A new year, a new start – what adventures will your family having in 2018?
To kickstart your fun I’ve compiled a list of 28 awesome things to do with your kids in January.
As for me…I’m taking a blog break to enjoy Baby 2.0’s last summer before he starts school. We’re travelling to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Brisbane for most of January (follow my adventures on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) and then coming home to produce Wheelie Good Fun‘s biggest event so far – the Fun in Colour two day creative festival for children at Highpoint Shopping Centre on Saturday 27 January and Sunday 28 January.
If you’re on social media I’d LOVE to see what you’re up to this summer. Please use #totsummer on your posts so we can all be inspired to enjoy a fun, restful and HOT summer holidays!
National Gallery of Victoria is one of the few public institutions open on New Year’s Day. In our experience it’s a great time to go, especially in the morning. The gallery is virtually empty which means you’ll be able to enjoy the NGV Summer Architecture Commission, NGV Triennal and The Pool in peace.
National Gallery of Victoria| Daily 10-5pm
Tue 2 Jan – Get splashy
Splashland inflatable water slide park is returning with 7,000m2 of slippery summertime fun for kids. See you at the bottom! Full review.
Splashland | Caulfield Racecourse| Thu 28 Dec – Wed 24 Jan
From the creators of Room on the Broom and Snail and the Whale comes the heart-warming stage show Emily Brown and the Thing, based on the much-loved book by Cressida Cowell (writer of How to Train your Dragon) and Neal Layton. Full review.
Emily Brown and the Thing | Arts Centre Melbourne | Wed 3 Jan – Sun 14 Jan | All tickets $30
Thu 4 Jan – Road trip to the Great Ocean Road
Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Icecreamery is a delicious family-friendly destination on the Great Ocean Road in Bellbrae from the founders of the popular Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice creamery in Yarra Glen.
The shop, cafe and gardens are a perfect destination if you’re taking a trip to the Great Ocean Road. They also run junior chocolatier classes for kids!
Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Icecreamery| 1200 Great Ocean Road, Bellbrae | Daily 9am-5pm
Fri 5 Jan – Enjoy free water play
Enjoy free water play at one of Melbourne’s many free water play areas.
Sat 6 Jan – Explore the zoo in the cool of the evening
Werribee Zoo is open late for ‘Rhythm of Africa’ every Saturday night in summer. There’s live music, African-inspired food, dancing, drumming, hair braiding, kids activities, safari tours and more!
Sun 7 Jan – Go Fruit picking
Go on a day trip to pick strawberries at Bacchus Marsh’s Strawberry Forest, the Mornington Peninsula’s Sunny Ridge or go cherry picking in the Yarra Valley at Cherryhill Orchards.
Mon 8 Jan – Free arts festival for kids
Enjoy a week of free artist-led workshops and spectacular performances for kids at NGV International’s NGV Kids Summer Festival 2018.
NGV Kids Summer Festival 2018 | NGV International | Mon 8 Jan – Sun 14 Jan, 10AM–3PM daily | Free
Tue 9 Jan – Visit Scienceworks
Scienceworks’ new permanent children’s gallery ‘Ground Up‘ is ah-mazing fun for toddlers and preschoolers especially.
Ground Up at Scienceworks | 2 Booker St Spotswood | Daily 10-5pm | Adults $15, children free
Wed 10 Jan – Sample the world’s cuisines
Head to Melbourne’s oldest night market every Wednesday at Queen Victoria Night Market. If you’re southside there’s also the South Melbourne Night Market every Thursday night in January and February too.
Queen Victoria Night Market | Every Wednesday 5-10pm | 15 Nov 2016 to Mar 2018
South Melbourne Night Market| Every Thursday 5:30-8:30pm | 4 Jan – 22 Feb
Thu 11 Jan – Visit Gumbuya World
Victoria’s newest theme park Gumbuya World features the Oasis Springs water park, Wildlife Trail and the Oz Adventure and Outback Explorer worlds,
Gumbuya World | 2705 Princes Highway Tynong | 10-6pm | Adults $49 Child 3-15 years $43
Fri 12 Jan – Learn about digital technology and films
With a huge suite of creative workshops as well as screenings of popular film classics, there’s something for kids of all ages during ACMI’s school holiday program. The free Screen Worlds exhibition is worth visiting too and don’t miss Wallace and Gromit: The Magic of Aardman before it closes at the end of January.
ACMI, Federation Square | Daily 10-5pm | Free, workshops paid
Thu 13 Jan – Visit a beach playground
Carrum Beach is one of our favourite beaches in Melbourne with a gorgeous nautical-themed playground on the foreshore. Also check out the beach playgrounds we’ve reviewed at Williamstown, Altona, Albert Park and Frankston.
Head to the sophisticated French music festival where the kids get in free and there’s a whole section devoted to families. Full review and giveaway.
So Frenchy So Chic, Werribee Park | Sun 14 Jan | $89 per adult, kids free
Mon 15 Jan – AO Ballpark
The Grand Slam of the Asia-Pacific takes over Melbourne 15-28 January. Even if you’re not a tennis fan you can enjoy the free family-friendly activities at the AO Ballpark at Birrarung Marr with the kids zones.
AO Ballpark, Birrarung Marr | 15-25 Jan | Free
Tue 16 Jan – Open air cinema
Watch a film at one of the several open air cinemas dotted around Melbourne – Moonlight Cinema, QV Cinema and at Barkly Square.
Many councils also hold free outdoor cinema screenings (and live music concerts) over summer – check out your local council’s website for more info.
Wed 17 Jan – Visit the music festival just for kids
Melbourne Recital Centre’s annual children’s music festival ‘Music Play’ is back this year with another fun program featuring big concerts, mini workshops and free foyer fun!
Music Play | Melbourne Recital Centre | 17-20 January
Thu 18 Jan – Hang out at the pool
Head to your favourite public pool for some splashy fun. North Melbourne pool is only open during the summer months so make the most of the water play there.
Fri 19 Jan – Eat gelato
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Work your way through my list of Melbourne’s best ice cream and gelato.
Sat 20 Jan – Join the circus
Roll up, roll up to the Clocktower Centre for the Big Tops and Tiny Tots Circus Show with Luth Wolff, an experienced youth circus coach who has been performing since the young age of six.
Big Tops and Tiny Tots Circus Show | The Clocktower Centre | Tickets $20
Sun 21 Jan – Catch a crab
Explore marine life in the shallow rockpools of the marine sanctuary at Ricketts Point and Point Gellibrand.
Mon 22 Jan – Go for a scoot or bike ride
Altona Beach is a fantastic bay beach with long stretches of sand, a pier, cafes and a beach playground. We love taking our bikes and scooters there. Also check out the new skate park at Price Reserve or go park-hopping on your wheels at Woodlea starting from Frontier Park.
Tue 23 Jan – Catch a movie
Beat the heat and hide in your local cinema to catch the latest family-friendly flicks.
Vjunior is a special cinema designed for children aged 3 to 10 years. It features a dedicated play area in the foyer, and two cinemas that are specifically designed for kids. Vjunior is exclusive to Village Cinemas and is open at Westfield Southland, Knox and Fountain Gate at the moment.
Wed 24 Jan – Eat fish and chips
Where’s the best fish and chips in Melbourne? I reckon Tommy Ruff is right up there with the best.
Thu 25 Jan – Take a day trip to the beach
Head to the beach for a day trip or for the long weekend with my family-friendly guides to Lorne, Mornington Peninsula and Frankston.
Fri 26 Jan – Australia Day
Here’s what’s on in Melbourne for Australia Day celebrations. We highly recommend the Government House Open Day event where you can tour the main House and enjoy lots of free family friendly activities.
Sat 27 Jan – Fun in Colour
Join me and my friends Footscray Community Arts Centre, Scienceplay Kids and Little Art Big Art as we hold a colourful two-day creative festival for kids at Highpoint.
Fun in Colour | Level 1 Highpoint Shopping Centre Hoyts entrance | Sat 27 Jan – Sun 28 Jan 11-4pm daily | Free
Sun 28 Jan – Relax
Last day of summer holidays before school starts next week! Explore some of Melbourne’s best beaches for kids.