In need of some school holiday inspiration for what to do with young kids that you can just drop into and won’t break the budget? Here is our bumper April School Holidays Guide, with 20 top things to do that are free, cheap or a bit different. Plus at the bottom you will find a growing What’s On Calendar of local free/ cheap drop-in school holidays activities.
20 Top Picks – Free, Cheap and Something a Bit Different
Here are our 20 top things to do these April School Holidays with young kids. Most are free or very cheap outings and should keep the kids happily entertained for a while.
A number of great new playgrounds have opened up just in time to be enjoyed these school holidays! Our top pick for young kids is the new Livvi’s Place Elara at Marsden Park. It’s fenced and there’s a great mix of play equipment for a range of ages.
But if you are after something a little closer, there is the new playground outside Bankwest Stadium. Plus the large fenced playground at Ollie Webb Reserve. And the new outdoor youth space at Meadowbank Park as well as the new fenced playground at Waitara Park near Hornsby.
With Easter falling within the school holidays this year, there are a LOT of Easter themed activities around. And most are FREE to attend! The Easter Bunny is visiting most local shopping centres. Plus there are the BIGGER Easter Egg Hunts, like the one at Australian Botanic Gardens at Mt Annan. And of course the BIG Easter Show at Sydney Showground, and the fun smaller and FREE one at Fairfield Showground.
3Watch a Live Stage Performance at Riverside Theatre
Enjoy the magic of the theatre these school holidays at our local, fab Riverside Theatres. In week one there is the spectacular acrobatic show Junk. And in week two, everyone’s favourite mouse takes a walk through the deep dark woods in the Gruffalo Live on Stage.
With 25 playgrounds along Parramatta River, there are plenty of great spots where the kids can play while you enjoy some water views. And to add to the fun, you can explore Parramatta River by car ferry (from Putney or Mortlake) or Rivercat. The Putney Punt has become a favourite outing for us recently, and we love taking an afternoon trip across to Mortlake where we then go and play at a nearby playground, like at Cabarita Park. Keep in mind that the car ferry only runs from about 7am-9:30am and 3pm-6:30pm on weekdays.
Did you know that you only need to travel about 60mins north or north west to reach farms that let you pick your own fruit or nuts? These April school holidays there are:
- Tomatoes and Eggplants to pick daily at Canoeland Orchard from 9:30am to 3pm, with a free tractor ride at 10am on weekdays. Entry is free for kids and adults are $5.
- Pink Lady and Granny Smith Apples are available for picking in Bilpin. There are a number of pick your own farms, such as TNT Produce (drop-in, $2 entry fee, weekends) Bilpin Fruit Bowl (drop-in, entry fee, weekends); Shields Orchard (bookings required, Thursday to Monday); Pine Crest Orchard (drop-in, no entry fee, 27th April ONLY).
- Chestnuts can be picked (up off the ground – they fall off the tree when ripe) at three places in Mount Wilson, about 45mins further on from Bilpin. Kookootonga Nut Farm (7 days 9am to 4pm), Nutwood Farm (weekends, 9am to 4pm) and Campanella Cottage (weekends, 9am to 3pm). NOTE: all chestnuts were picked over the Easter long weekend.
6Race Down a BIG Playground Slide
While the 30m slide that opened at Hilltop Park in Stockland Altrove last April is no longer with us, there are still a good number of parks with big slides for some free thrills. Our top pick is Fairfield Adventure Park. And here is a list of 19 other playgrounds with BIG slides in and around the Parramatta area worth checking out these school holidays.
7Enjoy Sculptures at Bayside and Scenic World
We love a bit of great art in a gorgeous location. And these school holidays we have the choice of going to Kyeemagh (near Sydney Airport) or Sculpture at Scenic World in the Blue Mountains. Sculptures at Bayside in Cook Park is FREE and on until 5th May. We love getting fish and chips from C-Side, building sand castles on the beach and playing at the playground in Cook Park while there as well.
And for a special treat, you can head to Scenic World to celebrate its 8th exhibition transforming the natural Jurassic rainforest with world-class sculptures. We absolutely LOVED our visit last year! It’s on until 12th May.
Active Parramatta van is back and operating their popular FREE pop-up sessions at seven local parks these April school holidays. They have games and activities suitable for all ages from toddler to adult and you just drop-in, no bookings required. Note: the van is unable to operate in extreme heat or wet/rainy conditions.
9Get a Taste of Adventure at Fun 4 Kids | Pendle Hill
Every school holidays Cumberland Council holds a BIG event for young kids to give them a taste of adventure and fun. The Fun4Kids event these April School holidays is on Friday 26th April from 10am to 2pm. Whether it’s running through jungle mazes, searching for dinosaur eggs, meeting a dinosaur, playing laser tag in our space zone, getting up close with Aussie animals or chilling out in an outdoor Cinema, kids are bound to have fun!
10Get Your Green Thumbs on at Flower Power
For something a little different, head along to Flower Power at 11am on weekdays during the school holidays for their FREE gardening class for kids. Plus, afterwards your kids can eat for FREE at the fab cafe at Flower Power (conditions apply).
11Head to the Local Shopping Centre for some FREE Fun
Westfield Parramatta is celebrating the release of Wonder Park, with a merry go round, fairy floss and craft activity. Castle Towers has cooking classes. Stockland Merrylands has a garden party. And Carlingford Court has a SUPER Pass that gets you a BIG lunch for $5.
12Play Hide and Seek with Painted Rocks
Painted rocks is a fantastic family-friendly activity where you can get creative, spread kindness and get outdoors. It’s simply a game of hide and seek….with painted rocks! Just join Parramatta Rocks to get started and find out where some little treasures are hiding.
- Location: at any public space possible treasures await to be found (or hidden)!
- More Info
13Step Back in Time at the Australiana Pioneer Village
Open every Tuesday and Wednesday during school holidays, the Australiana Pioneer Village will absorb you into the atmosphere and activities of life over 100 years ago. The theme these holidays is colonial and kids can step back in time to the 1800s to see what it was like being a kid then. Entry is only $5 for adults and $3 for school aged kids and there are plenty of places to picnic.
14Ride on a Dinky Track
Did you know that the purpose built bike and scooter tracks, which mimic roads with road markings, street signs, round abouts and zebra crossings, are called dinky tracks? There is a brand new one at Livvi’s Place Elara, plus another 22 in the area to ride on these school holidays.
15Mark ANZAC Day
Thank our service women and men at a dawn service this ANZAC Day. Or help the kids make a poppy beforehand at Stockland Baulkham Hills. Sadly the poppy making at Centenary Square won’t be taking place this year.
16Bushwalk to a Local Waterfall
The cooler autumn weather is a great time to go bushwalking. And it’s a wonderful free activity to do with your kids. We are fortunate to have plenty of lovely kid-friendly bushwalks nearby, including two with pretty waterfalls – Balaka Falls in Hunts Creek Reserve at Carlingford and Terrys Creek walk in Epping. Keep in mind that they are best visited after rain.
17Eat, Play and Bounce at the NBC Sports Club
NBC Sports Club is one of many local clubs with a great play area. And they have recently installed a jumping pillow that we’re sure the kids will go crazy for! Other local clubs we recommend if the weathers nice are Greystanes Hotel, Crown on McCredie and Castle Hill RSL. And if the weather is cool, head indoors to West Pennant Hills Sports Club, Vikings Sports Club or Hotel Pennant Hills.
18See Native Animals for Free (or Cheaply)
Central Gardens in Merrylands has a free native animal enclosure with wallabies, emus, kookaburras and plenty more. There is also 2 shaded playgrounds, a waterfall, lots of picnic tables and bbqs, plus plenty of grass to play on. And you can also see native animals at the beautiful Auburn Botanic Gardens – free for Cumberland Council residents or $4 for non-residents.
Plus, there are a number of free petting zoos around these school holidays, like at Newington Marketplace.
19Escape the City and Go on a Mini Road Trip
A little road trip can be an adventure in itself, made all the more fun when arriving at a great family-friendly destination. Our top road trip suggestion these April school holidays is to head to Wollongong to visit the Early Start Discovery Space (review). There are 14 interactive zones, including a construction site and grocery store to a dinosaur dig, reading pod and water play area. And they have a special school holiday program activities as well.
And here are three other mini trip suggestions for the these school holidays. Head to:
- Mount Wilson to check out the beautiful autumn leaves. And pick some apples on your way through Bilpin or stop in for lunch at Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens.
- Wyong Creek to pick some sunflowers (at Food Farm or Central Coast Sunflower Harvest), check out the great Wyong Milk Factory and visit Amazement Farm.
- Canoelands and Glenorie to pick your own tomatoes and ride a tractor at Canoelands Orchard. And then stop at Glenorie Bakery for the junior bakers academy, yummy bite to eat and play in their play area.
20Pop into Parramatta Library for Toys and Books
Kids missing the story time sessions? Bring them into Parramatta Library in the morning on Tuesday to Friday for holiday play, and then borrow a bunch of books for afternoon reading. Or head to one of the local toy libraries to borrow some ‘new’ toys for the holidays.
Calendar of School Holiday Events
The events listed in our April school holidays calendar are mostly free or cheap and don’t required pre-booking. And we still have a TONNE to enter! In the meantime, visit the events section of our Facebook page for a more complete list.