School Holidays

Some Cool Inspiration For These Winter School Holidays

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We’ve been busy coming up with some seriously fun ways the entire family can enjoy the winter school holidays within the current COVID-19 restrictions. Our free digital-led calendar of events is a sure-fire way to keep cabin-fever at bay!

Catering for toddlers through to teens, the online programming on offer explores different ways to be creative, experiment with science, get in touch with nature or make something memorable.

These activities complement the growing list of facilities reopening their doors to the public, with families also invited to get out and about - from a safe distance - and visit some of their favourite Newcastle destinations. Pre-book your free visit to Newcastle Museum and Newcastle Art Gallery or drop in to your local library, with more branches opening each week.

Get out and about and back in touch with nature with our ever-popular walking trails, open spaces and animal attractions at Blackbutt Reserve.

Read on for the perfect balance of digital and socially distanced school holidays inspiration.

Newcastle Libraries

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Join Newcastle Libraries online in a range of creative workshops for you to explore crazy creative writing challenges, making and painting.

Perhaps you’d like to tap into a zen mindset and make a magical mandala, or discover how local artist and illustrator, Liz Anelli, created the illustrations in her picture book Desert Lake… and see if you can do the same!

Become a natural history illustrator for a day, capturing the beauty of nature in your own unique nature field journal or get a little more alternative inside the subculture of zines, learning how to make, print and fold your very own.

Are you following Newcastle Libraries on Facebook? You would want to be, in order to tune in to a digital workshop with Newcastle street art legends UP&UP. Learn about street art in Newcastle and try your hand at graffiti lettering and imagery.

Finally, get acquainted with local rising stars Regina Kamanda, Butterknife and Wanjun, livestreamed right to your living room as part of a Newcastle youth music initiative.

City and Wallsend branches are currently open for express visitations. Mayfield branch will be open from 1 July and New Lambton Library will be open from 6 July. Don’t forget your library is always open and available via your fingertips on the Newcastle Libraries app. Visit www.newcastle.nsw.gov.au/Library to find out more.  

Newcastle Art Gallery 

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Join a Newcastle Art Gallery Educator for a free 30-minute online class using materials from around the home. Developed for primary-aged children, these free webinars are designed to stimulate playful art making possibilities.

During Week 1, learn about Murrurundi born, Melbourne based artist Peter Atkins and his use of found and collected objects to create works of art, followed by a demonstration of a simple art-making activity you can do in your home using collected objects and other recycled materials.

In Week 2, learn about Newcastle born, Adelaide based artist Tom Gleghorn and his use of abstract expressionism to create works of art, followed by a demonstration of a simple art-making activity you can do in your home by splashing, dribbling and flicking paint.

Newcastle Art Gallery is also open with two daily sessions Tuesdays to Sundays. To avoid disappointment, book your free Gallery session via the Art Gallery website.

Newcastle Museum

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What kind of crazy fun science has our Museum scientist Catherine got for you these holidays? Join the Museum's Facebook page at 3pm each Thursday in the school holidays as free science fun is streamed live.

You can continue to discover the Museum @home with a range of experiments by Museum Express. Download your activities and watch the videos to create your own mini car, train or tram from recycled materials or take up some of our Museum Missions and solve the mysteries!

Or perhaps you’re ready to re-discover the Museum… in real life! Explore the FIRE! exhibition as you wander through A Newcastle Story, watch the BHP Steelmaking Simulation and learn about the history of steel and coal in the Fire and Earth gallery and learn about local Aboriginal history and culture as you explore Cultural Resurgence and Kuueeyung exhibitions.

Open Tuesday to Saturday, 9.30am-1.30pm. Online bookings essential.

Blackbutt Reserve

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Winter school holidays are the perfect time to explore Blackbutt Reserve. Grab some emu food from the kiosk, talk a stroll along the boardwalk, grab a picnic basket or just go wild in the playground. For the more adventurous why not take a hike on one of the many walking trails. Visit the Blackbutt Reserve website to find out more.

Natural Connection

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We consider ourselves pretty lucky in Newcastle to have amazing parklands and natural areas surrounding our city suburbs. Local illustrator Liz Anelli is working with City of Newcastle to map our unique green spaces and celebrate the many benefits they bring our community.

To help Liz with this enormous task, we're asking young Novocastrians to create a mud map of their local green space and point out the places that are important to them. All of the details on how to get involved can be found on our who's at home in your backyard page.

You’ll also be able to explore a range of other activities on there for kids and their families to enjoy outside in their neighbourhood, including writing a love letter to your favourite tree, counting the birds in your backyard and becoming a minibeast Detective! Get inspired by nature now!

What's On(line) - Virtual Events Calendar

There are still even more ways to feel connected to our friends, family and community during this time. Stay together from a safe distance with our What's On(line) Event Calendar, featuring fun virtual events the whole family can enjoy.