There’s only so many times you can take the kids to the beach and movies during the six-week school holiday break. Thankfully there’s plenty happening around town to keep them engaged and entertained. They might even learn something.

Sunny succulent garden at the Royal Botanic Garden
If you live in Sydney, there might be few chances for your kids to pal around with plants, trees and dirt. Enter the sunny succulent garden at the Royal Botanic Garden. Kids can spend a morning or afternoon learning about succulents and creating their own sun print artwork of their favourite plant. They’ll also plant their own mini succulent garden to take home. In 2024 there are sessions on January 9, 16 and 23. It’s $20 per child for a one and a half hour session (either 10.30am to 12pm or 1pm to 2.30pm).

Nature programs at Centennial Parklands
There’s no better time of year for being outdoors, and attendance at Centennial Park’s nature programs is a great excuse to get the kids unplugged and actively engaged with nature. Join the education rangers in Centennial Parklands for full-day programs focused on either arts or science. The Park Arts - Wild Wonders program will see kids learning a range of unique art techniques such as nature print, cyanotype printing and ephemeral art making, and using a range of materials from clay, to natural dyes, to natural materials that they’ll collect themselves. Meanwhile, the Park Science - Marvellous Machines program allows kids to become little engineers for the day, participating in a challenge to build a Rube Goldberg machine – a machine designed to complete a simple task in a hilariously elaborate way. Sessions will be held on select dates throughout January. For kids five to 12 years. Tickets are $100.

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Sunset Cinema at North Sydney Oval
If the kids are going to be plugged into a screen, it may as well be in the great outdoors. Sunset Cinema at North Sydney has a bunch of films to keep the little tykes entertained. Over Christmas expect seasonal favourites like Elf and Home Alone. Come January it’s kid-friendly flicks galore, including Trolls Band Together, The Boy and the Heron and Wonka. There’s popcorn and choc tops for the young ‘uns and parents can enjoy an adult moment at the licenced bar. Sunset Cinema North Sydney runs from December 8 to March 9; kids tickets are $15 (under-threes are free) and adults are $25.

Ramses & the Gold of the Pharaohs at the Australian Museum
Exclusive to Sydney, this exhibition draws together over 180 ancient Egyptian artefacts to transport visitors 3,300 years back in time. Among the treasured items chronicling the life of Ramses the Great are his intricately carved sarcophagus, animal mummies and ornate royal masks and jewellery. You can also add a virtual reality experience onto your ticket; you’ll fly through temples, sandstorms as you explore the temples of Abu Simbel and the tomb of Queen Nefertari. Tickets for kids aged three to 15 start at $29, adult tickets start at $43 and kids aged two and under enter free.

Kids Workshops with Class Bento
Online portal Class Bento is offering hundreds of classes and workshops that’ll teach your kids hands-on skills, to inspire and get them moving. Help your little one perfect their kick-flip by booking them into a skateboarding class, or burn up extra energy at a hula-hooping workshop. There are also chocolate-making lessons, pottery lessons and even a marionette making class. Plus, if you have a group of kids, some providers will come to you so you can avoid dragging big groups across the city.

Sydney Dance Company Workshops
Get your kids pirouetting, pivoting and popping across stage with workshops from Sydney Dance Company. There are courses for all skill levels. Aspiring dancers can learn the basics of dance, as well as contemporary, jazz and hip-hop styles. There are one- and two-day workshops; some require a little bit of experience in dance. From $35 to $210; classes run at Sydney Dance Company’s studios at Walsh Bay.

London International Animation Festival at Sydney Opera House
Aimed at kids aged two to 14 and their families, the London International Animation Festival’s first visit to Australia will see the Playhouse transformed into a cinema bursting with visually delightful animated short films. Screenings will includes films made using stop motion, claymation, 2D and 3D CGI and more. Kids can even have a go at animation themselves at the Flipbook Animation Creation Station or a half-day stop motion animation workshop. Tickets are $15 plus booking fees.

This article was originally published on November 30, 2022. It was updated on December 11, 2023 to reflect new events and remove out-of-date details.