Sydney is a very child-friendly city, with many families who live here. There are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities for kids and playgrounds in every suburb. Playgrounds normally consist of a grassed area with, at the minimum, a small climbing frame, and for many, there are entire play areas around sand pits. This can be a very social place for all involved, and a great way to meet other kids and families.
For outdoor activities Sydney is filled with opportunities. Children as young as 4 can start in the “Nippers” which is a junior life saving initiative where kids have running races on the beach and learn beach safety as they go. This is fantastic for summer. Also on offer are junior hockey, netball, soccer, swimming and tennis camps for kids. Again this starts as young as 5 years old and is a great opportunity to meet others.
Indoor activities include soft play centres where children can run around and climb on indoor structures and rock climbing indoors. There are many community based arts and crafts centres which run affordable workshops for arts and crafts on weekends, after schools and on school holidays. There are local libraries in all localities that provide a great range of children’s books, and many have reading and story times.
Sydney museums, art galleries, the State Library and zoo all have extensive programs catering for children, as well.
A great idea is to pick up a copy of Sydney’s Child, a free publication that lists lots of activities and suppliers. This can normally be found free at kids shops, community centres and community libraries.
Some useful links include:
The same dangers that apply for adults apply to children. The potential dangers for children in Sydney can be swimming, dangerous wildlife and traffic.
It is very important your child learns how to survive in the water at both the beach and in swimming pools. Swimming is a big part of Australian culture and there are many pools and beaches in Sydney. Private swimming pools are required by law to be fenced in with a child-proof gate. And while this has decreased the amount of drownings that occur, they do still happen, albeit infrequently. As for swimming in surf, children need to be aware of rips and tows and how to avoid or swim out of them. Most beach rescues in Sydney are performed on foreigners who do not know how to swim in the surf. There are many swimming schools and instructors where children can learn how to swim and survive in the water. Most schools provide swimming lessons as well.
Like in all urban areas, road traffic can be dangerous. There are many crossings for pedestrians to use in Sydney. It is recommended to teach your children to use these, and before they cross the road to remember to look out for traffic, even if pedestrians have right of way.
It’s very important to teach your children about the wildlife in Sydney and in Australia. A worthwhile purchase is the book Australian First Aid by the non-profit St John Ambulance Australia. There is a whole chapter devoted to bites and stings that you may encounter in Australia. If you suspect your child has been bitten by a poisonous creature do not wash off the venom as this will help assist with identification. Call an ambulance immediately on 000 or from a mobile phone on 112.
- Spiders: several different types of spiders can be found including redbacks and funnel webs.
- Bluebottles: a bit like jellyfish, these can present themselves on beaches. If unsure go straight to a life guard.
- Snakes: can be rare in cities but snakes can be found close to bushland, rivers and grasslands. If you suspect your child has been bitten call an ambulance straight away.