Winter Activities for Kids: Free and Cheap Things to do in Melbourne

Winter is officially here. But it’s not snowing. It’s cold and school holidays are coming up. What do we do with the kids?

Fog in the Melbourne

Helix Tree at Fed Square

A trip to the Federation Square is always fun for the kids no matter what time of the year it is. This winter (until 30 June 2013) you can watch the Helix Tree, a sound-sensitive art installation which lights up when people sing. Catch daily choirs there at 5.30 to 6.00pm. You can also have fun ‘lighting up’ the tree yourself from 6.00 to 7.30 pm.

Snow Play

Ski trips are pricy but if you just want to have a play in the snow, head to nearby resorts such as Mount Baw Baw, Lake Mountain and Mount Stirling. They’re not the best for skiing but good enough for a great day of snow play and tobogganing. Remember to check snow conditions before going.

Make a Snow Globe

All you need is a jar, water, plastic glitter and baby oil. Stick a figurine onto the inside lid of the jar. (Any old plastic toy of your child’s will do.) Fill up the jar with water. Add a few drops of baby oil and plastic glitter, then stir. Close the jar tightly and you’re done.

Make a Snow Man Indoors

You can use Insta-Snow, fake snow or corn flour but one of the easiest and least messy ways of making a snow man is with paper plates. All you need is a large white paper plate (for the body) and a smaller white paper plate (for the head). Some black stickers for the eyes. And orange cardboard for the nose. For everything else you can draw or colour in. So easy, a two-year-old can do it.

Sing Christmas Carols

It’s not Christmas but it sure feels like it. The fire place is on, it’s freezing outside. Put on the Christmas carols and have a sing-a-long at home. If you’re really in the mood, roast a turkey or toast some marshmallows over the fire.

Winter Kids Market

Stock up on winter clothes at a winter kids market. You have only one season to dress them up in all kinds of fun winter woollies so enjoy it while you can. They’re probably going to outgrow the clothes by next season so don’t pay full price for it. Many markets offer activities for the kids such as jumping castles and face painting so you can buy a few extra minutes of shopping.

Disney on Ice

This is not cheap. But it’s Disney and it’s on ice. What better way to celebrate winter. If you’re willing to fork out $24.50 to $74.50 for a ticket, it sounds like a fun thing to do. Especially if your little ones are into Princesses and Heroes, which is the theme for the year. Disney on Ice is on 4-8 July at Hisense Arena.

Decorate the Train Table

Does your little one have one of those train tables that take up the entire playroom? As the seasons change, the train station can too. Get a bag of cotton wool and let the kids ‘snow’ over Thomas and friends. You can do the same with a farm house and make up all kinds of stories around it.

Go to the Movies

If the weather is not great, escape into the world of movies. At the Australian Centre for Moving Images (ACMI), all tickets are $7 on weekends and school holidays. June to November highlights include The Wizard of Oz, Miffy the Movie and The NeverEnding Story.