and LEGO. Celebrating little things, participants can learn about tiny animals, make tiny LEGO creations,  miniature mobiles, and examine minuscule organisms and learn about germs. Kids can also learn about coding in school holiday workshops using Scratch Jr. for kids aged 5 – 8 and Scratch for kids aged 8 to 15.

Be entertained with unexpected twists and surprising endings to popular fairy tales with an original production presented by Maitland Repertory Theatre. It features well known fairy tale creatures, heroes and villains! These classic stories have been given a new life and each is twisted in a way that is sure to excite and amuse.

Lake Macquarie Library has a number of activities to keep kids entertained. To keep kids entertained, the library is offering the popular Frog Prince Puppet and Wombat Stew puppet shows as well as hands-on workshops featuring paper planes, knitting and crocheting, LEGO robotics and augmented reality games.

For those kids that love storytimes and craft, there’s drive-in storytime, a rover-themed storytime  and a jungle-themed storytime.

Kids can bring their teddy for a fun tea party with friends at the Teddy Bear Tea Party. They will enjoy songs, stories and a special teddy bear craft.

There’s also author events scheduled for the holidays.Deborah Kelly will be launching the latest books in the Ruby Wishfingers series, King of the Castle and Funny Money. In addition, Join Lessons of a Lac author Lynn Jenkins, and illustrator Kirrili Lonergan, as they celebrate their new book ‘Ollie’s Treasure’ suitable for ages 4 – 8 years.

At Tomaree Library in Port Stephens, there’s various workshops that will keep kids happy making dream catchers, lantern and monster craft as well as a coding club which introduces kids to coding. There’s also the family movie Happy Feet 2 screening during the holidays.

Spend some time at Newcastle Museum where there’s always great things happening over the school holidays.

Enjoy some music at the Museum with A Very Hungry Caterpillar session on Sunday 8 October from 10.30am to 11.30am. Wiggle, giggle and pop as Julie Logan Music inspires the whole family to swing, sway, dance and play your way into spring! Presented by Newcastle Youth Orchestra. Suitable from birth to 6 years with an adult to share the interactive musical fun – older siblings welcome too. Fancy dress is optional, come dressed as bugs and caterpillars!

In LEGO Sessions, older kids can learn about axles, engineering and touch on Newtons Laws as they explore the Ferris wheel. Then kids get a ticket to ride with BRICKS 4 KIDZ® Amusement Park Mayhem! Kids build their favourite rides, learning how to make things spin, roll, turn and rock.

The always popular science shows will be on as well.  For these school holidays, come and have a splash around the science of water and explore the ebb and flow of water together. 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.

For more information on Newcastle Museum holiday sessions, check out the Newcastle City Council school holiday brochure.

Arts, Crafts, Drama and Music

For those kids into creative activities, here are plenty on offer these school holidays.

The Newcastle Art Gallery has workshops for 5 to 12 year olds inspired by the current exhibitions.  In the first week in the Mad Heads workshop, children will create pinch pots with modelling clay to make a 3D portrait. Children will explore a variety of techniques to make facial features and create a unique clay character.  In the following week, children will learn about the cyanotype printing process and experiment with the arrangement of interesting shapes and details from materials, plants and objects to create a blue print of silhouette images.

The Newcastle Art Gallery is also presenting a Family Torchlight Tour on Saturday 23 September.  Come along for a guided tour around the exhibitions by torchlight. Grab a hot chocolate and make your own work of art. This family friendly event includes all art materials and snacks. Don’t forget to bring your torches! It’s $10 per child with accompanying adults free.

Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery is featuring children’s workshops relating to the theme “the wonderful world of books”. While you’re there, stroll around their outdoor sculpture garden.

Have some school holiday fun at Maryland Neighbourhood Centre and the Sanctuary in Fletcher. Kids can create Aboriginal art, fairy houses and have fun with fossils. Contact the centres for more information.

Variety – the Children’s Charity  is hosting a Variety Musical Picnic at Speers Point Park on Wednesday 4 October. This is a free morning of music and fun featuring a drumming workshop by The Rhythm Village. Suitable for kids of all ages and abilities. Lunch is provided. RSVPs required.

Health

Come along and discover the exciting world of health, science and medical research at the Hunter Medical Research Institute’s 2017 Open Day on Friday 6 October. There will be lots of fun and engaging things for kids and teenagers to do at the HMRI Open Day including Kids Science Sessions and activities, Science Meets Fiction talk,  and laboratory tours.  The event is free but registration is required.

If your kids are interested in pet health, attend the free school holiday tours at Animal Referral & Emergency Centre in Broadmeadow. Families with kids 5 and older can see how veterinarians and vet nurses, care for sick and injured animal friends in the 24/7 Broadmeadow hospital. Register for limited spaces.

Outdoor Fun

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

Visit Blackbutt Reserve for their reptile show in the Wildlife Arena at Carnley Avenue at 11am daily during the school holidays. You can also visit the various animals in the wildlife enclosures, learn about animals during their daily feeding times or enjoy the playground. Please note that due to construction of new pathways, shelters and BBQ areas in Richley Reserve, Junior Ranger Fun Day will not be held.

Get outdoors and visit the Hunter Wetlands Centre in Sandgate with plenty of tracks to go walking, a discovery trail, dipnetting and super fun playground. There’s also school holiday sessions for kids to learn bush skills for kids aged 8 to 12 as well as a wetlands explorer club themed for kids 5 to 8 year olds involving learning about Magpie Geese.

Also on for the school holidays are Kids Art Days which feature different art activities including making a wetlands mural, creating a scented candle, decorating a journey stick and building large bird nests. There’s also free magpie geese feeding and tank talks 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.

biodiversity-day-blue-gum-hills

Enjoy the holidays with some school holiday fun with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. The popular Biodiversity Day will be on Thursday 28 September at Blue Gum Hills Regional Park from 10am to 3pm. (Backup day in case of cancellation Thursday 5 October)

Bring the kids along to learn about biodiversity, interact with live animals, try tree planting, or learn about bats, bees and birds. Activities include nature activities for kids, bird observing, guided nature walks, free native plant giveaway as well as a free barbecue lunch.

Celebrate Nature is Fun Day on Wednesday 4 October at Hunter Region Botanic Gardens.  Children’s activities run from 10:30am – $5 each child (bookings essential).

If the weather’s warm, head to the beaches or pools. Lifeguard patrols start at Newcastle Beach, Stockton Beach, Dixon Park Beach and Merewether Ocean Baths on Saturday 23 September 2017. (Newcastle Ocean Baths, Nobbys Beach, Bar Beach and Merewether Beach are patrolled all year round. For patrol times and baths cleaning schedules visit Newcastle City Council website.

Beresfield Swimming Centre opens for the season on 23 September, 2017. Mayfield, Wallsend and Stockton swimming centres operated by Lane 4 Aquatics open on Monday 25 September, 2017. Lambton Swimming Centre opened on 21 August. In Lake Macquarie, Morisset Swim Centre reopens 1 September while Swansea Swim Centre re-opens late September 2017.

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.

Concerts and Shows

Don’t miss the Young People’s Theatre performance of Getting to Know Cinderella during the first week of the school holidays. Tickets on sale now through the YPT website. Ticket prices starting at $17.70.

The musical will run from Thursday September 29 until Oct 1 and features local young actors all under the age of 18 from Hunter Drama Youth Theatre Company. Tickets on sale now through Ticketek. Ticket prices starting at $40.

Indoor Fun

Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley are hosting fun school holidays activities including an animal wildlife show,  kids pasta making class, an “Under the Sea” high tea (for kids and parents!) and a yummy cupcake decorating class.

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). These passes are great for savings at Reading Cinemas, Megamania, STRIKE Bowling and Timezone. Buy a Kids Entertainment Pass these school holidays to receive a bonus Hot Chocolate at Max Brenner.

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.

Movies

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

Movie cover image

The Emoji Movie (G)- The Emoji Movie unlocks the never-before-seen secret world inside your smartphone. Hidden within the messaging app is Textopolis, a bustling city where all your favorite emojis live, hoping to be selected by the phone’s user.

Movie cover image

Captain Underpants (G) – Based on the best-selling book series, DreamWorks Animation brings audiences the long-awaited global movie event, CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE. This raucously subversive comedy for the entire family tells the story of two overly imaginative pranksters named George and Harold, who hypnotize their principal into thinking he’s a ridiculously enthusiastic, incredibly dim-witted superhero named Captain Underpants.

Movie cover image

The LEGO Ninjago Movie (CTC) – Six young ninjas Lloyd, Jay, Kai, Cole, Zane and Nya are tasked with defending their island home, called Ninjago. By night, they’re gifted warriors, using their skills and awesome fleet of vehicles to fight villains and monsters. By day, they’re ordinary teens struggling against their greatest enemy: high school.

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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