Are the kids getting bored as fast as your school holiday budget is running out? Then pencil some of these free and low-cost experiences. From music and sports festivals to escape rooms and comedy, there’s plenty to keep young minds busy.
The (Very) Big Laugh Out at Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Laugh out loud with some of the worlds best street performers and comedians at The (Very) Big Laugh Out. Enjoy sketches, comedy, live art and theatre performances from local and international artists. There’s everything from circus duos and clowns to kids entertainers and cabaret. Catch these outdoor shows daily throughout the festival, at the Federation Square main stage and Melbourne Museum plaza. Suitable for all ages.
Get interactive at National Gallery of Victoria
Kaws: Playtime continues at the NGV until Monday 13 April. Let the kids explore this free, interactive, multimedia exhibit. They’ll create a new friend for one of the Kaws characters and video portraits to share with friends. Plus they get their very own take-home pop up activity.
While you’re there, budding artists can take part in free drawing activities, inspired by Kaws and other current exhibitions. From Monday 30 March to Friday 3 April from 10am to 1pm.
Explore Melbourne Museum
Ever changing galleries, exhibitions and tours will capture their curiosity at Melbourne Museum. And the best part is, kids under 16 get free entry every day.
Be mesmerised by the scale and detail of the quirky Mini Mega Model Museum exhibition. The Colosseum is small, the mosquitos are giant and the cows are tiny. Explore over 300 models, from miniature to life-size and everything between.
Discover dinosaurs and more at Melbourne Zoo
This school holidays, Dino Lab is coming to Melbourne Zoo. Explore the giant animatronic dinosaurs, dote over the cute babies, or become a junior palaeontologist at the Dino Dig. Then wander through the rest of the zoo to discover over 250 species of animals and catch daily keeper talks. You can even crawl inside a giant tortoise shell and meet brush turkeys and meerkats at the Growing Wild exhibition. The zoo is open every day, and children under 16 go free on weekends and school holidays.
Kensington Community Festival
Celebrate diversity and culture with the whole family at Kensington Community Festival. Experience music and food from all corners of the globe. Try your hand at African drumming, learn Bollywood dancing or test your coordination with hula hooping and juggling. There’ll be local sporting clubs showcasing youth soccer, AFL, and even lawn bowls. Free and on Sunday 29 March.
Melbourne Vixens Fan Festival
Melbourne Vixens Fan Festival hits Fed Square again this year. There’ll be netball clinics, giveaways, face painting and heaps more. It’s your chance to meet the players, and get your Vixens merchandise signed by the team. Plus, you’ll get to see the unveiling of their new 2020 uniform. On Tuesday 7 April from 10am to 1.30pm.
Good Friday Appeal Kids Day Out
Bring the kids along to the Good Friday Appeal Kids Day Out. The little ones can take their teddy in for a check-up at the teddy bear hospital or get their groove on with dance classes and karaoke. There’ll be an ice skating wonderland not to miss, and a classic car display. Entry is free, and activities and donations support The Royal Children’s Hospital. On at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Friday 10 April from 10am to 5pm.
Drop the Beat Youth Music Showcase
Catch live performances from emerging musicians at the inaugural Drop the Beat Youth Music Showcase. Musicians of all genders, religions and identities will display their talents and perform everything from electronic to acoustic. Plus there’ll be other activities and workshops throughout the afternoon. This inclusive, accessible and free event is on at Signal on Thursday 9 April.
Sci-fi Storytime at Library at the Dock
Send them off on a space-filled adventure at Sci-Fi Storytime at Library at The Dock. Their imagination can run wild with stories about space, the future and beyond. Plus there’ll be a craft activity they can take home too. Tuesday 31 March at 11am. Bookings required.
$25 or less
Fitzroy Gardens Easter adventure
Get the kids outdoors and on the hunt at the Fitzroy Gardens Easter Adventure. Armed with a map, they’ll explore the gardens and Cooks’ Cottage. Looking for interesting spots and answering questions along the way. When they get to the end, they might be lucky enough to find a chocolate surprise.
Workshops and games at ArtPlay
Kids of any age will find something that’ll spark their creativity at ArtPlay.
Unravel mysteries and work with teammates to decipher clues and solve puzzles to break out of escape rooms. Bust into the hideaway of an evil gorilla and navigate through a volcano lair in Rage Thomas. Or explore a mysterious temple in the desert and join rebels to restore balance to an unequal land in Revonoria. From Thursday 2 to Sunday 5 April. Tickets are $17 per child, bookings essential.
At Listening to Here: Making, create voices for trees, rocks and bushes and make up a story for your characters, in this immersive sound experience. Trigger sounds just by moving your body, as you wander through a forest filled with hidden zones to create your own secret world. On Saturday 28 March from 10am to 3pm. Tickets are $16 per child, bookings essential.
Ice-skating at O’Brien Icehouse
Get the family rugged up for a day on the ice at O’Brien Icehouse. There are free lessons for beginners, and a section just for under 8’s to play and build their confidence. Dress up for one of their themed days, hire a seal skate aid for little learners and drop into the bar or cafe. Ticket prices for kids vary between $15 and $24. Kids must be accompanied by a paying adult, $28 and family tickets are also available.
Comedy for kids
The Melbourne International Comedy Festival isn’t just for grown-ups. Comedy Club for Kids is a supersized variety showcase designed especially for ages 6 to 12. Whether they’re into stand-up, musical comedy or circus, there will be something that tickles their fancy. Tickets are $22.
Armed with rubbish bins full of surprises, the Trash Test Dummies bring their award-winning show to Melbourne Town Hall. You’ll see the household wheelie bin like you’ve never seen it before in this family friendly, circus comedy. Or see acrobatics, high-flying tricks, live music and a tonne of comedy at Brass Monkeys. And don’t miss The Greatest Magic Show, returning again this year after selling out last year.
Each of these shows are on throughout the comedy festival, from Tuesdays to Sundays. Tickets vary from $17 to $25.
Learn to skate
Pick up some new skills and make new friends at a First Push Skateboard Lesson. Perfect for beginners and they’ll supply skateboards, helmets and safety gear. All you have to do is turn up ready to learn some new tricks. $21 per child, bookings required.
More school holiday options
Explore our school holidays event listings for even more ideas about how to keep the kids entertained.