When it comes to finding the best school holiday activities in Sydney this summer, 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 December & January school holiday fun to us and you just chose which of these top school holiday activities works best for you and your family. There is tonnes of Sydney things to do in the school holidays! Keep reading!
Sydney is a wonderfully diverse and vibrant city in New South Wales, with a range of school holiday activities on offer, from theatre shows to museums to days out and school holiday events 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 with our list of ‘the BEST .’What’s On’ these school holidays in Sydney. 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 school holidays to help make your life so much easier! Whether you are looking for school holiday activities in the Eastern suburbs or the Northern beaches, we have listed our top kids activities across your local area as well as the Sydney CBD.
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!
TL;DR – in brief.
Here are our picks for the best school holiday activities for the Sydney summer school holidays:
Keep reading to get the details including dates and prices!
State schools finish on Tuesday 19 December and return to class on Friday 28 January 2024.
Summer school holidays in NSW are Wednesday 20 December to Thursday 27 January.
Fun things to do for the Sydney school summer holidays 2023
We have broken our list of Sydney school holiday activities into sections to help you:
- Fun things to do for the Sydney school summer holidays 2023
- 10 fun free school holiday activities
- 10 fun cheap school holiday activities
- 10 BIG days out in Sydney for the summer school holidays
- 15 things to do at home these school holidays
- Theatres with kids shows on in Sydney these school holidays
- Fun activities in Sydney at night with kids
- Sydney kids holiday ideas
- Even more NSW school holiday ideas:
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 and timings.
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 cent. Find out what is on for the school holidays this summer for FREE!
Known as the ‘dinosaur museum’ and complete with immersive exhibitions and interactive experiences, a visit to the Australian Museum is the perfect day out for families, kids of all ages and the young at heart. Learn about Australia’s unique fauna, such as the iconic koala, the extinct Tasmanian Tiger, deadly snakes and giant spiders in Surviving Australia on Level 2. The Australian Museum is located in the centre of Sydney city, opposite Hyde Park, with easy access from public transport and a short walk from other popular attractions in the CBD and surrounds.
These December & January school holidays, be transported in an immersive journey into the world of dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures and come close to life-sized holograms – some of them as large as 20 metres long! Hologram Dinosaurs is a brand-new and cutting-edge experience that brings these long-extinct animals back to life before your eyes.
You’ll discover four prehistoric environments as you enter a 20-metre hologram projection tunnel, where you’ll encounter herds of large dinosaurs, meet a T. rex up close, dive with giant swimming reptiles or soar with pterosaurs!
*Please note: This experience requires the participants to wear glasses for the duration of the 45-minute experience (holograms only work with the glasses). The dinosaurs are real world sizes. Some will be extremely big which can possibly be frightening to some small children.
Find out more about Nights at the Museum here.
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
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.
These December & January school holidays you can see:
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.
These summer school holidays you can enjoy kids workshops Looking at Landscapes as well as family tours. Click on the events section of their website to find out more.
These school holidays they are hosting:
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 artifacts found in The Rocks – some of which you can even hold. Kids will enjoy this hands on experience. And what trip to the Rocks, is a proper day out without some sweet treats? So, while you are there, don’t miss the Chocolate Emporium.. trust me on this one!
These school holiday you can enjoy a FREE badge making workshop.
Sydney General Post Office Heritage Tour
We did this tour last school holidays! That is us in the photo above! The Sydney General Post Office (GPO) is a well-known landmark that embodies the spirit of the city. The GPO, which was built in 1866, was envisioned as an iconic building that would represent Sydney in the same way that the Houses of Parliament represent London and the Eiffel Tower represents Paris.
The Fullerton Hotel offers a guided tour of this historic building, which includes navigating old spiral staircases, exploring the old telegram room, crossing sky bridges, and descending to the basement to see the tank stream. We loved this tour! The tour guide are so knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the building! It is a fascinating journey into the former GPO’s vibrant history and culture, suitable for visitors of all ages looking for an enjoyable and educational experience.
The tour runs Tuesday – Saturday, at 10am for hotel guests, and 11:45am for the public.
Darling Harbour Children’s Playground
We love, love, love the 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. When it is hot we enjoy the water park which includes water fountain and water feature to cool off with.
Insiders Tip: Grab a coffee from a nearby shop and relax while the kids play!
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. Here is out top tip for Sydney Park: Bring along your dog to enjoy the off-leash area as well.
Fairfield Adventure Park
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.
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 maker-space kits and an outside water play area! We love their school holiday workshops and story time sessions.
Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney
If you are heading to the gardens during the day take your kids 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.
This summer kids can participate in a range of events and workshops:
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.
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.
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.
Code Camp – for the best school holidays ever!
Let Code Camp inspire your children to get creative with technology these holidays, learn some valuable new skills, have fun and make new friends. With a wide range of in-person camps and online programs available, there really is something for everyone. Choose from beginner to advanced coding camps, robotics, stop-motion animation, DJing, video production and so much more!
What’s New? Code Camp is launching brand new camps this summer!
Kids can learn to code with DreamWorks Trolls! At Little Coders: Trolls Edition, 5-7 year olds will take their first steps on their coding journey banding together with their favourite characters. At Spark and Ignite, kids 7-12 years can code and create an adventure game with Poppy, Viva, and Branch.
Plus, AI Camp where kids embark on an exciting journey into the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the most important technology of a generation. Young minds discover the wonders of AI and its fun and practical applications in our everyday lives and create their own comic book using AI!
Your favourites are also back this season including Minecraft Engineers (for kids 7-12), Minecraft Minis (for kids 5-7), and Roblox Legends (for kids 7-10). Robotics Camp and Drone Camp are also running this summer, offering the coolest few days of STEM learning and fun.
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.
These summer school holidays you can see:
The Australian Museum in Sydney beckons children with its plethora of engaging experiences, especially during school holidays. The museum presents interactive exhibits that captivate young minds and fuel their curiosity about the natural world. In the Dinosaur Gallery, children can come face-to-face with life-size dinosaur skeletons and immerse themselves in the realm of prehistoric creatures.
The Kidspace section invites children to participate in hands-on activities, games, and puzzles, fostering a sense of discovery about science and nature. During school holidays, the museum orchestrates special events and workshops designed for kids, including fossil digs, craft sessions, and interactive presentations by experts. With its stimulating exhibits and dynamic programs, the Australian Museum ensures an entertaining and enlightening experience for children of all ages.
Discover science and culture through a diverse program of interactive workshops for kids aged 5 to 16 years at the Australian Museum these school holidays!
Kids at the Con
Enroll your child in our dynamic group music education classes for School and Preschool aged students this holiday season. The Kids at the Con School Holiday Workshops offer an ideal environment for young children to explore the world of music through singing, dancing, and interactive activities. Open to ages 3-10, the workshops provide a glimpse into our weekly program.
No prior experience is necessary, and classes take place at the prestigious Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Don’t miss this opportunity to nurture your child’s musical talents and create a lifelong love for music. Enrollments are now open for the holiday workshops.
Sydney Olympic Park
Sydney Olympic Park is a wonderful destination for kids, especially during the school holidays. Not only are there activities for children 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.
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.
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. (Closed in winter).
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.
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.
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.
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 to learn more about Vaucluse House.
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.
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.
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, children, tweens and teens, it’s easy to spend half a day there, especially with a stop at the playground.
These summer school holidays there are a huge range of classes on. Some free, some have a cost. A sample is below:
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.
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. They have themed events around the School holidays and other special dates like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Halloween!
These school holidays you can participate in:
- Presentations & keeper talks
- Sky safari
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.
15 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.
10 more things to do at home with kids in Sydney:
- Have a book club – Pick a book that you can read together as a family and set a schedule for when you will discuss each chapter. You can even create discussion questions and have a snack or dessert related to the book. It’s a great way to encourage reading and have meaningful conversations as a family.
- Bake and decorate cookies – Get creative in the kitchen with your kids by baking and decorating cookies. You can use cookie cutters, frosting, and sprinkles to make it extra fun.
- Have a family game night – Bring out your favorite board games or card games and spend an evening playing together as a family.
- Create a family art project – Use materials you have at home, such as paint, markers, and paper, to create a collaborative art project that everyone can contribute to.
- Have a movie marathon – Pick a theme, such as Disney movies or superhero movies, and spend a day or evening watching your favorite films together.
- Have a dance party – Turn up the music and have a dance party in your living room. You can even create a playlist with your kids’ favorite songs.
- Host a family talent show – Have each family member prepare a talent to share, such as singing, dancing, or performing a magic trick.
- Make homemade pizza – Let your kids get involved in the kitchen by making homemade pizza. You can use pre-made crusts or make your own, and let everyone choose their own toppings.
- Create a scavenger hunt – Set up a scavenger hunt in your home or backyard, with clues and prizes for finding each item.
- Play dress-up – Set up a dress-up station with old clothes and accessories, and let your kids get creative with their outfits. You can even take photos and make a fun photo album of your dress-up day.
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.
Their school holiday shows and workshops includes:
Sydney Coliseum Theatre
Breathtakingly beautiful and technically brilliant, the Sydney Coliseum Theatre, West HQ, has been designed with the patron, performer and producer in mind. Featuring striking architecture and exquisite interiors, the multi-mode Sydney Coliseum Theatre is the first of its kind in the rapidly growing region of Greater Western Sydney.
This summer you can see:
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.
Check our their school holiday shows for this summer holiday:
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.
Insiders tip: There is a playground located next door so come early to burn off some energy.
They have some great performances for the holidays:
The Concourse Theatre in Sydney is a vibrant cultural hub that showcases an eclectic mix of performances and events. With its state-of-the-art facilities and versatile spaces, the theatre offers a platform for diverse artistic expressions, including music concerts, theatrical productions, dance performances, and film screenings, enriching the cultural landscape of the city.
This summer you can enjoy these shows with your kids:
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.
Check out what they have showing this December & January schhool holidays:
The Seymour Centre
The Seymour Centre in Sydney pulsates with a dynamic energy, hosting an array of captivating performances and events. With its versatile spaces and cutting-edge facilities, the centre serves as a thriving platform for diverse artistic expressions, including theatre productions, music concerts, dance showcases, and thought-provoking exhibitions, fostering a vibrant cultural scene in the heart of Sydney.
These school holidays you can see:
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:
- Newcastle & Central Coast school holiday activities
- Port Macquarie school holiday activities
- Coffs Harbour School holiday activities
- Byron Bay school holiday activities
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!