Best School Holiday Activities in Sydney December/January Summer

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When it comes to finding the best school holiday activities in Sydney, we have you covered. It can be tough for parents to continually come up with school holiday ideas with everything else we have to do as parents and sometimes even getting out of the house can be a struggle! So leave the school holiday fun to us and you just chose what works best for you and your family.

Sydney is a wonderfully diverse and vibrant city in New South Wales, with a range of December/January summer school holiday activities on offer, from shows to museum to days out for the whole family. Sydney locals are incredibly lucky to have both the ocean and the mountains on our doorstep and with so many things to do in school holidays in Sydney, we really are spoiled for choice.

Kids school holiday activities don’t have to be a chore, you can stay at home (check out our stay at home ideas included below) or check out the latest kids movies out now or plan for a BIG day out. So no matter the weather, you will find something to entertain children of all ages with our list of school holiday activities in Sydney.

We have compiled the complete guide to the best school holiday activities in Sydney over the December/January summer school holidays to help make your life so much easier!

If you are looking for Sydney school holiday programs and/or vacation care, where you can lave your child for a 1/2 or full day of fun while being cared for, read our Sydney guide and book your child in now! If you are looking for school holiday ideas for teenagers in Sydney, we can help!

State schools finish on Friday 17 December and return to class on Friday 28 January 2022.

Summer school holidays in NSW are Saturday 18 December to Thursday 27 January 2022.

Fun things to do for the Sydney school holidays

We have broken our list of Sydney school holiday activities into sections to help you:

As with everything at the moment, please check with the venue directly (either by their website or social media pages) to ensure they are open during the times you wish to attend. You should also check their current policy around advanced bookings, entry requirements/timings and social distancing rules.

Want to know where the BEST kid friendly restaurants are in Sydney?

10 fun free school holiday activities

Who doesn’t love a free day out! A cultural museum visit, a family walk and beachy day out, these are some of the best things you can do in Sydney without spending a dime. Find out what is on for the school holidays this summer for FREE!

Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney school holidays

The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia is centrally located in The Rocks and showcases a wonderful range of contemporary art to stimulate and excite young minds. With exhibitions for kids be sure to check out what is on offer.

To find school holiday ideas at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia click here.

Art Gallery of NSW

A trip to the Art Gallery of NSW will give you the experience of fine art in a beautiful location. Overlooking Sydney Harbour, the gallery is only 15 minutes’ walk from the city and has programs that bring families together over art.

To find the latest school holiday program at the Art Gallery of NSW click here.

The Rocks Discovery Museum

This family friendly museum offers a fun interactive way to explore history. The museum is home to a unique collection of images and archaeological artefacts found in The Rocks – some of which you can even hold. Kids will enjoy this hands on experience.

Click here.

Darling Harbour Children’s Playground

Located in scenic Darling Harbour, this playground is truly a wonderland. The playground offers a range of equipment for all ages including a sandpit, climbing frame, balance ropes and even a flying fox. On a hot day, enjoy the waterpark which includes water fountain and water feature to cool off with.  Families tip: Grab a coffee from a nearby shop and relax while the kids play!

Click here.

Sydney Park

Just outside the Sydney CBD is a Sydney Park, a huge park sure to keep kids occupied for hours. Bring the bikes and scooters as there is a cycle track and skate park, not to mention a huge playground, sandpit and sports oval and plenty of space to run around. Families tip: Bring along your dog to enjoy the off-leash area as well.

Click here.

Fairfield Adventure Park

Fairfield Park Sydney school holidays

Looking for a park that will tire the teenagers out? Try Fairfield Adventure Park as it has been specifically designed for older kids with a massive climbing frame and enclosed slides. Little ones don’t miss out and can spend time playing in the sand.

Click here.

Green Square Library

If you are after a unique library experience, plan a visit to the Green Square Library. This underground library has so much to offer kids (and adults!) including dedicated kids zone, sunken garden, take-home makerspace kits and an outside water play area! The library also runs school holiday workshops and story time sessions.

Click here.

Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney

Do you have a junior green thumb in your family? Bring them along to inBLOOM, located in the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney. Check out more than 20,000 plants on display and one of the largest living green walls in the Southern Hemisphere.

Click here.

Parsley Bay Reserve

Parsley Bay Reserve is a popular family park that includes an enclosed swimming area, picnic facilities and a children’s playground. There is also a short bushland walking circuit (15-20 minutes return) that takes you to a waterfall at the head of the gully. There is a wooden suspension bridge that crosses the bay and there are caves and overhangs for imaginative children to explore.

Click here.

Hermitage Foreshore Walk

One of Sydney’s great coastal walks, the easy Hermitage Foreshore track offers up stunning views of Sydney’s harbour, islands and icons. This family friendly coastal walk is perfect for all fitness levels and goes past 5 beaches, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to stop and swim or have a picnic. Families tip: Bring a camera for some fantastic photo opportunities.

Click here.

LOVE free things to do on the school holidays? Check out our detailed guide of even more free school holiday activities in Sydney here.

10 fun cheap school holiday activities

While not everything in life is free, these activities won’t break the bank. These low cost activities are great options these school holidays.

Sydney Olympic Park

Sydney Olympic Park is a wonderful destination for kids, especially during the school holidays. Not only are there activities for kids of all ages, but many of the venues run school holiday specific programs. Accessible by public transport, be sure to check out what is happening these school holidays. Click here.

Irukandji Shark and Ray Encounters

Irukandji Shark & Ray Encounters is an interactive aquarium where you get the chance to feed and pet a variety of shark and ray species. Take a tour of our aquarium, grab some food for the sharks and rays and enjoy some educational talks by the knowledgeable fish keepers. Click here.

Greenwich Baths

This gem of a beach is loved by locals. This family friendly beach is gated so the kids can’t escape, is surrounded by shark nets and even provides beach toys for sand play. There is a café onsite so you can treat the kids with fish and chips or an ice-cream. Or just grab a coffee for yourself! Families tip: For an extra fun day, take the Sydney Ferries Woolwich/Balmain ferry route to Greenwich Point which docks metres away from the Baths. Click here.

Hyde Park Barracks

Discover the stories of the Hyde Park Barracks and follow in the footsteps of real people whose lives were touched by this place. Children (5 – 10 years) can follow the kids trail, a special audio guided tour just for them with activities to complete along the way. Click here.

Lane Cove Aquatic Leisure Centre

I always say that when kids are bored, just add water. The Lane Cove Aquatic Leisure Centre is a perfect venue for very little money. Plus, it is an indoor centre so no matter the weather, it is a great day out. There is a bubbly shallow pool and tunnel of fountains for the little ones. Plus, the café is right beside the pool so it is easy to take a quick break then jump right back in. Click here.

Richmond Regent Twin Cinema

This beautiful art-deco cinema boasts a benefit many other cinemas don’t – a crying room! Yes, you can still enjoy a movie without worrying about your baby crying and disturbing others. This family friendly cinema is a must when you need a day indoors. Click here.

Vaucluse House

Vaucluse House is one of Sydney’s few 19th-century mansions still surrounded by its original gardens and wooded grounds. With free parking and easy access to public transport, you can easily spend time wandering the 10ha of picturesque grounds and gardens that stretch down to the water’s edge. Click here.

Museum of Sydney

Built on the remains of Australia’s first Government House, this museum offers a great day out, as well as year round family-friendly programs and exhibitions. Located near Circular Quay this is easily accessible destination. Click here.

Australian National Maritime Museum

What better way to inspire and entertain young minds than to actually climb aboard a ship! Stand on the top deck of an ex-navy destroyer or experience the history of one of the last traditional pearl shelling luggers built. Kids and family activities are on offer all year round. Click here.

NSW Rail Museum

Do you have a train enthusiast in your family? Bring them along to the NSW Rail Museum where they can see a variety of trains up close and personal.

Insiders tip: Bring a lunch and a picnic rug and enjoy dining in the great outdoors. Click here.

10 BIG days out in Sydney for the summer school holidays

Need to make an impression these school holidays? Choose something that they won’t forget in a hurry. These brag-worthy activities are sure to hit the mark when they return to school.

Featherdale Wildlife Park

Treat the kids to an up close wildlife experience at Featherdale Wildlife Park. You can enjoy feeding a kangaroo, wallaby or emu as well as catching up with some koalas. Go at your own pace on a self-guided tour, suitable for kids of all ages.

SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium

If you love the ocean, you are in for a fantastic day at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. Home to over 13,000 aquatic animals in over 90 tanks, there really is something for everyone. Stroll through the glass walk-through tunnel or enjoy one of many shows held throughout the day.

WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo

Spend a day seeing some iconic Australian animals without leaving Sydney. The WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo allows you to get up close with some of Australia’s most renowned creatures in the Koala Sanctuary where you’ll have the chance to have your photo taken with one!

Symbio Wildlife Park

Take the day to explore 16 acres of spacious grounds that are home to a range of exotic animals including cheetahs, lemurs, red pandas, meerkats and small monkeys. In the warmer months, make sure to bring your swimmers as Symbio has just opened Splash Park, complete with Dump Buckets, Water Squirters, Snake Water Tunnel, Fountains and so much more.

Mogo Wildlife Park

Just 10 minutes’ drive from Bateman’s Bay is Mogo Wildlife Park, where you can see Australia’s largest collection of endangered and exotic species. A taste of Madagascar can be found right here, with zebras, rhinos and giraffes all roaming together.

The Powerhouse Museum

If you have kids that prefer to interact with something at a museum rather than just staring at objects, then bring them to the Powerhouse Museum. With over 250 exhibitions, plus loads of hands-on interactive activities for toddlers through to teens, it’s easy to spend half a day there, especially with a stop at the playground. Click here.

Western Sydney Treetop Adventure Park

Head into the trees for some fun and adventure featuring flying foxes, zip lines & more at TreeTop Adventure Park Sydney! Located in the forests of the Western Sydney Parklands, this fun outdoor attraction allows ages of everywhere from 3 and older to harness themselves up and ascend to the treetops to take part in an array of courses, zipping, climbing and flying from one point to the next.

Sydney Tower Eye

See Sydney from the sky (almost!). The Sydney Tower Eye is the tallest building in Sydney and takes you to the highest point for breathtaking 360-degree views of the beautiful harbour city. With views to 100km away, you will be awestruck.

Taronga Zoo

This famous zoo is a wonderful day out these school holidays. A short ferry ride from the city, Taronga Zoo boasts more than 4,000 animals from across the world. Established more than 100 years ago, they continue to build on their commitment to the conservation of native species.

Luna Park

No big day out in in Sydney can compete with a visit to the iconic Luna Park. This waterfront theme park offers rides to thrill the whole family. For those less adventurous, simply stroll through this historic park and enjoy the views of Sydney.

5 things to do at home these school holidays

When you just can’t leave the house, these stay at home activities will be crowd pleasers with the kids. Sometimes the best memories are made in your own home.

Go on a treasure hunt

Make a list of things you can easily find in your backyard and send the kids out to find them. Make it even more interesting by getting them to draw some things as well.

Build a cubby house with sheets

Building a cubby never gets old. Grab some sheets, towels and their favourite toys and make a cubby under the kitchen table.

Put on a show

Give the kids a theme and ask them to put on a show. Let them raid your wardrobe for costumes. You might be amazed with what they perform.

Plant a veggie garden

Getting kids outside is always a great idea. Grab some seeds from your local nursery or hardware store and start a veggie patch. It is a great way for kids to interact with nature and see where food comes from.

Make your own jigsaw puzzle

Ask you kids to do a drawing and then cut it into shapes. Watch them enjoy trying to put it all back together again. Tip: Glue the picture onto cardboard first to give it a solid backing before cutting it out.

Theatres with kids shows on in Sydney these school holidays

If you are looking for something a little different, take a look at these venues who all offer family friendly shows and programs over the school holidays.

Sydney Opera House

The iconic Sydney Opera House is a wonderful destination for children. They have a range of family friendly shows to see live or to watch from home. Click here.

The Capitol Theatre

The Capitol Theatre has a mission of showcasing the best possible major shows, operas and musicals. This historic theatre also offers shows for families and kids. Click here.

The Puppeteria

Kids of all ages love a puppet show and this is exactly what the Puppeteria Theatre offers. With shows throughout the school holidays and plenty of parking, be sure to add this to your list. Families tip: There is a playground located next door so come early to burn off some energy. Click here.

Riverside Theatre

The Riverside Theatre is located in Western Sydney and presents an extensive program for families and young people. Located on the banks of the Parramatta River and close to the Parramatta dining precinct, it is a great option for a cultural day out. Click here.

Fun activities in Sydney at night with kids

We have a whole article dedicated to things to do in Sydney at night have have broken the list into toddler, younger kids and teens to help you plan your school holidays.

Sydney kids holiday ideas

If you’re looking for more things to do in other cities in New South Wales, click here.

Soooo…. what do you think? Plenty of Sydney days out ideas here to keep you and the kids entertained for the whole school holidays? These Sydney holiday ideas are updated every term, so remember to bookmark this page.

Let us know if we missed your favourite or if you would like us to add your venue or event!

Even more NSW school holiday ideas:

If you are heading north these school holidays check out these helpful guides:

If you are heading south these school holidays, these holiday ideas might help:

And if you are heading to our nations capital, we have listed he best school holiday activities in Canberra too!

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