My boys and I are definitely spring/ autumn people and get a bit irritable on hot days. But we also need to get out of the house as otherwise we all get grumpy. So what to do on a hot day with little ones out of the house? There are two main options in my books – get wet outside or have fun somewhere inside with air con! Here are our top 10 hot day adventures. And I also recommend reading our hacks and tips for keeping your family cool on a hot day.
One of the BIGGEST pluses of heading east to a Sydney Harbour or ocean beach is that the temperature is nearly 10 degrees cooler! Then there is of course the cool water and fun of building sand castles. Depending on where you live, it can take as little as 30mins to get to a beach. Here’s a list of the 20 closest beaches to Parramatta. On a hot day, we only go to ones with shade – thankfully there are a few:
- Balmoral Beach (south end near the playground)
- Greenwich Baths
- Clontarf Beach
- Clifton Gardens
- Parsley Bay
OR you can head west and enjoy the cool waters at a swimming spot along a river. There are seven in Western Sydney, like Yarramundi Reserve on the Grose River or Jellybean Pool on the Glenbrook Creek. Just remember to check the Fires Near Me app first.
2Get Wet at a Water Playground
Water playgrounds are better then sliced bread in summer if you ask me! We can easily spend a few hours at one and it is amazing how quickly you cool down with a little spray of water. And on a hot day it takes no time at all to dry again so make sure you also run through one of those misty tunnels!
There are 17 water playgrounds in Western Sydney – all but three have shade. I found that my boys liked the ones at Granville Park )currently closed) and James Ruse Reserve the most when they were under 2yrs. They could pull themselves up onto some of the water features and hold on. Now they really enjoy any of them, but we particularly like Dundas Park as the whole playground is shaded.
3Splash at a Local Swimming Pool
Whether it’s an indoor pool or outdoor one with shade, once you are in the water it’s nice and cool. And the upside of going to the pool, over a beach, for us parents is that there’s no sand to deal with! You’ll be happy to know that there are 18 kid friendly local swimming pools to choose from.
Our favourite swimming pools are:
4Eat and Play at a Club/ Cafe With a Play Area
The rise of play areas at clubs, hotels and cafes is a fantastic thing for families. The fact that kids can happily play while mum and dad enjoy their dinner and a drink in peace = winning! Here’s a list of over 30 clubs and hotels with play areas.
They can get very busy on weekends and can be a bit overwhelming for little ones. During school hours and early evening however, they are a lot more pleasant. .
5Play at an Indoor Play Centre
There are a few purpose built indoor play centres around, with large climbing structures, slides and air con. Plus they usually have a small soft play area for the little ones.
- Chipmunks @ Prospect
- Lollipops Playland Parramatta
- Crocs Playcentre Castle Hill
- Chipmunks @ Macquarie Centre
- Monkey Mania @ Top Ryde
There are also play centres, like ChouChou Bebe at Lidcombe Centre and Wannabees at Hornsby Westfield, that focus more on imaginative play and are air conditioned. Or if you are happy to go for a drive, a visit to the Early Start Discovery Space in Wollongong will keep the kids happy for hours.
6Enjoy the Air Con and Play Area at a Shopping Centre
Shopping centres are like temples for parents on a hot day – air con, kids play area, cafes and the option to shop of course. Definitely a sanity saver! And we are spoilt for choice, with so many in the area. I find the smaller shopping centres (with fewer large chain stores) are a lot less busy. But it is a bit of pot luck sometimes.
There are 16 local shopping centres with free indoor play areas and most have a cafe nearby.
7Read and Play at the Library
Libraries are like free bookstores and most local libraries have a great collection of children’s books. Plus, there is the added benefit of a kids space, where they can spread out. And some even have a few toys to play with. All library branches run reading programs for young kids during school term. They are generally known as rhyme time for under 2s and story time for preschoolers and last anywhere between 15mins to an hour, depending on the age group and location.
Remember, you aren’t limited to only borrowing from your Council’s library. We are actually members of five different Council library services and particularly enjoy visiting West Ryde Library, Wentworthville Library and Ryde Library.
8Explore a Museum
Until the Powerhouse Museum moves to Parramatta, exploring a museum with little ones does mean a trip to the city – but on the plus side it is normally a lot cooler there.
- Our hands down favourite is the Australian Museum. But it’s currently CLOSED for renovations.
- The Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour is our next favourite. There’s a free to use mini mariners play space and access to all the general exhibits.
- Then there’s the Powerhouse Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art (which we have heard great things about) and Sydney Museum.
9Visit the Wild Life Sydney or Pet Store
Air con and animals – what a perfect combo on a hot day with little ones! Wild Life Sydney Zoo at Darling Harbour has recently shot up our favourites list. It is a LOT less busy then its neighbour (Sydney Aquarium) and very pleasant to wander around. Plus they have a daily storytime at 11:30am near the koalas, which is really good, and there are kids tables with colouring in. They also have a new, very large crocodile and an upgraded enclosure with crawl space so you can get underneath him!
And for a cheaper, easier option, you can take the kids to a local pet store/ aquarium (like Best Friends Pet Supercentre at Lidcombe) or go on a little trip to the BIG Kellyville Pets, which is so much more than your usual pet store!
10Stay at Home or Go for a Play Date at a Friends House
If you don’t have the energy to leave the house, there are plenty of fun activities you can do at home. Like playing with ice or water, making a no cook play dough to play with, fireworks painting and water painting. Or for something low key but still indoors, have a play date at a friends place.
For some more inspiration, check out: