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Free Summer School Holidays Melbourne Activities – What’s On in January 2023

Looking for free ways to have fun in the summer school holidays in Melbourne? 

Melbourne offers lots of free activities and events taking place in various locations throughout the summer school holidays to keep the whole family entertained! From outdoor activities to arts and cultural experiences, there are plenty of options to suit all ages and interests.

Here are some of the best free summer events for kids and their families in Melbourne. As always, be sure to check back often for updates and to see what’s on in Melbourne today and this weekend, as well as what’s happening for the whole month.

NGV Stone Motherless Cold

WHAT’S ON MELBOURNE CBD/DOCKLANDS

  • District Live – Free Open Air Series (Sat 7 Jan – Sat 28 Jan) – Every Saturday in January 2pm – 8pm, enjoy live music, entertainment, food and activities for all ages.
  • Crack the code scavenger hunt (Mon 9 Jan – Fri 20 Jan) – Find the hidden symbols throughout the library in order to crack the top secret code.
  • Spy craft (Mon 9 Jan – Wed 18 Jan) – Every good secret agent needs gadgets, come along to this crafting session to make some. All materials provided.
  • How Long is A Piece of String? (Mon 9 Jan – Sat 14 Jan) –  This interactive string installation invites people of all ages to create a visual exploration of the milestones, life stages, and experiences that define us—and to weave them into a rich tapestry of stories from across our community.
  • Secret messages (Tue 10 Jan – Wed 18 Jan) – Solve the coded messages, create your own decoder wheel and learn a little spy craft so that you can make your own secret messages this school holidays.
  • Super spy storytime (Wed 11 Jan – Thu 19 Jan) – Attention all secret agents! Join us for thrilling stories, songs and a top secret craft.
  • NGV Kids Summer Festival (Sat 14 Jan – Sun 22 Jan) – Back with a packed schedule of entirely FREE events, the 9 day program includes artist-led workshops, performances, events and more designed especially for kids, teens and their families. Read the review
NGV Freedom of Movement
  • Mother Earth Textile Collective (Sun 15 Jan) – Get crafty and come learn about Indigenous Latin American symbolism through textile art!
  • Super spy cars and Lego lairs at East Melbourne Library (Thu 19 Jan) – Build the ultimate baddie hideout or a super, sneaky spy car out of Lego. What will you create?
  • Feast (Sat 21 Jan – Sun 22 Jan) – Feast is a meal like no other, inviting children to make gastronomical delights from a pile of most unusual ingredients.
  • Docklands Community Market (2nd & 4th Sunday of each month) – Grab your early morning coffee, enjoy a lovely stroll & support your local producers at this lovely market.
  • The Story of the Moving Image (open daily) – Journey through the past, present and future of the moving image through interactive experiences, digital innovation and captivating stories. ACMI review.
Acmi Exhibition The Story Of The Moving Image 7
  • Gandel Storytelling Workshops: Storyline Express (Daily until Thu 2 Mar) – All aboard the Storyline Express: a marvellous visual installation where you’ll see miniature locomotives carrying its friendly, furry passengers through a bustling city.
  • Kids Takeover (Thu 19 Jan) – Let your child’s creativity run wild with workshops, performances and activities throughout the Library this summer! Note that this event is free but with some paid events within the program
  • Library on the Lawn (Daily until Thu 2 Feb) – Pull up a bean bag and relax in the shade as the Library’s forecourt is transformed into an urban oasis for two weeks. There will be boxes of books to read for children and adults.
  • Playdate at the Library: Happy Feet Fitness (Starts Wed 18 Jan) – Calling all movers-and-shakers! These interactive classes are designed to boost youngsters' confidence through dance and encourage participation and social interaction.
  • Docklands Community Market (2nd & 4th Sunday of Each Month) – Grab your early morning coffee, enjoy a lovely stroll & support your local producers at this lovely market.
  • The District Makers Market (Until Sun 27 Nov) – creative and colourful market stalls showcasing a variety of art, craft, jewellery, homewares, gifts and artisanal produce last Sunday of the month. 

WHAT’S ON – MELBOURNE’S NORTH / NORTH-EAST

  • Family Fridays at Pentridge (Fri 23 Dec – Fri 27 Jan) – Join in every Friday evening at Pentridge for live music, children’s activities and family fun!
  • Summer of Play Melbourne Museum Plaza (Sat 24 Dec – Sun 26 Feb) – Play all day as Melbourne Museum celebrates summer with an illuminated Plaza playscape. Experience unmissable exhibitions, hot pink activations and late-night events.
  • Slow Art Collective: Pavilion 2023 (Wed 4 Jan – Wed 18 Jan) – A brand-new series of, hands-on, art activities with Slow Art Collective, using visual art, craft, sound and performances.
  • Mission possible escape room at North Melbourne Library (Thu 19 Jan) – Calling all secret agents! Come along to crack codes and solve riddles in this thrilling escape from the library.
  • Child Nation (Wed 4 Jan – Tue 24 Jan) – Premiering for the first time, using a hand-held device, kids are prompted to answer quirky questions in response to the things they see around them.
  • Fitzroy Market (Saturdays) – a one-stop hub for everything produce, food, artisan, handcrafted, vintage, second hand and local.
  • Rose Street Artists' Market (Saturdays and Sundays) – Shop directly from Melbourne’s best artists, designers, crafters and makers at Fitzroy’s iconic Rose Street Market.
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WHAT’S ON – MELBOURNE’S SOUTH / SOUTH-EAST / BAYSIDE

  • Seek and Find Nature Cards (Sat 1 Jan – Fri 30 Jun) – Set your young ones on an adventure exploring the wondrous scenery, plants and creatures of Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne with their Seek and Find Nature Cards.
  • Loose Parts in the Play Republic (Mon 9 Jan – Fri 13 Jan) – With abundant, simple resources and the ability to come and go freely from the space, the Plaza will become your playground for creative ideas and building.
  • Summer Nature Play (Tue 10 Jan – Wed 11 Jan) – Delight your child’s senses with free nature play experiences in the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden this summer, led by Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria’s experienced Learning Facilitators. 
  • Sunset Sounds (Sun 15 Jan & Sun 22 Jan) – Come along with your friends and family, grab your picnic rug, and settle in for great evenings of live music under summer sunset skies
  • Night MODE: Hypercolour Edition (Thu 19 Jan) – Expect tight grooves from soul-pop outfit JOTHI, indulge in a little lino printing with artist Yaz Gaté and experience craft, collage and colour like never before at workshops by JNL X SJM.
  • Brickvention (Sat 21 Jan – Sun 22 Jan) – An all things lego convention that's filled with workshops, presentations, special events and challenges!
  • Butterfly House (Fri 27 Jan – Sun 29 Jan) –  Come and celebrate the miracle of flight and metamorphosis at the Butterfly House. Meet a giant praying mantis or make friends with a caterpillar. 
  • Numinous Bloom (Wed 25 Jan – Thu 26 Jan) – an interactive mechanical garden for all ages featuring triggered animatronics, sound and light.
  • Sunset Twilight Markets (Sundays) – Enjoy live music, roaming performers,  curated stallholders offering a variety of unique products and wares and more
  • Bentleigh Sunday Market (Sundays) – plants, clothing, cosmetics, jewellery, books, videos, tools, antiques, crafts, pre-loved goods and more! Every Sunday. 
  • Prahran Market Mini Marketeers (Every Tuesday) – Enjoy free, guided activities teaching toddlers the fundamentals of eating well and putting the ‘yum’ in healthy food choices.
seek find

WHAT’S ON – MELBOURNE’S EAST

WHAT’S ON – MELBOURNE’S WEST

  • Movies by the Bay (Fri 13 Jan & Fri 20 Jan) – Enjoy free outdoor screenings of family-friendly films in Hobsons Bay.
  • Meet me in Tarneit Market (Third Friday of Each month) – Meet me in Tarneit is back and they’re turning up the heat in Tarneit once again to bring you free movies, music, markets and more.
  • Yarraville Village Farmers Market (1st & 3rd Saturday of Each Month) – enjoy a wonderful, relaxed community environment and sample the freshest products direct from the farmers and producers as you shop in the open.
  • Story Time With Amanda Falson (Mondays) – Join in this free event with your little ones every Monday morning for story time with Amanda Falson.

Free water play in Melbourne

Summer School Holidays Melbourne CBD – What’s On in January 2023


FREE Summer School Holiday PIN
cropped Kristyna Hess Lockdown Portraits x

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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