13 School Holiday Adventures To Have With Your Child In Sydney

It’s the beginning of school holidays in less than a week! Teachers are cheering and parents are groaning. Most parents are starting to think of some activities to do with their child that will be both engaging and fun.

Sydney is a great place to spend the school holidays with your children. I have complied a list of 13 treasures of Sydney that would offer lots of fun and engagement for all children and more importantly not break the budget.

  1. POWERHOUSE MUSEUM

pwerhouseLocated in the old Ultimo Power Station building adjacent to Darling Harbour, the Powerhouse Museum is the flagship venue of Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS). Its unique and diverse collection spans science, technology, design and decorative arts, engineering, architecture, health and medicine, fashion and contemporary culture.

With a strong focus on creativity and curiosity, a range of 12 permanent exhibitions at the Powerhouse is complemented by a changing program of temporary exhibitions and displays. There are regular tours and demonstrations, performances, workshops, forums and other special events held throughout the Museum.

The Wiggles exhibition in the museum is carefully curated so that adults are as entertained as children. While children dive into free-form play or are engrossed with high-tech interactive exhibits, grown-ups will uncover the amazing rise of The Wiggles and what’s kept them strong for so long.

All your family’s favourites are here – there’s a room dedicated to each of The Wiggles and the things they love. Plus there’s Wags The Dog, Henry the Octopus, Captain Feathersword and Dorothy the Dinosaur.

Opening times

Open Daily 10:00am - 5:00pm

Cost

Adult : $15

Child (4-15yrs) : $8

Children under 4 : FREE

 2. SYDNEY OBSERVATORY

A visit to this spectacular state-listed heritage site, night or day, is a memorable experience. Sydney Observatory is home to Australia’s most accessible telescope domes, with modern and historic instruments to safely view the Sun and other stars, planets and astronomical objects. At 1.00 pm daily the historic time ball drops, just as it has done since 1858.

Other features include the Sydney Planetarium and 3D Space Theatre immersive astronomy experiences, and the new East Dome, which has a ground-level accessible telescope.

Address: 1003 Upper Fort Street, Millers Point

Opening times

Open Daily 10:00am - 5:00pm

Cost

Day visits are free.

Regular 30 minute tours include the planetarium, 3D space theatre and telescope domes. These tours cost a small fee.

  1. Australian Museum

australianmuseumThe Australian museum has many exhibitions that children will be excited to explore. These exhibitions include, Dinosaurs, Birds and Insects, Minerals and Australia. A dedicated “Kidspace” area and “Search and Discover” area will keep children busy for hours.

Opening times

Open Daily: 9:30am - 5:00pm

Cost

Adult : $15

Family (2 adults + 2 children) : $38

Family (1 adults + 2 children) : $23

Child (5 -15 years) : $8

Children under 5 years : FREE

The Australian Museum is located on the corner of College Street and William Street in central Sydney, just across the road from Hyde Park and opposite St.Mary’s Cathedral.

4. Maritime Museum

 maritimeThe Australian National Maritime Museum began collecting maritime artefacts long before it opened its doors in 1991. The National Maritime collection contains a rich and diverse range of historic artefacts and contains over 140,000 objects.

Collection themes are based on Australian’s changing relationship with the maritime environment, its seas, coastlines and inland waterways, and aims to reflect the maritime history and contemporary maritime experiences of all Australians.

The museum aims to preserve, make available, develop and disseminate information relating to Australian maritime history and as a result each item in the National Maritime collection is digitised in our collection management database. A selection of these have been made available for members of the public to search.

 Treat the kids to a fascinating day of learning opportunities combined with thrilling adventure! Climb aboard real-life tall ships, warships and a submarine, engage in interactive displays, and take part in hands-on kids activities held during the week, on weekends and school holidays.

 Opening times

Open Daily 9:30am - 5:00pm

Cost

Adults: $27

Child (4-15 years old) : $16

Child (Under 4 years old): FREE

 5. Featherdale Wildlife park

 featherdaleYou can hand feed a kangaroo, wallaby or emu - or enjoy a face-to-face encounter with one of our friendly koalas - amongst one of Australia’s largest private collections of Australian native animals and bird life.

 

Featherdale’s facilities include:

  • Café
  • Souvenir shop
  • Shady picnic areas with BBQ’s

And it is ideal for young and old with the Park level throughout and baby changing and disabled facilities also provided.

Address: 217 Kildare Rd, Doonside NSW 2767, Australia

Opening times

Opening Daily 9:00am - 5:00pm

Cost

Adults $29.50
Child (3-15 years) $16.00
Student / Pensioner $23.00
Senior $20.50
Family (2 adults/2 children) $83.00
Family (2 adults/1 child) $69.00
Family (1 adult/2 children) $56.00

 6. Aquarium

 aquariumSEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium offers entertainment for young and old alike. Walk underwater through over 100 metres of glass viewing tunnels and see Australia’s marine life like never before! Come within inches of huge sharks, rays and turtles and see some of the remarkable marine and freshwater animals that Australia is famous for, such as the platypus, barramundi and Little Penguins.

As you walk around SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium you’ll be taken on a journey through Australia’s wide and varied aquatic habitats, from the southern river systems that make up the Murray Darling Basin to the colossal Great Barrier Reef in the north.

Opening times

Open Daily 9:30am - 7:00pm

Cost

Online Prices via Sydney Aquarium website

Adult (16yrs+) = $28

Child (4 – 15 yrs) = $19.60

(Under 4yrs = Free)

7. Taronga Zoo

tarongazooTaronga Zoo is just 12 minutes from the city by ferry, with breathtaking views of Sydney Harbour and free shows and keeper talks throughout the day.

There’s always plenty happening at Taronga Zoo.  With over 4,000 animals to see, over 20 keeper talks and shows a day, tours, events & concerts, there’s always a new reason to visit Taronga Zoo.

 Opening times

Open Daily 9:30am - 4:30pm

Cost

Adults $46.00
Child (4-15 years) $26.00

Child (Under 4 years)       Free

 8. Sydney Hyde Barracks

 hydeparkbarracks​This museum tells vivid stories about what it was like to be a convict, or to be an orphan shipped across the world to make a new life. You can lie down in a hammock, try on leg irons and convict clothes, find rats and the rubbish and treasures they pulled under the floor to make their nests, and hear stories about the people who have lived and worked here. Follow the ‘Rats’ Trail’ through the museum to collect historical clues and receive a stamp at the front desk.

 Audio tours are provided free with admission in English, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, French, Spanish, Italian and German. We also offer regular free guided tours, which take about 45 minutes.

Address: Queens Square, Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW 2000

Opening times

Open Daily 10:00am - 5:00pm

Cost

Adults        $10.00
Child (Under 15 years)          $5.00

Family (two adults + two children)  $20

 9. Calmsley Hill Farm

farmCalmsley Hill City Farm is a farm based attraction, close to the heart of Sydney, a place where children and adults can enjoy a variety of exciting shows and exhibits. Get up close to a range of native and farmyard animals. Bring your own picnic lunch, or use our electric BBQ’s to cook your own lunch while you enjoy our beautiful grounds.

 Address: 31 Darling St Abbotsbury NSW 2176

Opening times

Open Daily 9:00am - 4:30pm

Cost

Adults $25.50
Child (3-16 years) $15.00

Child (Under 3)                FREE

  1. Jewish Museum Sydney

jewishmuseumVisitors to the Sydney Jewish Museum are fascinated as much by the story itself, as by the way it is told, with its emphasis on excellence of design and technology.

Within eight exhibition areas, visitors confront life-size sculptures and dioramas, examine original documents and newspapers, and interact with multimedia displays.

Free guided tours take place at noon on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Address: 148 Darlinghurst Road, Darlinghurst, NSW

Opening times

Sunday to Thursday = 10am - 4pm

Friday= 10am - 2pm

Cost

Adults $10.00
Child $7.00

 11. The Justice and Police centre

justiceandpoliceThe Justice and Police Museum was originally the Water Police Court (1856), Water Police Station (1858) and Police Court (1886). Restored to their 1890s character, the building’s heavy blocks of sandstone, spiked gates, winding steps and corridor of cells reinforce the museum’s themes of crime and punishment and law and order.

The museum features a magistrates court, a recreated police charge room and remand cells, a gallery of mug shots of Sydney’s early criminals and an array of spine chilling weapons. It also showcases weird and wonderful relics from notorious crimes such as the Shark Arm Murder, the Pyjama Girl Case and the Graeme Thorne Kidnapping, as well as many original objects associated with such legendary bushrangers as Frank Gardiner, Ben Hall, Captain Moonlight and Ned Kelly.

Opening times

Saturday and Sundays = 10am - 5pm

Cost

Adults $10:00
Child (Under 15 years) $5.00

Address: Corner Albert and Phillip Streets, Circular Quay, Sydney, NSW 2000

12. The Sydney Museum

sydneymuseumA modern museum built over and around the remains of Australia’s first Government House, the Museum of Sydney celebrates the people and events that have shaped the character and soul of this city. In 1788 Governor Phillip chose this site for his official residence. It quickly became the centre of the colony’s administrative and social life, and an important focus of first contact between the Gadigal people and the colonisers. The next eight governors also lived here, and as banquets and balls, the business of government and family home merged, the public and private lives of the colony’s leading citizens played out. Today, through a diverse and changing program of exhibitions and events, the Museum of Sydney explores the stories of this city from its origins to today, while the remains of the original building can be glimpsed through glass openings in the museum forecourt and foyer.

Opening times

Open Daily - 10:00am - 5:00pm

Cost

Adults $10:00
Child (Under 15 years) $5.00

Address: Cnr Phillip and Bridge Streets, Sydney, NSW 2000

13. Live Concerts

 Most clubs put on concerts or children’s activities during the school holidays. They usually sell tickets for a lower price to make it affordable for parents. One example of this is Concord RSL. They are hosting a “FUNKY BUGS” concert on the 2nd July 2015 at 10:30am. The concert is aimed for children 1 – 12 years old and is 45 minutes in length.

Adult tickets:              $5

Child (1 – 15 years)   $10

Child (Under 1 year)  FREE

Purchase tickets through “Try booking” – www.trybooking.com

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I hope these 13 activities will help you enjoy some quality time with your children during the school holidays in Sydney.

Until next time …schoolholidays

Kelly Pisani

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10 science experiments every child should experience

science experimentsWelcome to my next blog in the holiday series. In this post I focus on the value of children conducting science experiments at home and in the classroom.

Science is a key learning area that is not taught well in Australian primary schools compared to other countries. Maybe this is the result of many teachers not having a deep understanding about scientific concepts or that parents place a higher emphasis on numeracy and literacy concepts. Regardless of the reason, it is our role as educators and parents to ensure that children are having the opportunity to conduct a variety of science experiments which will help them form a strong understanding about the world around them.

I have put together a list of 10 inexpensive science experiments that can be conducted at home by children from the ages of 3 - 12 years old. Try one or all of them with your child and see your child develop their knowledge about a specific scientific concept.

1. Water movement experiment

Water movement

Materials needed: Cabbage leaves, containers, water, food dye

Concept taught: Osmosis (diffusion of water through cells) Plants rely on osmosis to move water from the roots to the tallest part of the plant.

 

1. Pour an equal amount of water into a few containers

2. Put a few drops of different coloured food dye in each container

3. Put a large cabbage leaf in each container

4. Observe cabbage leaves over a 2 week period

2. Rock Candy experiment

rock candyMaterials needed: 2-3 cups of sugar, 1 cup of water, jars, candy flavouring, food colouring, skewers, large saucepan, pegs

Concepts taught: Learning about solutes and solvents. The solute (sugar) is mixed with a solvent (water) to make a super saturated solution. After taking the solution off the heat, the sugar will begin to crystallise.

1. Dissolve a cup of sugar in a cup of water over heat in a saucepan.

2. Slowly add more and more sugar until no more will dissolve. (the water will look cloudy)

3. Take the saucepan off the heat and add the candy flavouring if desired and allow solution to cool.

4. Cut the skewers to the right length, soak the end in water and roll the end of the skewer in sugar. Allow the sticks to dry completely.

5. Pour sugar solution equally into jars. You can add a few drops of different food colouring dyes to each jar.

6. Put a dried sugar coated skewer in each jar and secure with a peg. Make sure that the skewer is not touching any part of the jar.

7. Observe skewers over 2 weeks. (The children can eat the rock candy when the experiment is over)

3. Plant maze experiment

PlantgrowingMaterials needed: shoe box, extra cardboard, scissors, broad bean plant

Concept taught: Plants need light to grow. Plants grow towards the light.

 

 

1. Cut a small hole at one end of the shoe box. Ensure that all other holes are taped up so only the hole you made will let light in.

2. Cut two pieces of cardboard and stick one of the left (a third of the way up and one on the right. (two thirds of the way up)

3. Stand the shoe box up ensuring the hole is up the top. Put the broad bean plant down the bottom sidewards. (ensure the broad bean plant is well watered)

4. Put the shoe box lid back on and secure with tape. Put shoe box in a sunny position near a window.

5. Open the shoe box in 4 to 5 days and observe the results.

4. Elephant toothpaste experiment

FoamMaterials needed: 1/2 a cup of 6% hydrogen peroxide, empty soft drink bottle, tray, food colouring, dishwashing liquid, warm water, yeast

 

Concept taught: Chemical reactions using a catalyst. The hydrogen peroxide breaks down into oxygen and water. The large volume of oxygen quickly explodes out of the bottle.

1. Put an empty soft drink bottle in the middle of a tray.

2. Mix the hydrogen peroxide, 3 drops of food colouring and a squirt of dishwashing liquid in the soft drink bottle.

3. In a separate container, mix 1 tsp of  yeast and 2 tbsp of warm water.

4. Pour the yeast mixture into the soft drink bottle and watch the chemical reaction.

5. Dissolving egg shells experiment

imagesMaterials needed: 4 clear cups, 4 eggs, vinegar,water

Concept taught: Acid base reactions. The vinegar is an acid and dissolves the eggshell which is made up of calcium carbonate (a base). When the acid and base react carbon dioxide is formed (seen as bubbles in the experiment)

  1. Put 1 egg in each clear cup.
  2. Add vinegar to two of the cups and water to the other two cups. (ensure each egg is submerged by the liquid in their cup)
  3. Observe the results over 7 days and compare the eggs that were covered in vinegar to the eggs covered in water.

6. Walking on eggs experiment

walkoneggsMaterials needed: many large trays of eggs, plastic sheet

Concept taught: Shapes of objects effect how pressure is distributed.

1. Put down a plastic sheet and lay a few trays of eggs together on it

2. Walk over the trays of eggs ensuring your feet are flat when walking

3. Walk over the eggs on heels or toes to see if it makes any difference

7. Lava lamp experiment

LavalampMaterials needed: One soft drink bottle, water, vegetable oil, food colouring, Alka-Seltzer tablet broken up

Concept taught: Oil and water do not mix. Oil is less dense and will stay above the water. The food colouring will drop through the oil and mix with the water. The tablet (citric acid and baking soda) releases carbon dioxide gas and the bubbles rise to the top, taking coloured water with it. When the gas is released at the top the coloured water will drop down again.

1. Fill the soft drink bottle a third of the way with water.

2. Fill the rest of the bottle with vegetable oil.

3. Add a couple of drops of food colouring into the soft drink bottle.

4. Add the broken Alka-Seltzer tablet into the soft drink bottle.

5. Observe results. When the experiment has finished, you can add another tablet to watch it again.

8. Make a thermometer

thermometerMaterials needed: 500ml jar, straw, clay, water, rubbing alcohol, food colouring, marker

Concept taught: Convection (the process of liquid expanding and contracting as a result of temperature) When a liquid is heated, it becomes less dense and expands. It will rise up on the thermometer (the straw). When the liquid is cooled, it contracts, becomes dense and goes down on the thermometer (the straw).

1. Fill up the empty jar with equal amounts of water and rubbing alcohol until it is ¼ of the way up the jar.

2. Put a few drops of food colouring in the liquid to make it easier to see.

3. Put the cap back on the jar and secure it with tape.

4. Mix up the liquid

5. Put a hole in the centre of the cap so a clear straw can fit through. (try to make the hole a similar size to the straw)

6. Make sure the straw is in the liquid but does not touch the bottom of the jar.

7. Use clay around the straw to ensure the jar is air tight and to hold the straw in position.

8. Draw a line on the jar with a marker to indicate room temperature.

9. Put the thermometer in different places to see what happens (eg direct sunlight, fridge)

9. Liquid explosion experiment

dietcokeMaterials needed: One bottle of diet coke, roll of mentos

Concept taught: The effect of carbon dioxide. Each mentos candy has lots of little pits over it, which means they have lots of great places for carbon dioxide bubbles to form. After all of the gas is released, the liquid is pushed out of the bottle at a great speed to form a big soft drink blast.

1. Stand the bottle of diet coke upright with the lid off in the middle of a large area.

2. Ensure everyone is standing clear

3. Unwrap the mentos roll and put all of them into the diet coke at the same time. (This can be quite tricky as you need them to go in very quickly)

4. Run into the safety zone and watch the reaction.

10. Bacteria/germs experiment

potato bacteria growthMaterials needed: two potatoes, zip lock bags, a variety of surfaces

Concept taught: The best surfaces for bacteria to grow. Bacteria are microscopic organisms that live everywhere. Certain conditions cause bacteria to be more prevalent than others. The importance of hygiene can be discussed after observing the results.

1. Wash hands with warm soapy water before commencing experiment.

2. Cut two potatoes into slices using a clean knife.

3. Label 8 zip lock bags with the surfaces : hands, mouth, toilet, dirt, floor, sink, bin lid, bench

4. Take one potato slice and rub it all over your hands. Once done put it in the corresponding bag and zip it up.

5. Repeat process with the other 7 surfaces.

6. Put bags in a dark warm spot for 1 - 2 weeks.

7. Observe which potato slice had the most mould as bacteria helps mould grow.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and are enthusiastic to try some of these at home or in your classroom. Science gets children to ask questions and clarify their own understanding of how our world works. For older children, encourage them to try and explain the science behind each experiment.

Next week I will be starting a blog series aimed at educators and parents of children aged 8 - 12 years old. Please continue to share, comment and spread the news about CREATING A LEARNING ENVIRONMENT.

Until next time …

Kelly Pisani

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