State Library of Victoria - Play Pod - Welcome to Country - Melbourne - Review

Pop in to the State Library of Victoria to enjoy the latest Play Pod theme and join the Library for Indigenous art and storytelling activities, inspired by Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy's Welcome to CountryHow gorgeous is this new theme, love the little fire and the cute cushions!

 Photo credit: State Library of Victoria

Photo credit: State Library of Victoria

An Aboriginal ceremony of Welcome to Country is depicted for the first time in a stunning picture book from two Indigenous Australians. Welcome to the lands of the Wurundjeri people. The people are part of the land, and the land is a part of them. Aboriginal communities across Australia have boundaries that are defined by mountain ranges and waterways. Discover Welcome to Country through the book and Play Pod.

 Photo credit: State Library of Victoria

Photo credit: State Library of Victoria

 Photo credit: State Library of Victoria

Photo credit: State Library of Victoria

It will be the last Play Pod for a while as renovations will be underway after September to prepare and to build an amazing new space for children and families, the Children's Quarter due to be complete by end 2019.

 Photo credit: State Library of Victoria

Photo credit: State Library of Victoria

 Photo credit: State Library of Victoria

Photo credit: State Library of Victoria

The Play Pod is open 10am–4pm daily in the State Library of Victoria's Courtyard and will close on Sunday 19th of August 2018. For more information on the State Library of Victoria Play Pod, head to their website.

Baby Bounce and Story Time Programs will be suspended during renovations however keep in touch with the State Library of Victoria as offsite programs will take place. The last dates for these programs will be Thursday 16 August, and the Play Pod will close on Sunday 19 August, 2018.

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

For more ideas of what to do with the kids in Melbourne, checkout our Website, our Daily Spots ListCBD Spots or Blog.

Little Free Libraries Review by Melbourne Minor - Melbourne

We love following our friends over at Melbourne Minor, they are always up to something fun! We especially love their love for little free libraries and how they can find new ones almost every week! Kel kindly offered to write a post for us on the Little Free Library movement and we love it and feel so inspired by it and hope to find many in our area and hope you feel that way too! Thanks again Kel xo Catherine
 Photo credit: @melbourneminor

Photo credit: @melbourneminor

The Little Free Library movement is a great initiative where people create a bookshelf of some sort in a place accessible to the public. People are then welcome to take a book and leave a book. It's as easy as that. These little libraries are all over the country but Melbourne, particularly the west, has fallen in love with the idea.

 Photo credit: @melbourneminor

Photo credit: @melbourneminor

Little Free Libraries are often up-cycled from old cupboards but are sometimes custom made and beautifully detailed. However they are made, their purpose is the same - getting books to everyone.

Tracking down little free libraries is all part of the fun. There are official databases with thousands of listing of registered libraries but we found that many more in our area that were not included. The only way to find these other little libraries was to discover them while out walking or be told about them by another book worm.

 Photo credit: @melbourneminor

Photo credit: @melbourneminor

It's become a little tradition for us to fill a bag with books we have finished with and do a little free library run, visiting five or six at a time and coming home with a new stack of books freshly traded for.

 Photo credit: @melbourneminor

Photo credit: @melbourneminor

The biggest of the little free libraries is in Melbourne Central, it is open during shopping hours and is a room of books and even two chairs to sit and read. Some other favourites of ours are the Hedgecorner Little Library in West Footscray and the Kingsville St Library in Kingsville. Both always have a good selection of children's books. Seddon Train Station has two within a short walk of the platform if you are looking for a fresh read for the commute.

 Photo credit: @melbourneminor

Photo credit: @melbourneminor

The Little Free Library website also has details for those, like us, who are considering setting up a library of their own. Pinterest is a fantastic source of inspiration on how to up-cycle some unconventional materials into a library as well, everything from a microwave to a canoe! Hopefully we will see the trend grow even more and there will be Little Free Libraries continuing to pop up everywhere!

 Photo credit: @melbourneminor

Photo credit: @melbourneminor

For more information and how to find Little Libraries near you, head to the Little Free Libray website and Street Library website.
To follow Kel and her little ones around Melbourne, head to their blog via this website.

For more ideas of what to do with the kids in Melbourne, checkout our WebsiteDaily Spots ListCBD Spots or Blog.

State Library of Victoria's Play Pod party - Our last trip to the market

Join the State Library of Victoria in the Courtyard for their next FREE Play Pod party! The last one was so much fun - see Kate's review here. 

This next one is to celebrate the NEW Play Pod theme inspired by Lorin Clarke and Mitch Vane’s Our last trip to the market! The party will be held on Wednesday 6th of December from 10am to 1pm and will be perfect for kids 5 and under, their carers and parents!

playpodstatelibraryofvictoria

Join the State Library of Victoria for a morning of songs, dancing, craft activities and games. Kids can make some fruit to add to their fruit salad mural and create your own shopping list to take home.

There will also be entertainment by swing and jazz musicians All Day Fritz and their very own master storytellers and there will be special play areas setup for babies and toddlers.

playpodstatelibraryofvictoria

There will be the following performances from 10.30am to 12.20pm:

• 10.30-10.50am: Baby bounce (stories, songs and rhymes for children aged 2 and under)
• 11-11.20am: All Day Fritz
• 11.30-11.50am: Storytime (stories, songs, rhymes and creative activities for children aged 3 to 5)
• 12-12.20pm: All Day Fritz

And the following activities from 10am to 1pm:

• Kids can make a shopping list
• Kids can make some fruit to add to our fruit salad mural

Make sure you checkout the NEW Play Pod theme on the day or next time you're in!

Our tips for the Play Pod:

  • Entry is FREE, woo hoo!
  • The space isn’t big and can get quite busy on weekends and school holidays – so go early when the library opens at 10am.
  • Be aware that the doors into The Courtyard stay open at all times.  If you have a little one who likes to go off exploring, you will have to keep an eye on them.
  • No food or drink is to be consumed within The Courtyard, except for bottled water.
  • Pram parking is available in The Courtyard or you can check them into the Cloakroom at the Welcome Desk on level one.
  • State Library of Victoria is very family friendly with designated baby-change and feeding areas located adjacent to The Courtyard.
To BUY the 'Our last trip to the market' book, head to this link.

If you're interested in our other Play Pod reviews, head to this link.

For more ideas of what to do with the kids in Melbourne, checkout our Daily Spots ListCBD Spots or Blog.

To find out about other kid events coming up at the State Library of Victoria, checkout their website.

This post contains one affiliate link. You don’t pay any extra and I earn a small commission to help pay for website hosting costs. Read more in my Disclosure Policy here.

State Library of Victoria - Play Pod : The Very Noisy Bear - Review

Kate and her little ones joined the State Library of Victoria today for a morning of songs, dancing, craft activities and games to launch their NEW Play Pod theme inspired by Nick Bland's The Very Noisy Bear. And what a great morning they had!
 Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

The Play Pod is the State Library of Victoria's program for children aged five and under, packed with activities to read, create and play. With a new theme every season, Play Pod is always changing, fun and interactive, so children are free to explore and engage with the support of their parents and carers.  

 Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

There is music in the air in the Jingle Jangle Jungle! Can Bear's friends help him find the perfect instrument to play? How cute is this new theme!

 Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

 Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

Bears are everywhere in the Play Pod's new theme!

 Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

Kids can use craft materials as part of the new theme, to create the Jingle Jangle Jungle and add their creation to the Play Pod poster.

 Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

 Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

The Play Pod launch included a Baby Bounce session where library staff read The Very Noisy Bear, sang songs and rhymes.

 Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

Kids were also spoilt at the launch party with an African drumming performance!

 Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

Kids can also make their own jungle picture, shaker, bear face and play with musical instruments and jungle costumes - oh what fun!

 Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

 Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

 Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

Checkout the new theme when you pop into the city soon! Thanks Kate for the great pics and filling us in today!

Our tips:

  • Entry is FREE, woo hoo!
  • The space isn’t big and can get quite busy on weekends and school holidays – so go early when the library opens at 10am.
  • Be aware that the doors into The Courtyard stay open at all times.  If you have a little one who likes to go off exploring, you will have to keep an eye on them.
  • No food or drink is to be consumed within The Courtyard, except for bottled water.
  • Pram parking is available in The Courtyard or you can check them into the Cloakroom at the Welcome Desk on level one.
  • State Library of Victoria is very family friendly with designated baby-change and feeding areas located adjacent to The Courtyard.
To BUY the book, head to this link.

This post contains some affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra and I earn a small commission to help pay for website hosting costs. Read more in my Disclosure Policy here.

If you're interested in our other Play Pod reviews, head to this link.

For more ideas of what to do with the kids in Melbourne, checkout our Daily Spots ListCBD Spots or Blog.

To find out about other kid events coming up at the State Library of Victoria, checkout their website.

State Library of Victoria's Play Pod party - The Very Noisy Bear

Join the State Library of Victoria on Wednesday 6th of September for a morning of songs, dancing, craft activities and games to launch their new Play Pod theme inspired by Nick Bland's The very noisy bear. 

OUR REVIEW OF THE NEW THEME IS NOW ON THE BLOG VIA THIS LINK

 Photo credit: State Library of Victoria

Photo credit: State Library of Victoria

The Play Pod is the State Library of Victoria's program for children aged five and under, packed with activities to read, create and play. With a new theme every season, Play Pod is always changing, fun and interactive, so children are free to explore and engage with the support of their parents and carers.  

 Photo credit: @kateflatman

Photo credit: @kateflatman

The event is FREE and will run from 10:00am–1:00pm in the Courtyard on the 6th September 2017. No bookings are required. Checkout the State Library of Victoria's official event post here.
To BUY the book, head to this link.

We love the Play Pod here at Busy City Kids, checkout our reviews of the different Play Pod themes on the blog.

This review is not sponsored in any way however a copy of this book was provided to us for review. As always, our opinions and comments are our own and we only endorse businesses and products we believe in. This post contains some affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra and I earn a small commission to help pay for website hosting costs. Read more in my Disclosure Policy here.

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: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

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: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

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: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

 Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

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.

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.

glenstreetlibrary01.jpg

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.

glenstreetlibrary01.jpg

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.

glenstreetlibrary03.jpg

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.

glenstreetlibrary04.jpg
glenstreetlibrary07.jpg

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!

glenstreetlibrary07.jpg
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!

Busy City Kids - Sydney March 2017 Events Lineup

Find something to do with the kids in March! Share your experiences with us by tagging us on Instagram or using #busycitykids to be featured! Enjoy yourselves!

australianmuseum01.jpg
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) - Tatsuo Miyajima: Connect with Everything - On now until Sunday 5th March. A great contemporary exhibition which uses LED lights, video and painting while touching human representation. Kids can take part in an activity trail and try to recognise numbers throughout the exhibit as well as create their own light drawing, play with light and sound in the free family space (family space only opened weekends only). All ages. Adults $22. Kids FREE. Our review of the exhibition here.
     
  • Sea Life Sydney Aquarium - The Penguin Expedition - On now. Visitors can see a colony of King and Gentoo Penguins up close onboard a little raft. It is the first of its kind and the experience is included in your entry ticket when you visit the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium. Free with Aquarium entry. All ages. Our review of the exhibition here.
     
  • Powerhouse Museum - Egyptian Mummies: Exploring Ancient Lives - On now until Sun 30th April. Come face-to-face with six ancient Egyptian mummies and use the latest technology to discover what lies beneath. Explore thousands of years of history through more than 200 Egyptian artefacts direct from the British Museum and unlock the mysteries of mummification in this world premiere exhibition. $26 adults or $15 kids over4. All ages. Kids can also enjoy digging Egyptian artefacts in the Digging Discovery Zone. Our review coming soon. More info here.
     
  • Powerhouse Museum - NEW Wiggles Exhibition - On now permanent exhibition. The Wiggles exhibition reopened Saturday 4th of March and now covers the Wiggles team's new Members Emma, Lachy and Simon. The kids will love this interactive space where they can see the Wiggles and their friends, make a rose with Dorothy the Dinosaur, colour-in some bows with Wags the dog, make a fruit salad and more! Read our review here.
     
  • Museum of Sydney - Sand in the City - On now until Sun 23rd July. Celebrating Sydney’s beautiful beaches, this fully interactive exhibition features dazzling models of our northern and southern seashores along with a pair of giant digital sandboxes with ‘projected’ scenery changing as your busy hands shift and sculpt a playful sandy landscape. Adults $12 Kids $8. All ages. Read our review here.
     
  • Australian Museum - Spiders Alive & Deadly - On now until Sun 16th July. This large exhibition features over 400 real specimens from the Australian Museum’s extensive Arachnology Collection. The exhibition also has its own milking lab, a Tasmanian Cave Spider and lots of interactive areas for kids! All ages. Adults $10 to $22. Child $7 to $13. Read our review here.
     
  • Art Gallery of NSW - Adman: Warhol before pop - Opens Sat 25th Feb until 28th May. With the backdrop of 1950s New York and its burgeoning advertising industry, Adman: Warhol before pop focuses on the formative years of one of the 20th century’s most influential artists. It provides surprising insights into the beginning of Warhol’s career, from his award-winning work as a commercial illustrator through to his first, little-known exhibitions. $18 adult, $8 kids over 5 and FREE for under 5. All ages. More info here.
     
  • Art Gallery of NSW - Drop in and make: Every cloud has a silver lining - Sun 5th & 19th March. Discover swirling clouds and dramatic mists in the Gallery’s collection and make your own silvery sky-scape. Free for families. More info here.
     
  • Riverside Theatres - The Bookbinder - Tue 14th and Wed 15th of March. A dark and mysterious one-man show suitable for kids aged 8+. The Bookbinder weaves shadow play, paper art, puppetry and music into an original fairytale in the vein of Coraline and Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. The theatre is transformed into the gothic world of an antiquated bookshop where a young apprentice is swept into the sinister world of the books he binds. $25 per child. Kids 8+. More info here.
     
  • Sydney Children's Festival - Sun 19th March. Children will love the outdoor activities, workshops, arts and crafts and animal farm. Come and enjoy the fun and games – it’s free entry! All ages. FREE. More info here.
     
  • Monkey Baa - Monkey Play - On Mondays. Enjoy a free playground run by Monkey Baa and head to the Darling Quarter playground after! Free. Kids 0 to 5 yrs. More info here. 
     
  • Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) - ArtPlay - Every Wednesday. Explore the interactive Bella Room, have fun with fancy dress, sing songs, play exhibition inspired games and put your dance moves to the test! Entry by donation. Kids 0 to 5 yrs. More info here.
     
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) - Art Safari – Curious Colours Tue 27 and Fri 24th March. Light, dark, bold and soft how many shades can we spot? Collect a whole rainbow of colours to construct a collaborative creation! $22 admission. Kids 3 to 5 yrs. More info here.
     
  • Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) - Sunday Family Day - Sun 26th March. Join us for an art adventure the whole family will love. Collect an activity sheet and explore the vibrant artworks in MCA Collection: Today Tomorrow Yesterday. $5 donation welcome. Ages 4+. More info here.
     
  • Art Gallery of NSW - Tours for tots: Shape, structure and space - Tue 28th & Thu 30th March. Discover art and make your own. $25 per child with 1 adult. Kids 3 to 5 yrs. More info here.
     
  • Northern Beaches Council - The World Food Markets Manly - On every Friday in March. Sit back and relax with friends and family, enjoy excellent food and great music in a beautiful location. All ages. Free. More info here.
sealifesydney01.jpg

For more ideas for March, checkout our popular pages below:

State Library of Victoria - Play Pod : Herman and Rosie - Review

Every 3 months, the State Library of Victoria's Play Pod turns into a fun and interactive space for children to explore. Perfect for kids under the age of 8 and packed with activities to read, create and play. 

 Image supplied by the State Library of Victoria

Image supplied by the State Library of Victoria

Be swept away by the sweet sounds of jazz in New York City this season! Inspired by Gus Gordon’s Herman and Rosie, kids can explore the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, swing by the hotdog stand and experience this delightful tale of friendship and music. This Play Pod theme is open daily from the 1st of December 2016 to 28th of February 2017.

 Image supplied by the State Library of Victoria

Image supplied by the State Library of Victoria

Kids can join a Jazz Club, play a record player or play with some giant blocks, enjoy the cityscapes, drive through the city lights or just read this season's theme book amongst many things at the Play Pod's latest theme.

 Image supplied by the State Library of Victoria

Image supplied by the State Library of Victoria

 Image supplied by the State Library of Victoria

Image supplied by the State Library of Victoria

They can also take part in Herman and Rosie themed arts & crafts and make their own Herman the Crocodile or Invent an Instrument!

 Image supplied by the State Library of Victoria

Image supplied by the State Library of Victoria

 Image supplied by the State Library of Victoria

Image supplied by the State Library of Victoria

They can also play dress-ups too or if they are little, they can relax in the baby nook area which caters for little hands.

 Image supplied by the State Library of Victoria

Image supplied by the State Library of Victoria

 Image supplied by the State Library of Victoria

Image supplied by the State Library of Victoria

 Image supplied by the State Library of Victoria

Image supplied by the State Library of Victoria

The Play Pod is free at the State Library of Victoria and open every day (except public holidays) and this theme is on until the 28th of February 2017

Our tips:

  • Entry is FREE, woo hoo!
  • The space isn’t big and can get quite busy on weekends and school holidays – so go early when the library opens at 10am.
  • Be aware that the doors into The Courtyard stay open at all times.  If you have a little one who likes to go off exploring (like Master Arlo!) you will have to keep an eye on them going into the Thescowthick Information Centre.  Although this did provide ample entertainment for the Library staff member at the help desk!  
  • No food or drink is to be consumed within The Courtyard, except for bottled water.
  • Pram parking is available in The Courtyard or you can check them into the Cloakroom at the Welcome Desk on level one.
  • The State Library of Victoria is very family friendly with designated baby-change and feeding areas located adjacent to The Courtyard.

For more ideas on what to do in the city, checkout our Top 5 FREE Melbourne City Guide or Daily Spots List.

For more ideas on what to do with the kids, head to our blog.

For more Play Pod reviews, head here.

State Library of Victoria - Play Pod : Mr Chicken Arriva a Roma Review

We love the State Library of Victoria's Play Pod here at Busy City Kids. You may have read our previous review of the Play Pod inspired by the Treehouse series by Andy Griffiths. We featured a photo recently of the new program on until the 30th of November so we thought we'd fill you in on what to expect from the new theme!

 Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

The new Play Pod theme invites children to join Mr Chicken on his journey through Rome. Inspired by the Mr Chicken Arriva a Roma book by Leigh Hobbs who recently received the Australian Children's Laureate.

 Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Activities include dressing up in a chicken costume, riding a Vespa, making a simple camera with paper, wool and a silver patty pan, splashing in the Trevi Fountain (blue cellophane and a light table), building your own Colosseum, making your own Mr Chicken and more! 

 Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

 Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

 Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Children and carers can even sit quietly in a snug corner and choose from a wide selection of books on the theme of travel and discovery.

Thank you Kate for the cute pics of your little ones at the Play Pod, they sure look like they had a perfect time in Roma!
 Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Kate's tips:

  • Entry is FREE, woo hoo!
  • The space isn’t big and can get quite busy on weekends and school holidays – so go early when the library opens at 10am.
  • Be aware that the doors into The Courtyard stay open at all times.  If you have a little one who likes to go off exploring (like Master Arlo!) you will have to keep an eye on them going into the Thescowthick Information Centre.  Although this did provide ample entertainment for the Library staff member at the help desk!  
  • No food or drink is to be consumed within The Courtyard, except for bottled water.
  • Pram parking is available in The Courtyard or you can check them into the Cloakroom at the Welcome Desk on level one.
  • State Library of Victoria is very family friendly with designated baby-change and feeding areas located adjacent to The Courtyard.

The Play Pod is free at the State Library of Victoria and open every day (except public holidays) and this theme is on until the 30th of November 2016.

To checkout the Play Pod's other themes, head to our reviews.

Our tips:

  • Entry is FREE, woo hoo!
  • The space isn’t big and can get quite busy on weekends and school holidays – so go early when the library opens at 10am.
  • Be aware that the doors into The Courtyard stay open at all times.  If you have a little one who likes to go off exploring (like Master Arlo!) you will have to keep an eye on them going into the Thescowthick Information Centre.  Although this did provide ample entertainment for the Library staff member at the help desk!  
  • No food or drink is to be consumed within The Courtyard, except for bottled water.
  • Pram parking is available in The Courtyard or you can check them into the Cloakroom at the Welcome Desk on level one.
  • State Library of Victoria is very family friendly with designated baby-change and feeding areas located adjacent to The Courtyard.

If you're interested in our other Play Pod reviews, head to this link.

For more ideas of what to do with the kids in Melbourne, checkout our Daily Spots ListCBD Spots or Blog.

For more information on the Australian Children's Laureate Leigh Hobbs, checkout their website.

Melbourne City activities for families

Little Miss and I love exploring the Melbourne CBD. If you're thinking of heading into the city soon, checkout our list of activities below that you can do with the little ones - most of them are free which is a bonus! And if you need a place to feed, change or play while you're out exploring, checkout our list of parents rooms including one at the NGV.

1. ACMI

The ACMI is the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Fed Square which runs exhibitions, movie screenings, film festivals and the free permanent exhibition Screen Worlds. Kids can checkout this exhibition which explores the past, present and future of the moving image. It even features Little Miss' favourite Play School friends! There is also a kids area where kids can play a Sesame street game on projection and play some games on iPads as well as console, computer games and Minecraft.
  ACMI Screen Worlds Entrance

ACMI Screen Worlds Entrance

2. ArtPlay

ArtPlay is a creative centre in Birrarung Marr that provides a range of free and paying workshops, events and performances for babies and children up to 12 years old. It also has a fantastic playground as well as the popular free drop in indoor/outdoor activity Inside Out starting again in October and ArtPlay backyard which is a summer activity for little ones to play and create outside.
  ArtPlay at Birrarung Marr - photo credit City of Melbourne

ArtPlay at Birrarung Marr - photo credit City of Melbourne

3. National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) at St Kilda Road

The NGV has always been a favourite place for little Miss and I, it is a great place to explore new and permanent exhibitions and the popular kids' installations that take place several times a year to coincide with the main exhibitions. We have loved the past kids Installations Pastello - Draw Act for Kids, Express Yourself: Romance was Born for Kids, Open House: Tromarama for Kids, Studio Cats for Kids and Fake Food Park: Martí Guixé for Kids.
  Express Yourself: Romance was Born for Kids at the NGV in 2015

Express Yourself: Romance was Born for Kids at the NGV in 2015

  Fake Food Park: Marti Guixé for Kids at the NGV in 2016

Fake Food Park: Marti Guixé for Kids at the NGV in 2016

The new kids' installation is Viktor&Rolf for Kids which opened this October, read our review here.
  Atelier: Viktor&Rolf for Kids at the NGV in October 2016

Atelier: Viktor&Rolf for Kids at the NGV in October 2016

While you're there, relax in the Great Hall famous for its stunning stained glass ceiling by Leonard French. You and the kids can lie on the floor, look up and admire the stained glass ceiling, chat with friends or enjoy a snack. 

  NGV Great Hall  

NGV Great Hall 

Enjoy a picnic outside on the lawns of the NGV gardens and let the kids have a play on the climbing structure and explore the lawns and sculptures while you have a coffee. The upcoming NGV Architecture Commission which will stand in the NGV gardens will be M@ Studio Architects' Car Wash inspired design which will pop up in October 2016. 

  NGV Sculpture Garden

NGV Sculpture Garden

4. NGV Australia: Ian Potter Centre

The Ian Potter Centre located at Fed Square is another great NGV site to explore, throughout the year it hosts several free kid friendly exhibitions. We have enjoyed in the past like Emily Floyd: The Dawn exhibition as well as Bunyips and Dragons - Australian Children's Book Illustrations and many others as well as permanent exhibitions like the Australian Art collection.

  Bunyips and Dragons exhibition at NGV Australia Fed Square in 2015

Bunyips and Dragons exhibition at NGV Australia Fed Square in 2015

5. State Library of Victoria - Baby Bounce & Storytime, Play Pod and exhibitions

The State Library of Victoria (SLV) is always a great place to visit with the kids to expand their love of reading and enjoy some activities. The SLV has weekly Baby Bounce (0-2 yrs) and Storytime (3-5 yrs) sessions which are great for little ones to listen to stories, songs, rhymes and get involved in creative activities. On top of these sessions, kids can play in the Play Pod.
The Play Pod is a library program for children under 8, packed with activities to read, create and play designed with a new theme every season. Checkout our Play Pod reviews here on the latest themes.
  State Library of Victoria Play Pod The Treehouse theme

State Library of Victoria Play Pod The Treehouse theme

For more activities to do with the kids in Melbourne, head to our Daily Spots page.

Story Island: an adventure in pictures - Review

Kate and twins Macy and Arlo's adventures continue with their latest review of 'Story Island: an adventure in pictures' at REALM (Ringwood Library). A great interactive exhibition travelling across 12 Victorian public libraries between now and January 2018 that encourages parents and little ones to immerse into the world of books and reading.

storyislandanadventureinpictures01.jpg

On her website, well-known Australian author Mem Fox recommends that parents “read at least three stories a day and that children need to hear a thousand stories before they can begin to learn to read.”  Reading stories is something that we love to share as a family. There is nothing better than climbing up onto the couch at the end of the day with our poppets (and their ever-growing collection of soft toys!) and snuggling together to read stories before bedtime. 

storyislandanadventureinpictures03.jpg

Story Island: an adventure in pictures is a joint initiative of State Library Victoria and Public Libraries Victoria Network to promote the development of early years literacy skills. Opened at REALM (Ringwood Library) on June 10, this travelling exhibition features a selection of beautiful illustrations reproduced from world-renowned Scholastic Dromkeen Children’s Literature Collection held at State Library of Victoria.

storyislandanadventureinpictures02.jpg

Taking you on a journey from bath-time to bedtime (a nightly routine that we are all too familiar with), Story Island offers a space for reading, imaginative sharing, learning and exploring stories and pictures together. The exhibition is a welcoming space featuring four custom-made pods which evoke stories of the bush, the city, bath and bed time. 

storyislandanadventureinpictures04.jpg

At Splash (the first ‘pod’) incorporating the themes of ‘bath-time’ and ‘water’, we chat to Arlo and Macy about our bath time routine and Daddy pretends to blow bubbles, much to the enjoyment of his eager audience!  Arlo explores the plug hole and finds a hidden creature, and with all the talk about boats and water, Macy starts to sing ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’ - with the accompanying actions of course!

storyislandanadventureinpictures05.jpg

Next stop, Bush Friends (the second ‘pod’) where we are invited into a world of animals and natural environments to explore the themes of ‘trees’ and ‘country’. While I reminisced about reading ‘Possum Magic’ with my Nana, it didn't take long for Macy to find the furry wombat tummy to pat and cuddle.

storyislandanadventureinpictures06.jpg

Whilst Arlo was intrigued by the little wooden doors that were hiding farm animals underneath. Perhaps encouraged by his sister’s singing, he was oinking and baaing loudly as he found more animals that he recognised.  I mean it wasn't like we were in a library and had to be quiet! 

storyislandanadventureinpictures07.jpg

We left the bush and headed over to City Dreams (the third ‘pod’) for an urban and suburban experience that quickly morphed into a fantastical world of dreams, dragons and strange creatures. Cries of “stuck, stuck” quickly got my attention and I turned around to find that Master Arlo had got his arm caught in a magic chest (or wooden trap door!) whilst trying to get to the precious treasures. 

storyislandanadventureinpictures08.jpg

Once his arm was safely removed from the chest, he was back up and running, with a bright green and red dragon puppet to chase his sister with! Don’t worry it wasn’t long before she snatched it off him and chased after him plus the other small children who were close by.  

storyislandanadventureinpictures09.jpg

After all that excitement it was time for Mummy and Daddy to have a rest, I mean it was time for us to sit down and share a story! Snuggle, the centre pod features images of a sharing and cosy bedtime experience. Library staff have filled this space with an assortment of books from the library and we carefully selected two stories that we hadn’t read before and throughly enjoyed both of them.

storyislandanadventureinpictures10.jpg

Attending this exhibition certainly reignited my passion for reading and sharing stories with my family, not only as a way to bring us closer but to help Arlo and Macy foster a lifelong love of books and reading.  

We highly recommend making time to experience Story Island: an adventure in pictures when it visits 12 public libraries in Victoria between now and January 2018.  You can also find an accompanying activity booklet, a suggested booklist for further reading and single activity sheets available to download from the State Library of Victoria website.

For more information about 'Story Island: an adventure in pictures', checkout the State Library's website.

For more ideas on what to do with the little ones in Melbourne, checkout our Daily Spots List.

State Library of Victoria - Play Pod : The Treehouse - Review

Our little guest explorers have sure been keeping busy - this time they checked out the Play Pod at the State Library of Victoria and enjoyed reading, creating and bouncing! Yes this was all in a library - oh what fun! Thank you Kate for the great review!

 Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

It’s well and truly winter in Melbourne, and although we have had a few glimpses of sunny skies, most days have been a dismal shade of grey with enough muddy puddles around that even Peppa Pig would be out-puddled! So after a few days at home with sniffly noses, it was time to get out of the house and where better to escape the cold than Play Pod at 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, Play Pod is always changing, fun and interactive, so children are free to explore and engage with the support of their parents and carers.  

 Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

We bounced into The Courtyard (which is completely indoors) ready to explore the current theme - the hilarious adventures of The Treehouse series, inspired by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton’s bestselling books.  I have to admit that I wasn’t familiar with this series prior to visiting but am now eager to purchase the books and start reading about all the amazing things going on in the incredible ever-expanding treehouse!

Arlo was the first to spot the ‘Anti-Gravity Chamber’ (mini trampoline) and was energetically jumping before I had managed to take his shoes off!  Macy enjoyed jumping too and it was super cute when they may have sneaked on together; albeit noisy with their loud screams of excitement!  

 Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

When they were all jumped out, they both headed over to the craft tables and took part in making headbands in the ‘Ninja Snail Training Academy’ and stamping, colouring and gluing a ‘Baby Dinosaur Petting Zoo’ artwork to add to the Play Pod treehouse. The Treehouse structure which sits in the middle of the space is jam-packed full of colourful artwork that has been created by little artists.  I couldn't help but think that it must be so cool having your artwork on display in the State Library of Victoria!

 Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

For their last hoorah, Macy went off to check out the ‘Tank Full of Man-Eating Sharks’ (a large, round light box covered in swirly pieces of blue cellophane with shark figurines to play with), had a building session with an adorable wooden tree stacker and investigated the music basket. I'm sure the sound from her maracas could be heard in the famous La Trobe Reading Room all the way up on level three! 

Meanwhile Arlo, being my little energiser bunny, took to running in and out of the rocket that blasted ‘Professor Stupido’ (the world’s greatest UN-inventor) to the dark side of the moon.  Just quietly, I would have loved to have dressed Arlo up as the ice cream serving robot, ‘Edward Scooperhands’ but being decked out in a loudly coloured (slightly scary) outfit wasn’t on his to-do list. Bummer!

 Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

After a fun 1.5 hours, we headed off in search of lunch and feeling a little bit tired from letting our imaginations run silly all morning.  We highly recommend visiting The Treehouse at Play Pod (which is on until August 31st). I am sure that we will be back again soon and I for one, cannot wait to see what book inspires the Spring theme.

 Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Photo credit: @kateflatman for @busycitykids

Our tips:

  • Entry is FREE, woo hoo!
  • The space isn’t big and can get quite busy on weekends and school holidays – so go early when the library opens at 10am.
  • Be aware that the doors into The Courtyard stay open at all times.  If you have a little one who likes to go off exploring (like Master Arlo!) you will have to keep an eye on them going into the Thescowthick Information Centre.  Although this did provide ample entertainment for the Library staff member at the help desk!  
  • No food or drink is to be consumed within The Courtyard, except for bottled water.
  • Pram parking is available in The Courtyard or you can check them into the Cloakroom at the Welcome Desk on level one.
  • State Library of Victoria is very family friendly with designated baby-change and feeding areas located adjacent to The Courtyard.

If you're interested in our other Play Pod reviews, head to this link.

> For more ideas of what to do with the kids in Melbourne, checkout our Daily Spots ListCBD Spots or Blog.