What to do during the Mid Year WINTER School Holidays?

Rainy Day

Our mid year school holidays are here; the WINTER HOLIDAYS, those that are filled with days of frost, rain and wind. Days that need to be spent in doors and out of the cold.

A well deserved break is something every mother looks forward too; however if you have to stay indoors for days on end it can be a nightmare!

I am not complaining (really) as there are several benefits that come with the school holidays:


  • No school runs and hectic mornings (see here)
  • No weekend sports or training afternoons
  • No school lunches to make, washing uniforms or ironing those school shirts.


On the other hand, there is some negatives too:

  • Fighting, bickering, noise and chaos
  • The “I’m bored” syndrome
  • Being eaten out of house and home
  • Being stuck indoors due to bad weather

Planning outings and family excursions during the holidays would seem a good thing to do; however various places or entertainment venues do not cater for OR offer special family rates for large families.  The ‘normal family’ 2 adults and 2 children, of course this is not going to work for us at all.

A day out at the zoo or aquarium is SO expensive; over hundreds of dollars.  This does not include the transport or parking costs as well. (Not to mention trying to find parking for a Hi Ace and it’s height restrictions).

There are lots of places to visit in the holidays, but they all come with a cost and most large families would have to miss out.

So here I have put together a list of venues or other activities (available around Melbourne) that are affordable for large families.


Melbourne Museum montage

Melbourne Museum is located just north of the Melbourne CBD. OPENING HOURS AND ADMISSION PRICES ~ Open daily 10am – 5pm.

General Melbourne Museum entry ~ Adult $10, Concession* and Child (3–16 years) free entry. 

This price above is for the museum only and does not include any of the exhibitions.

The last time our family went to the museum was when the “Titanic” exhibition was here.  Hubby and my eldest son (he was 6 at the time) only got to see this at the time of our visit.  I took the other children around the museum while they did the ‘tour’.

Exhibits are not for young children though; hubby did not get to have a good look as my son got VERY bored quickly and preferred to look at the dinosaurs, animals and spiders in the actual museum.  My girls (and myself) LOVED the room with Phar Lap. (I must confess, I too found the spiders and bugs were very fascinating)!


Scienceworks visiting montage
Again, these prices are pretty good too (similar entry to the MUSEUM above). I  have never been here before, however most of my children have been via school excursions(click the title for more details and location).



Organising a picnic in a park is very easy.  Pack your lunch, use the free BBQs and enjoy your day out.  Bring the footy or soccer balls, tennis rackets (if the park has a tennis court along side), a kite, cricket bats and stumps, volley ball and net.   The kids will have a ball.  Finding a park with BBQ facilities, bike tracks and sporting fields is a bonus too.



These places were invented for every mothers sanity.  The kids can go and play, jump, slide and mess up someone else’s place instead of your own!  There is nothing better than  sitting and watching your kids from afar while sipping several cups of cappuccinos or lattes.

Large families are great to have at these places. The siblings watch out for each other and if there is a problem an older child deals with it and brings the smaller child to mummy.

Some indoor play centres can be very expensive, however most places offer deals for large groups or have a cheap rate one day a week.

Make sure you bring along the children’s packed lunch too.  Who cares if the sign says, no food to be brought from home – you decide what your children eat not anyone else.  Don’t be afraid to speak up.  An example: “I just paid a fortune to enter your gate, and you now want me to feed all my children too”?  Or you could be nicer and just tell them your children have special needs and are allergic to artificial colours and preservatives ~ this usually works every time.
Most play centres around my area are for younger children and toddlers.  Hence the older children tend to get bored very quickly.If you have older children (teens), I recommend travelling to a venue that is adult friendly too.

I found this great place (which has 3 locations around Melbourne) ~ KIDS SPACE, check out the slides at the HALLAM venue (mums, I do not recommend going down the black slide ~ its a killer). 

Another suggestion; if you do go to one of these places, go as early as it opens, spend the day whole day there (to get your monies worth).  Let the kids ‘run a muck’ and wear themselves out ~ as they will all sleep like logs that evening!


This is a FREE venue, kids can read to their hearts content for hours on end.  Plus they get to bring home books and DVDs too.


This I only recommend if both partners are there or you have an extra pair of adults eyes and hands to watch all the children in the water.

Of course if you must stay home (and indoors) during the holidays make sure you have a large DVD library, plenty of board games or the xbox/Wii.


If you are daring to do crafts ~ make sure the day is free and all the house work done before hand (personally I am not a fan or crafts, glue and paints), however make sure the kids help clean up afterwards too!


Or better still, make them get stuck into the housework.

And if all else fails and the children are DRIVING YOU CRAZY; make sure you have plenty of wine or alcohol stocked up ready for that particular time of the day………….


Cheers ~ and happy holidays everyone!


Last minute find:

ZOO’s Victoria are offering “KIDS ARE FREE”

See here (from website)

Kids are free so why not make the most of all three zoos!

Zoos Victoria has welcomed a move by the Victorian Government to introduce free admission for children under 16 years of age to Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Open Range Zoo on weekends, Victorian public holidays and Victorian Government school holidays.