Festival of free family fun

Test your skills: Join Calderwood Valley Circus Capers on Monday, May 20 and you can create a circus character, learn something new, play in the circus zone and perform.
Test your skills: Join Calderwood Valley Circus Capers on Monday, May 20 and you can create a circus character, learn something new, play in the circus zone and perform.

Days packed with fun-filled activities and adventure is on the agenda for parents, carers and kids across the Illawarra.

KidsFest Shellharbour is celebrating its 12th free week-long festival, themed 'People Play Nature Nurture' with over 50 free events taking place from Sunday, May 19 till Saturday, May 25.

The theme is about adults and kids coming together to play in beautiful community spaces, nurturing our relationships and ourselves.

Kicking off on Sunday, May 19 from 10am, it's "All Aboard the KidsFest Express" at The Illawarra Light Rail Museum with circus activities, steam train rides, Symbio Zoo2You, interactive robotics demonstrations and live youth performances by Grace Mae, The Red Bandanas, Dear Violet, Minna, Kayla Shea and friends.

On Monday, May 20 the Calderwood Valley Circus Capers will get kids and their families to create a circus character, learn some skills, play in the circus zone and perform.

The 'Helper Friends' Emergency Services Expo on Tuesday, May 21 has become legendary. Held at the Illawarra Rural Fire Service Control Centre, Airport Drive, Albion Park Rail, the expo features hands-on experiences with fire, police and ambulance workers and the machinery they use.

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Wheely fun: Try a game of wheelchair basketball with the Illawarra's National Wheelchair Basketball team the Roller Hawks on Thursday, May 23.

Wheely fun: Try a game of wheelchair basketball with the Illawarra's National Wheelchair Basketball team the Roller Hawks on Thursday, May 23.

A parent shared, "The Emergency Services Expo had a calming effect on my daughter and helped her to become less frightened of loud sirens and other noises."

A new event to the program is Nature Play Morning on Wednesday, May 22 at The Shallows Park, Shell Cove where kids and their carers can enjoy a morning of art, craft and play in nature to foster connections to the land and each other.

If you are a new parent or a family new to Shellharbour City, then the Barnardos Communities for Children Picnic in Blackbutt Reserve Thursday, May 23 is a wonderful opportunity to find out more about local services for families, play, sing, listen to stories and get up close to nature.

Come and try a 'wheel' game of basketball with the Illawarra's National Wheelchair Basketball team the Roller Hawks on Thursday, May 23 from 3-4pm.

The Love Your World Day at Blackbutt Youth Centre on Friday, May 24 will get kids back to nature with many hands-on activities to encourage sustainability and outdoor fun.

Wear some clothes that you don't mind getting dirty because on Friday afternoon from 3.30-5.30pm Fishing by the Lake will be hosted by Fisheries NSW. Join this free family fishing afternoon on the shore of Lake Illawarra with tuition, bait and some fishing equipment provided or bring your own.

The week will wrap up on Saturday, May 25 with the KidsFest Finale at Killalea State Park from noon-8pm.