The Top 20 Sustainable School Holiday Activities For 2023

Top 20 school holiday activities that are sustainable header with Naturpac logo and background image of trees

Sustainable activities are great for people of all ages. Here are some fun sustainable school holiday activities that can be performed throughout the year by the entire family.

Children in group playing on grass for school holiday activities

1.       Unplug Electronics

Unplugging electronics when not in use is an excellent way to save energy. Top items to unplug include televisions, computers, and lamps. A way to turn this into part of your sustainable school holiday activities is to create a system of checking each room and looking together for potential electronics that could be turned off or unplugged.

If you are going away over the School Holidays, install a timer for lights or connect them to a smartphone so they can be turned on or off as needed.

2.       Carpool with Friends

Instead of driving to parties, play dates, school holiday activities, vacation care programs, BBQ’s and other events by yourself, consider carpooling with friends. This can help save gas and emissions.

3.       Give “Experiences”

Instead of giving Easter, Christmas, Birthday or Graduation gifts that may eventually end up in a landfill, give an experience instead. Movie or concert tickets, Zoo memberships, a meal at a cafe or restaurant are just  a few experiences that can be shared and of course then enjoyed in the school holidays too.

4.       Use LED Lights

During the December holidays, LED lights are an excellent replacement for traditional Christmas lights because they last longer while consuming less energy. Another option to consider is reducing the number of lights used for your displays.

5.       Use food scraps to grow new food

There are plenty of ways to take fruit and vegetable scraps and turn them into new food, or grow them to re-use them. This article from healthline has some fabulous ideas you can use.

6.       Create Homemade Decorations

Instead of buying new Easter decorations or Christmas tree ornaments, consider creating your own. Try using recycled materials or create your own crafts. This is a great way to keep kids engaged as part of their at-home school holiday activities and also enjoy quality time spent with family or friends.

7.       Use Natural Cleaning Products For Parties And Social Gatherings

When preparing your home for guests, try natural cleaners instead. You can turn this into a fun educational theme with your children, as part of your sustainale school holiday activities. The following natural products are free of dangerous chemicals and well-known for their cleaning abilities:

  • Baking soda
  • Castile soap
  • Thymol
  • Citric acid
  • White vinegar
  • Essential oils (lemon, tee tree, orange, peppermint, lavender, eucalyptus, vegetable glycerin, jojoba seed, etc.)

8.       Learn About Composting

Composting is a mixture of various ingredients that can be used as plant fertiliser. It can help improve soil properties physically, chemically, and biologically. Here are top compost items to use and items to avoid:

Best Compost ItemsWorst Items to Compost (Do Not Use)
Fruit peels and scrapsGrain (cakes, pasta, rice, cereal)
Coffee groundsButter and cooking oils
Paper products (towels, napkins, newspapers)Weeds, diseased plants
Yard and garden waste (grass clippings, etc.)Dairy products
EggshellsMeat products
Tea bagsPet waste

9.       Help Clean The Environment

Helping clean up the environment is an excellent activity for the entire family. Don’t wait for “Clean Up Australia Day”, make small steps in your local community each and every day. When you are out and about with the family over the school holidays, pick up any rubbish you see around your neighbourhood, at your local parks or beaches.

10.   Create a Homemade Waste System

A great way of incorporating sustainable school holiday activities is to create your own homemade waste system. While most people put their waste in rubbish and recycling bins, there are additional ways to organise waste even further. Here are four waste bins that everyone can use:

  • Bin #1. Soft plastics. Instead of tossing soft plastics in the trash, many recycling centers will accept them. “Soft plastics” is defined as the film covering or soft plastic wrap that covers the food we buy. Examples of soft plastics include the following:
    • Bread bags
    • Chocolate wrappers
    • Biscuit packets
    • Cereal box liners
  • Bin #2. Compost. As discussed previously, composting is an excellent sustainable school holiday activity. The compost can be used in the family garden or given to a local community garden.
  • Bin #3. Recycling. The basic recycle bin is the most well-known type of recycling. The following are top products for the recycle bin:
    • Aluminum tins
    • Paper
    • Cardboard
    • Foil (scrunched up)
    • Glass bottles and jars (Most Councils now also provide a seperate recycle bin just for glass)
  • Bin #4. Landfill. Items that can’t be reused, recycled, or composted typically end up in landfills. Ideally, this is a last resort, and use of these types of items should be kept to a minimum.

Note: some items should not be added to landfills because they can be dangerous for the environment. This would include electronics, paint cans and batteries because they can contaminate nearby areas, such as groundwater. Instead of dumping them, find the appropriate locations to dispose of these harmful items.

11.   Play Backyard Games

Physical based school holiday activities that encourage movement are always a great idea. Playing backyard games is an excellent way to get some exercise, fresh air and much needed vitamin D. It also gets people of all ages away from their electronic devices. Here are some of the most popular backyard games for kids:

  • Tag or Tiggy
  • Scarecrow
  • Whats the time Mister Wolf?
  • Simon Says
  • Duck Duck Goose

12.   Have a Backyard Bug Scavenger Hunt

This is a great way to learn about the various bugs and creepy crawlies that live in your own backyard and how they interact. Use the following to complete the scavenger hunt:

  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Magnifying glass
  • Camera (optional)

Write down each type of bug found and then research them online or at your local library to learn more about them.

13.   Make Homemade Laundry Detergent

Laundry detergents could cause a variety of health issues, ranging from skin or eye irritation, allergies or asthma attacks. To decrease these risks, try making your own homemade laundry detergent:


  • Large jug
  • Large spoon
  • Hot water – 14 cups
  • Baking soda – 1 cup
  • Salt ½ cup
  • Liquid castile soap (unscented) 1 cup
  • Optional: Essential oil for scent (30 drops of your favorite EO lavender, orange, lemon, etc.)


  • Add to 7 cups of hot water, half the salt, and half the baking soda into large glass
  • Stir until completely dissolved
  • Pour dissolved mixture into gallon size jug
  • Repeat with 2nd half of ingredients and add to previously mixed ingredients in the gallon jug
  • Add castile soap and essential oil, stirring gently
  • Place lid on mixture and use as needed

14.   Plant a Tree

Planting a tree in your garden is a great way to help the environment and a great addition to fun school holiday activities. A bonus tip is to plant a fruit tree. In addition to shade, you also provide food for generations to come. Top fruit trees in Australia include the following:

  • Apple
  • Citrus (lemon, lime, mandarin, orange)
  • Olive
  • Lychee
  • Mulberry
  • Plum

15.   Make Your Own Candles

Candles are a great way to save energy, and homemade candles are fun and easy to make and something new to add to your school holidays activities list. Here are the ingredients needed for homemade candles:

  • Wax (paraffin, bees, or soy wax)
  • Fragrance (optional: vanilla extract, essential oils)
  • Wick
  • Container or mold
  • To learn more about making your own candles click HERE.

16.   Play With Plastic Free Toys And Games

Instead of giving toys made with plastic, choose other eco-friendlier toys instead. Top toys that do not contain plastic include the following:

  • Natural rubber toys
  • Books
  • Cloth toys
  • Wooden toys

17.   Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping is a great way to increase your sustainability. When going to the grocery store, focus on the following:

  • Purchase foods that are free of artificial ingredients
  • Avoid foods in plastic containers (choose glass instead of plastic)
  • To carry your groceries, use reusable bags instead of plastic bags

18.   Have a Picnic

Have a picnic at a local park or even in your own backyard with the sustainable groceries you purchase, using plastic-free plates, reusable water bottles, utensils, and silverware.

19.   Create Crafts With Household Items

Many fun crafts can be created by reusing old household items. Here are a few:

  • Cereal Boxes
  • Drink cartons
  • Plastic bottles
  • Mason jars
  • Paper plates

For more craft ideas click HERE.

20.   Volunteer

Donating your time and service is something the entire family can do together and will be a special and memorable activity. Here are some top kid-friendly volunteer activities:

  • Cook or serve meals at a homeless shelter
  • Make care packages for the homeless (snacks, water, toiletries, etc.)
  • Donate stuffed animals, toys, books or clothes to you’re local Op Shops
  • Pick up leaves, sweep the yard, or take the bins out for a needy neighbour
  • Volunteer at a local vet or animal shelter
  • Read stories to other kids at libraries, daycare centers or churches
  • Create a Little Free Library on your street – take a book, share a book.

There are so many great sustainable activities we can all try together over the School Holidays. This year, find some new sustainable activities that the entire family can enjoy together.

Want to learn more about Naturpac?

Naturpac are an eco friendly packaging company in NSW, Australia created by J-Tech Systems to bring a new level of farm produce sustainable packaging to the fresh produce industry. Environmental packaging and sustainable produce packaging are Naturpac’s specialty with a focus on recycled packaging, recyclable packaging, biodegradable packaging and compostable packaging. They are passionate about sustainability education, especially sustainability education in schools and for children to help young consumers of today shape the world for tomorrow.

Naturpac offer a broad range of fresh produce packaging supplies that are environmentally friendly. If you are in the fresh produce industry check out their range of The Paper People, Netpak, Earthcycle, Infia and Stepac along with Sinclair Ecolabels.

If you are a parent, teacher or community organisation wanting to learn more about the EcoChoice or Ecoplay education sessions reach out to the friendly team at Naturpac. We offer sustainability education throughout the school holidays and also have a variety of at home kids school holiday activities or indoor activities for kids that will teach them how to make sustainable choices in their future for a better earth via our FREE online learning platform.