Read, listen, learn and play your way through a series of fun and educational activities presented by the National Library of Australia.

We’ve put together a selection of ideas to satisfy curious and creative minds from the comfort of your own home. There’s something for everyone, with topics ranging from circus posters and board games fun to iconic Australian animals and exploring our wild and wacky weather.

Read on for new and interesting school holiday ideas, inspired by the Library's diverse collections.

Australia's weird wild wonderful weather

Sheet music featuring an illustration of a child looking out an open window
Harrhy, Edith & Taylor, Bronnie, 1941. Songs for young Australians, nla.obj-175235519

The weather has an enormous impact on what we get to do in our holidays. The weather is an important part of our lives, and there are lots of stories, songs, paintings, and poetry all featuring the weather as a recurring theme. They tell of storms wrecking ships, stranding people on desert islands; of surviving floods, cyclones, and droughts; and of weathering stormy nights and windy days, just like the gild in this song ‘Storm Wind’ from 1941 by Bronnie Taylor and Edith Harrhy. 

Read more about Australia’s wild, weird, and wonderful weather and find some activities on the Digital Classroom.

Discover this module

Crikey! Australian symbols and what they mean

Illustration from a children's book shows a group of koalas dressed in clothing stood near a river. One is holding a baby koala.
Page 8 contains an image plate and caption text reads: '"What shall I name this young bear?" he asked.' Wall, Dorothy, Badgery, Peter & Muir, Marcie, 1933. Blinky Bill, the quaint little Australian. Sydney: Angus & Robertson, nla.obj-943876 

Do you remember watching or reading about Blinky Bill, the little koala who always seems to get into big trouble? That very same iconic Australian animal has been getting into mischief for almost 90 years. Blinky Bill, the quaint little Australian written by Dorothy Wall, was first published in 1933. Since then, he has gone on to become a symbol of Australian children’s literature. Blinky Bill is just one famous Australian animal that has been used to symbolise Australia on the world stage. Can you think of any others? 

Read more about Blinky Bill and find some activities about Australian symbols on the Digital Classroom.

Learn more about Australian symbols 

Solving mysteries with Super Nova

Illustration of aliens from Super Nova by Krys Saclier
Super Nova by Krys Saclier open to an illustrative page,

We love stories where there is a mystery to solve and clues to follow along the way. In this story by Krys Saclier, Nova's brother certainly has a mystery. Dad's muffins have been stolen, and Nan's knitting has been knotted. Nova's brother knows it was her - but he gets the blame. Nova has everyone fooled except for him. Following the clues, he discovers that Nova is up to something cosmic.

You can listen to the author of this mystery, Krys Saclier, read the story out loud and create your own out-of-this-world art with the fun activity that follows.

To view the author reading the book and to find a great school holiday activity check out the link below.

Watch the video

Are you board yet? Try making your own board game

A large format game board shows a winding journey through various obstacles to get to the end of the board
Adventures of a mailman for 2, 3, or 4, players, 1890, nla.obj-232530594  

Who doesn’t love a board game? The National Library of Australia holds an amazing collection of board games as part of our Maps collection.

From the oldest board game dating from 1753 through to contemporary favourites, the library’s collection has enough to keep anyone entertained for the whole holidays. Unfortunately, they’re not playable as we want to keep them in top condition (no lost Scrabble pieces, please). 

This game, Adventures of a Mailman from the 1890s, is an early example of regional Australia being represented on the playing board. Players take on the role of a mail carrier who must deliver mail from the Melbourne Post Office all the way to the town of Ararat in Western Victoria, all while dodging raging rivers, broken bridges, and ruthless bushrangers. 

Why not create your own board game? You could be a delivery person in your town or region. What surprises might lay in store for you as you try to deliver letters and parcels to from the Post Office to your house?
Check out Adventures of a Mailman on Trove for some inspiration.

View the game

Roll up, roll up, and join the circus

Brightly coloured poster for Circus Oz at Moore Park, Anzac Pde. Text at the bottom reads "NON. STOP. ENERGY."
Circus Oz: under the big top, poster by Martin Sharp, nla.obj-138352649

Before the wonderful world of the internet, events were publicised using posters. If the circus came to town, you could expect to see a colourful and eye-catching poster or two. Before digital or LED signage, posters were the way to advertise what was happening, and you'd see them all around town. 

Different countries around the world had their own special styles that reflected their culture and favourite activities. France was famous for its posters showing cafés and landmarks. Spain had posters depicting festivals and flamenco dancers. In Italy, posters showcased opera and fashion. America and Britain had posters for everything from bicycles to the subway. So much information could be conveyed on just one poster!

Here at the National Library of Australia we hold a fantastic collection of circus posters, like this one from Circus Oz. You can explore more colourful and fanciful images in the Vivian James Carter collection. 

After you’ve taken some inspiration from the Library’s collection, have a go at designing your own poster. It could be for anything: your own circus, your favourite holiday place or a play or pantomime that you’ve written. Use bold colours or striking black and white to create a work of art.

Check out the posters

More fun resources to explore at home