Boredom busters: School holiday ideas to keep kids happy

WATER FUN: Remember to swim between the flags and wear sunscreen at the many Illawarra beaches this summer. Head to www.visitnsw.com to find a new beach to explore. Picture: Sylvia Liber

WATER FUN: Remember to swim between the flags and wear sunscreen at the many Illawarra beaches this summer. Head to www.visitnsw.com to find a new beach to explore. Picture: Sylvia Liber

  • ON THE STAGE

Following its successful inaugural season the Australian Ballet Storytime series is coming back to Wollongong with The Nutcracker from January 8 to 11 at Illawarra Performing Arts Centre.

Other shows coming to IPAC during January include The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show, based on one of the most read children's books of all time by Eric Carle.

The show, running January 14 and 15, also combines other tales by Carle into the story, including The Artist Who Painted A Blue Horse, Mr Seahorse and The Very Lonely Firefly - with a cast of 75 magical puppets.

From January 20 to 28 Illawarra production company So Popera will put on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast with top class costumes and many local faces. For more information visit: www.merrigong.com.au 

Further south at Shellharbour’s Roo Theatre, Shrek Jr The Musical will entertain young audiences from January 7 to 14.

While international man of craft, Mister Maker, will wow audiences with his live show – direct from the UK – at WIN Entertainment Centre on January 21.

STORYTIME: The Nutcracker comes to IPAC, a playful ballet with fun costumes aimed at children under the age of 11. Picture: Supplied/Jeff Busby

STORYTIME: The Nutcracker comes to IPAC, a playful ballet with fun costumes aimed at children under the age of 11. Picture: Supplied/Jeff Busby

  • FREE ACTIVITIES

The Wollongong Youth Centre on Burelli Street will be open Tuesday to Saturday from January 3 to 25 with plenty of free activities for 12 to 24-year-olds.

This includes learning cafe style cooking, craft workshops, learning the art of DJing, movies with pizza and popcorn, the “adrenaline” super slide and various sports games. For more information check their Facebook page.

Shellharbour City Council has organised a number of free and low-cost events across January.

Blackbutt Youth Centre will host circus workshops including juggling and spinning plates on January 5 and 11, plus music workshop on guitar and drums on January 24.

Their various skate parks will host barbecues with live music across January: Albion Park Rail on January 10, Shellharbour on January 12 and 19, and Albion Park on January 25.

Illawarra libraries are another source of free fun for the kiddies, with movies, craft workshops, story time, origami, Star Wars trivia and more.

Kiama Library are calling on “budding young engineers” for their Lego Competition on January 3 and a Family Lego Night on January 17.

The Butterfly House will visit Oak Flats Library (January 18) and Albion Park library (January 19) to give kids a fluttering good time – bookings essential.

To find out what’s on at a library near you, visit: www.wollongong.nsw.gov.au/library/activites 

http://libraries.shellharbour.nsw.gov.au/ and 

http://www.library.kiama.nsw.gov.au/ 

WHIRLY GOOD: Jamberoo Action Park's new ride The Perfect Storm needed 43 shipping containters to bring it over from Canada. Picture: Anna Warr

WHIRLY GOOD: Jamberoo Action Park's new ride The Perfect Storm needed 43 shipping containters to bring it over from Canada. Picture: Anna Warr

The Illawarra has a plethora of outdoor activities that don’t cost a cent.

Wollongong has at least 15 walking tracks for various levels of abilities and duration from Mt Mitchell Lookout at Stanwell Park to a 2km stroll through the Botanic Garden.

Shellharbour and Kiama also have a number of reserves to explore such as Bass Point, Blackbutt and Cathedral Rocks.

Bring a torch on walking tracks around Otford and Helensburgh to check out the spooky old railway tunnels built between 1884 and 1886.

The Illawarra has free rockpools and ocean pools up and down the coast, just remember to swim safely.

While Shellharbour council pools will have various events including a super slide and barbecues.

Markets also make a great day out every Saturday and Sunday with weekly and monthly markets, including: Berry, Killalea, Warrawong, Dapto, Warilla, Wollongong, Coledale and Helensburgh (find them on Facebook).

  • OTHER STUFF

Putt Putt at Illawarra Gold Complex in Windang is something the whole family can get involved in for $24 for one game, $12 for 2nd and 3rd free.

Jamberoo Action Park has plenty of slides for all ages including the new multimillion-dollar ride, The Perfect Storm, which is the 15th attraction for the park.

Illawarra Fly Treetop Treetop Walk at Knights Hill is great for mum and dad while the youngsters have a go on Australia’s highest zipline tours.

The Honk! Oz Street Music Festival runs from January 19 to 21 with free performances around Wollongong plus workshops for budding musicians for $25. Visit: www.honkfest.org.au

  • SCHOOL HOLIDAY WORKSHOPS $ – $$$

Fun-damentals at Lindsay Park Primary School, Figtree

Science Centre & Planetarium, Fairy Meadow

Fit fun at Beaton Park & Lakeside Leisure Centres

Big Fat Smile Artspace workshops, Corrimal

Code It Yourself Club, Science Centre Fairy Meadow

Folk Music School, Northern lllawarra Uniting Church Bulli

DO YOU HAVE SOME MORE IDEAS? POST THEM IN THE COMMENTS BELOW:

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