Adventure, baby!

Indoor Play

Wild Planet at the Australian Museum

Wild Planet at the Australian Museum via christineknight.me

Australia’s first museum has had a bit of a facelift. The aptly named Australian Museum recently unveiled a beautiful new entrance and exhibition that has brought a new lightness to the educational and cultural institution.

Wild Planet at the Australian Museum via christineknight.me

Another big change to the museum is their first permanent gallery to be added in over 50 years – Wild Planet. The gallery houses 400 animal specimens including lions and a very tall giraffe.

Wild Planet at the Australian Museum via christineknight.me Wild Planet at the Australian Museum via christineknight.me Wild Planet at the Australian Museum via christineknight.me

Upstairs, another new addition awaits – a roof-top cafe with an amazing view across the city skyline.

Wild Planet at the Australian Museum via christineknight.me

Wild Planet at the Australian Museum via christineknight.me

We trialled the cafe on our visit during the school holidays. I was excited to see great kid-friendly items on the menu like the $8 lunch boxes, but when we went to buy our lunch at 1pm, most of the food, including the kids boxes, were sold out.

Wild Planet at the Australian Museum via christineknight.me

Their milkshake machine had also broken, so there wasn’t much in the way of food left except for adult sandwiches and fried chips. D’oh. On the plus side, you can head up to the cafe without paying admission.

Wild Planet at the Australian Museum via christineknight.me

The kids’ favorite parts of the museum were the Wild Planet Activity Room and KidSpace.

The Wild Planet Activity Room costs $5 per child wanting to create a craft activity. When the kids got bored with colouring in their animal mobiles, they had fun dressing up and doing puzzles.

Wild Planet Activity Room
When: Daily
Time: 10am–3pm
Ages: All
Cost: Child $5, adults free (after general admission)
Booking: None required

Wild Planet at the Australian Museum via christineknight.me

The Kidspace area is free after admission and is especially designed for children under 5. The kids would have really been happy to just stay in the Kidspace all day. A great deal of thought has gone into this “mini-museum” to stimulate young children’s imaginations and introduce them to the natural world through real-life objects waiting to be touched, and specimens ready to be viewed under magnifying glasses.

Wild Planet at the Australian Museum via christineknight.me

Cheese really enjoyed the five cubby house “pods” that were filled with activities and natural materials.

Wild Planet at the Australian Museum via christineknight.me Wild Planet at the Australian Museum via christineknight.me

For tiny ones there is a baby-friendly space designated for crawling babies only, fenced off to keep them safe. Additional kid-friendly features: pram parking, a bottle warmer (just ask one of the staff), change and feeding space.

Kidspace
When: Daily
Time: 9:30am-5pm
Location:Level 2
Cost:Free after admission

Wild Planet at the Australian Museum via christineknight.me

Australian Museum
1 William St, Sydney NSW 2010
Hours: Open daily, 9:30am-5pm
Prices: Adults $15, children under 16 free.

Rooftop Café - Australian Museum Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

MCA Light Show, Light Lab & Family Fun Day: Sydney Best Art Galleries For Kids

Museum of Contemporary #Art, #Sydney via christineknight.me

The Museum of Contemporary Art has continued to surprise and impress us since we moved back to Sydney. Not only does it have world-class exhibits, it also runs kid-friendly labs as part of the exhibits, and a variety of family programing every week for kids of all ages: from babies to toddlers, preschoolers and school kids. Literally something for kids of every age.

mca-18

Because of their family-friendly programs, we have been feeling brave enough to venture back into the gallery with Cheese. She is not that into art thus far, being more interested in running and causing chaos instead. With the MCA’s set-up, it means we can see the exhibit we are interested in, as well as having a way to engage Cheese that she enjoys too – win-win for everyone, and we also hope that by doing this, our child will grow up to share our love of art.

mca-2

The current exhibit at the MCA is Light Show (open until July 5, 2015). Light Show is a spectacular multisensory exhibition by artists all around the world, with the one theme in common – light.  The show features a variety of installations and immersive experiences that are suitable for people of all ages – including wiggly preschoolers like our Cheese.

We did see the exhibit at our typical break-neck speed, close on the heels of our speedy preschooler, but this exhibit caught her interest and we doubled back to see rooms and installations repeatedly at her insistence.

The immersive nature of the exhibit was hypnotic – the three of us were mesmerised by the glittering, twinkling lights, and visual illusions that lead us to believe we were moving, or falling, all by means of clever placement and design of light. We spoke with Cheese about the lights. See how if you move this way or that, the image we see changes? What happens if you put your hand here? Or stand there? When you look at these coloured lights, and then look at the white wall, what new colours do you see? She particularly loved anything interactive, like the dark room with the beam of light that she could dance in, jabbing her wand into the light ray to try and capture it.

Museum of Contemporary #Art, #Sydney  via christineknight.me

Outside the Light Show is the free Light Lab for kids. Set up into two rooms, one has a light projected onto a wall which captures movement – perfect for entertaining kids and teaching them about their shadows. The second room had UV lights installed on the ceiling shining down into the art works kids were making with simple white paper and highlighters. Simple but enthralling concept: shine the light on paper and it glows. Cheese wanted more and more paper to keep creating her artworks for us, which were quite Miro in style, I have to say.

Museum of Contemporary #Art, #Sydney  via christineknight.me

Museum of Contemporary #Art, #Sydney  via christineknight.me

Also running when we visited was the monthly Family Fun Day. This free program gives kids activities to perform in the gallery, followed by a craft activity in the National Centre for Creative Learning next to the Light Lab on level 3. The program is aimed at school-aged kids, so around 4 or 5 and up, but there were a lot of younger kids enjoying the activities with their families.

Museum of Contemporary #Art, #Sydney  via christineknight.me

In the main gallery area, kids were lying on the floor with their parents, drawing pictures of the outfits worn in the artwork. The “MCA Sketch” sheet they were given with the Family Fun Day activities on it asked kids to find pictures of outfits in the paintings and then draw a new one on their paper. Upstairs in the learning centre was the craft area part of the day (which had a gorgeous view of the Harbour Bridge, by the way). Friendly staff handed kids a tray filled with craft materials and asked them to create their own superhero wearable artwork, like a badge, headband or the like. The art supplies were basic pipe cleaners, paper, sparkles and so on – perfect materials for letting kids’ imaginations run free.

Museum of Contemporary #Art, #Sydney  via christineknight.me

Museum of Contemporary #Art, #Sydney  via christineknight.me

Museum of Contemporary #Art, #Sydney  via christineknight.me

We helped Cheese with her outfit of crown, wand, necklace and wrist cuff. Her superpower, she decided, was “freezing” (thanks Elsa), and “flying”. After which she proceeded to “fly” through the gallery, stopping now and then to press a “button” on her cuff to power herself up again. Crazy cute. I appreciated the idea from the MCA staff to help fuel her imagination.

Museum of Contemporary #Art, #Sydney  via christineknight.me

Museum of Contemporary #Art, #Sydney  via christineknight.me

Museum of Contemporary #Art, #Sydney  via christineknight.me

Museum of Contemporary #Art, #Sydney  via christineknight.me

Museum of Contemporary #Art, #Sydney  via christineknight.me

Museum of Contemporary Art
140 George St,
The Rocks NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9245 2400
Get Directions

A huge thank you to the MCA for hosting us.

Jungle Buddies Play Centre: Indoor Play Centres Inner West

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With a super active 3.5 year old, I’m a frequent visitor to play centres, particularly on rainy days. Even on days when the weather is clear, it’s still great to have somewhere safe for Cheese to burn her energy off.

Jungle Buddies Play Centre, Five Dock via christineknight.me

Jungle Buddies at Five Dock is a huge, clean and bright play centre. The climbing structure is massive, with plenty of nocks and crannies and levels to keep kids entertained for hours. The equipment is all extremely clean and new, which is an added bonus for me and my hatred of dirty sticky things.

Jungle Buddies Play Centre, Five Dock via christineknight.me

The cafe area in Jungle Buddies is quite unique in that they have made a big effort to create a menu that delivers guests delicious, healthy food choices. We were at Jungle Buddies for a party and were extremely happy with our menu of sliders, pizza and fruit.

Jungle Buddies Play Centre, Five Dock via christineknight.me

Jungle Buddies Play Centre, Five Dock via christineknight.me

Jungle Buddies Play Centre, Five Dock via christineknight.me

Jungle Buddies Play Centre, Five Dock via christineknight.me

If you’re dining in, there are even more choices on the menu such as salads, Serendipity ice-cream, and a range of locally-made cakes from Sweetness The Patisserie, and biscuits from Rowie’s Cakes. The ingredients for the meals are all from local producers, too, like Bowan island Bakery. It’s a real pleasure to take the kid to a play centre and not just watch her have a good time, but to be able to have some really good food myself while I’m watching her play.

Jungle Buddies Play Centre, Five Dock via christineknight.me

Jungle Buddies Play Centre, Five Dock via christineknight.me

Jungle Buddies Play Centre, Five Dock via christineknight.me

For kids under 3 there is a separate soft play area.

Jungle Buddies Play Centre, Five Dock via christineknight.me

Jungle Buddies is very light and bright, with natural light streaming in through the windows. It has clean bathrooms and baby change facilities, and a large parking area downstairs, where it’s easy to walk a few steps to the elevator which takes you right to the front door of the play centre. Very easy to navigate with a stroller.

Jungle Buddies Play Centre, Five Dock via christineknight.me

The staff were very friendly, and were especially great with the birthday girl and her guests.

We really enjoyed our time at Jungle Buddies and will be back to play again.

Jungle Buddies Play Centre, Five Dock via christineknight.me

Jungle Buddies Play Centre
2/97 Queens Road,
Five Dock NSW 2046
Phone: 1300 883 819
Hours: Daily 9:30am-5pm
Get Directions

Barbie Princess Power High Tea at The Langham Hotel Sydney

Barbie High Tea at The Langham Hotel #Sydney #Barbie via christineknight.me

I was a Barbie kid myself, so it’s been an enjoyable case of history repeating to see my own preschooler getting out my old Barbie dolls and playing with them at the same age that I did. Barbie and I experienced so many adventures during our time together, and I love watching Cheese take the same Barbies (and a few new ones who have much better hair than mine) on her own magical outings.

Barbie High Tea at The Langham Hotel #Sydney #Barbie via christineknight.me

One such outing that almost too good to be true was the Barbie Princess Power high tea at The Langham Hotel Sydney. The Langham has recently re-opened after a significant renovation and this was our first visit since the launch. Boy does it look good. The old hotel was beautiful, and the renovation has given everything a facelift to make it brighter and shinier.

Barbie High Tea at The Langham Hotel #Sydney #Barbie via christineknight.me

The Barbie high tea was held over two weekends during the school holidays. It was more than just a high tea, it was a special event for kids who love Barbies, and their parents who love good food.

Barbie High Tea at The Langham Hotel #Sydney #Barbie via christineknight.me

The high tea was split into two rooms. One with activities and one with tables set up for enjoying the high tea. The activities room had a paparazzi style media wall set up for some photo ops, a nail salon and an activity table with stickers for the kids to decorate their own superhero masks.

Barbie High Tea at The Langham Hotel #Sydney #Barbie via christineknight.me

Inside the dining room, the new Barbie movie was set up to play on a large screen while we enjoyed our high tea. At each child’s place was a gift bag containing a Barbie doll, plus a blank mask for colouring in, and a poster that, when turned over, had more colouring and activities. The tables had containers filled with textas and pencils, so the kids has plenty to play with while waiting for their high teas to arrive.

Barbie High Tea at The Langham Hotel #Sydney #Barbie via christineknight.me

The thoughtful staff confirmed who at our tables were vegetarians, and asked the girls if they would like a hot chocolate? With TWO marshmallows? Would they ever.

Barbie High Tea at The Langham Hotel #Sydney #Barbie via christineknight.me

Barbie High Tea at The Langham Hotel #Sydney #Barbie via christineknight.me

Next came the platters of food – top tier full of sweet delights like red velvet cake, pistachio cake, and macarons, the next tier plan and raisin scones with jam and cream, and the bottom tier savoury, with sandwiches, wraps, mini burgers, pumpkin tarts and heart-shaped fairy bread.

Barbie High Tea at The Langham Hotel #Sydney #Barbie via christineknight.me

Barbie High Tea at The Langham Hotel #Sydney #Barbie via christineknight.me

Barbie High Tea at The Langham Hotel #Sydney #Barbie via christineknight.me

Barbie High Tea at The Langham Hotel #Sydney #Barbie via christineknight.me

Barbie High Tea at The Langham Hotel #Sydney #Barbie via christineknight.me

With one vegetarian adult and child, and one non-vego adult and child, we had quite the variety of food. It was hard to tell what was meant for who, so we let the girls choose what they felt like eating, and then ate the rest ourselves.

As you’d expect from a hotel as gorgeous as the Langham, the food was exquisite. The scones were some of the best I’ve ever tasted. The sandwiches were fresh and light, and the desserts full of flavour, with perfect pastry crusts and light creamy fillings. It was a delicious high tea.

Barbie High Tea at The Langham Hotel #Sydney #Barbie via christineknight.me

Barbie High Tea at The Langham Hotel #Sydney #Barbie via christineknight.me

Barbie High Tea at The Langham Hotel #Sydney #Barbie via christineknight.me

Barbie High Tea at The Langham Hotel #Sydney #Barbie via christineknight.me

Barbie High Tea at The Langham Hotel #Sydney #Barbie via christineknight.me

As the event wound down, the girls were getting tired from all of the excitement, which was our cue to leave. Cheese was getting over a bad cold and was very tied and grumpy – hence the next pic we asked the concierge to take outside the Langham as we were leaving, where she refused to get in the picture. A big thanks to the concierge with the wicked sense of humour who captured my cranky daughter in the photo anyway. Does this sum up life with a threenager, or what?

Barbie High Tea at The Langham Hotel #Sydney #Barbie via christineknight.me

We had a wonderful time at the Barbie high tea, and will absolutely be back for the Langham’s next event for kids.

Barbie Princess Power High Tea at The Langham Hotel
89-113 Kent St, Millers Point,
Sydney NSW 2000
Prices: Children’s high tea is $65 children with gift, $70 adults with glass of bubbles
Get directions.

Circus Factory: The Best Of Sydney For Kids

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

The Powerhouse Museum is one of my favourite places to take Cheese in Sydney at the moment. Not only does it have the fantastic Wiggles exhibit at the moment, it also is home to Circus Factory. We finally got around to seeing the exhibition during the school holidays (and if you want to see it you’d better be quick as it closes May 3, 2015).

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

I wasn’t planning on taking Cheese as the Powerhouse recommends it for kids ages five and over, but after seeing some adorable pics on Instagram I decided to give it a go anyway, and was so glad we did. At age 3.5 Cheese was a fantastic age for the exhibition. No doubt older kids will et even more out of it, including areas of the exhibition Cheese was too little for, but we spent three solid hours in the exhibition and I had to drag her out at the end, which says that this exhibit was a smash hit for the preschooler set.

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

Circus Factory celebrates the daring, absurd and curious nature of circuses. It focuses thankfully on the human element, such as clowns, acrobats, circus acts, etc, rather than the sad history of animals in circuses.

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

The Circus Factory is set up over three levels. The top floor has costumes and the bottom one has a fantastic collection of automatas – the later you can also see when you purchase a general exhibition pass. An automata is an interactive artwork, where you wind a handle and it moves the subjects inside. They automatas are kind of creepy to be honest, and they really freaked Cheese out. The subject matter includes things like freaky looking monkeys and skulls. Fascinating for adults, but some of them are a bit scary for little kids.

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

We spent our entire visit on the main floor of the attraction. The massive space is broken up into many interactive areas for kids to just go wild and really experience elements of the circus for themselves.

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

 

Cheese highly enjoyed each of these areas: clown costume dress ups, colouring in, a mirror maze, hula hoops (they were a bit heavy for her but she made her own game out of them), clown faces, balancing tricks (again, a bit hard for her but she enjoyed trying), the balloon room and carousel.

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

Her absolute favourites were the carousel (we had three rides) and the balloon room. The carousel is a hand-carved 100-year-old beauty made in England around 1900. It is paired in this exhibit with the original Luna Park 89 key Gavioli organ. Absolutely magical.

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

The balloon room was basically a netted area with a wind tunnel blowing into it, and many brightly coloured helium balloons floating in it. AKA paradise for kids, little and big. Cheese spent around an hour just in this one area chasing balloons. Thoughtfully placed couches inside give parents a place to sit while keeping an eye on the balloon activities.

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

Depending when you visit there are a range of live activities to enjoy, too. As we visited on a Friday during school holidays, we were lucky to see a range of short performances called “Amuse Bouche”, especially created by Circa for the Powerhouse Museum. Every hour on the hour, two performers delighted the crowd with a 6 – 10 minutes acrobatic performance involving balancing, contortionism and the vertical rope. Each hour there is a brand new performance to witness, so we kept going back for more, wanting to see what amazing tricks we would be surprised with next.

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

Here is their schedule for live activities:

Amuse Bouche by Circa
Shows on the hour, 4 Apr to 19 Apr

Science of Circus Show
Explore the physics behind circus acts like plate spinning.
27 Jan to 3 Apr, and 20 Apr to 3 May
Weekdays: 11.30am, 12.30pm and 1.30pm
Weekends: 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm and 2.30pm

April school holiday activity: Clown carnival
3 to 19 April
Make your own juggling balls, contribute to our giant fabric bunting, play carnival games and get a balloon animal to take home (weekends only). On weekdays, learn how to hula-hoop, juggle and more from circus experts. (Free with general admission.)

Planning on eating while you’re there? You’ll love the Black Star Pastry outlet that’s set up in the cafe area. They serve sandwiches and lunch foods, plus their famous desserts and kids’ shakes. It’s worth going for the Black Star pastries alone!

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

Circus Factory, Powerhouse Museum #Sydney via christineknight.me

We had the most amazing time at Circus Factory and will absolutely go back. It helped that we were able to get in for a bit cheaper care of finding a Groupon voucher for adult general admission $7 (instead of $12). At the entrance I was able to upgrade the voucher to include Circus Factory for an extra $8, making it $15, and significantly cheaper than the full admission price of $35.

Last notes before you go:
No strollers inside the exhibition.
The Powerhouse advises that you prebook your tickets (particularly on weekends) to ensure you get in on a busy day.

Circus Factory
Circus Factory FAQs
Open 20 December 2014 to 3 May 2015
Powerhouse Museum
500 Harris Street, Ultimo NSW 2007
Hours: Daily 10am-5pm
Circus Factory entrance (includes general admission into the Powerhouse Museum):
Up to 3 kids free with each adult ticket

Adult: $35
Member adult: $25
Family: $65
(2 adults and up to 6 children)
Member family: $45
(2 adults and up to 6 children)
Concession: $20
Additional child (4—15 yrs): $8
Free entry for children under 4 years

Exhibition tickets include same-day entry to Powerhouse Museum. Transaction fees from $3.95 may apply.

Get directions.

Dinosaur Zoo: Sydney’s Best Shows For Kids

#Dinosaur Zoo at the #Sydney Opera House via christineknight.me

While Cheese and I often see shows together, it’s rare that Alec comes along too. He’s just not usually interested in princess shows (what a surprise) or shows based on cartoons. But when I mentioned the new show at the Sydney Opera House, Dinosaur Zoo, he was in. Finally a show he could enjoy as well as Cheese and I.

Because, who doesn’t love dinosaurs? Dinos are fascinating for people of all ages and gender. They make a great subject for this new show playing at the Sydney Opera House April 4 – 19, 2015.

#Dinosaur Zoo at the #Sydney Opera House via christineknight.me

Dinosaur Zoo is a fun blend of beautiful puppetry, impressive sound effects and comic humans driving the storyline.

The narrator, Graham, takes the audience on a an educational and fun journey where we learned about several dinosaurs that were discovered in Australia. None of the generic T-Rexes here. Only Aussie dinos, thank you very much. I found it refreshing to learn about these dinosaurs, none of whom I’d heard of before, and to see puppet replicas of them come to life before our eyes.

#Dinosaur Zoo at the #Sydney Opera House via christineknight.me

The show could very easily have been too scary for little kids had a different approach been taken. However, with the high level of interaction and frequent humour, the show was never going to freak out the littlies.

Graham introduced each dinosaur to the audience using the correct scientific terms the entire time. This is not a show that dumbs down science for kids. I was interested to see how the kids would respond to this, as there were a lot of younger kids in the audience, like Cheese. The kids, however, were rapped by the dinosaurs and there was very little fuss during the show that would indicate loss of interest. In fact it was the opposite, The kids were all hanging off Graham’s every word, desperate to be called down to the stage for their chance to pat a dinosaur.

The lesson here: never talk down to kids. Use big words. Kids will absorb them like the little sponges they are.

I was impressed by the quality of the puppets. They were incredibly done, and I found them to be very lifelike. I also liked the variety of dinosaurs used in the show. Babies, insects, carnivores and a big herbivore gave the show a good coverage of dinosaurs in general.

Cheese wasn’t selected to go up on stage, no matter how straight she stuck up her arm, but it didn’t matter as after the show two of the handlers brought out the babies to meet the audience in the foyer.

#Dinosaur Zoo at the #Sydney Opera House via christineknight.me #Dinosaur Zoo at the #Sydney Opera House via christineknight.me #Dinosaur Zoo at the #Sydney Opera House via christineknight.me

If you arrive early, kids can enjoy the free creative play set up by the Sydney Opera House in the foyer, called “Echo Table”. By waving their arms over tables, kids can control the emerging patterns and reveal large pictures, like the Mona Lisa, hiding underneath.

School holidays at the Sydney Opera House

For a pre or post-show meal, if you’re after an option out of the theatre, downstairs is the newly-refurbished Opera Kitchen. The food is pricey ($17.50 for a small piece of quiche and fries, $22 for Alec’s OK burger and fries), and the choices for kids aren’t very healthy ($15.50 for a kids’ meal, all of which contain a small soft drink, chips and an ice cream).

Opera Kitchen at Sydney Opera House Opera Kitchen at Sydney Opera House

While the food was okay, it wasn’t spectacular, so unless you really want to sit and admire the view, I would suggest getting cheaper sandwiches (and a much healthier kids’ pack) from the theatre bar next to the drama studio in the Opera House instead. They offer a $7 Kids’ Box including: White bread cheese sandwich, brown bread vegemite sandwich, a banana or apple, Uncle Toby’s mango & passion fruit yoghurt bar, cheese stick, juice, and a party blower. Check out all the kids’ meal options at the Opera House here.

Dinosaur Zoo is playing at the Sydney Opera House April 4 – 19, 2015.
Suitable for children 5+
Tickets: $39 – $55
Run time: 50 minutes
Parking: If it’s a wet day and you need to drive, use the code “Opera” for discounted parking. Ours cost $9 instead of $15 on a Saturday.

Thank you to the Sydney Opera House for hosting us for this performance and for use of some of these images. All opinions are, as always, my own.

Hop Into Easter With A Toys”R”Us Virtual Easter Egg Hunt

If your family is anything like mine, Easter is a major event on the calendar. For us, Easter is a time for fun. The whole family gets together, and we all eat a LOT of chocolate bunnies.

Toys"R"Us Virtual Easter Egg Hunt

For a fun twist on a traditional Easter Egg hunt this year, we are trying the Toys“R”Us’ Augmented Reality Virtual Easter Egg Hunt. From Wednesday 1 – Sunday 12 April, families can pop into their localToys“R”Us store and use their smartphone or tablet to virtually interact withToys“R”Us mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe and his Easter bunny friends.

Toys"R"Us Virtual Easter Egg Hunt

The characters will lead kids on a virtual adventure through the store to find Geoffrey’s Playground and receive a free Easter treat. Once you reach the end kids can record themselves dancing at the playground with the virtual characters and share it on social media.

The Toys“R”Us’ Augmented Reality Virtual Easter Egg Hunt is a free event for kids of all ages (and the first of its kind in Australia!).

10-year-old, Steph Toys“R”Us’ Chief Toy Tester (um, excuse me, can I be chief toy tester please?!), explains the egg hunt further here:

To take part in the Toys”R”Us Virtual Easter Egg Hunt download the TRU Magic app and head into your closest store:

For IOS

For Android

The Toys“R”Us’ Augmented Reality Virtual Easter Egg Hunt is open for the entire Easter period, from Wednesday 1 – Sunday 12 April, at any of the 34 Toys“R”Us locations across Australia in ACT, NSW, QLD, SA, VIC and WA.

Summer Playground At The Sydney Opera House

Summer At The House #sydneyoperahouse via christineknight.me

The Sydney Opera House never ceases to surprise me with their wonderful programming for families.

Summer At The House #sydneyoperahouse via christineknight.me

Right now, kids can enjoy the fabulous free Creative Play available daily at the Sydney Opera House just inside the Western Foyer. Kids can take time out of the heat with free LEGO play, while contributing to a collaborative musical composition – using their LEGO creations. The shapes built by the kids is turned into music using a really cool technology (a scanner in the roof and some sophisticated software). Three very entertaining and energetic musical performers engage the kids and introduce the LEGO music every 15 minutes.

Summer At The House #sydneyoperahouse via christineknight.me

I’d previously thought Cheese was just not really into Lego, but she surprised me by wanting to build Lego towers for over an hour. I literally had to drag her out of the building, which was a shame considering how great the air conditioning was.

Creative Play operates daily until January 26. Free and suitable for any ages who enjoy building with regular sized LEGO (no Duplo here).

Summer At The House #sydneyoperahouse via christineknight.me

Out on the Western Forecourt is the Summer Playground. The Harbourside sandpit is a big hit, letting kids kick off their shoes and play with the provided sand toys while parents can sit around the sandpit under shade and enjoy a drink or lunch.

Hungry families can grab a bite at the Summer Playground’s House Eatery By George, Opera Bar or Opera Kitchen. Their kids’ menu features three meals, each $15 (tip: if the cafe inside the foyer is open, you can pick up a kids’ box for $7 which includes sandwiches, juice, a cheese stick, museli bar, lollypop and mini box of smarties. These boxes can be brought out into the Summer Playground area to eat).

Summer At The House #sydneyoperahouse via christineknight.me

When we stopped by, the Taronga Zoo’s Zoomobile was there, giving kids the chance to meet Australian wildlife like echidnas, snakes and shingleback lizards. Sadly the day we visited (Jan 15th) was the last day for the Zoomobile.

Summer At The House #sydneyoperahouse via christineknight.me Summer At The House #sydneyoperahouse via christineknight.me Summer At The House #sydneyoperahouse via christineknight.me

The Sydney Opera House Summer Playground is open until 01 Feb 2015, Sun-Thur 9am-11pm, Fri & Sat 9am-12am.

Public transport is the easiest way to get there (catch the train to Circular Quay), but if you need to drive, until 31 January Wilson are offering Opera House visitors a special Summerhouse deal. Pre-book a bay in the Opera House car park and quote Summer15 to receive $15 flat rate for weekday parking 9am-5pm and $9 flat rate for weekend parking 9am-5pm.

Get Bouncing At Sky Zone Little Leapers

Sky Zone Little Leapers #Sydney #Sydneykids via brunchwithmybaby.com

If your child loves bouncing like mine does, then check out the Little Leapers toddler sessions at Sky Zone Alexandria. Monday to Friday, from 10am-4pm, kids under the age of four (plus their parents) can bounce in a specially designated area just for them, creating a safe and less-scary environment for little ones to jump to their hearts’ content.

There’s no minimum age requirement either — any kid who wants to bounce under the age of four is welcome.

Sky Zone Little Leapers #Sydney #Sydneykids via brunchwithmybaby.com

We took Missy E trampolining on her birthday — a rainy cold day in August — and it was the perfect diversion for an active child like her. She was content to bounce for the entire hour, only wanting to briefly stop for a water break. We had to bribe her with ice cream to get her out of there.

Helpful tips:

  • Each jumping session starts on the hour and last for an hour.
  • Get the most out of your money by arriving 10 minutes early to get socks and prepare yourself and your child.
  • Wear tights or soft, comfy pants.
  • Bring lots of water for you and your child — jumping is thirsty work!

Sky Zone Little Leapers #Sydney #Sydneykids via brunchwithmybaby.com

Sky Zone Alexandria
75, O’Riordan Street,
Alexandria, Sydney
Hours: Mon-Thur 10am-10pm, Fri 10am-12am, Sat 9am-12am, Sun 9am-9pm (every day from 9am during school holidays.

Sky Zone Alexandria opening time toddler only areas
Little Leapers
Mon-Fri 10am-4pm excluding school holidays and public holidays.
$10 each per hour for you & your child (under 4) plus sock fee.
Walk ins only

Fluff: A Story Of Lost Toys {Children's Theatre Review}

Fluff: A Story Of Lost Toys {Review} via brunchwithmybaby.com

One of the best things about moving back to Sydney has been the discovery of the amazing Kids At The House program run by the Sydney Opera House. Throughout the year they put on a wide range of plays, musicals and baby proms for kids of all ages. I love theatre (particularly musicals and dance), and have loved taking Missy E to age-appropriate shows to introduce her to the theatre wherever possible.

On this fine sunny day, we were off to see Fluff, a new show about where lost toys end up. The quirky Gingham family travel around the world finding lost toys, bringing them home, and putting them to bed. When we sat down in our seats, E saw the stage set up with many, many toys, and exclaimed, “That’s the most toys I’ve ever seen!”. Attention won before the show even began.

Fluff: A Story Of Lost Toys {Review} via brunchwithmybaby.com

The star and writer of the show is Christine Johnston. With her towering height and elevated hairdo, combined with a vocal ability that needs to be heard to be believed, she is a formidable stage presence. Her co-star and choreographer, Lisa O’Neal, barely speaks a word, instead using her body to portray her story with skillful dance moves and wacky facial expressions. The pair perform the 55-minute production along with an onstage musician, Peter Nelson. The trio, it turns out, are masters of physical comedy, and put on a highly entertaining show for children and their accompanying adults alike.

Fluff: A Story Of Lost Toys {Review} via brunchwithmybaby.com

Fluff revolves around the latest batch of toys being rescued. The story is very simple: we find out their sad stories of becoming lost toys, and they are put to bed (which, it turns out, is like putting young children to bed).

With a simple story to follow, children as young as my daughter (who just turned 3) were able to keep up with what was happening. A big focus of the show is sound – the cast assigns noises and names to the toys, giving them a new identify as well as a home. They go from discarded objects to loved personalities. It’s a very sweet concept, and especially perfect for this audience of children, many of whose best friends at this age are their toys.

There is lots of singing (Christine Johnston has an amazing voice), music and dancing, plus multi-media displays on a giant screen. One of the most enjoyable parts of the show was the audience participation – something that usually makes me cringe and sink in my seat. In this show, Johnston’s character asks the audience for help to give two of the toys sounds. She takes her microphone all over the audience (even up the back) to ask children and adults to add their voices to the symphony she is creating with the sounds. The kids adored being part of the show, in a manner that made them feel like they were a part of something special. When they heard their own voices incorporated into the show’s soundtrack, gleeful laughter filled the auditorium. Very clever sound engineering, indeed.

This quirky show is upbeat, fun, and wonderfully creative. It was a joy to watch as an adult, and even more delightful to see the happiness on my daughter’s face as she followed along with the story. After the show ended, she literally danced out of the theatre, inspired by the music and movement.

Fluff: A Story Of Lost Toys {Review} via brunchwithmybaby.com

As we were leaving the theatre, the cast came back to greet the audience. They were delighted to speak with their young audience, and happy to pose for a photograph. We grabbed a quick picture with Christine Johnston, who asked little E what she thought of the show. When E (very ovewhelmed with the attention from the performer) replied that she wanted a fruit pouch and to see Nana and Pop Pop, Johnston replied “how wonderful!” just like her character. Bravo, and thank you for the wonderful show.

Fluff runs at the Sydney Opera House September 26 t0 30, 2014, so get in quick. It’s suitable for children ages 3 and up.

I was provided with tickets to see the show for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own. Additional photography thanks to Sydney Opera House.