The survivors guide to a Canberra winter

With several minus five degree days this year, it’s easy for your family to hibernate during the colder months. But we’re nearly at the end of winter. If you and your family have turned into hermit crabs, here are some ideas to help get you and your family out of hibernation and into spring.

Canberra winter_3

Here are some of our favourite activities:

Visit your local library

Visiting your local library is a great way to meet other families who share a joy in reading and learning through play, for free! When my child was only three months old, we met some friends at Giggle & Wiggle where we sang songs, played games and read stories to our little ones as part of a larger group. Older children were actively involved in Story Time, where they developed a love for books through their imagination and creativity.

Student With Teacher Reading Book In Library

If participating as part of a group is not your thing, you can help your children chose their own book to take home.

Giggle and Wiggle and Story Time continue to run throughout the school term and are absolutely free!

Play Up at the Museum of Australian Democracy (Old Parliament House)

I have recently discovered a current exhibition, Play Up at Old Parliament House and we love it! My son, who is two years old, loves all the activities from building towers with the foam blocks, reading on the large beanbags and pillows, to drawing shapes on the blackboard table. We have met some new friends by going to Play Up, and now we regularly meet there for play dates.

play up

Play up allows children to be involved in history through mucking up, making up, thinking up and stepping up. It is available for kids of all ages, and is free after admission ($2 for adults, $1 for children).

Weekend parties

This idea is one of my favourites. As my partner and I work full time jobs, we often feel like we miss out on spending quality time with our little one during the week. So every Friday night we create: Friday Night, Party Night! This means we cook yummy healthy foods and spend quality time playing games and building cubby houses on the couch. As our little one gets older and our family grows, these Friday nights will continue but with bigger kid games such as board games or craft activities. You can even invite your friends over to turn up the music and dance together!

Happy family playing with blocks

Children’s play activities at local cafes

Did you know that there are a number of local cafes and restaurants that are kid friendly? Many have playgrounds and hold creative play workshops for the kiddies. These are a great way to get out of the house with the family on those wet days but still remain dry.

Outdoor activities

There are many outdoor activities that you can enjoy leading up to Spring.

Visit local parks

Canberra offers a range of local parks that are both free and entertaining. Our favourite parks are Boundless (where we are sure to meet some new friends), the Pod Playground at the Arboretum, and our local park. At our local park we are able to meet like-minded people who live nearby, which means it is not a hassle to catch up again in our local area.

pod playgroun

Pod Playground image courtesy of Visit Canberra

Nature walks

We have recently started participating in some nature walks. Did you know how many walks are available to families for free in Canberra? There are heaps and we are quickly establishing our favourites – Corin Forest, the Arboretum, Tidbinbilla, Mt Ainslie and Mt Stromlo. You might also be interested in visiting some nature reserves further afield in the Canberra Region. There are many walks in the Yass Valley, for example.

Before you go on your walk, grab some sticky tape and try making a nature bracelet together with your little one by following the instructions on this game card.

After our walks, we sit down at one of the available picnic tables and have some lunch. From there we are usually joined by some local birds and animals who are interested in our lunch too!

Family Walking Dog Through Winter Woodland


There is almost always a market on in Canberra each weekend. A regular market, which is a favourite of ours, is the Old Bus Depot Markets. We usually head down there in the morning to buy some lunch, and spend time exploring all the stalls. We recently discovered Kids in the Shed at the markets. This was an excellent way to explore all the beautiful handmade produce just for the kids.

bus depot market

Old Bus Depot Market image courtesy of Visit Canberra

Paint n Play

If you are still struggling to find outdoor activities with the kids, then you must give Paint and Play a go. A free activity held on most days of the week around Canberra. Paint and Play is a fun place where kids from birth to five years of age and their parents, paint, complete puzzles and play games with other kids. This is a great way to meet other mums and dads with children of similar ages.

Ride around the lakes or mountains

To ensure the older, more active kids don’t miss out on all the fun, a great way to interact as a family is to go on a bike ride together. One of the best things about Canberra is that there are scenic lakes in every direction – Lake Burley Griffin, Lake Tuggeranong, and Lake Ginnindera. The best thing about these lakes is that they are paved most of the way around making riding around them super fun. Not to mention there are all your local lakes and ponds hidden in the suburbs, which you can ride around too.

Family riding bikes in the mountains

There are also some great mountain bike tracks for the more adventurous with many trails at Bruce Ridge, Mt Stromlo, Kowen Forest and Mt Majura. Make sure you include the whole family though – take the dog with you!

Healthy on the inside

After a big day, it is nice to have the family and close friends over for some delicious meals.  These recipes for the whole family from ACT Health’s Good Habits for Life website, and will keep everyone satisfied and healthy. Here are a few of our favourites:

Beef and vegetable kebabs

Apart from this recipe being utterly delicious, it is also super easy to make. Age knows no boundaries with this recipe – it is my husband’s favourite, and my son’s (and he’s only two years old!) See the recipe on the Good Habits website.

Beef Shishkabobs 3

Image courtesy of ACT Health

Chicken and Vegetable Stir-fry

Probably one of my favourite recipe from Good Habits. This recipe is easy to make and delicious. Invite your friends over to share this tasty meal. See the recipe here.

chicken stirfry

Image courtesy of ACT Health


Get the family cooking together with these delicious hamburgers. If you have a large family, each child could be in charge of preparing a different part of the hamburger. One child could wash the lettuce, another could butter the bread rolls. But that is only half the fun; the most fun comes when you eat it! See the recipe here.


Image courtesy of ACT Health

As you can see there are many activities to do in the Canberra community that will keep your family happy, healthy and active.

What are your favourite activities to do in Canberra in Spring?

For more ideas on how to engage your children in fun activities, visit Good Habits for Life tips page.

ACT Health runs a range of programs to support you and your children to set good habits for life, such as Fresh Tastes: healthy food at school and Ride or Walk to School.

Want more from Canberra Mummy? Subscribe to Canberra Mummy’s free newsletter at, follow at, twitter @CanberraMummy, Pinterest, or Instagram

About Lauren Jackman (161 Articles)
Lauren Jackman is the author of Canberra Mummy. A self-confessed perfectionist, Lauren writes about the truth about pregnancy and parenting for perfectionist mummies. Lauren is a mum, wife, author, runner and a not a bad cook

1 Comment on The survivors guide to a Canberra winter

  1. I am SO ready for our family to come out of our winter hibernation!
    This is a great list, you’ve definitely caught some of our favourite activities here. We just discovered Play Up ourselves, what a find!
    I love your Friday night party idea, might have to institute that one at home.
    Found you via Facebook.

Comments are closed.