children's garden botanic gardens

The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne reopened last week with a 10th birthday celebration and is a fantastic destination for sunny days. Melbourne families are so lucky to have this wonderful sensory space that’s suitable for kids of all ages and physical abilities to play in, learn from and enjoy.

children's garden botanic gardens

The Children’s Garden features plants, water, structures and pathways that reflect Melbourne’s changing seasons. It’s a dedicated space for families within the Royal Botanic Gardens and is a popular destination during spring and summer for picnics and parties. On our visit the spiral fountains at the entrance hadn’t been switched on yet (the temperature hadn’t hit 25 degrees yet) but there was still lots of water play and other experiences to enjoy.

children's garden botanic gardens

The kids were most drawn to ‘The Island’ which is a sandpit set upon a hump in the middle of a very shallow stream of water called ‘The Rill’.

children's garden botanic gardens

The gentle waterway meanders through most of the Children’s Garden, getting quite deep in places so best to wear shorts/short skirts or have a change of clothes! Baby 2.0 didn’t care though, he was having too much fun kicking his heels.

children's garden botanic gardens

Another favourite area was the tall bamboo forest which has a soft sandy base and provides some cool shade from the hot sun.

children's garden botanic gardens

You will find Mali the elephant hiding in the bamboo and she’s even got a stool ready so kids can climb on her back.

children's garden botanic gardens

The new enclosed Gathering Lawn area has shady trees, a water feature and plenty of green space to run, jump and play. It’s only available for booked functions such as parties and school groups so I had to climb above the fence to take this snap!

children's garden botanic gardens

The Children’s Garden is fully fenced with single exit/entrance with a childproof lock. However, little kids still need to be supervised closely as some of the water features are deep – the main pond is 80cm.

children's garden botanic gardens

There are also lots of hidden nooks and crannies where kids can get lost (which may be a good or bad feature).

children's garden botanic gardens

The Children’s Garden is free and open Wednesday to Sundays during school terms and every day during school holidays and on public holidays. You can bring your own food and drink for an alfresco picnic or buy goodies at the new Jardin Tan – their pastries are amazing!

Read about our visit to the Children’s Garden in 2012 when Lady AB was over 1 years old – still just as fun!

Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra

10am – Sunset, Wednesday to Sunday

10am – Sunset, Every day during Victorian State School holidays

10am – Sunset public holidays

Closed 8 weeks for rest and maintenance over winter at the beginning of Term 3.

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SMK Image 4

Santa’s Magical Kingdom is returning to Melbourne this year, bigger and better at Caulfield Racecourse.

The family-friendly event is a hot ticket on the Christmas calendar (2012 and 2013 were sell outs) and this year Santa’s Magical Kingdom opens on Saturday 15 November until Tuesday 23 December.

This year’s event will include a magical Christmas walk-through wonderland, Snow Castle and Activity Land and a Christmas craft area where families can decorate (and eat) gingerbread. Older kids will enjoy the Ferris Wheel, Santa’s Sleigh Ride and Australia’s largest super slide.

You can meet Santa and receive a gift, listen to Mrs Claus tell Christmas stories and meet roving Christmas characters.

At the end of your designated session there is even a spectacular Christmas themed circus performance in the big top!

Santa’s Magical Kingdom tickets are on sale now, through the booking office on 1300 307 740 or via Ticketek.

Giveaway! Thanks to Santa’s Magical Kingdom I have 1 x family pass (two adults and two kids) valued at $132.54, valid for the opening session on Saturday 15 November 10am-1pm.

To enter just follow the instructions and the winner will be randomly selected at midnight Monday 10 November and tickets collected at the box office.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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happymaree

Happymaree is a small vintage-styled cafe on the border of Yarraville and Kingsville that is just the place to take the kids before or after a visit to the iconic children’s bookstore JP Junior Everlasting Books.

Happymaree started off as the name of a label for a couple producing upcycled books, art, badges, tote bags, t-shirts and magnets. In 2013 they expanded into a gallery and daytime cafe serving home made sweets and savouries.

happymaree

The cafe is literally one room but it crams a lot of personality inside. There are no high chairs but older toddlers will enjoy sitting in the mini school chairs and playing on the old ironing board converted into art desk. There are lots of art supplies to keep little ones entertained as well as a tub of toys.

happymaree

Lady AB was particularly enamoured of the wooden camera which she immediately slung around her neck, just like mum! Apparently there is even a badge maker behind the counter where you design your own badges.

happymaree

We didn’t have a full meal there but just stopped for a chocolate milkshake ($5 for a large, split between two) and giant Anzac biscuits the size of Baby 2.0’s head! I sipped on a refreshing watermelon granita ($5) and T had a creamy flat white made with Four Rascals beans.

happymaree

happymaree

On the walls and around the cafe (inside and out) there is artwork and sculptures for sale from local artists, including Baby Guerilla. The place seems like a real hub for locals – the owners seemed to know everyone by name.

Happymaree is a great little local cafe. The owners were very friendly and ready for a long chat about the artwork and artists and the kids were made to feel very welcome even though they treated the place like their own lounge room ie ran around touching everything and eating on the run.

Features:

  • pram access – though better to leave it outside;    
  • toddler-sized furniture;
  • standard menu suitable for kids; and
  • toys and activities.

Happymaree, 229 Somerville Rd, Yarraville 0401 284 827

Mon: 8:00 am – 2:00 pm

Wed: 8:00 am – 2:00 pm

Thu – Fri: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Sat – Sun: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

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maya the bee

Maya the Bee is a fun-filled, animated adventure series on ABC4Kids which follows Maya as she leaves her hive to discover more about the world. Her sidekick is Willy and the pair are exuberant, enthusiastic and curious.

maya the bee

To celebrate the new Maya the Bee Movie (which opens nationally Saturday 1 November), ABC shops are stocking an exclusive range of Maya and Willy toys from plush toys, Maya collectable figurines, interactive Good Night Maya toy and bath figurines. We were given some toys to test run and they’ve settled into our house as firm favourites already.

maya the bee

Both Maya and Willy plush toys have been dragged around by Lady AB and Baby 2.0 for stories, train games and general shenanigans. The soft toys are available in two sizes though I think the larger one is better for cuddling! (20cm $19.99 / 30cm $29.99)

maya the bee

We also received a two pack of figurine characters from the Maya the Bee series ($9.99). The small toys have articulated arms, legs and a rotating head though I think they’re more suitable for kids 3 and up because the small wings detach easily.

maya the bee

The kids’ favourite items have been the four colourful bath toys ($19.99). They’re small pliable plastic figurines of characters from the Maya the Bee series and if you squeeze them water squirts out, leading to peals of giggles at bathtime.

maya the bee

Maya the Bee 3D CGI TV series screens Monday to Friday at 6:05pm on ABC4Kids.

Giveaway! Thanks to ABC shops I have a Maya the Bee pack to giveaway, consisting of 1 x Family Pass (4 tickets) to see the Maya the Bee movie during its Nationwide General Release and a Willy Plush Toy 20cm.

To win all you have to do is follow the instructions below. The giveaway closes  midnight Monday 10 November and the winner will be contacted via email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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HOT: Surprise!, ArtPlay, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne

October 30, 2014

Getting toddlers under two years to follow instructions and focus on a single task is a challenge. But artist Heidi Weatherald from Pocketfool has done a wonderful job with her sensory play workshop Surprise! at ArtPlay. The workshop is all about playing and experimenting with dots, spots and circles – a shape that’s easily recognisable […]

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What’s on in Melbourne for families and under 5s – Halloween Edition – Friday 31 October to Thursday 6 November

October 30, 2014

Happy Halloween! Lots of fun events all around the city plus a public holiday bonus on Tuesday for Melbourne Cup. (Photo from Express Yourself: Romance was Born For Kids at NGV International ). CBD / DOCKLANDS Halloween Spooktacular Scarefest at Wonderland Fun Park (Fri 31 Oct) – Wonderland Fun Park’s ‘Spooktacular Scarefest’ returns this Halloween, with a live show and a […]

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