Business Victoria | 15 December 2021
School’s out, and caregivers are looking for ways to keep kids occupied and entertained – whether it’s something crafty and artistic, outdoorsy and adventurous, mindful and calming, or scientific and educational.
To help out busy families across the state and support small businesses, we’ve assembled a list of Victorian small business-run holiday activities for all kinds of school-aged children and families.
Here in Victoria, there are interactive museum exhibits for young Salvador Dalis, bushcraft and survival courses for young Indiana Joneses, exercises to bring out their inner yogis, hands-on pottery making, workshops for the budding coder or roboticist, and finally some at-home activities for those days you don’t make it out the door.
Check out our interactive map to see all locations and details and see below for a breakdown of all the different activities.
If you have a little Doctor Dolittle that is craving some one-on-one time with the animal world, head over to Alternative View Alpacas located in Mirboo North, Gippsland, to get up close and personal with one of the world’s most adorable creatures. There are plenty of options to enjoy, from walking your own alpacas around the farm, to cuddling and enjoying a selfie with an alpaca while you learn more about their behaviour and what makes them so unique.
Alternative View Alpacas offers private group experiences starting at $200 for 4 people or individual tickets for a parent and child from $40 and if you want a selfie and a cuddle you will only pay $10 for a 14 to 16-year-old. Walking of the alpacas is also naturally socially distanced.
Life can get pretty crazy when you’re bouncing from one thing to another, growing and learning at breakneck speed. Sunny Time Yoga is the perfect way for kids to take some time to relax, stretch, learn more about themselves and to manage their emotions through movement and meditation.
Sunny Time is running two special 2-hour workshops for primary school-aged kids on the 13 and 20 of January, exploring a range of yoga poses, mindfulness, meditation and crafty activities. In addition to this, they hold regular classes for 3 to 5-year-olds and 6 to 13-year-olds that focus on exploring connectivity between mind, body and breath.
For classic fun and battles of galactic proportions, you can’t go past go karts and laser tag. Ballarat Indoor Go Karts & Laserforce is the only of its kind in Ballarat, and now offers a dedicated Arcade Games Zone.
This go kart business has been running for over 30 years, with some of the best carts and cheapest prices going around. They offer restricted speed Junior/Adult Karts where family can race together and unrestricted speed Adult Karts. Laserforce Ballarat is the fifth longest-running in the world; with 30 futuristic suits and a 400 square-metre arena, go and find out why!
Open every day throughout the school holidays 10am to 6pm Monday to Fridays, 10am to 8pm on Saturdays, and 10am to 6pm on Sundays.
Thinking about how you can get your kids out and about in the great outdoors this summer? Bushranger Survival are running survival and bushcraft courses on the Great Ocean Road with a focus on getting kids enjoying the fresh air, getting active, and most importantly socialising and team building after so many spats of isolation.
Students get to grips with the basics of bushcraft in group sessions that teach ancestral survival skills and impart knowledge from a range of indigenous cultures. They cover topics such as fire-making, shelter building, plant ID and usage, and water using interactive demonstrations and practical activities. These lessons aren’t always present in the classroom but can still prove essential in our lives today.
Their first public session of the year will be 16 January and is bookable through the website.
Ever felt like you’re the ringleader of a very wild, family circus? Well, Circus Fit Studio is for you and your kids! Circus Fit Studio holiday programs are a great way to get kids out of the house and on their feet learning fabulous, fitness and creativity-focused circus performer skills in a fun, social environment. Activities include parkour, acrobatics, trapeze, hula hoops, juggling, aerial skills and more! No prior experience is needed, and classes are available for all ages through primary and secondary school.
Looking for a program that will allow your kid to partake in a bunch of different sports as well as compete in games and challenges? Kelly Sports in Geelong run daily and weekly programs for kids that focus on learning and playing sport in a supportive environment. They even have fun competition days like Kids Olympics and Manic Monday, perfect for kids with a competitive streak!
Program activities are adapted to suit children of all ages and abilities, and staff are trained in behaviour management techniques, first aid and activity planning and delivery, so you know your kids are in safe hands. Each day runs from 8:00am to 5:30pm, and you can sign up for single days, or a full week of activities. They also have Kelly MiniSports, 45-minute sessions for littlies aged one to 5.
Whisk your kids (and yourself) away to a magical fairy tale and fantasy realm this school holidays, that is conveniently located just one hour from Melbourne. Fairy Park is a world of tales, myths and legends that come to life, a unique theme park that opened its doors in 1959. This wondrous place is the perfect escape into your own adventure wonderland with much-loved classic fairy-tale characters like Cinderella, Snow White or Camelot just to name a few.
Equally suitable for boys, girls and all those young at heart, admission to the park is open from 10am to 3pm with no admission after 3pm. Depart from this wonderland by 4:30pm sharp or forever be turned into a pumpkin.
When the weather isn’t ideal, or you have a house full of children that need to bounce away some energy, it’s time to head over to Xtreme Bounce in Delacombe near Ballarat. Perfect for kids to kidults, Xtreme Bounce offers sessions from $16 for ages 6 and up with a variety of trampoline-based fun, fitness, sports, training and entertainment attractions.
The venue is open 7 days a week, so grab your tickets and grippy socks for a day of accidental exercise and a whole lot of fun.
Relax in the summer sun on calm bay beaches across Victoria, or better yet get your children excited about the ocean waves with the Kids Holiday Surf Program from Go Surf School.
Endorsed by Surfing Australia, GO Surf School provides fun, safe, quality surfing lessons and holidays programs for all ages and levels of surfing ability. For 3 consecutive days, kids aged 5 to 16 will get 2-hour lessons on all the surfing basics including sun safety, ocean awareness and surfing rules. They also have Stand Up Paddleboard hire and lessons for something a little more low-key but equally challenging!
GO Surf has assembled some of the best local surf coaches, with solid knowledge of beach conditions. All you need is your towel, swimmers, sunscreen, and a good camera to catch all the action.
Encourage your kids to be excited about the outdoors and horses with Watson’s country ride in Victoria’s high country. For three generations the Watson family has answered the call of the high country, running their rides seven days a week through all seasons, be it in the warmth of an oilskin coat in the cool weather or enjoying relief from the heat in a high country summer.
Choose an unforgettable experience ranging from short daily rides to overnight adventures with pricing from $60 per person. All levels of experience are welcome.
Get the kids off their iPads and onto the Yarra River with On a Boat self-drive or skippered cruises – the adventure is yours to choose on your school holidays. The kids will love cruising on the waters through Melbourne’s spectacular scenery with a packed picnic on board and some cruisy music to set the scene for your little captains and shipmates.
The perfect day out for kids of all ages, prices start from $129 for one hour on a standard boat skippered by you, with the option to upgrade to a deluxe vessel. If you want to splash out big, book the skippered cruises from $399 for 1.5 hours of luxury and relaxation on the water.
Sk8house is the one-stop shop for good old-fashioned family fun and a cardio workout to boot. Improve your balance, motor skills, stability and coordination and most importantly of all have a cracking good time.
There’s something for everyone this holiday season, with many options available for parents and guardians looking for some summer fun with their kids. Learn to skate with the Super Summer Pass for $64. This entitles the holder to entry to 4 general sessions for the price of 4, plus free Sk8hire is needed. All skills levels and ages are catered for, and you can progress to joining their club and private tuition, and even national and international competition! There are 9 classes offered across 5 days of the week.
For those of you who are looking for a seriously exhilarating and literally high-stakes adventure, swing over to Lorne where you can test your vertigo and tree-top monkey-skills to the extreme.
Live Wire Park is the first fully off-grid and off-ground adventure park in Australia, smack-bam in the middle of stunning Otways off the Great Ocean Road. Experiences include a two-hour Super Circuit, one-hour Short Circuit, the Shockwave Zip Coaster, as well as the Spring Circuit Trampoline Park and the breathtaking tree-top Canopy Circuit walk (included in the general admission fee).
The Park is a sustainable business, designed to have as minimal an impact on nature as possible, family-owned and run by locals who are passionate about the environment.
Come and get lost and found in Maze House’s famous 28-year-old hedge maze set in a 5-acre country carnival garden near Daylesford. The Maze and Country Carnival Garden is open to the public every day from 28 December to the end of January (except New Year’s Day).
Negotiate the twists and turns in the maze and find all the clues in the summer maze hunt to win a prize. After that, test your skills with old-time carnival games dotted throughout the garden. Wind-up horse racing, return bowling and the amazing buzz test are just a few of the games that provide loads of outdoor fun. Sessions run for about 1.5 hours, and numbers are controlled to allow for social distancing. Bring the whole family along for some challenging, rip-roaring fun! Bookings essential.
Catch a breath of fresh Victorian countryside air and head to the Halls Gap this summer for a spot of adventure golf as well as some real hands-on arts and crafts at MOCO Gallery.
Grampians Adventure’s challenging and fun 18-hole golf course meanders through stunning bushland in the heart of Gariwerd (the Grampians), and the unique MOCO Gallery runs year-round workshops programs. This summer, you can make bookings for the Thursday School Holidays Art Club, or Monday’s ‘MOCO Rocks!’ workshops for kids. Bring some creative fun to your trip to Halls Gap with artist-led classes that offer fun and free-range artistic expression and classes for kids to try out a range of different art styles.
The Museum of Play and Arts in Geelong is a dreamscape of interactive artistic exhibits for kids to explore and immerse themselves in learning and playing. There is also a cafe well-stocked with good coffee for parent- and caregiver-playtime!
These summer holidays, MoPA has partnered with Geelong Gallery to extend the fun of the gallery’s ‘Archie 100’ exhibit specifically designed for youngsters to explore a range of portrait possibilities. During any trip to MoPA this summer, visitors are welcome to join in on the activations – all of which will run all day, every day, and are included in the regular ticket prices.
Get them away from the screen and onto their feet doing something fun, active, and confidence-boosting at Bop Till You Drop’s Performing Arts Workshops in Melbourne and Geelong.
These workshops incorporate dancing, singing, drama, science, craft and team fun in a structured rotating roster across 2 days. As well as performing arts skills, they focus on building confidence and self-esteem by encouraging children to take part of the creative process and express themselves openly in an encouraging environment.
Workshops are running throughout January at multiple locations across Melbourne and Geelong. Check out their website for more info and booking details.
Are you craving a break from your daily activities and need to dive into something truly creative?
For your next school holiday adventure with the kids, why not indulge in something that you can get stuck into with your own two hands. Bendigo Pottery is Australia’s oldest working pottery, yet the kilns are stilling firing perfect here, ready to host you and your kids with a range of fun clay workshops, wheel throwing experiences, plate painting classes and clay play.
Each class is run under the guidance of skilled potters and artists with workshops occurring in January on weekdays. Decorating Workshops are available on weekdays at 11:00 am. 1:00pm and 2:30pm and wheel throwing lessons will only be available on 10 January to 14 January and 17 January to 21 January 2022. Bookings required for some activities.
First step: MINPAA. Next step: The Voice Australia. If your child is showing early glimmers of stardom skills, you can foster the flame with a School Holiday Music Program.
MPAA’s full-day and half-day sessions incorporate a dynamic variety of musical skills, including DJing, piano, guitar, drums, violin, multi-instrumental lessons, singing, songwriting and creative expression. There is even a special pick-up and drop-off service 5 days a week for you and your children to make it extra easy.
Children love getting creative and there is no place better to create beautiful art than at Merryl’s Mosaics and Glass Studio. Merryl’s Mosaics has been operating since 2008 and is a creative, stimulating and inviting environment in which your children of all ages and abilities can learn to create, relax and express themselves.
Mosaic projects are the perfect activity for your little budding artists. Prices range from $35 for a fun and creative holiday experience, and they’ll get to take home something they can treasure for years.
Merryl’s Mosaics & Glass Studio offers school holiday sessions from 6 to 20 December 2021 and 11 January to 1 February 2022, so there’s plenty of time to nurture your little designers.
Do you have little bookworms that like nothing better than curling up with a novel or do you have a child that loves to tell you fantasy stories that are fantastically made up?
During the school holidays get your little ones booked into Sentence Construction Creative Writing Classes with Leeanne Vernon, author of the top-selling Netball Dreamz series and Lenora Girls’ School, for creative writing sessions like no other. Leeanne’s writing classes are aimed at children from 8 years old with weekly classes priced at $20 and the holiday program is $45 for the 3-hour sessions including healthy and not-so-healthy snacks.
Whether your child loves music or mastering a new skill, they can get rhythmic this summer at Super Mande Percussion’s African drumming workshops.
Super Mande are offering 4 sessions on 11 January, 13 January, 18 January, and 20 January, running from 11:00am to 12:30pm. Kids will have the opportunity to learn the basics of African drumming from Master Drummer Mady Keita, and to master and perform a single routine by the end of the workshop series.
The experience will focus on hand drumming (djembe drums), as well as base drums (doun douns), which are played with sticks, and other types of percussion instruments such as bells and shakers. Parents are welcome to join, and siblings can attend at a discounted rate.
Could you be raising the next Nikola Tesla, or Marie Curie? Look into hands-on computer coding and robotics programs these holidays to put their train on the rights tracks.
STEMBuddy is preparing children for the next generation of tech challenges, with classes led by highly experienced technical instructors teaching everything from simple to advanced programming languages. Kids learn literacy, numeracy, robotics, and real-life skills that will apply to their current and future educations in a fun and stimulating environment.
STEMBuddy offers face-to-face and online learning suitable for Grade one to Year 10 students, and no prior coding experience is needed. Their training is project- and challenge-based, and follows the Victorian Curriculum (F-10), Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), and Early Years Learning Framework. Bookings are now open for their January 2022 Holiday Robotics program!
STEM Birds have a mission to create a fun and engaging platform where children not only learn to program but also have opportunities to be creative using code. There are 2 areas that your little digital wizard can get involved in these school holidays: coding and robotics.
STEM Birds Online holiday coding camps are a 5-day online program running from 10 to 14 January 2022 and vary depending on the skills that your child would like to learn. The camps are priced at $125 per child and include online sessions, design games and challenges, quizzes and tasks that can be performed at your child’s leisure.
STEM Birds also offers one-day face-to-face robotic camps for $130 from 9:30am until 4:30pm where they will learn essential concepts such as engineering and programming to inspire your child to bring out their tech creative side. Check their website for dates and location details.
ZZ Totz is bringing back the best kind of traditional arts and craft with their fabulous range of make-it-yourself puppet kits. Kids can use their hands to create, imagine and play with their favourite character or, for those who can’t choose just one, with a grouped play pack of all their favourites, including themed packs like Christmas hide and seek.
The puppet kits are trialed and tested by creator Hollie’s kids Zoe and Zac (thus ZZ), so you know they’re child-friendly and child-approved. Bring a dash of imagination, colour and creativity to your kid’s holidays when they (or you!) need a day-in.
During the school holidays, there can be so much pressure for parents and guardians to keep their children amused with toys and events, but did you know that there are ways to keep your little ones amused without breaking the bank? Imaginative mother Alice Zsembery will be changing lives this summer with her creative book Real Kids, Real Play, which is packed with activities for children up to 5 years old that can be done using items within your own household – think paper plates, toilet rolls, sticky tape, socks, cardboard boxes, potatoes, bedsheets and even water.
This is the kind of book that you can pull off your bookshelf when it is too rainy to get outside or you simply don’t have the time to create elaborate outings and it will provide you with plenty of fun activities, experiments, DIY recipes and more to entertain your young ones with playtime that can be done around the home.