The NSW Government is helping kids get creative with the new Creative Kids program.
Parents, guardians and carers can apply for a voucher with a value of up to $100 per calendar year for each school-enrolled child aged 4.5 to 18 years.
The voucher may be used with an approved activity provider for registration, participation and tuition costs for performing arts, visual arts, coding, languages, literature, music and other eligible creative and cultural activities.
Why creative activities are important
Why are creative activities important for my child?
Children have unlimited creative potential. They are curious, playful, imaginative, and open to new experiences. Creativity is not a fixed quantity, but a renewable skill and a way of thinking that can be improved and nurtured by allowing a child’s potential to develop.
Research has shown that children’s engagement with creative activities has positive effects on their interpersonal, intellectual, social and emotional development.
- They engage with their imagination and originality as they imagine and explore original ideas. Children who use fantasy and imagination are better able to engage in divergent thinking, and to generate ideas.
- They stretch their flexibility, maintaining openness to unique and novel experiences.
- They practise decision making, the ability to make thoughtful choices that support creative efforts.
- They hone their communication and self-expression skills, learning to communicate ideas and their authentic selves with confidence.
- They find internal motivation in striving to achieve a meaningful goal.
- They experience the benefits of collaboration as they develop social skills that foster creative teamwork.
Choosing a creative activity
How do I choose a creative activity for my child?
When choosing a creative activity for your child, especially one which is new to them, it can be useful to ask yourself some questions. Consider the following:
- Do I have any questions for the provider relating to the activity, such as safety, fees, enrolment process?
- What is my motivation for choosing this activity? Is it because it appeals to me, or is this activity likely to be of real interest to my child?
- Will my child find this activity fun and engaging?
- Does this activity allow my child to respond individually and express themselves creatively?
- Is this activity appropriate to the age of my child and their level of development?
- Is the activity challenging without being so far beyond my child’s capabilities that they will lose motivation?
Identifying and nurturing creative potential in childhood is crucial for raising the next generation of innovators whose mindset and problem-solving skills will solve today’s (and tomorrow’s) greatest challenges. Best of all is an activity that will bring your child joy.
Applying for a voucher
How do I apply for a voucher and what information is required?
You can apply for a Creative Kids voucher through your MyServiceNSW Account. To do this, you'll need to log into or create an account and select the Creative Kids’ icon under Services.
When creating a MyServiceNSW Account, you'll be asked to provide your contact details including a mobile number and email address.
As part of the Creative Kids voucher application you'll need to provide your child’s name, date of birth and Medicare number. There are also some questions to gather basic information about your child’s current activities.
You can apply for one voucher for each child. Each voucher can only be used for the child that is displayed on the voucher, and vouchers cannot be combined. Each child is entitled to claim one voucher per year.
Each child must be school-enrolled, home-schooled or enrolled in secondary school education at TAFE NSW or equivalent, at the time of application.
What if my child exists on two Medicare cards?
If your child exists on more than one Medicare card, use the card that Medicare issued to you for your child.
How will I receive the Creative Kids voucher?
If your application is approved, a voucher will be displayed at the end of the transaction and emailed to the nominated email address for your MyServiceNSW Account. The voucher displays the student/child's name, voucher number, expiry date and value of up to $100.
If you need to access the voucher information after the transaction is complete, you can do this through your MyServiceNSW Account. There is no requirement to print your voucher. Approved activity providers only need the voucher number and expiry date, and your child's full name and date of birth when processing your registration.
You will be able to see the status of your child's voucher in your MyServiceNSW Account. The voucher will show as either 'Available' if you haven’t yet used it, or 'Redeemed' after your provider has applied for the discount and been reimbursed by Service NSW.
How do I apply for a voucher if there is no internet access or I don’t have a mobile number or email address?
You can visit a Service NSW service centre and a digital representative will help you set up an email address (if required) and assist you in creating your MyServiceNSW Account before applying for the voucher.
Using a voucher
How do I use my Creative Kids voucher?
Your voucher information needs to be given to your chosen Creative Kids provider at the time of registering your child. This can be done either face-to-face, or when using online registration. The provider will discount your fee by up to $100, and they will be reimbursed by Service NSW for the amount. The creative provider must be approved by the Creative Kids program in order to accept your voucher.
The voucher can be used for creative and cultural activities within the included activity list.
The voucher cannot be used for examinations fees, art kits/packs, creative materials or travel costs to and from examinations, competitions or activities.
The voucher can be redeemed with only one provider per calendar year. If the activity you have chosen is less than $100 you cannot redeem the balance of the voucher. Expired vouchers will not be accepted and are only valid during the year of application.
Can I use my voucher for online lessons delivered by my child's dance studio?
Yes, if your child’s dance studio is an approved Creative Kids provider. All providers must apply for registration and must meet certain criteria to be a part of the program. If the dance studio is not an approved provider, the voucher cannot be redeemed.
All online programs must be delivered live (in real-time) and be interactive. Online programs cannot be pre-recorded. All providers must deliver online programs with no more than 20 participants per online class.
Any items, materials or kits required to participate in online programs cannot be included in the use of the voucher.
Are vouchers valid for my child’s digital art class?
Yes, vouchers can be used for digital art classes that meet the program requirements. The providers must meet the eligibility criteria, be registered and approved with the Creative Kids program to be able to accept vouchers. All online programs must be delivered live (in real-time) and be interactive. Online programs cannot be pre-recorded.
Using your Creative Kids voucher to buy creative materials or kits required to participate in the online class are not permitted.
Are vouchers valid for holiday programs?
Yes, vouchers can be used for holiday programs that focus on a specific skill development covered in the eligible categories.
I registered online using my voucher. How do I know it has been paid?
The online registration should have provided you with a receipt, identifying that the $100 from the voucher was applied.
If this didn't occur, you will need to speak to your creative provider. If it did show the voucher was applied, then the provider will receive the $100 that was discounted from your fee.
How do I cancel my child’s registration or classes?
If you want to cancel your child’s registration or class, you must discuss this directly with the provider.
The voucher value cannot be reimbursed as cash, nor can it be transferred to another child. The voucher cannot be refunded back to you.
Can I use my Active Kids voucher and my Creative Kids voucher with the same provider?
There are some crossover activity categories where providers can be registered for both programs. We do encourage the use of Active Kids vouchers and Creative Kids vouchers for different activities to ensure your child can explore and develop a range of skills and activities.
What is Creative Kids?
Creative Kids is a program to help NSW families meet the cost of getting their kids into creative and cultural activities like drama, music, dance, coding, languages and other eligible activities. The program also aims to support businesses and organisations in the arts and cultural and creative industries.
As of 1 January 2019, the NSW Government is providing a voucher of up to $100 for parents/guardians/carers to use towards the payment of lesson and activity costs with an approved provider registered with the Creative Kids program.
The program allows eligible recipients to receive one voucher per eligible child each calendar year for 4 years, commencing 1 January 2019.
The voucher can only be used one time with one provider. If an activity costs less than $100, the balance of the voucher cannot be redeemed.
When did the Creative Kids program start?
The program started on 1 January 2019.
After the start date, approved providers registered with the Creative Kids program, can accept and redeem valid vouchers from recipients.
This is a 4-year program that is currently planned to run until 31 December 2022.
Who is eligible for a Creative Kids voucher?
Every child (4.5 to 18 years old) who has a current Medicare card and is enrolled in school from Kindergarten to Year 12 is eligible. This includes those who are home-schooled or enrolled in secondary school education at TAFE NSW.
It is not means tested and one voucher is available for every child annually until 2022.
There are no limits on the number of applications per family, as long as each child is enrolled in school and has a valid Medicare card.
What if my child doesn't currently have a Medicare card?
To be eligible for the program, your child must be listed on a current Medicare card in order for their name and age to be validated.
If your child is not included on a current Medicare card, yet is eligible, please contact Medicare to apply for one.
What if my child turns 19 during the season?
If the eligible applicant is 18 and enrolled in school at the time of registration, they can redeem the voucher for that season. A student can claim a voucher up until the day before they turn 19 years old.
My child has lessons and is 4 years old. Can I claim a voucher?
A child aged 4.5 to 18 years old, enrolled in school from Kindergarten to Year 12, and is residing in NSW will be eligible for a voucher. Pre-school children are not part of this program.
Are children on bridging visas and asylum seekers eligible for a voucher?
If the child resides in NSW, is school-enrolled and is a holder or listed on a valid Medicare card, they are eligible to claim a voucher.
I live on a border town. Can I claim a voucher?
- My child lives in NSW and has music lessons with a NSW organisation – the child is eligible to claim a voucher.
- My child lives in Queensland and has art classes in NSW – the child is ineligible to claim a voucher.
- My child lives in NSW, goes to school in Victoria – the child is eligible to claim a voucher to use with an approved provider in NSW.
My child boards at school in NSW but we live in Victoria. Is my child eligible?
Yes, if your child is school-enrolled and is a full-time boarder at a NSW school, they can claim a voucher, as the school is their residential address.
What types of activities are included?
- Public art
- Media arts
- Other Visual Arts.
- Industrial design
- Game design
- Augmented/virtual reality
- Graphic design
- Fashion design
Literary and linguistics arts
- Creative writing
- Public speaking
- Spoken word
- Slam poetry.
- Circus arts
- Other Performing Arts.
Structured learning activities with a focus on strengthening Aboriginal and culturally diverse community practices, for example, the Aboriginal Cultural Knowledge Program or Cultural Experience (Aboriginal and culturally diverse communities).
What is an eligible program?
An eligible program is a structured, focused program with clear creative skill development outcomes, delivered in real-time (live). The primary purpose is for children or young people to learn or participate in interactive creative or cultural activities. The program must demonstrate value for money and be relevant to the age and skill level of participants.
The following are eligible programs:
- in-person programs that involve learning and developing a specific creative skill (private or group-based)
- creative materials are permitted for in-person programs if the items are being borrowed or used during the lesson for the purpose of developing a final artwork to take home, such as canvas
- only the final artwork can be taken home, not the creative materials that were used/borrowed to make the artwork
- art kits and/or unused creative materials are not permitted for inclusion in any programs.
- online, live programs that involve learning and developing a specific creative skill (private or group-based). Online programs must:
- be delivered in real-time and be interactive
- have no more than 20 participants per lesson
- be delivered by an individual or business based in NSW (online programs cannot be delivered from outside NSW, including interstate border towns, unless the provider is unable to deliver face-to-face programs due to COVID-19 restrictions, or their programs comprise both face-to-face and online elements)
- not include creative materials or art kits.
- cultural and creative learning experience programs that provide skills and knowledge of cultural identity, for example, Aboriginal cultural learning workshops
- membership fee-based programs that include a structured creative arts program
- performance/exhibition-based programs that are delivered live (in real-time) either in-person or online must be followed by:
- an interactive workshop, or
- a masterclass or question time, relating to skills and artform development.
- programs that support or link to the school curriculum, and co-curricular/extra-curricular activities.
Please note: Voucher redemption for creative items, art kits, creative kits are no longer permitted and are ineligible from 1 March 2022. This includes but is not limited to paints, books, stationery, canvases, clothing, uniforms, leotards, instruments or other equipment.
Providers must be approved by Service NSW to be registered with Creative Kids.
What types of activities are excluded from the program?
Ineligible activities are:
- all programs that include the supply of any creative materials or art/craft kits (including those accompanied by written instructions or live lessons)
- online activities that have no live and interactive component (such as pre-recorded tutorials)
- online lessons that host more than 20 participants per online lesson
- after-school care services with no structured creative arts program
- membership fees that do not include a structured creative arts program
- school-run competitions, concerts, drama programs, including weekend activities or inter-school competitions or activities
- online or digital programs delivered by an individual or business that is not based in NSW.
Ineligible categories are:
games and gaming (board games, chess, digital games)
Ineligible activities will be regularly reviewed.
Are there costs that I cannot use my voucher for?
Ineligible costs are:
- creative materials, art/creative kits, including but not limited to paints, books, stationery, canvases, clothing, uniforms, leotards, instruments or other equipment
- creative materials are permitted for in-person programs if the materials are being borrowed or used during the class for the purpose of developing a final artwork to take home, such as canvas painting
- examination fees for qualifications and assessment
- travel costs to and from activities.
How do I find an approved provider?
You can search for approved providers on our website under Find a Creative Kids provider.
If your preferred activity provider is not appearing in the list, please contact your provider and ask them to sign up to the program.
Why is my provider declining my voucher?
A business cannot accept the voucher if they are not registered and approved for the Creative Kids program. A provider cannot accept a voucher for an ineligible program or a program they have not registered with Creative Kids.
If the provider's membership or classes are at capacity or they are not able to offer a class due to insufficient numbers, the provider has the discretion to not accept the vouchers. Should an approved provider accept a voucher for registration, however not proceed with the class, the voucher must be returned to the parent as long as no payment request was made by the provider to Service NSW. If the voucher was redeemed but the class did not go ahead please contact Service NSW.
Can a provider increase prices or fees?
Providers cannot raise their fees as a result of their registration in the Creative Kids program nor can they apply differential pricing for voucher holders vs non-voucher holders.
Generally speaking, if a fee increase isn't warranted in the absence of a voucher program, then it would be deemed unreasonable.
Providers may be audited at any time by the Creative Kids team, including review of fee increases.
If a fee increase is deemed unreasonable by Creative Kids, providers may be suspended or removed from the program.
The cost of activity is less than $100. Can the provider claim the full $100?
No, when the fee is less than $100, the provider is paid the lesser value and the recipient cannot use the remaining balance to pay another provider for an activity.
March 2022 guideline updates
What changes have been made?
From 1 March 2022, the following changes will be implemented:
- Voucher redemption for creative items or art kits/creative kits will not be permitted and any Creative Kids programs that included the purchase of materials or supplies are no longer eligible. This includes but is not limited to paints, books, stationery, canvases, clothing, uniforms, leotards, instruments or other equipment.
- Online programs will be capped at 20 participants to ensure meaningful interactive activities for children and young people.
- New providers will be required to meet some additional requirements relating to qualifications and program delivery.
Why were the guidelines updated?
Research has shown that children’s engagement with creative activities has positive effects on their interpersonal, intellectual, social and emotional development. The Creative Kids program aims to provide opportunities for school-aged children to participate in arts and cultural activities and lessons and Support the growth of creative thinking in children to enhance their future opportunities.
Expanding the Creative Kids guidelines to accommodate art kit and online programs was a COVID-19 response measure that supported children across the state to continue participating in creative activities while not being able to interact with each other, or their teachers in person.
With the continued easing of COVID-19 restrictions across the state, children and young people returning to school, and face-to-face interactions with other children and educators permitted, the Creative Kids Provider Guidelines are being updated.
The changes aim to encourage children and young people back to real-time (online and face-to-face) creative and cultural learning opportunities delivered by qualified professional artists, cultural workers, and/or experienced educators.
Where do I find providers offering face-to-face and live online lessons?
There are currently over 4,000 registered Creative Kids providers. You can search for providers based on location and activity type using the Find a provider search tool.
How do I locate a provider in my local area?
You can search from providers based on location and activity type using the Find a provider search tool.
Can I still use my Creative Kids voucher to buy an art/craft kit or creative products?
No. From 1 March 2022, Creative Kids vouchers cannot be used to purchase any art/craft kit or creative items, including those that are accompanied with live and interactive lessons.
My child attends visual art classes in-person, can they use their voucher to buy art products and attend the lesson?
No. From 1 March 2022, you cannot use your Creative Kids voucher to obtain or purchase items, kits or materials to own and take home. However, creative materials can be incorporated into your child’s in-person lesson if they are being borrowed or used during the class for the purpose of developing a final artwork to take home, such as a canvas painting.
Only the final artwork can be taken home, not the creative materials that were used/borrowed to make the artwork.
How do I create a MyServiceNSW Account?
A parent, guardian or carer of an eligible child can apply for a Creative Kids voucher for their child once they activate a MyServiceNSW Account.
I get an error message when I enter my child's Medicare card details in the voucher application. What do I do?
If you are receiving an error message, check the following:
- Your child's name is entered exactly as it appears on the Medicare card.
- All 10 digits of the Medicare number are entered.
- Your child's date of birth details are correct with Medicare.
If your Medicare card is expiring in the next 2 months, contact Medicare to obtain the current details to enter on your application.
My child's school is not listed in the voucher application. What do I do?
If you cannot locate your school listed in the Creative Kids voucher application, click on 'i can't find my school' twice. Type in your child's school name and enter the suburb of your residential address. This will allow you to continue with your application.