Winter school holidays things to do in Melbourne

A school holiday activity a day keeps the winter blues away. Beating the cold (and avoiding constant calls of ‘can I have the iPad?’) has never been easier with these family-friendly events.

Firelight Festival Storytelling: We all know stories are best told by the fire. Join special guest Jo Stanley as she reads from her literary series, Play like a Girl. Enjoy the stories alongside a Docklands dining hamper, a warming hot chocolate or Italian delights from Saluministi. 5 July, all ages.

Two people sitting in front of a fire

Fireside Storytelling at Buluk Park

Gold Rush 20 Objects, 20 Stories: Travel through Victoria’s Gold Rush era through individual stories told by 20 unique objects of the time. From tiny manuscript diaries, to a replica of the largest nugget found in the world at the time, piece together the history of this turbulent era. Open daily except Saturdays at the Old Treasury Building, all ages.

Origami school holiday craft workshops: This workshop teaches the basics of origami and each little artist will walk away having learnt how to create their very own 3D penguins and butterflies. 5 – 11 July at the Royal Botanic Gardens, ages 7 to 13.

Party Animals: Find your ‘party animal’ persona in a fun and interactive drama workshop. Play games, create animal costumes and show your moves at the Party Animal Disco. 4 – 5 July at ArtPlay, for ages 5 to 8, and 9 to 12.

Young girl dressed up in colourful, flowing costume, white dress, silver sequined mask, dancing around a dark room.

Party Animals at ArtPlay

Lego Education Centre: Take your little bricklayer’s skills to the next level with a special school holiday workshops at the Lego Education Centre. They have classes for various ages including coding sessions and learning how things move. Open Tuesdays to Fridays, classes cater to different ages.

Madagascar: A Musical Adventure JR: Alex the Lion, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the hippo come to life in the stage production of Madagascar. Follow their journey as they escape from their home in New York Zoo and all the troubles that ensue. 11 – 14 July at the University of Melbourne, for ages four and up.

Circus Oz Precarious: Roll up, roll up, the circus is coming to town! Acrobatics, aerials, foot juggling, hula hooping and more. Situated in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Precarious explores what can happen when the balance of the natural world is put to the test. 29 June – 15 July, suitable for all ages.

9 circus performers on a boat on a river performing tricks with hula hoops, instruments, skittles and more.

Circus Oz ‘Precarious’

The Big Bubble show: Guinness World Record holder Samsam Bubbleman brings bundles of fun in this mesmerising mash up of bubble magic, comedy and theatre. It’s brilliant bubble magic that will blow their minds. Thursday 5 July at the Athenaeum Theatre, suitable for all ages.

Cooks’ Cottage: Rug up and take the kids outdoor to explore Cooks’ Cottage in the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens. Enjoy good old-fashioned fun with hopscotch, quoits, skittles and more. Open daily, suitable for all ages.

National Sports Museum: For the future sports star in the family, the National Sports Museum is a must visit. These school holidays enjoy visits from AFL stars, play virtual tennis, test your goal kicking skills and more. Open daily, suitable for all ages.

8 young boys and girls looking at displays, signs, guernseys at National Sports Museum. Lots of glass cases featuring different AFL teams uniforms, footballs and other paraphernalia.

National Sports Museum

Fire Services Museum: Warm up, but not too much, at the Fire Services Museum. Located in the beautiful Eastern Hill Fire Station, the museum showcases equipment from yesteryear including a range of vintage fire vehicles. Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, suitable for all ages.

Vikings: Beyond the legend: Discover the history behind Viking culture, debunk the stereotypes and learn about their domestic life, rituals and beliefs. Explore remains of ships, rare pendants and striking swords, along with over 400 artefacts from this fascinating culture. Until 26 August at Melbourne Museum, suitable for all ages.

ACMI: From claymation workshops to movie making sessions, there is something for all ages at ACMI during the school holidays. Standouts include ACMI Family Sundays sessions which include everything from creating an art-making robot, filmmaking and animation to coding your own video games. Don’t forget to visit the Wonderland exhibition. Open daily, check individual events on the ACMI website for age suitability.

A young person points a camera at plasticine models

A workshop at ACMI

For the budding foodie in your family, Ultimate Foodie Tours at Queen Victoria Market are free for kids all July. Taste the fresh produce, discover unique ingredients and pick up handy shopping and cooking tips. Tours run Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

AFL Sunday Funday is back! With plenty of pre and post-game action, and free general admission for the kids, it’s the perfect Sunday out at the footy. Every Sunday, for children under 15.

Four young boys sitting on inflatable slide dressed in their AFL team colours.

AFL Sunday Funday

Pirate Sundays at Polly Woodside: Pull out the bandana and eye patch and take your little pirate on an adventure. With treasure hunts throughout the day and a whole range of fun activities they’ll be singing sea shanties all the way home. On the first Sunday of every month, all ages.

New York! New York!: Explore the sights, sounds and atmosphere of this bustling and iconic city at this hands-on exhibition coinciding with MoMa at NGV. Kids can create their very own miniature 3D New York streetscape and explore interactive displays and multimedia projections. On until 7 October, all ages.

A little boy building a toy skycraper

New York! New York! at NGV Kids Gallery

Family Funday at Queen Victoria Market is the ultimate kid paradise. With an animal farm, stilt walkers, bubbles, kids’ painting, fairy floss, popcorn and prizes – what more could they possibly want? Every Sunday from 24 June – 29 July.

Shrine Kids: Armed with their very own magnifying glass, compass and periscope, let the kids navigate their way through the history and purpose of the Shrine of Remembrance. Free and available anytime. Open daily, for primary school aged children.

Two young children with their mother on the lawns of the Shrine of Remembrance looking through their activity pack satchel and book.

Shrine Kids

Magpie’s Netball School Holiday Clinic: Take your budding netball star to meet the players from Collingwood Magpies Netball team. The session includes netball skills, fitness drills and a leadership session. 11 July, all ages.

ArtVo: Get the kids out of the house and into the land of make-believe at ArtVo, an immersive art gallery where you become part of the artwork. Open daily, all ages.

Painting of King Kong with little girl photographed standing in the palm of his hand and pointing to his face.

ArtVo

Kids Can Cook – Little Superheroes: Everyone has a little superhero in them, bring the little ones along in their favourite superhero outfit to this cooking class at Sheraton Melbourne. Each budding chef and superhero will learn the art of pastry with a superhero inspired menu. 2 – 13 July, ages three and up.

Winter Skate: Enjoy all-day unlimited skating with music and DJ’s, craft zones, toys and games, as well as snow play areas for the little ones at O’Brien Group Arena. You’ll also get a chance to see live performances from champion skaters performing to soundtracks from much loved family musicals. 30 June – 15 July, all ages.

Two young girls and a boy dressed in warm wintery clothes skating together on an ice rink and smiling.

O’Brien Group Arena

Escape the Gaol: Bring your inmates along to Old Melbourne Gaol, where they’ll have the chance to explore and gather clues to create an escape plan without being caught by the prison guards. 30 June – 15 July, for children six and up.

Side by side holiday clinic: Who says a sportsperson has to commit to just the one sport? Learn about what it’s like to be a dual-code athlete, learn new skills and meet Collingwood players. 4 July, all ages.

MARVEL Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N: It’s your last chance to explore this interactive experience and delve into the history, technology and science behind Captain America, the Hulk and more. Train like an Avenger, see Iron Man’s MK 45 suit and see Thor’s mighty hammer. Thursdays – Sundays until 15 July at Federation Square, all ages.

Dark room with giant red transformer character on display surrounding by silver railings.

Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N.

Wonderland Junior: Transforming into a winter wonderland this school holidays, enjoy dodgem cars, carousels, tea cups and more. After a spin on the rides, warm up the heart and tummy with hot chocolate and donuts. 30 June – 15 July, workshops suitable for ages four and up.

The District Docklands: slide into The District Docklands with a giant 15-metre ice slide. Live ice carving, a virtual reality snowball slinger and a snow play zone also feature in the District Docklands Winter Experience. 30 June – 15 July, suitable for all ages.

Wild Beasties: Turn your little beast into a wild beastie to celebrate the passing of the winter solstice. Cut, glue, knot and create a costume from old clothing and upcycled materials and learn about pagan rituals from Europe that celebrate the cycles of life. It all ends in a ritual parade where budding beasts can show off their costume and scare away winter. 7 – 8 July at ArtPlay, workshops are available for ages 5 to 8 and 7 to 12.