Top 10 things to do with kids in Cape Town during the winter school holidays

Aaaaah 3 weeks of winter school holidays await us parents and although I do enjoy not having to jump out of bed in the dark to pack lunch boxes and rush around doing the school run the thought of entertaining 2 little people during the rainy days ahead doesn’t fill me with joy! Don’t get me wrong I do relish spending a few mornings reading in bed or playing with playdough or puzzles but the attention span of my kids means these activities keep them occupied for all of 5 mins! For the sake of peace in our home and my sanity I have realised that we are a family that NEEDS to get out and about!

So here is a round up of ideas of places to visit during the winter school holidays or any other rainy Saturday for that matter. I put together a similar list last year which was quite popular so some ideas might be overlaps but it always helps to have a reminder!

1. I always enjoy a trip to the theatre and there are some great shows on this holiday. The Baxter is showcasing Goldilocks and the Three Bears by The Lilliput Children’s Theater Company. Tickets cost R40 and can be bought at Computicket.
The Lilliput Children’s Theatre Company will also be performing Red Riding Hood at Cavendish Square between the 2nd and 14th of July at 11am. Tickets will be sold at Computicket for R40.
The Artscape theatre is putting on Make Way for Noddy. Noddy has a bad cold and he needs some medicine to help him get better. The naughty goblins, Sly and Gobbo, convince Noddy that the medicine will have awful side effects. Dinah Doll chases Noddy all over Toyland to persuade him that medicine really can help. Tickets cost R50 and can be booked at Computicket. The show is on from 24 June – 9 July. OR WIN 4 TICKETS FOR THE SHOW ON MONDAY 25 JUNE HERE.
The Rainbow Puppet Theatre performs a puppet show at the Constantia Waldorf School at 10.00 and 11.15 every Saturday and is currently showing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Tickets are R20 for adults and children and can be purchased at the door, recommended age is 4 plus)
Canal Walk also has a production for kids this winter and they are showing one of the world’s best loved fairy tales, The Little Mermaid, at the Canal Walk Theatre. This family musical by award winning duo, Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer is the perfect holiday entertainment for the entire family. Closed only Mondays, Tickets cost R60 at Computicket.
Another show which I would dearly love to take my kids to this holiday is the Disney on Ice spectacular taking place from 6 – 10 July at the CTICC in Cape Town (and 26 June – 1 July at the Coco Cola Dome in Joburg). The tickets are a little bit pricey at R180 each so obviously not all budgets stretch that far but it looks like it will be amazing! Book via Computicket. Read my review about our Disney on Ice experience.

2. Kirstenbosch has a great holiday program planned for the school holidays which includes fabric painting, mobile and jewellery making, keeping a nature diary, scraper boards and so much more…

Nicolette Lotter, of African Sky Blue Art Studio, is offering 4 workshops during each of the 3 weeks for children in Grades 1-6 (max 20 kids), from 9am – 12 noon at a cost of R150 per child per workshop. All materials included. Children to bring own art covering (aprons / old shirts), rain gear, snacks and drinks for tea break.
Mondays 25 June, 2 July, 9 July – Fabric Painting
Tuesdays 26 June, 3 July, 10 July – Nature Mobiles
Thursdays 28 June, 5 July, 12 July – Mixed Media Collage
Fridays 29 June, 6 July, 13 July – Jewellery Making
Contact Nicolette at 0834712828 or by Friday 22 June to secure your child’s place.

Inge Semple, of The Camphors Art Academy, and Cape Fauna and Flora Cards, is offering 2 workshops over 3 days during each of the 3 weeks of holidays for teens in Grades 7-12 (max 10 per group) from 9am-12 noon. All materials included. Each teen to bring their own rain gear, camera, drinks and snacks for tea break.
Mondays 25 June, 2 July, 9 July – Scraper Board drawing (R200 per learner per 1 day workshop)
Thursday/ Friday 28-29 June, Thursday/Friday 5-6 July, Thursday/ Friday 12-13 July – Making and Keeping a Nature Diary with watercolours and various drawing techniques (R500 per learner per 2 day workshop)
Contact Inge on by Friday 15 June to secure your child’s place.

A wide variety of other school holiday programmes are offered are Cape Town – too many to mention here! These include various church groups for a minimal fee of R10 per day to more elaborate organized whole day programmes up to R200 a day. Many schools also offer holiday care programmes. Have a look in your local newspapers, school noticeboards as well as the excellent directory at the back of Cape Town’s Child magazine for more information on the locations of these.

3. The Magic Company located at Grand West has lots of activities for kids such as a mini fun fair, carousel rides, mini rollercoasters and bumper cars. Next door there is also an arcade for the older kids filled with plenty of games to keep them happy. There is also a ten-pen bowling alley which I’m quite keen to try out although my bowling style leaves much to be desired! The Ice Station is also located in this precinct and has four sessions open to the public everyday. The best time slots for kids are 10 – 12:30 and 2 – 4:30 Mon – Fri (For weekend times visit the website) There are also sessions at night. There is a mini rink (R15.00) and skates are available to hire. Entry and skate hire starts at R28.00 and it is R10.00 for spectators. Remember to dress warmly and wear thick socks! For more active ideas try Laserquest or Ten Pin Bowling (R25 per game) at Stadium on Main in Claremont or Indoor Go-Karting in Kenilworth.

4. Visit an indoor play place a few hours of play in a different venue might be just what you need to stay sane on a rainy afternoon…
Try one of these options:
The Playshed in Pinelands,
Scallywags in Claremont,
Plinka Plonka Play in Gardens,
Bizzy Bodies in Westlake,
Planet Kids in Muizenberg,
Jimmy Jungles in Claremont and Tygervalley,
Kidz Playzone in Durbanville,
Bugz in Kraaifontein.
Check out their websites for details on their special school holiday programmes, opening hours and prices. (If you know of any others let me know and I can update my list)

5. The Iziko group of museums which includes The South African National Museum* offers plenty to discover on rainy days. Favourites include the mammals section, the dinosaurs and the whale sound booth. Entry to the museum is R20 for adults and kids under 18 are free however this Saturday is 16 June which means it is Youth Day in South Africa – one of the special commemorative days where entry to various Iziko museums is free. Why not visit one of the ones below!
The SA Maritime Museum* in the V&A Waterfront. (Entrances is R10 for adults and under 18’s are free)
Castle of Good Hope opposite the Parade in the City Centre. (R28 for adults, R12 for students)
The Slave Lodge* at the top of Adderley Street. (Adults R20, Students R10)
Workshops being organized by the Iziko museum include the following:
Computer Robotics & Aviation Workshop – Learn how to build a robot using Lego and programme it using a laptop. A 3 Day Holiday Workshop for Children in Grades 1 – 4 held from 25th – 27th June 2012. 09h00 – 12h00 or 13h00 – 16h00. R450 for 3 day workshop (includes healthy snack).
A Mindstorm Robotics Holiday Workshop is being held on 28th – 29th June from 09h00 – 12h00. R250 for the 2 day workshop.
Contact or 0835973991 / 021-9462214 to secure your booking for either workshop.
Aircraft Model Building Course for children 8 – 14 years old from 25th – 26th June 2012. 09h00 -12h00. R250 for the 2 day workshop.
Email or or phone (021) 481 3952 or 0837866966 to book.
At the Slave Lodge the following events are taking place:
Mosaic Workshop for children 6 years old and up on 27th – 28th June 2012 from 10h00 – 15h00. R30 per day including all materials.
Batik Textile Workshop for 8 years old – adults on 4th July 2012 from 10h00 – 15h00. R75 per person.
There is also a free Slave Walk Workshop for 16 year olds upwards on 29th June 2012 from 10h00 – 13h00.
Email or phone (021) 467 7239 to book for any of these events.

Other museums worth a visit include:
Josephine Mill in Newlands is a fully operational mill with a massive waterwheel. (Entry is R10 self-guided, R20 for tour) This is one I’m quite keen to visit as I have never been here myself!
Gold of Africa located in Strand Street, City Bowl (Entrance is R35 for adults and R25 for kids)
The Heart of Cape Town Museum at Groote Schuur Hospital which tells the story of the first heart transplant that took place here. (R88 for SA citizens, R44 for students, booking online essential)
The Jewish Museum located in Gardens which tells of the original Jewish community in Cape Town as well as remembers the Holocaust.
The District 6 Museum is worth a visit to learn more about South Africa’s recent history.

6. Pay a visit to the Planetarium located within The South African Museum. During the school holidays they will be screening Davy and the Dinosaur. Davy Dragon finds a newly hatched creature that he thinks is a baby ostrich. But is it? Davy and his grandfather magically take the creature back to its mother. Join us and discover what kind of creature Davy found and what it has to do with the Milky Way! The show is aimed at kids from 5 – 12 and is on from 23 June – 15 July. Tickets cost R25 for adults and R10 for kids.
Monday to Friday: 11:00, 12:00 & 15:00. Saturday – 12:00 & 15:30. Sunday – 12:00 & 15:30
They are also holding a Make your own Star Wheel Workshop for the June/July school holidays for kids aged 8 – 12. The wheel will allow you to identify stars and constellations at home. Dates are 27 June, 4 July, 11 July from 09:00 – 10:30 and it costs R20. Remember to bring your own torch. Tickets are available at the Iziko SA Museum’s Main Entrance from 1 June.

7. Kids of all ages will love an outing to the Cape Town Science Center (see my more detailed review here) It is a great educational outing but still lots of fun. It is located at 370B Main Road, Observatory or phone +27 (0)21 300 3200 for directions and more details. Opening times: Monday – Sunday: 9am – 4:30pm. Fees: R38 excl Pensioners who pay R15 and Families of 4 people pay a total fee of R132.


cape town science centre


cape town science centre

8. The V&A Waterfront are offering a variety of free and paid activities from June 24 until July 15. They will take place in Barrow Court at the center of the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre from 10am to 5pm and are aimed at kids aged four to nine. Bookings for any of these activities can be made at the Waterfront Information Kiosk from June 23. These will include the following:
Kids Ahoy play zone which is offering one hour workshops focussing on food, arts and crafts and cost R50 each. Activities such as pancake decorating, craft making and Mini Master Chef challenges, where children will learn how to make their own mystery main meal with pre-cooked ingredients or decorate desserts with filling, icing and fresh fruit, will entertain and delight while giving mom and dad an hour of their own time. At 4pm each day, there will be free puppet shows and an opportunity to meet Sam, the Two Ocean Aquarium’s penguin mascot. From July 3 kids will be entertained by qualified child minders in the Red Shed with age appropriate toys and games for R30 an hour for up to two hours, which allows parents a few hours to themselves to do their shopping or even enjoy a movie!
In the Blue Craft Market, near to the Two Oceans Aquarium, a one hour workshop will be held twice daily; Plant Craft Mania at 1pm, includes potting, planting, painting, platting, pressing, decorating and doing creative recycling with plants, while Animal Craft Creations at 3pm will spoil pets back at home with specially decorated drinking bowls and homemade bird feeders. R50 each and parents are welcome to join in. A firm favourite with my kids is the lovely Petting Zoo with the most divine cute and cuddly animal babies straight from the farm – Children can make friends with ducklings, piglets, chickens, guinea pigs and rabbits from 10.30am until 4.30pm daily. Entrance is R20 for all ages.

‘Mouse Explores the Waterfront’ is a colouring-in competition being held by the V&A Waterfront. Collect a sheet from Barrow Court, and complete it at home or while at the Waterfront. Enter before July 22 to win great prizes such as a birthday party at the Two Oceans Aquarium valued at R 1650, Happy Hopper Memberships or a Mini Master Chef DIY Cooking Hamper valued at R500. Also at the Waterfront is that fail safe holiday destination – The Two Oceans Aquarium – We usually head there every school holiday but I think I’ve killed that option with my kids for at least a few months… The Scratch Patch. Kids seem to love collecting things and what’s better than a treasure of semi-precious stones? (Bags start from R15) For the older kids Cave Golf (a version of Putt Putt) is located next door. (Games are R8 per person). Or if the weather is nice why not try a trip on a boat around the harbour? If you’re feeling more adventurous you could head out to Robben Island (Tickets are R220 for adults and R110 for under 18’s) or on the Jolly Roger Pirate Ship. An hour cruise costs R120 for adults and R60 for children.

To find out more about the fun happening at the V&A Waterfront this holiday visit the Kids Ahoy Holiday Program website.

Another shopping mall holding various children’s activities is Cavendish Square. From Friday 22 June until Sunday 15 July, the Claremont shopping centre will be offering daily holiday activities such as face painting, storytelling, puppet shows, pony cycles and more.
The line up of activities on Ground Floor (outside of Edgars) is:
10am – 11am: Face Painting
1pm – 2pm: Story Time
2pm – 3pm: Puppet Show
3pm – 4pm: Face Painting
All day: Dress Up Photo Booth
All Day: Foam Art
All day: Biscuit Decorating
All day: Colour Competition
All day: Kid Market
All Day: Art Jamming

9. Get arty and pay a visit to somewhere that will allow some creative juices to flow freely. This is one of my favourite things to do with the kids as it allows me some time to get crafty too! Artjamming is a fantastic venue for adding some colour to your life. I had such a ball when I went “Artjamming” with my colleagues a few years back so it really is something for all ages. Choose a canvas size and go wild with the amazing array of bright coloured paints. There are branches in Cavendish, Cape Quarter and Willowbridge as well as 3 in Gauteng. They have a fab holiday programme lined up. Visit the website for more details. Clay Cafe in Hout Bay is another great spot. Choose an item to paint in a variety of colours and come pack a week later to collect your fired item! It’s great fun for all ages – why not make a dinner plate for each member of the family? They sell refreshments and have a jungle gym and kids play area with jumping castles on weekends so if they need to get rid of some physical energy they can do that within your view while you enjoy your cup of coffee. The holiday special is R85/ child for 2 items to paint including a juice and a muffin.

10. Table Mountain Kidz Season Special is currently running so if you get a day that’s cold but clear why not wrap up warmly and take a trip to the top of the Table! Two kids under 18 years ride for free when purchasing an adult return ticket over weekends, public holidays and the June and September school holidays. Kids will receive a treasure hunt map too and other special treats including a free Whistle Lollipop when they hand in their Shop voucher at the Shop at the Top and a delicious Dassie Biscuit when they hand in their Café voucher at the Table Mountain Café. Families can also enjoy great specials at the Café this Kidz Season. Treat your children to a Kiddies Pizza Slice or Kiddies Pasta, plus a 250ml Fruit Juice and a Cake-on-a-Stick for R30 per child under the age of 18. The Cableway’s Kidz Season ticket price is *R195 per adult return ticket and includes two children under 18 years travelling free (normal child rate R95) over weekends, public and school holidays. Valid on return fares only. (valid until 30th September 2012) Contact them on 021 4248181 to check the weather forecast!

If all else fails take a trip to the movies! Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is showing from today and Ice Age 4: Continental Drift is released on Friday 29 June at Nu Metro and Ster Kinekor cinemas nationwide. I can’t wait to share some laughs with my little ones….

Although the holidays are only due to start next week I thought it worth mentioning that The Cape Town Book Fair takes place at the CTICC starting from 14:00 today (Friday 15 June) and running to Sunday. Entry for kids under 12 is free as long as they are with an adult. I always enjoy this event and am looking forward to it especially as it’s been 2 years since the last one!

And if you’re not quite up to a day out why not try an art or craft activity at home – I listed some great links in this article.

Hope you found these ideas helpful – let me know if you come across any other good ones. Fortunately if today’s weather is anything to go by there will be quite a few sunny but cold days where you can still get out for a walk or a visit to the park but in any event should the weather be wet it won’t be the end of the world because with this list we’ll be ready!!

Have a happy (stress-free) holiday!

images: Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

  1. Thanks Catherine, these are great! The winter holidays can seem quite daunting!! This will certainly make some days fly by 🙂 (The other Ben’s mom)

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