There's plenty to do in The Hills area these school holidays. Here are some of our picks.
Bella Vista Farm
■ July 9, 10.30am-2pm: Kids Fun Day featuring activities such as creating a farmhouse collage, using bark, leaves and flowers from the farm; decorating tree cones for Christmas in July; old-fashioned games. Cost: $5 a person or $10 a family. Bring a rug and packed lunch. Tea, coffee, water and soft drinks on sale.
Details: Bella Vista Farm, Elizabeth Macarthur Drive, Bella Vista. Bookings: 0408 027 516.
Castle Hill Library
■ July 2, 1.30pm-3pm: Learn the beautiful art of paper folding with Japanese artist Midori Furze. For school years 3-6. Cost: $15 includes materials.
■ July 8, 10.30am-noon: Award-winning children’s illustrator Sarah Davis tells the tongue-twisting, funny tale of Toucan Can; talks about how she made her wonderful illustrations; and then teaches kids to make a Crazy Bird Collage to take home. For kids in years K-2. Cost: $15.
■ July 8, 1pm-3pm: Make an accordian book that tells a story in pictures with children’s illustrator Sarah Davis. For kids in school years 3-6. Cost: $15.
Details: Pennant Street, Castle Hill, 97614510. Bookings essential: http://thehillsshirelibraryservice.eventbrite.com.au.
Castle Hill RSL
■ July 8, 11am-1pm: The RSL, in conjunction with Event Cinemas Castle Hill, is hosting a Rio 2 Kids Day to celebrate the release of animated adventure comedy Rio 2 on June 30. Activities include crafts (make a paper plate maraca and a clever mind-reading game) and a Rio 2 colouring-in competition. There will also be prizes and giveaways.
Rio 2 follows Blu, Jewel and their three kids as they venture into the wilds of the Amazon for a family reunion. Out of his element in a land he doesn’t know, Blu must face his most fearsome adversary — his father-in-law — while evading Nigel’s fiendish plans for revenge.
Details: 77 Castle St, Castle Hill, http://castlehillrsl.com.au.
■ July 1-5, 11am and 1pm: Follow the yellow brick road over the rainbow to see The Wizard of Oz. Join Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion and Dorothy at Centre Court (middle level), followed by Wizard of Oz Scarecrow hat making/decorating activity.
■ July 8-12, 11am-2pm: Craft Village at Centre Court.
■ July 8-12, 11am-2pm: Kids can create their own healthy food snacks to take home, outside JB Hi-Fi (lower level).
Cumberland State Forest
■ July 2-September 29, 10.30am: Forest Fairies and Elves, where kids can come dressed as their favourite fairy or elf and join a forester for a mystical forest walk.
■ July 3-September 25, 10.30am: A forest ranger will teach kids about how wood can be used for everyday things. Kids will then make a timber toy without nails. For ages 3-10. Adults must accompany kids under 6.
■ July 4-October 1, 10.30am: A forest ranger will teach kids about the animals that live in our forests. Kids will then make and decorate an animal to take home. For ages 3-10. Adults must accompany kids under 6.
■ July 8-September 30, 10.30am: Kids will learn amazing facts about timber and its many uses in everyday life on a ranger-led walk, then decorate their very own gum tree cookie magnet to use at home. For ages 3-10. Adults must accompany kids under 6.
Details: 95 Castle Hill Road, West Pennant Hills. Bookings: 1300 655 687, http://www.forestrycorporation.com.au/visiting/forests/cumberland-state-forest.
■ July 9, 10.30am-11.30am: Learn how to do finger knitting. Just bring a ball of wool in your favourite colour. For ages 5-8.
Details: Pellitt Lane, Dural. Free but book: http://www.thehillsshirelibraryservice.eventbrite.com.au
Dural Riding Stables
■ June 30-July 2, July 7-8, 9am-3.30pm: Learn how to brush, groom, saddle, bridle, clean tack. For beginners to advanced riders, 5 years and up. Cost: $110 per day.
Details: 644 Old Northern Road, Dural. Bookings: Ruth, 0412 467 137.
Fagan Park, Galston
■ July 2 and 10, 11am and 1pm: A story, garden-themed treasure hunt and some do-it-yourself fun. For primary school-aged children.
■ July 8, 10am-11.30am: Discover the magic of Carrs Bush on this special bush discovery walk, followed by a craft activity. For ages 5-9 (walk not pram-friendly).
■ July 13, 10am-12.30pm: Kids learn about composting and make a worm farm.
Details: Eco Garden Gazebo, Fagan Park, Arcadia Road, Galston. Free but book: http://hornsby.nsw.gov.au/whatson or call 9847 4856.
Fitness First invites youth aged 14-18 to work out free at any of its centres these school holidays, as part of the FFIT Holidays (Fitness First Initiative for Teens) program. Choose from small group training, shockwave, pro cycling, zumba and body balance.
Includes a 45-minute induction on club protocols and how to use the equipment safely. Must be 16-plus to use weights and strength equipment. Membership not required.
Galston Aquatic Centre
■ June 30-July 4 and July 7-11, 8.30am-noon: Intensive five-day swimming program. For ages 2 to adult. Cost: $125 for five days (15-minute private lessons).
Details: Galston Park, 412 Galston Road, Galston. Bookings essential: 9651 2393 or email email@example.com
Happy Art Studio
■ July 7-8, 9am-noon: Drawing, cartoon, pastels, watercolour and card-making sessions. Cost: $85 (for two days, includes materials).
Details: 67 Glanmire Road, Baulkham Hills. Bookings: Tina, 0412 601 323 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hills Shire Music Festival
■ July 1, 3, 8, 10: Workshops in guitar, keyboards, drums and singing. All materials included. Offered as half day workshop (9am-noon or 1pm-4pm) or full day workshop, 9am-4pm. For ages 5-12.
Details: 26/22 Hudson Ave, Castle Hill, 9899 3177, http://hillsshiremusic.com.au.
Hornsby Council libraries
Hornsby Council library branches, including the Galston branch, are running plenty of school holiday activities, such as stories, songs and crafts. Cost: $2 (kids aged 18 months and over). Kids under seven must be accompanied by an adult.
■ July 10, 10.30am-1pm: Free. Celebrate NAIDOC Week 2014 with children’s stories, craft, morning tea and a presentation on the contribution of Aboriginal people to the armed forces.
Details: 28-44 George Street, Hornsby, 9847 6813, http://hornsby.nsw.gov.au/schoolholidays.
NSW Sport and Recreation
Sport and Recreation school holiday camp packages include all activities, accommodation, meals and 24-hour supervision. Supervised transport is also available to and from most camps.
There are 11 sites across NSW. Many camps are day-only. Others provide the full camp experience including high ropes, canoeing, rock-climbing and sing-alongs around the campfire at night.
Details: June 28-July 11 for ages 7 to 16, http://dsr.nsw.gov.au/kidscamps, 13 13 02.
Powerhouse Discovery Centre
■ July 1-4, July 8-11: Make a paper bird puppet. 10am-4pm. Suitable for ages 3 and up. Cost: $2 per child.
■ July 1-4, July 8-11: Make a mini constellation viewer out of templates and a cardboard tube to take home. 10am-4pm. For ages 3 and up. Cost: $2 per child.
■ July 2, 10: The charismagic Jonas Jost is back with his bag of magic tricks. All ages. 11am. Free with general admission.
■ July 11: Learn about tornados, clouds and flying objects with the Fizzics Education show. All ages. 11am. Free with general admission.
Details: 172 Showground Road, Castle Hill, 9762 1300, http://castlehill.powerhousemuseum.com.
Riverside Oaks Golf Resort
■ July 7, 8, 8am-12.30pm: Junior golf clinic, includes coaching, games, on-course play, lunch, drinks, a gift. All levels, ages 6-14. Coached by PGA professionals David Scott and Chris Fox. Cost: $69 a clinic or $119 for both.
Details: O’Briens Road, Cattai. Bookings: 4560 3220, http://riversideoaks.com.au.
Sport4Kids holiday clinics are offered to kids aged 5-13 in:
■ June 30: multi-sports;
■ July 1, 8: netball, AFL;
■ July 2, 9: Oztag, soccer;
■ July 3, 10: teeball, ultimate frisbee;
■ July 4, 11: athletics (track and field);
■ July 7: multi-sports.
Cost: $50 a session.
Details: Greenway Park, Shepherds Lane, Cherrybrook. Bookings: 0422 808 152, email@example.com, http://sport4kids.com.au.
Sydney Hills Gymnastics
■ June30-July 4, July 7-11, 14: Gymnastics holiday fun. For ages 5-12. Full day $57 (8.45-3.30pm), half day $37 (8.45am-12.30pm), or any 5 days $260/$160. Siblings: full day $50/half $32, or any 5 days $225/$135. Discounts for club members.
■ June30-July 4, July 7-11, 14, noon-2pm: Tumbling clinic, Ages 8-15. Cost: $30 per child per day, or 5-lesson package $130.
Details: Unit 3, 4 Gladstone Road, Castle Hill. Bookings: 9659 9010, http://sydneyhillsgymnastics.com.au.
Sydney Ice Arena
Ice skating, fun activities on the ice, Monday to Friday. Cost: $16 includes entry and hire skates. Group lessons available for $3 extra.
Details: 11 Solent Circuit, Baulkham Hills, 9659 5557, http://sydneyicearena.com.au.
Vinegar Hill Memorial Library
■ July 7, 2pm-3pm: Celebrate NAIDOC week with Aboriginal Dreaming stories, songs and paint your own wooden boomerang to take home. Ages 6-12. Cost: $5.
Details: Rouse Hill Town Centre, White Hart Drive, Rouse Hill. Bookings: http://thehillsshirelibraryservice.eventbrite.com.au.
■ July 9, 10am-1pm: Hills Community Aid, Family Fun Day and Open Day, join us to share in the fun. Jumping Castle, Fire Engine, arts, crafts and more. Cupcake decorating class: 10am - 11am, $5 a child. Bookings: 9639 8620.
OR . . . YOU CAN GET RACING
The Rouse Hill Billy Cart Derby is on Sunday, July 20, 10am to 3.30pm at Rouse Hill Town Centre. It will coincide with a family festival.
FULL STORY: Click here to read more.
Entry: $5 a team (pre-register for unlimited races, or it's $5 a race if the team just shows up).
Details, sponsorship: Kerrie, firstname.lastname@example.org or 0404 493 488. Visit http://billycartderby.com.au for more information.