Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers at Melbourne Museum - Review

Kate and her adventurous poppets hit the red 'Bug Lab' carpet this evening to get the low down on the NEW exhibition to open at the Melbourne Museum tomorrow Friday 23rd of June - Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers. Perfect for your little busy bees these holidays and perfect for grown ups too! With interactive areas throughout and some impressive large scale bugs, it's a lot of fun and the kids will love it! Thank you Melbourne Museum for having us and thank you Kate for the cool review! xo Catherine

Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

The poppets love bugs! Maybe it’s because they’re so small or because they make grown adults (like myself!) flee in terror. Either way bugs are a super popular topic in our family.

Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

So it was with much excitement that we entered the Melbourne Museum (with our colourful Very Hungry Caterpillar toy coming along too!) eager to attend the Australian premiere of Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers.  Inspired by the secret life of bugs and their genius ways, Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers immerses audiences of all ages in a journey to zoom in on the world beneath your feet!

Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

The undeniably colourful exhibition features six large-scale bugs – Orchid Mantis, Bombardier Beetle, Jewel Wasp, Dragonfly, Japanese Honeybees and Katipō.  These special bugs have evolved over millions of years to have superpower-like abilities, including camouflage, mind control, super speed, swarm intelligence and deadly venom!

Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

With four immersive chambers, dozens of interactive experiences and activity tables, the poppets had an un-beetle-ble time exploring the exhibition. Arlo particularly loved testing his reflexes hitting bugs as quick as an Orchis Mantis and performing brain surgery on a cockroach (eek!) while Miss Macy loved using the magnifiers to see the real specimens up close and had many visits to the Dragonfly zone where she stood mesmerised by one of the best flyers in the world.

Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

Older children and adults will enjoy the fascinating science content and with more than 2,000 individual pieces that took almost 200 technicians over 40,000 hours of work over six months. This is an exhibition which goes far beyond the realm of a regular natural history exhibition.

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers offers an amazing interactive experience for all ages and with a range of bug-tastic activities these school holidays, I know one family that will be sure to be returning to Melbourne Museum!  Oh and did I mention the beetle slide which has coloured lights AND sound effects!  Yippee! 

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Our tips:

    • Book tickets online to make sure you don’t miss out.
    •  Beware that the exhibition space is quite dark + combined with a few crazy looking bugs and loud sound effects, it may be a bit scary for little ones. 
    • The exhibition is pram friendly with allocated pram parking if required.
    • Not done with little critters? In partnership with Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers, Melbourne Museum’s IMAX theatre is screening Bugs: Mighty Micro Monsters 3D or visit the Melbourne Museum’s permanent exhibition Bugs Alive! to get up close and personal with the real thing – live insects, spiders, snails and other invertebrates!
    • If your little ones need to burn off some energy before or after visiting Bug Lab, pop into the Melbourne Museum’s new Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery.  Read our review here.  
    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Have you entered our Bug Lab giveaway, we have 6 family passes to giveaway - be quick it ends very soon! Here's the link.

    For more information on Bug Lab and to book your tickets, head to the Melbourne Museum website.

    For more July School Holidays ideas, head to our Holiday Guide.

    To follow Kate and her poppets around Melbourne, head to her Instagram page.

    For more ideas on what to do with the little ones, head to our blog or CBD Top 5 FREE activities or our popular Daily Spots List.

    Room of Lucky Charms by Kate Beynon - MCA Sydney

    A NEW contemporary art installation featuring 600 soft sculptural good luck charms opened at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) today and we love it! Room of Lucky Charms (2017) is a multi-sensory work created by Melbourne-based artist Kate Beynon for the sixth annual Bella Room Commission.

    Photo credit: Jacquie Manning

    Photo credit: Jacquie Manning

    As part of the MCA’s Bella Program, the commission is pivotal to the museum’s commitment to access. In 2016, over 2,500 people of all ages with disability or access requirements experienced the Bella Room Commission by artist Kathy Temin.

    Visitors can engage with the work by selecting, placing and rearranging the soft sculpture symbols to create patterns, messages and their own associations of meaning.

    Photo credit: Jacquie Manning

    Photo credit: Jacquie Manning

    The work comes from Kate Beynon's personal perspective – a childhood immersed in lucky symbols from Chinese and Welsh culture. Imagery such as Chinese ‘happiness bats’ and Celtic knots decorated furniture, objects and textiles in her family home. Her maternal grandmother gifted her charm bracelets and carved jade pendants featuring lucky characters and signs.

    In total, 11 symbols can be found in the room including plants and animals, such as the gingko leaf, orange, lotus bud and ‘happiness bat’; and symbols drawn from the human body through eyes, heart, lips and hands.

    Photo credit: Jacquie Manning

    Photo credit: Jacquie Manning

    Visitors to the Museum can visit the room in various ways throughout the year by attending a Bella program, or by experiencing Artplay, a creative play session for children aged 5 and under and their families.

    To find out when you can visit the Room of Lucky Charms by Kate Beynon, checkout the MCA's website.

    For more ideas and reviews for what to do with kids around Sydney, head to our blog where you will find reviews as well as useful guides like our Daily Spots List as well as parents roomsplaygroundsbeaches & pools and more!

    Toot Toot Toys - Bentleigh East - Melbourne - Review

    Kate and her adventurous twins headed out to Toot Toot Toys recently in Bentleigh East for a play and a shop. Toot Toot Toys is a cute toy shop which lets your little ones have a play while you shop for them, family or friends or have a quiet coffee on rainy days.
    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    The whole area where you shop and play is fenced up (amid the gate needing a little work) so no kids running out of the shop so you can relax, browse and enjoy that cup of hot coffee for once!

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Kate's little ones were happy to escape the rain that day and play away for an hour or so and make new friends while they were there too.

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Toot Toot Toys has a café onsite which is perfect for a break after all that playing - ha! The café only uses takeaway cups but I am sure you can bring your reusable coffee cup when you pop in for a coffee, play and/or shop.

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    And of course after a little play of some toys and equipment available, you can browse through the great selection of toys for sale and pick something up for your little ones, their friends or siblings' birthday party.

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Toot Toot Toys is a fun space that provides an hour or so of entertainment for the kids. The café onsite has a basic offering of hot & cold drinks and the shop has a fantastic range of trains, Lego, Duplo, Salvanian family and more. It is best suited for kids under 5.

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    For more info on Toot Toot Toys, head to their Facebook page.

    To follow Kate and her poppets around Melbourne, head to her Instagram page.

    For more ideas on what to do with the little ones, head to our blog or CBD Top 5 FREE activities or our popular Daily Spots List.

    Hank Marvin Market - St Kilda East - Melbourne - Review 

    Kate and her little ones recently visited the Hank Marvin Market in St Kilda East and with a great selection of food from both farmers, local producers, food trucks and makers, kid friendly activities, a nearby playground and a relaxing atmosphere for the whole family - these things make it a perfect market to hang out on weekends! Thanks for the review Kate xo Catherine
    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    My British-born husband is quite a fan of Cockney rhyming slang so I'm quite familiar with the phrases “I’m hank marvin!” and “I’m proper hank!”.  So when Hank Marvin Market opened in August 2015, I instantly fell in love with the name (FYI Hank Marvin is Cockney rhyming slang for starving) and have since become big fans of this weekly street-food and produce market.

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Located within the picturesque Alma Park in St Kilda East surrounded by a busy sporting oval, two popular public swimming pools, a great play park (more about that further down) and close to the busy Chapel Street precinct, Hank Marvin is a foodie paradise + it’s fantastic to visit with toddlers!

    Presenting a rotating, carefully selected group of food trucks, fine and fresh produce merchants and community stalls - with approximately 40 stalls each week - there really is something for everyone at Hank Marvin. Alongside many traders who Melbournians have grown to love (and actively seek out at different events), you can also expect new vendors you’ll likely become very familiar with soon.

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    On our most recent visit we couldn’t go past visiting a few of our favourites; delectable doughnuts by Cobb Lane Bakery, coffee from the gang at Little Big Sugar Salt, toasties by Toasta (order the Mack filled with cheese blend, cheesy mac & cheese and caramelised onion, yum!) as well as Korean Japanese street food from Kimu (the Breakfast Kimchi Omelette with free range smoked thick bacon was out of this world!).    

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Our #minimelbournefoodies love the market too! On this occasion they were kept satisfied with many samples from the friendly food vendors, dog cuddles from the beautiful Gumtree Greys greyhounds (+ the many other super adorable pups who visit the market), creative time at the large blackboard and face painting by the lovely ladies from Where’s My Unicorn?.  *Alejandro the Mexican Music Man entertains children of all ages once every month too with his vibrant Mexican and Latin music.

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    A visit to Hank Marvin Market wouldn't be complete without a play in the nearby playground.  This has definitely got to be one of the best playgrounds in Melbourne.  It’s the perfect spot for children to run around while you finish your coffee and that scrumptious pastry or tasty plate of food that you picked up next door.  

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    The park itself is separated into different playing areas with various sized and shaped slides, a flying fox, swings, monkey bars, rockers and an assortment of climbing equipment; there really is something to suit every age and ability.  The playground is surrounded by tall gum trees and a stunning Moreton Bay fig tree and offers an abundance of nature play areas for little ones to explore too.  

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    With some of the best food that Melbourne has to offer - not to mention the 28 metres of dining hall, ample seating and blankets aplenty – Hank Marvin Market is more than just a place to grab some delicious food or the weekly shop, it’s a gathering place for friends and families alike.  Go check it out this weekend!

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    Photo credit: @kateflatman

    For more information on the Hank Marvin Market, head to their website.
    To follow Kate and her poppets around Melbourne, head to her Instagram page.

    For more ideas on what to do with the little ones, head to our blog or CBD Top 5 FREE activities or our popular Daily Spots List.

    LightTime at Melbourne Scienceworks - Info & Giveaway

    LightTime at Scienceworks is set to open these Winter School Holidays - perfect timing! Visitors of all ages can see a collective of 11 Melbourne based artists who have created hypnotic and mesmerising work to engage the senses through light, sound and optics.

    Kids can be immersed in a space where lasers project holographic effects to an evolving original soundtrack; enter a room of LED screens that create a spectacle to confound and entrance; and lie beneath an ultraviolet garden of floral meditation. 

    lighttimescienceworks02.jpg

    The result is a visually stunning exhibition that will inspire people of all ages to consider the science behind how light, sound and optics impact our senses. Children will have the opportunity to paint with light, meditate under a bloom of iridescent mechanical flowers and see how space, light and shadows can be viewed via new perspectives through the use of mirrors, screens and projections. 

    Image credit: Museums Victoria

    Image credit: Museums Victoria

    LightTime: Illuminate your eyes, ears and mind opens Saturday 1st of July 2017 at Scienceworks in Spotswood and it's only $5 on top of Scienceworks museum entry! For more on the artists here.

    To celebrate, we are giving away 5 family passes to LightTime at Scienceworks right on time to plan your school holidays and avoid cabin fever! (A family pass includes 2 adults and 2 children and general entry). Open to VIC residents only. Entries now open and close Sunday 25th of June. Follow the prompts below - good luck!

    For more July School Holidays ideas, head to our Holiday Guide.

    For more ideas on what to do with the little ones, head to our blog or CBD Top 5 FREE activities or our popular Daily Spots List.

    Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers at Melbourne Museum - Info & Giveaway

    The Australian premiere of Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers – an immersive exhibition experience as told by a collection of insects is set to open this week on Friday 23rd of June at the Melbourne Museum and we're excited!

    READ OUR REVIEW HERE

    Image credit: Museums Victoria

    Image credit: Museums Victoria

    A creative collaboration between Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington, New Zealand, and Weta Workshop, Bug Lab will allow visitors to marvel at ultra-detailed large-scale models of bugs, discover cutting-edge science and explore the world as bugs do, through immersive sensory experiences.

    Image credit: Museums Victoria

    Image credit: Museums Victoria

    A five time Academy Award-winning creative studio, Weta Workshop are best known as the creative wizards behind the vision, costumes and practical effects as featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, King Kong, Avatar and District 9.

    buglabmelbournemuseum03.jg

    Featuring six large scale bugs - Orchid Mantis, Bombardier Beetle, Jewel Wasp, Dragonfly, Japanese Honeybees and Katipō (New Zealand’s most dangerous native spider) - Bug Lab uncovers the adaptive genius of bugs, which over millions of years have evolved to have superpower abilities, including camouflage, mind control, super speed, swarm intelligence and deadly venom.

    buglabmelbournemuseum04.jg

    Bug Lab also highlights how bugs are the leading inspiration for cutting-edge technologies such as fly-like collision-tolerant drones, nanotechnology based on butterfly wings and 3D printed objects created from silk.

    buglabmelbournemuseum05.jg

    To celebrate the Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers exhibition at Melbourne Museum, we are giving away 6 family passes - yes 6!! (A family pass is recognised as 2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children, where the children are aged between 3–16 years.)

    Entries are now open and close Sunday 25th June - perfect tickets to use during the holidays - follow prompts below - good luck and enjoy! Entries only open to VIC residents.

    For more ideas on what to do with the little ones, head to our blog or CBD Top 5 FREE activities or our popular Daily Spots List. For more school holiday ideas this winter, checkout our guide.

    Van Gogh and the Seasons: An Art Book for Kids

    Having grown up in France, I was often at the Musée d'Orsay with my father or with my primary school class admiring famous paintings from my favourite impressionists Monet, Renoir, Degas, Sisley and impressionists Toulouse-Lautrec and Vincent Van Gogh of course.

    Image credit - our photographers: Tina Giorgio Photography

    Image credit - our photographers: Tina Giorgio Photography

    While I have seen my fair share of Van Gogh paintings in my life, Van Gogh and the Seasons at the National Gallery of Victoria is a bespoke exhibition which takes visitors through the year's four seasons. 

    Image credit - our photographers: Tina Giorgio Photography

    Image credit - our photographers: Tina Giorgio Photography

    Visitors are invited to understand Van Gogh's affection for each season and how those reflected his feelings through nearly 50 paintings and drawings. 

    Image credit - our photographers: Tina Giorgio Photography

    Image credit - our photographers: Tina Giorgio Photography

    Due to its popularity, Van Gogh and the Seasons might have a large number of visitors at times however the space is designed to provide an easy flow throughout. The exhibition has now been extended until Wednesday 12th of July due to popular demand.

    From now until Saturday 8th of July the exhibition will be open weekdays from 9am to 5pm and weekends from 8am to 5pm. There will be a special 24-hour opening of the exhibition from Saturday 8th of July 10pm to Sunday 9th of July 10pm. And for its final three days it will be open from 8am until 11pm. Book your tickets online to avoid the queues and enjoy!

    Image credit - our photographers: Tina Giorgio Photography

    Image credit - our photographers: Tina Giorgio Photography

    To accompany the exhibition, the National Gallery of Victoria designed Van Gogh and the Seasons - An Art Book for Kids for little artists to understand the exhibition in a cute and colourful way. The book is guided by a little field mouse named Theo and like the exhibition, it explores the four seasons of nature through Van Gogh's vision. 

    vangoghandtheseasons05.jpg

    The book is beautifully illustrated and kindly introduces little readers to Van Gogh, his family history, his birth town and how he came to love nature so much. It also takes a closer look at some of Van Gogh and the Seasons exhibition's paintings and explains what Van Gogh was thinking when he painted them.

    vangoghandtheseasons06.jpg
    vangoghandtheseasons10.jpg

    We love the beautiful illustrations for each season and how it shows the readers the season's affect on nature and animals. We also love the little Van Gogh quotes throughout.

    vangoghandtheseasons08.jpg

    The book also has facts and quizzes on primary and secondary colours, Van Gogh's favourite colour blue, how snow is made, the history behind potatoes in Europe, how to make a paper snowflake, how flowers grow, still life painting and much more. 

    vangoghandtheseasons09.jpg

    Spring and summer are by far our favourite seasons. This book shows beautiful cherry blossoms, golden fields of wheat, harvest time and the French countryside. It also has a detailed the list of works at the end of the book. What's you and your child's favourite season?

    vangoghandtheseasons10.jpg
    Van Gogh and the Seasons - An Art Book for Kids is available online via the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)'s website or at the NGV's store.
    vangoghandtheseasons04.jpg

    To celebrate Van Gogh and the Seasons, we are giving away a family pass to attend the exhibition (admits 2 x adults and 3 x children valued at $65) and a copy of Van Gogh and the Seasons: An Art Book for Kids valued at $19.95. To enter, follow the instructions in the giveaway box below. Entries close Wednesday 21st June 2017. Good Luck! Winner will be drawn at random. Giveaway opened to Victoria residents only.

    For more ideas on what to do with the little ones, head to our blog or CBD Top 5 FREE activities or our popular Daily Spots List.

    For more product reviews, head to our Product Reviews page.

    Gymnastics with Bounce 2017 - Melbourne - Review

    Last weekend, Kate and her poppets attended Gymnastics with Bounce with Gymnastics Victoria as part of the 2017 Victorian Gymnastics Championships at the State Netball & Hockey Centre. 

    gymnasticswithbounce00.jpg

    Gymnastics with Bounce invited children aged from 4 months to 11 years of age to participate in a 45 minute class where they were introduced to the benefits of gymnastics.

    gymnasticswithbounce01.jpg

    Instructors and mascot Bounce showed children hand and feet positioning, tested their balance by walking on balance beams, showed them how to jump and bend their knees from a vault, showed them how to walk through obstacles, do forward rolls and lots more!

    gymnasticswithbounce09.jpg
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    gymnasticswithbounce03.jpg
    gymnasticswithbounce04.jpg
    gymnasticswithbounce05.jpg

    The Gymnastics with Bounce session was a one off session however kids (boys and girls) aged 2 to 12 years old can take part in weekly Come and Try Gymnastics sessions in Prahran every Sunday. Sessions are now open till the 30th July so you can book in advance online. 

    gymnasticswithbounce06.jpg
    gymnasticswithbounce07.jpg

    Each 50 minute session is run by qualified coaches and if your child enjoys the class then coaches can help you find a great gymnastics club for your child to join in your area.

    gymnasticswithbounce09.jpg

    These sessions are a great introduction to the benefits of gymnastics for children when developing foundational movement skills.  

    Sessions are $15 per participant - to book checkout the flyer below and head to their website.
    gymnasticswithbounce08.jpg

    For more ideas on what to do with the little ones, head to our blog or CBD Top 5 FREE activities or our popular Daily Spots List.

    Busy City Kids - Melbourne July 2017 & School Holidays Events Lineup

    Find something to do with the kids in July and during the school holidays! Share your experiences with us by tagging us on Instagram or using #busycitykids to be featured! Have fun!

    Well almost .. ! 

    Well almost .. ! 

    More July events, activities and programs coming soon .. !

    • School Holidays at Zoos Victoria - Healesville Sanctuary will be all about storytelling and warming up with soup. Melbourne Zoo will host The National Geographic Photo Ark photography exhibition, find out more here. Werribee Open Range Zoo will once again throw open its doors after dark for visitors to experience the thrill of Wild Nights, find out more info here. All starting from Saturday 1st of July. 
       
    • The Big Freeze Festival at Fountain Gate Shopping Centre - Last year's popular city snow festival will again provide city peeps an affordable snow experience and this year it has 9 interactive zones and will run from Saturday 1st of July to Sunday 9th of July. Journey through the snowfall forest and winter village before tossing a snowball, playing in the snow pit and riding down our snow slide. Continue the fun with the kids’ active challenge, polar bear slide, circus skill workshops, construction zone and art ’n’ craft activities. Opens Saturday 1st July. Find out more info or buy tickets here. Our review from the 2016 Big Freeze Festival here.
       
    • LEGO City at Harbour Town Melbourne - A LEGO City Play Zone is coming to Harbour Town Melbourne these holidays! Children and parents are invited to make their way to Docklands everyday between 12pm – 4pm from Monday 3rd of July through until Sunday 16th July to experience fun and free LEGO City activities. Activities include a Free Build Zone, Take a pic in front of the LEGO Police Jail and the LEGO Fire Station, Play some of the amazing LEGO City iPad games and watch the virtual LEGO City come alive before your eyes and come and see a LEGO City model and spectacular LEGO statues guaranteed to impress. Starts Monday 3rd July. More info here and our review coming soon!
       
    • Imaginary Architecture with ArtPlay at Kensington Town Hall - Join ArtPlay and artist Lara Tumak as they take over Kensington Town Hall. Kids can make their own special diorama to add to a mega mini city in this cool FREE event. On from Thursday 6th of July 2017 to Sunday 9th of July 2017. More info and our review here.
       
    • Bug Lab: Little Bugs, Super Powers at Melbourne Museum - Bug Lab will allow visitors to marvel at ultra-detailed large-scale models of bugs, discover cutting-edge science and explore the world as bugs do, through immersive sensory experiences. Opens Friday 23rd June. Win 1 of 6 family passes and find out more info here. Read our review here.
       
    • LightTime: Illuminate your eyes, ears and mind at Scienceworks - A collective of 11 Melbourne based artists who have created hypnotic and mesmerising work that invite visitors to engage their senses to explore the phenomena of light, sound and optics. Kids can be immersed in a space where lasers project holographic effects to an evolving original soundtrack; enter a room of LED screens that create a spectacle to confound and entrance; and lie beneath an ultraviolet garden of floral meditation. Opens Saturday 1st July. Win 1 of 5 family passes and find out more here.
       
    • Little Art Big Art - The very popular Little Art Big Art Holiday Program is jammed packed with workshops that is sure to ignite imagination, exploration and creativity whilst expanding skills and having fun! More info & bookings have now been released check out their website. More info here. Our review here.
       
    • Mess Matters - Mess Matters offers each and every child a unique art experience. At the Mess Matters studio children are free to express themselves in an unstructured yet supportive environment. Their school holiday program is out now. More info & bookings here. Our review here.
       
    • SciencePlay Kids - SciencePlay Kids classes are designed to encourage your little scientists to explore science in the world around them. Each class runs for an hour, has 2-3 hands on experiments that foster creative thinking and problem solving in a fun and MESSY way. Dressing in mini lab coats and safety glasses, each child has their own scientific equipment and materials to undertake their experiment at their own pace. More info here. Read our review here.
       
    • Craftercise - School holiday sessions registrations now open. Classes will be running on Wednesday 5th July, Friday 7th July, Tuesday 11th July and Thursday 13th July. Times are 9.30 am to 10.15 am, 10.45 am to 11.30am for both 18 months to 3 years, 12 noon to 12.45pm for 3 to 6 years and 1.15 am to 2pm for 6 to 18 months (Tues, Wed, Thurs). Book to avoid missing out. Read more info and book here. Read our review here.
       
    • River Rink at Fed Square - School holidays are coming around again so it’s time to get your skates on, grab your best mates, rug up and head to Fed Square’s outdoor skating sensation, River Rink. A winter experience like no other in Melbourne, skaters will enjoy the picturesque backdrop of the Yarra River and the city skyline whilst gliding on the ice. And all in time for school holiday fun. Opens Saturday 1st July. More info here.
       
    • Winter Wonderlights at Sovereign Hill - Back on again this year to celebrate Christmas in July from Saturday 1st July to Sunday 30th July 2017, the Sovereign Hill township will evoke a sense of old-world wonder during the day and Main Street will sparkle with an amazing light projection show with over 20 of Sovereign Hill’s buildings lit up with large-scale image projections and Christmas animations at night. Opens Saturday 1st of July. WIN 1 of 2 family passes and find out more info here.
       
    • Roola Boola Festival at City of Stonnington - The Roola Boola Children’s Arts Festival returns for its eighth year with a program packed full of intimate performances, workshops spanning music, dance, circus and magic and unique activities! Running from Tuesday 4th to Friday 14th of July 2017 with fantastic FREE and affordable ticketed events happening daily! More info here.
       
    • National Trust of Victoria - Polly Woodside on Pirate Sunday - Sunday 2nd July. Bring along your scallywags and buccaneers and join the Polly Woodside for a day of adventures. $16 per adult and $9.50 per child. Read our review here.
       
    • Fiona Hall: Uneasy Seasons at the NGV Melbourne - Uneasy Seasons is a captivating and imaginative response to the environment and changing seasons through the lens of one of Australia’s most brilliant artistic minds. The exhibition features two large scale tree houses - one for young visitors and the other for teenagers. Visitors are invited to explore the two spaces and participate in art making activities and how they feel about the natural world. On until 8th of October. Read our review here.
       
    • Van Gogh and the Seasons at the NGV Melbourne - We loved the exhibition and living the four seasons through Van Gogh's eyes. Little Miss loved the NGV's Van Gogh An Art Book for Kids. Now closes on Wednesday 12th of July. Win a family pass and a copy of Van Gogh and the Seasons an Art Book for kids here.
       
    • School Holidays event at Eastland - Get the kids decorating cupcakes, decorating cookies, learn create & play with realm workshops, do a chocolate workshop, build a bear and experience a future of infinite possibilities with Inflatable sculptures all at Eastland shopping centre. More info here.

    Also checkout these great places in July ... entertain them for hours to avoid cabin fever!

    • Latitude Melbourne - Let the kids jump around at Latitude Melbourne this winter and wear themselves out for a good night's sleep. Latitude is the first integrated trampoline and climbing park in Australia. With over 100 interconnected trampolines, a massive air bag, basketball lanes, an obstacle course, climbing zone, dodgeball arena and dedicated Kids Zone, there’s something for everyone and every age.  Read our review here.
       
    • Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne - Kids will turn into a Lego by the end of their trip to Legoland in Chadstone or you will ha! They will enjoy spending hours looking at Lego, playing with Lego, going on rides, using the play equipment etc. Read our review and tips here.
       
    • Little Creatures Play Space - Kids can play pretend for hours in this awesome indoor play centre. With an open-plan set up consisting of different play themes including a home corner, grocery store, fire station, builder’s workshop, costume room, soft play equipment, reading corner and train table, Little Creatures is the perfect play space for little ones. Read our review here.
       
    • Pauline Gandel Children's Gallery at the Melbourne Museum - Children 0 to 5 years, their siblings and older children have an amazing space to visit, discover, explore, read, relax, learn and imagine! So much to do and explore - we love it! Read our review here.
       
    • Play Pod at the State Library of Victoria - Play Pod is the Library's program for children aged under eight years, packed with activities to read, create and play. With a new theme every season. This season welcomes 'Penguin Problems'. Read our review here.

    For more ideas, checkout our popular pages below:

    The Big Freeze Festival 2017 - Melbourne - Info & Giveaway

    Last year's popular city snow festival The Big Freeze Festival is back in 2017 and will again provide city peeps an affordable snow experience and this year it has 9 interactive zones and will run from Saturday 1st to Sunday 9th of July. 

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    The festival will be divided into two areas this year: 

    The Ticketed Winter Precinct featuring snowplay, snowball toss, snowfall forest, winter village,  snow globe photobooth, polarbear slide, kids’ active challenge, circus skills workshop, construction play,  art’n’craft activities and brand new snowslides (at two different heights to allow more children to enjoy the thrill of the ride).

    The Community Precinct will be free for the general public to visit and hosts daily stage shows,  activity zone with Phillip Island Nature Parks, sports with Milo, food vendors and more

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    Kate Flatman's niece Ruby and her parents attended the Big Freeze Festival last year and loved it! Read their review here.

    To celebrate, we are giving away ONE family pass to the Tuesday, July 4th session from 9am - 11:30am. To enter, follow the prompts below - good luck entries close on Wednesday 14th June 2017.

    Big Freeze Festival 2017 Giveaway Landing Page (Automatic)
    To BOOK TICKETS to the Big Freeze Festival, head to this page. (This is an affiliate link, you don't pay any extra but I earn a small commission which funds our website fees.)

    For more ideas on what to do with the little ones, head to our blog or CBD Top 5 FREE activities or our popular Daily Spots List.

    State Library of Victoria - Play Pod : Penguin Problems - Review

    A NEW Play Pod theme is on the go at the State Library of Victoria and we love it! Waddle across the snowcaps for a winter-themed Play Pod inspired by Jory John and Lane Smith’s hilarious Penguin Problems and discover the day-to-day hiccups of being a penguin!

    Photo credit: Kate Flatman @kateflatman

    Photo credit: Kate Flatman @kateflatman

    Kate Flatman and her munchkins celebrated the new theme at the Play Pod Party this morning and had a great time checking out the new Play Pod activities.

    Photo credit: Kate Flatman @kateflatman

    Photo credit: Kate Flatman @kateflatman

    Kids can make a Penguin or a Walrus mask at the dedicated craft zones, play with pretend ice, play with a lightbox full of penguin figurines, play with penguin magnets, read lots of penguin books as well as the Penguin Problems book and of course dress up like a penguin and more!

    Photo credit: Kate Flatman @kateflatman

    Photo credit: Kate Flatman @kateflatman

    Photo credit: Kate Flatman @kateflatman

    Photo credit: Kate Flatman @kateflatman

    To read our past reviews of the Play Pod, head here.

    The Play Pod is open 10am–4pm daily in the State Library of Victoria's Courtyard. Penguin Problems will be on until the 5th of September. For more information on the State Library of Victoria Play Pod, head to their website.

    For more ideas on what to do with the little ones, head to our blog or CBD Top 5 FREE activities or our popular Daily Spots List.

    Imaginary Architecture coming to Kensington Town Hall - Melbourne

    ArtPlay may be closed for renovations until Saturday 29th July but they have a little surprise organised for ArtPlay fans - Imaginary Architecture is coming these upcoming July school holidays!

    Photo credit: Lara Tumak

    Photo credit: Lara Tumak

    Join ArtPlay and artist Lara Tumak as they take over Kensington Town Hall. Kids can make their own special diorama to add to a mega mini city in this cool free event. 

    Photo credit: Kate Flatman @kateflatman

    Photo credit: Kate Flatman @kateflatman

    Is it possible to create architecture out of nothing more than dreams? How about some cardboard, sticky tape and string? Town planners, master builders and architects extraordinaire are invited to create a mega mini city for everyone to explore. 

    Photo credit: Sarah Walker

    Photo credit: Sarah Walker

    Bring a box from home (an empty biscuit, cereal or teabag box for example) or grab one of ours, and we’ll turn this into a diorama to add to the sprawling city! Pick up a torch and explore our imaginary city - see what stories you can find!

    Photo credit: Sarah Walker

    Photo credit: Sarah Walker

    Imaginary Architecture was developed by Lara Tumak at ArtPlay and was featured at the Arts Centre Melbourne in January this year. Kate Flatman and her munchkins checked it out, read their review here.

    Imaginary Architecture will be on at Kensington Town Hall at 30-34 Bellair Street in Kensington from Thursday 6th of July 2017 to Sunday 9th of July 2017 between 11 am and 3 pm. FREE and no booking required. Kids 4 to 12 years will love this event and must be accompanied by an adult. 

    For more information, head to the ArtPlay website.

    For more ideas on what to do with the little ones, head to our blog or CBD Top 5 FREE activities or our popular Daily Spots List.

    Glen Street Library - Belrose - Sydney

    The NEW Glen Street Library in Belrose opened its doors last Friday. Hundreds of eager visitors waiting patiently for speeches and for the ribbon to be cut to enter and experience this brand new library.

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    The library is across two levels with a lift and children's toilets upstairs. Visitors can enter the library from Glen Street or from the upstairs level next to the Glen Street Theatre. At the entrance, you will be welcomed by staff in the returns area as well as info staff. There are two PCs for searching the catalogue and one for self service loans.

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    Rows of computers for visitors to use as well as rows upon rows of books of course There are some quiet reading spots with chairs or pillows throughout the library as well as some conference type rooms for people to use as well as a nice reading area going down the stairs inside and outside.

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    The Kids section of the library is the cutest with a little story time area with synthetic grass where kids can sit and listen to stories or read in their own times, colouring areas, two PCs as well as a large screen with videos, tons of books of course and some comfy chairs and spots for little ones to sit and read.

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    We were spoilt with some face painting and story time on the day of the opening and lots of people! We are looking forward to visiting the new library on a quieter day!

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    For more information on the Glen Street Library or the other Northern Beaches' Libraries, head to this website.

    For more ideas and reviews for what to do with kids around Sydney, head to our blog where you will find reviews as well as useful guides like our Daily Spots List as well as parents roomsplaygroundsbeaches & pools and more!

    Roola Boola Children’s Arts Festival - Stonnington - Melbourne - Info

    The Roola Boola Children’s Arts Festival returns for its eighth year with a program packed full of intimate performances, workshops spanning music, dance, circus and magic and unique activities! Running from Tuesday 4th to Friday 14th of July 2017 with fantastic FREE and affordable ticketed events happening daily! 

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    Sam Moran in Play Along With Sam is coming to Chapel off Chapel! Get up and close to this six-time ARIA Award winner as he brings his infectious music, song and dance to the stage for this exclusive performance.

    Photo credit: City of Stonnington

    Photo credit: City of Stonnington

    The popular Melbourne City Ballet will be performing Once Upon A Time.  Winner of ‘Best Kids’ show at the Melbourne Fringe 2016 The Adventures of Broer and Zus (suitable for the Deaf and hard of hearing community) will also be performing. Checkout Kate's review of Broer & Zus when they performed October last year at the Arts Centre Melbourne.

    The circus, magic, and dance experience Out Of This World will also be performing.

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    Kids can try their hand at juggling, plate spinning, hoola hooping and more with The National Institute of Circus Acts, chop up the beat with Mzuri Dance and Drum, take the Roola Boola Magic Class, learn the latest Hip Hop Moves with The Space Dance and Arts and they can use their imagination in Drama Play with St Martins Youth.

    Photo credit: City of Stonnington

    Photo credit: City of Stonnington

    Crafty ones and their carers can book in for one of the special craft activities - Make Your Own Mini Terrarium, design a Superhero Mask or create a one-of-a-kind, working puppet made completely out of recycled and reused materials with the Trash Puppets.

    Lots to do these winter school holidays at the Roola Boola Festival! For more information about the Roola Boola Festival, head to their website or checkout the festival program in PDF format here too.

    For more ideas on what to do with the little ones, head to our blog or CBD Top 5 FREE activities or our popular Daily Spots List.

    Sovereign Hill Winter Wonderlights 2017 - Info & Giveaway

    Sovereign Hill's Winter Wonderlights is back on again this year to celebrate Christmas in July from Saturday 1st July to Sunday 30th July 2017. We sent Kel from Melbourne Minor to Winter Wonderlights last year and the family and Kel loved it - raspberry drops and all! Read Kel's review here as well as her 10 essential tips before you head to Sovereign Hill.
    Photo credit: Melbourne Minor @melbourneminor

    Photo credit: Melbourne Minor @melbourneminor

    Photo credit: Melbourne Minor @melbourneminor

    Photo credit: Melbourne Minor @melbourneminor

    During the day, the Sovereign Hill township will evoke a sense of old-world wonder. Visitors can stroll down Main Street as snow-flakes fall at regular intervals over the Victorian-style buildings, decorations fill the window displays, the smell of Christmas treats and spices fill the air, and traditional Christmas-themed pantomimes are performed!

    Photo credit: Melbourne Minor @melbourneminor

    Photo credit: Melbourne Minor @melbourneminor

    At night, Main Street will sparkle with an amazing light projection show with over 20 of Sovereign Hill’s buildings lit up with large-scale image projections and Christmas animations. Children can also catch the Gingerbread Man as he dashes from building to building, peeking out from the Christmas themed lights and animations!

    Photo credit: Melbourne Minor @melbourneminor

    Photo credit: Melbourne Minor @melbourneminor

    Dress up, find gold and don't forget to bring raspberry drops home - ah!

    When: Saturday 1 st July – Sunday 30 th July, 2017. Open daily from 10am. The ‘WinterWonderlights’ show will start each evening after 5.45pm.
    Where: Sovereign Hill, 3 Bradshaw Street, Ballarat, 3350.
    Cost: General admission: Adults $59.50, Children (5-15) $27.00, Concession ($47.60), Family ($150.00) and Single Family ($107.00) passes available.

    Photo credit: Melbourne Minor @melbourneminor

    Photo credit: Melbourne Minor @melbourneminor

    To celebrate, we are giving away 2 Family Passes to visit Sovereign Hill's Winter Wonderlights in July. Each family pass is worth $150 and is valid for 2 adults and up to 4 children. Enter below. Good luck! Entries close Tuesday 13th June 2017 at midnight AEST.

    For more ideas on what to do with the little ones, head to our blog or CBD Top 5 FREE activities or our popular Daily Spots List.

    Mustela Baby Skincare Range - Review

    I was recently asked to review the NEW Mustela baby skincare range and jumped at the idea. I had never tried their products before however I remembered seeing the brand in France on our recent trip and funnily enough brought some Mustela products back for my French friend here in Sydney!

    Mustela was founded in France 60 years ago and over the years has grown a great following and has now become the number 1 baby dermo-cosmestic brand in Europe. Mustela found that a baby's skin which seems beautiful and soft is actually very fragile between the age of 0 to 2 years old. 

    Mustela as a result has now taken their range to the next level with their new generation of hygiene and skincare products adapted to all skin types from birth on with a 'normal skin', 'dry skin' and 'eczema-prone skin' care and all aimed at protecting a child's fragile skin.

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    If you have been following the blog for a while, you'd know by now that I am a firm believer in only using natural products on my children and more importantly products that are free from nasty chemicals. Mustela's new baby skin care range is just that - natural and free from paraben, phthalate and phenoxyethanol. I love that it has the natural ingredient of Avocado Perseose, which has been designed to reinforce the skin barrier to preserve its richness. I just love the Avocado smell on the products!

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    At the time of the review, we spent the weekend in Melbourne so I took a few essential Mustela products with us to try - Hydra Bébé Facial Cream, 2-in-1 Cleansing Gel and the Vitamin Barrier Cream for nappy changes and nappy rash.

    Mustela Hydra Bébé Facial Cream is light, non-greasy and within one application turned the skin very soft. I tried it on both little Miss and little Mister and they both didn't mind me applying the cream on them which surprises me as they can't stand when I put sunscreen on them. I touched their skin afterwards and it felt like they were little bubs again with that ever soft skin. 

    Coincidentally and unlucky for me, Little Mister had a crazy nappy one afternoon we were there so we tried the Mustela 2-in-1 Cleansing Gel to rinse him off. It has a pearl-like consistency and is very soft when you apply it to the skin whether it be in the shower or as a quick sponge bath. I also used as a bath gel and you can too if like me you don't want to bring more than an already 34 kgs suitcase with you (for a 4 day trip to Melbourne)! Don't tell the kids but I have now claimed this Mustela 2-in-1 Cleansing Gel as my own, that avocado smell is divine for my morning shower now!

    The Mustela Nappy Change Vitamin Barrier Cream was the perfect thing after the crazy nappy incident as it helped calm the redness on little Mister's sore bum.

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    A great shower combo can be the Mustela Gentle Cleansing Gel and the Mustela Newborn Foam Shampoo. The Mustela Gentle Cleansing Gel is great to use in the shower or in the bath for gently cleansing your little one's body or hair. It also has that pearl-like effect on the gel and smells great for that quick yet moisturising clean.

    Mustela Newborn Foam Shampoo is easy to apply to your little one's hair from birth and can be used on older kids too to avoid a quarter of a shampoo bottle on your kid's hair when you're busy with their sibling! (As little Miss experienced when she decided to pour her shampoo on herself!). The mousse is easy to apply and spread all over the hair and easy to rinse off too in a few goes. It didn't cause any irritation to little Mister's hair or eyes and gave him soft hair afterwards. It also helps prevent and remove cradle cap. Little Mister still has a bit of cradle cap so we will have to apply the shampoo a few more times to see if we can remove what's left.

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    We also tried the Mustela Multi-Sensory Bubble Bath which comes out blue but produces nice white bubbles. It smelt great and left the kids' skin soft afterwards too. It made lots of bubbles and the kids had a great time in the bath so that's always a great indicator of a baby/kid's product.

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    Follow up your child's bath with the Mustela Hydra Bébé Body Lotion which is a light and non greasy body lotion which is super easy to spread on bub after the bath to protect their gentle skin and can be used for a cute little massage on them too.

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    Last but not least, we tried the Mustela No Rinse Cleansing Water which is a super light, non greasy, non sticky. This no rinse cleansing water is designed to clean your baby's face, eyes and nappy area. It's great to use on your little one's nappy area if you are trying a different alternative to baby wipes. It's easy to apply - just squirt some cleansing water on a cotton pad and remove away! And the best thing is you don't need to rinse. I now use it as an alternative to hand sanitizers too.

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    You can find the whole Mustela range of products at Chemist Warehouse, Babies "R" Us, Amcal, Chemmart Terry White, Priceline and all good pharmacies. Prices range from $7.95 - $34.95 RRP. 

    Babies each have different types of skin with different needs so make sure you choose the right skin care for your baby's skin type. Choose from either 'normal skin', 'dry skin' or 'eczema-prone skin'. 

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    This post is not sponsored however products were provided to us for this review. 

    To read more of our product reviews, head to our dedicated page.

    For more information on Mustela, head to their webpage.

    Little Creatures Play Space - Balwyn Melbourne - Review

    Kate and her little ones were out exploring again and discovered Little Creatures Play Space last week. Such a brilliant idea! Kids love to play pretend and this unique indoor play centre ticks all the boxes and they will be entertained for hours - perfect for those rainy days! I still can't stop laughing at Master Arlo wearing his Fireman outfit the whole time he was at the centre! Thanks for Kate for the review! Checkout Kate's adventures via her Instagram page.

    The toddler years are the golden years of creativity.  Toddlers can pretend with just about anything, even if it’s not meant to be a toy!  Little Creatures is a unique indoor play centre in Balwyn designed specifically to facilitate a young child’s imagination and creativity.  

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    With an open-plan set up consisting of different play themes including a home corner, grocery store, fire station, builder’s workshop, costume room, soft play equipment, reading corner and train table, Little Creatures is the perfect play space for little ones.

    It came as no surprise to me that Master Arlo went straight to the fire station as soon as we arrived while Miss Macy preferred to find a cosy spot in the reading corner, cuddling up to the big teddy bears and playing with dolls (her latest obsession!). 

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    Once their curiosity got the better of them, they began exploring the other areas together and individually. 

    At one point they positioned themselves behind the grocery store cash register and had a team of little people collecting items in trolleys and bringing them to be scanned!

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    The train track and workshop were also favourite areas, as well as the home corner which saw Arlo whizzing around the centre with a vacuum cleaner helping to tidy up. I was super proud.

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    Little Creatures also runs FREE activities during the week including story time, arts & crafts and children's yoga.  On the day we visited the team from Kindy Groove ran a thirty minute session which had the poppets singing, dancing and moving to songs, stories and dances based on the theme, The Woods.  Watching the little ones learn to bunny hop was seriously one of the cutest things I have ever seen!

    Although it may not offer equipment or toys that children can ride, climb or bounce (with the exception of a short rope ladder in the fire station), Little Creatures will be sure to entertain little ones while also challenging their skills and encouraging them to play, learn and interact with each other.  We highly recommend that you visit!  

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    Our tips:

    • Entry is $5 for 6-12 months and $9.5 for little ones 1+ and allows unlimited play.  Babies under six months and adults are free of charge.  No need to book, just turn up.
    • Take advantage of one of the special offers: Play & Snack Deal ($11) which includes unlimited play, a mini muffin or cupcake and a babycino OR Play & Lunch Deal ($13) which includes unlimited play, a sandwich and juice box.
    • There is a café onsite serving a range of food and beverages with two seating areas so you can easily watch your little ones play whilst enjoying a coffee.  Highchairs are also available.
    • The space is pram friendly and there is a toilet with change facilities.
    • Little Creatures is available for private birthday parties on the weekends.  Check out the website for more information.
    • FREE two and three hour street parking (believe me, you will need it!) is available opposite Little Creatures on Cherry Street.
    For more information on Little Creatures, head to their website.

    For more ideas on what to do with the little ones, head to our blog or CBD Top 5 FREE activities or our popular Daily Spots List.

    Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne - Review

    Last week, my little gang and I finally visited the Legoland Discovery Centre in Chadstone, Melbourne. If your little ones are big Lego fans they will love it. My two love playing with Lego so it was exciting for them to be there and experience the centre. Here's what we thought about it. xo Catherine

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    After being received at the colourful entrance, we started with the Lego Factory Tour video and had a play building our own little figurine on the screen. Little Miss was happy listening to the video and playing along and picking up her Lego Dublo piece at the end of the little Factory Tour.

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    We then headed on the Kingdom Quest Ride where kids can zap skeletons and trolls to save the princess. Little Mister stayed with my sister but Little Miss jumped on the ride with me and loved it.

    We then made our way to Miniland, our very own Melbourne Miniland made of 1.5 million Lego bricks! Visitors can admire Melbourne icons during the day or night including some hidden Star Wars figurines. You can also interact with some of Miniland's buildings and people.

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    Kids can climb in a tube and get amongst Miniland and see how the popular buildings and structures have been built.

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    Next up is the Café and the Merlin's Apprentice Ride. Little Miss was not keen on the Merlin's Ride as she is not a fan of turning rides in general so we had to skip it but it looked interesting and other kids seem to be enjoying it.

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    We instead headed for the Lego Friends section where we spent a good amount of time. Little Miss is almost 5 and little Mister is 1 and a half and they both enjoyed the space and making things out of Lego. They also loved the Lego Duplo Farm area which is great for kids 2 to 5 years which has giant blocks and slide. There is also a quiet room next to the Lego Duplo Farm where parents and children can use if they wish during their visit.

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    Little Miss then had a play in the Lego City Soft Play, little Mister wasn't old enough and because parents cannot go in the area either, I wasn't able to go in with him so we just waited until little Miss finished. 

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    There is also a Creative Workshop area where visitors can pop in at designated times and take part in creating different things while learning from Master Model Builders. We weren't able to attend a session as we had to leave for little Mister's nap but will have to try one another time.

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    We then created our own car in the Lego Build and Test and raced it down the track. We definetely need more practice ha!

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    The Eartquake Table was also a fun area to create a Lego tower and test its strength. We then made our way to the Lego 4D Cinema but did not stay as little Miss found the sound in the cinema very loud so made our way through the Miniland and to the Lego Shop for some obligatory Lego of course!

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    Overall, we had a fun time at the Legoland Discovery Centre in Melbourne, there are so many areas where kids can create, learn from and play with their favourite little brick! To make the most of the experience, we believe the centre is best for kids aged 2 years+. See our tips below for more info.

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    Our tips:

    • Go early in the morning as it opens.
    • Go during the week if you can, to avoid the weekend crowds.
    • Book your timed spot online to avoid the queues. Once you are in you can stay as long as you want. We spent 2 hours as we had to leave for Little Mister's nap but we could have usually spent another hour or more building and exploring more. Avoid lunchtime peak hour.
    • Allow 2 to 3 hours in the centre to make the most of it.
    • There is food inside the centre (fries, pies, popcorn, donuts, cakes, banana bread, fruit etc). Outside food is not allowed however I did see parents with their own snacks.
    • Children who are sensitive to noise should avoid the Lego Factory Tour and Lego 4D Cinema areas.
    • You can bring a pram with you if you want, head to the lift and go to the last floor L1 (from memory) to get to the front desk with the pram.
    • Park near Target and Hoyts for best parking.
    • If you are visiting from interstate and staying in the CBD, you can book the free Chadstone shuttle bus which can take you there. 
    • Check the Legoland Discovery centre's website for more info and tips.
    For more information on Legoland Discovery Centre Melbourne, head to their website.

    For more ideas on what to do with the little ones, head to our blog or CBD Top 5 FREE activities or our popular Daily Spots List.

    Hello Little Artisan - Beacon Hill - Sydney - Review

    I was recently looking into a messy play option for little Mister and stumbled upon Hello Little Artisan. He had the best of times yesterday with huge smiles throughout the session, it was so great to watch him be free to explore, paint, create and get messy!

    Hello Little Artisan is a beautiful little home studio located in Beacon Hill on the Northern Beaches which was recently opened by owner Liz Larrea. Liz is Primary School Teacher, Playgroup Facilitator and Mother to four children. Her love for arts & crafts and teaching inspired her to open the home studio to other children and their carers and I can understand why she calls it her 'happy place' as it is just gorgeous.

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    Little ones are free to create, make, paint, venture in the garden and go in the studio for more activities. Messy play is a great option for little ones who are too young for preschool or for siblings to enjoy a messy play together without carers having to clean up!

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    We were lucky with the great weather on the day and were greeted with a sea of bubbles and a number of messy play stations in the garden - mud pie creations, painting with cars, painting on an easel, wash the baby, magic cornflour mixture as well as playdough making and arts & crafts stations in the studio. Children were free to explore, create, paint, experience and work on their fine motor skills and free to get messy most importantly!

    The mud pie station was a huge hit with the kids yesterday and little Mister really got soaked head to toe playing with the dirt and water and was happy to fill up his water jug and walk to the dirt tub until we had to go and he wasn’t a happy boy!

    He wasn't so keen on the shaving cream to use on the baby but nevertheless gave it a go. Anything to play with water!

    After some messy play we ventured in the studio to create some glittery and colourful playdough homemade by Liz. Little Mister practiced his fine motor skills spreading glitter, rice and using some stamps on the playdough.

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    After some playdough fun, I followed little Mister outside and watch him play with some magic cornflour, paint on an easel and play with dirt of course! All those things that he loves watching his big sister do at preschool but never gets to do. 

    It's great that little ones can be free to go inside the studio or outside when they wish, we ventured inside again and little Mister painted some bubblewrap and some boxes which he also decorated with different bits and pieces. Toddlers loved this activity, they were so focused it was fun to watch them!

    We finished off the session by painting with cars and more water play just in time for the drive home! 

    I highly recommend Hello Little Artisan, it is such a beautiful little home studio and Liz is a very caring and passionate host. Come a little bit early and in clothes that can get dirty (parents & carers included) and have some messy fun! 

    Hello Little Artisan are currently running two Messy Play sessions every term - Tuesday 10:15 am - 11:15 am and Friday 10:45 am - 11:45 am as well as an Art Class on Thursday for kids 3+. Prices vary from $153 for a 9 week term ($17 per session) per child, $20 per casual session per child or $15 per session per child with a sibling.

    Thanks again for having us Liz, we will be back soon! xo Catherine

    To get in touch with Hello Little Artisan, head to their Facebook page.

    For more ideas and reviews for what to do with kids around Sydney, head to our blog where you will find reviews as well as useful guides like our Daily Spots List as well as parents roomsplaygroundsbeaches & pools and more!