Fab ways to keep your tribe entertained this winter...
Every Illawarra parent has been there.
It’s 4.30pm on a June afternoon. You’re at the park and you suddenly realise that it’s dark. The sun has slipped behind the escarpment and it’s all over, red rover.
The Winter chill has arrived and taken with it our long, lazy beach side afternoons. Fortunately, there are plenty of mostly FREE or LOW cost activities to keep kids busy during the cooler months.
We’ve rounded up our favourite ways to keep the kids entertained this winter. Give one of these a go when the mercury drops, you might just find a new favourite space or place to enjoy with your family.
1. RUG UP and expand your park horizons – We all have a favourite park. More accurately, our KIDS have a favourite park and us parents choose one based on important things like coffee and snack availability. During the cooler months, why not think outside the square and check out a new park? Two of our favourites? The Wollongong Botanic Gardens and The Illawarra Rhododendron Garden. Both packed with spaces and places to explore, ducks, picnic spaces and plenty of space to run around.
2. Get hearts pumping at the local BMX, bike or skate park – Whether you’ve got a scooter scallywag or a bike bandit, taking the kids to a local skate park makes for plenty of fun. There are a number of parks located throughout the Illawarra (you can check out a list here) or for something a bit special for older kids, why not visit the Southlake Illawarra BMX Club in Albion Park? The Illawarra’s only BMX track is open to the public on certain days and times and also hosts ‘Come And Try’ days for new riders.
3. Cosy up a kid friendly café – Rain, hail or shine, kids just wanna get out and about. If it’s pouring outside, why not check out a kid friendly café? Coffee on tap, yummy snacks and space for the kids to run around? It’s a win, win! Check out our list of the best family friendly eateries here.
4. Go bush with a bushwalk – Winter can be the perfect time to go bush. The cooler months mean less chance of overheating and the increased rain fall leaves our tracks gorgeously green and lush. Check out Bush Walk The Gong for the top walks for kids and plenty of resources to plan your trip.
5. Get acquainted with your local library – Your local library can be an absolute God send during cold, rainy days (and weeks!). Hosting plenty of daily activities for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, many of the local libraries also have dedicated play spaces and children’s areas making them the perfect spot to spend the morning.
Even visiting to top up on loan new books / dvd's and audio story books (hot tip for for longer car journey's - they can keep kids entertained and quiet for hours just listening - we love it!) can be a fun outing. You can check out what’s on by visiting the Wollongong Council and Shellharbour Council Library websites.
6. Value for money winter warming outings – Inflatable World Wollongong is a must! With so many inflatables to navigate and play on, it’s a firm favourite for kids of all ages! Spectators are free, just $10 for under 4’s and $16 for over 4’s and that includes two hours are bouncy crazy fun to get the blood pumping and warm those winter bones. Open every weekend from 10-4pm and everyday of school holidays!
7. Brush up on some culture at Nan Tien Temple or Helensburgh Hindu Temple. For something a little bit different, why not spend the day exploring Nan Tien Temple in Berkeley or Helensburgh Hindu Temple? Both locations offer a fascinating, kid-friendly insight into Buddhism and Buddhist culture with activities, tours and delicious food to enjoy.
8. Go loony with Lego – Kids of all ages love Lego - have a construction day building whatever fancy and if you want to factor a trip out too there’s plenty of the big block variety at Warrawong, Dapto, Corrimal and Shellharbour City libraries. Each have a specific Lego building area for kids of all ages.
9. Hop on your bike – With the new coastal walk being built, there’s bike and walking tracks aplenty to enjoy. The shared pathway between Wollongong and Bulli is a fab option with 20 odd kilometres of beachside path to explore, as is Lake Illawarra and surrounds (which is better for kids learning to ride bikes as it's quieter).
10. Winter in July (or why not June!) – chuck a chook in the oven, buy some Christmas Crackers (bonbons) set a $5 present budget each and have an impromptu Chrissy in July – why not make it social and invite other family’s and make some mulled wine for some parents fun too!
Wishing you many fun snuggly warming winter activities! For the day’s it gets super chilly, snuggle up in your doona’s on the couch and watch a family fave movie together with popcorn!
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