It’s tricky to entertain kids and keep cool on days when the temperature is extreme and it’s even too hot for the beach or outdoors in general. Here are some ideas.

1. Head to a shopping centre that has indoor play equipment. If you’re feeling really adventurous you could check out The Monkey Bar at Rhodes Waterside which is fairly impressive! Otherwise North Rocks Shopping Centre has a little toddler play area just outside Pronto Rocks Café. Castle Mall has the Pirate Ship Playland located outside Supa IGA on the ground floor. Stanhope Village also has a good indoor one for toddlers near the Leaf Café. (Note, these spaces are really for toddlers only – kids any older would be bored or too big.) You could even head to Bunnings Castle Hill or Dural – they have great indoor play equipment. Click here for a full list of shopping centre play areas in the Hills.

2. Go say hi to Santa. Santa has arrived at Rouse Hill Town Centre and Castle Towers. Drop past and say hi and if you’re super organised get your Santa photo done! Bookings are essential at both centres – visit their websites for details.

3. Let your child’s creative juices flow at the Little Plaster House. Located in Norwest Business Park, they’re open most days for casual visits (just check their website and give them a call to make sure they’re not closed for a party).

4. Visit an indoor play centre. We particularly like Wannabees in Hornsby as it’s way more than your average play centre, it’s a child size town with replica shops, amenities and props where kids can role play for hours on end. Read more about it here. Others to check out are Croc’s Playcentre at Castle Hill, Lollipops Playland & Cafe in Castle Hill and Chipmunks at Macquarie Centre.

5. Burn off energy at one of the indoor trampoline arenas. Flip Out is located in the Hills District. Or check out Ultimate – a play centre and trampoline centre in one! Or go rock-climbing for something a little different. There are two options in Castle Hill – The Edge and Peak Pursuits.

6. Visit a library – you can even time it with one of the reading sessions held for children. Click here for details on bubs and books sessions.

7. Catch a movie – this is a dark and cool option for sure! Check out what’s on for kids. Event Cinemas Castle Hill does Junior sessions and also Bring Your Baby sessions if your little one is so young they don’t really care what your’e watching!

9. Seek refuge at Ikea! It’s great for a wander and a cheap lunch.

10. Check out a restaurant or café with indoor play equipment. We have some listed in our article cafes next to play areas (note, not all listed are indoors). Castle Hills RSL is one of our favourites and they have kids days on Tuesdays.  Here’s the full list of pubs with play equipment in the Hills and surrounds.

11. Head to Blacktown Leisure Centre for a swim. Check out the indoor wave pool and the toddler splash pool. Hornsby Aquatic Centre also has a great indoor splash area, and of course there’s the Sydney Aquatic Centre at Homebush.

12. Go ten pin bowling or have a round of mini golf at Holey Moley Castle Towers.