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School’s out: Ideas for holidays with kids

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School’s out for the holidays and if your place is anything like where I grew up that means weeks of bored kids glued to their computers, never-ending sibling squabbling and super-stressed out parents.

Instead of rostering in play doh-making sessions, working out ways to disconnect the internet and stopping them from skateboarding inside the house, why not pack them up and have a holiday with a difference – an educational difference.

It’s probably not the sexiest of ideas to sell in but what if they imagined a classroom full of sharks, stingrays and weird fish, or one that’s just a massive pile of dirt and dinosaur bones, or perhaps a Hobie cat and an open stretch of water ready for exploring?

Dupe the kids in to a lesson of a different kind and get them out and about with these activities…

If you have budding Masterchefs instructing you to ‘plate up’ and ‘step away from the benches’ get them to a Kids in the Kitchen cooking class at the renowned James St Cooking School in Brisbane. Classes are kept small and range from 6 to 13 year olds. For $85 it’s the ideal way to give your kids an appreciation of how those dinners arrive on the table each night.

Australian Age of Dinosaurs

Help Prep-a-Dino at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs in Winton

Kids going through the dinosaur phase? Head west to Winton and visit the Australian Age of Dinosaurs, home to Australia’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils and reputed to be the fastest dinosaur preparation factory in the world. A genuine opportunity to get down and dirty, kids and students can join the Prep-a-Dino experience where a team of experts will teach them how to dust off the bones of these ancient ‘monsters’. From $65 for members.

Daydream Island plays host to one of the world’s largest man-made living coral reef lagoons and it’s the perfect playground for budding marine biologists. Kids can get their feet wet and get up close with over 80 different species of marine life including sharks, stingrays and clownfish. The Living Reef Ranger programme gives a behind-the-scenes look at marine wildlife and a lesson on feeding and natural habitats. From $79 per person, minimum six years of age.

Farm stays are one of the best ways to teach kids new skills while broadening their horizons. A few nights in a swag will certainly have them appreciating their comfy beds! Kroombit Park at Biloela offers whip cracking lessons, horse riding, quad bike tours and even goat lassoing. Kids are encouraged to get as involved in the working farm as possible and even help prepare the home cooked Aussie meals.

Got a water baby in the family? Sunshine Sailing Australia offers day lessons, weekend courses and school holiday programmes that will teach kids about teamwork, weather, tides, rope work, navigation and boat maintenance. They’ll be the next Jessica Watson in no time.

There will be no complaints about going to school when it’s a circus school. Cirque Espace operates a dedicated circus school within the grounds of Novotel Twin Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast, giving kids the chance to master circus skills like juggling, static trapeze, flying trapeze, tight wire and bungee trampoline.

Other educational school holiday activities include:

  • Queensland Museum’s kids’ programme provides a Secrets of the Tomb trail, Dino Activity Zone and Daily Discoveries
  • Powerhouse Brisbane runs the highly successful Powerkidz programmes throughout the school holidays, including cooking, music, drama and art sessions.
  • The Cobb+Co Museum in Toowoomba runs holiday programmes for Little Cobbers that include hands-on activities, crafts and learning through fun.

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