I definitely breathed a big sigh of relief when term 3 finished! But then came the challenge of what to do during the holidays. Thankfully with the easing of restrictions we can now travel anywhere in our LGA or up to 5kms from our home to play, exercise and (if fully vaccinated) hang out with friends…. someone say picnic! Here are 10 suggested things to do these spring school holidays with young kids in the Parramatta LGA. And if you live in another LGA, you should be able to still use these suggestions – just at similar locations in your LGA.

1Soak Up Spring Blossoms at Wistaria Gardens

Right next to Parramatta Park, the gorgeous Wistaria Gardens are a must visit in spring! It has a wonderful ‘secret garden’ feel about it and is rather magical to visit with kids. There are beautiful displays of wisteria and cherry, plum and pear blossoms to enjoy, even though sadly the has been no spring planting again this year. Pack a picnic to enjoy under the trees to extend your stay. And make sure to wander around the banks of the river to see the sleeping fruit bats.

Wistaria Gardens Parramatta Park

Afterwards, you can ride around the park or head to one of the two playgrounds (Paperbark Playground and Domain Creek playground) and cafes (Georgie Boy Cafe and Gatehouse Tea Rooms) there. Plus, at the main entrance to Parramatta Park, there’s rose garden to enjoy.

  • Location: Next to Parramatta Park, Cumberland Hospital in Westmead
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Epping Aquatic Centre

Cool off on a warm spring day by going for a (cool) swim at Lake Parramatta. We’ve been for a dip at least four times this month already and love that we have this outdoor natural area to swim at.

Of course, now thanks to the easing of restrictions, we can also swim at Epping Aquatic Centre!

Exploring in the bush is a wonderful free activity for the whole family. And spring is a really nice time to be outdoors, with the warm weather and flowers blooming. We are fortunate to have plenty of kid friendly bushwalks and lots of bush parks in and around Parramatta to play in. Terrys Creek is particularly nice as it’s so shaded and the waterfall is a nice ‘end’ point. Our other top picks these school holidays are:

4Picnic by Parramatta River

Eric Primrose Reserve in Rydalmere

There are so many lovely spots to catch up with (fully vaccinated) friends and family along Parramatta River over a picnic lunch or dinner! We particularly enjoy sitting at the picnic tables in Eric Primrose Reserve overlooking Rydalmere Wharf, as well as along the foreshore at Ermington (near Halvorsen Park), at Silverwater Park or Blaxland Riverside Park.

Keep in mind that BBQs in public parks are still not operating.

5Zoom Around at Sydney Olympic Park BMX Track

Did your kids enjoy watching the BMX races at the Olympics? Well they can practice themselves at Sydney BMX in Sydney Olympic Park, a free to use BMX track in the Parramatta LGA. Our hot tip, if you need to drive there, is to park in the Archery Centre and ride over. It’s 2hr free parking, compared with $6 an hour at the track itself. There’s been hardly anyone else there when we’ve gone early morning or mid afternoon…. but if you arrive and it’s busy, you can always go for a ride up to the Bay Marker in the nearby Wentworth Common and then come back, or around to the waterbird refuge.

And if your kids aren’t quite ready for the BMX track, there are a number of bike tracks especially for kids in the Parramatta LGA as well as lots of paths to ride on by the river and at local parks.

6Build a Teepee, Fly a Kite – Turn Any Park into a Fun Nature ‘Play’ Ground

This awesome teepee was built by a dad and his daughter along Haslam Creek in Newington in August 2021 and has inspired a number of other families to build one nearby

It’s just so nice to be able to get out of the house more now! And on top of all the fun playgrounds, bushwalks and bike paths there are to enjoy, we have hundreds of parks just waiting for you to into a fun nature ‘play’ ground for your kids!

🌲 Climb trees
🌳 Build a teepee
💭 Blow bubbles
🪁 Fly a kite
🖍️ Draw with chalk
⚽ Kick a ball around
💧 Make a mini ‘dam’ with rocks
🥏 Throw a frisbee
🖌️ Paint with water on a footpath, tree trunk
🥧 Create an outdoor ‘kitchen’ or ‘cafe’ with mud pie, leaf stew and seed pod cereal… no tools needed, just let the kids use their imagination
🚮 Collect litter (take a bag and gloves/ hand sanitiser) and leave where you visit better than you found it
⭕ Make an obstacle course
🙌 Do handstands and cartwheels
👀 Play eye spy
🎨 Draw what you see, do leaf rubbings, make creature or art from things you find
🐦 Build a large ‘human nest’
☁️ Watch aeroplanes, look for shapes in the clouds
🦅 Spot birds
🔎 Take a magnifying glass and look for different insects
📱 Go geocaching and look for hidden treasures (this is still on our bucket list)
🏠 Build a cubby house
🗑️ Make a pulley system with rope, bucket and a tree branch
🌼 Do a colour hunt/ spot flowers
💦 Skim rocks on the water
🍀 Hunt for 4 leaf clover
👁️ Play hide and seek

7Play at a New Playground

Did you know that four new playgrounds in the Parramatta LGA opened during lockdown? River Park, Thomas Wemyss Park, Buruwang Park and Melbourne Road Reserve all have been upgraded with a brand new playground. Plus Blaxland Riverside Park and Wentworth Common in Sydney Olympic Park have had a much needed refresh.

There are also three more playground upgrades about to finish – at Doyle Ground in North Parramatta, Acacia Park in Telopea and Douglass Ave Reserve in Carlingford.

Now to have the best chance of not turning up to a busy playground, we suggest going early morning or mid afternoon (around 2/3pm).

Painted kindness rocks is a fantastic family-friendly activity where you can get creative, spread kindness and have fun outdoors. It’s simply a game of hide and seek….with painted rocks! Anyone can paint, at any age and skill level – it’s not an art competition, though we have some very talented local parents! Once you have painted some rocks, you get to have fun ‘hiding’ them for others to find. Plus you can go hunting for painted rocks at anytime. 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)!
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9Spark Your Imagination, Laugh and Dance watching Spot On Children’s Festival

Embark on fun new adventures from the comfort of your home, and at a time that suits you, at Parramatta’s very own wonderful kids arts festival at Riverside Theatres. From 17th September to 3rd October, families will be treated to a great mix of live watch parties and on-demand shows for the Spot On Children’s Festival!

  • Location: Riverside Theatres, Parramatta
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10Create a Shoebox Float for the Granny Smith Festival

Looking for some apple-solutely fun school holidays activities? The popular annual Granny Smith Festival is going online this year with a virtual shoebox float and competition, kids cooking classes and apple themed craft.