chinese playgroup kensington

I am trying to teach my kids to be bilingual so I am constantly on the lookout for Chinese, particularly Cantonese, playgroups and other resources.

The kids don’t get much exposure to Cantonese in their everyday lives. Only I speak to them in Chinese as I’m not able to read Chinese books to them and my parents live interstate so they don’t have frequent contact. I don’t have any Chinese kids TV shows (but I’m looking into that if anyone has suggestions).

I’ve recently discovered a playgroup for Mandarin and Cantonese speaking parents and their children in Kensington. It’s held at Kensington Neighbourhood House which is a community space for local groups to meet, share information, develop skills and break down isolation or other community barriers.

The playgroup is on every Friday 10am-12pm during school term and entry is by gold coin donation. It’s held in the same space as the occasional care within Kensington Neighbourhood House so it’s well-stocked with toys, (English) books, art and craft activities, a dress up corner and even an outdoor area with play equipment. You can bring your own snacks and water bottles.

chinese playgroup kensington

Baby 2.0 and Lady AB really enjoyed their first experience of playgroup (it’s the first time I’ve been to anything like that). They were able to roam around freely without being restricted by what they could or could not touch. I chatted to a few of the other parents who were a mix of Mandarin and Cantonese speakers. As it was a cold morning there were only about 5 kids at the playgroup – I think they tend to get about 10-12 most of the time so it’s not an enormous group. Overall it was a great wet/cold weather activity

The playgroup is suitable for babies up to pre-schoolers and parenting support information is provided by Doutta Galla Community Health Service monthly. I’m hoping to make it a regular outing for us so that the kids get more exposure to other people speaking Chinese.

Do you attend a bilingual playgroup or storytime? I’m compiling a list of resources for bilingual Melbourne parents and would love your input.

Chinese Playgroup, Kensington Neighbourhood House, 89 McCracken Street, Kensington 03 9376 6366

Office Hours  Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm

Chinese playgroup Fridays 10am – 12pm

Cost    Gold coin donation




The Kids Bookshop is a specialist online bookshop for children’s literature which is based in Melbourne.   While you can purchase from an extensive range of children’s books for ages 0 to 8, one of their more innovative products is a monthly book pack subscription.bookshops Subscriptions are available for children aged 0 – 2, 2- 6 and 6 – 8. Each month, for 3, 6 or 12 months, the recipient will receive a gift wrapped book pack (to the total value of $36.99 incl postage) from The Kids Bookshop. Books are carefully selected from new releases to ensure that you are unlikely to have them on the bookshelf.

The subscription is paid for upfront but you can cancel your subscription with one month’s notice and the outstanding money will be refunded.

I think a book pack subscription from The Kids Bookshop is the perfect gift for a book-loving child (hint hint) or a new baby gift for parents who already own all the ‘practical’ stuff. Imagine your kid’s delight in receiving their very own present in the letterbox once a month and what an exciting way to develop a child’s literacy skills and nurture a love of reading.

Visit The Kids Bookshop for more information, then select the age and time range for the pack that best suits your needs.


The Wheel of Steel

Silvers Circus in on the road again and coming to Burvale and Richmond soon after full houses in regional Victoria and South Australia.


Silvers Circus has been touring Australia since 1976 with their brand of family entertainment and fun. Their latest 2 hour show features artists from around the globe, including the new Wheel of Steel, the Phoenix Riders riding the ‘The Globe of Death’ on their motorbikes, amazing hula hooping skills and an electrifying High Wire Act. Plus there are clowns and clever dogs playing AFL (really!).

Football Playing Dogs

To book tickets to Silvers Circus go to or call the circus direct on 0413 880 044 or 0413 844 241

Silvers Circus, Burvale Hotel, Cnr Springvale Rd and Burwood Hwy, Nunawading

Wednesday 20 August to Sunday 14 September

Adults $30, $35 or $40

Child (3-12 years) $20, $25 or $30

Pensioners/Students $25, $30 or $35

Silvers Circus,Burnley Oval, 4 The Boulevard, Richmond

Wednesday 17 September to Sunday 12 October

Adults $30, $35 or $40

Child (3-12 years) $20, $25 or $30

Pensioners/Students $25, $30 or $35

Giveaway! Thanks to Silvers Circus I have 5 x Family passes (each pass admits 4) valued at $140 each to give away for either (a) Friday 22 August 7.30pm at Burvale Hotel or (b) the opening night on Wednesday 17 September 7.30pm for Richmond.

To win, just follow the instructions and the winners will be selected randomly on Wednesday 20 August 5pm. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Exxopolis Luminarium, Glow Winter Arts Festival 2014, The Jam Factory rooftop carpark, 500 Chapel St, South Yarra

Glow Winter Arts Festival is a celebration of arts in the City of Stonnington being held from 14 to 24 August, with the centrepiece being the mysterious-sounding Exxopolis Luminarium.

Exxopolis Luminarium is an art installation that comes to Melbourne from the UK. The 20th Luminarium design is like a giant blow-up indoor maze which uses 3000 square metres of plastic to create tunnels and domes lit with colourful lights. The structure spans across the expanse of the Jam Factory rooftop car park so you can imagine how big it is.

Exxopolis Luminarium, Glow Winter Arts Festival 2014, The Jam Factory rooftop carpark, 500 Chapel St, South Yarra

The idea is to create a multi-sensory immersive experience, with different colours melding from one area to another and a serene soundscape like those relaxation tapes you hear in massage chairs. There are many beautiful architectural moments to savour and photograph.

In theory the Exxopolis Luminaium should be kid-friendly. Kids under 5 are free, it’s all bright lights and gentle background music and resembles a giant jumping castle with lots of nooks and crannies to hide in.

Exxopolis Luminarium, Glow Winter Arts Festival 2014, The Jam Factory rooftop carpark, 500 Chapel St, South Yarra

However, you’re not allowed to run, jump or slide on the walls as the material is delicate and could rip. Which is fine except that I think most toddlers and young kids (ie mobile under 5s) are going to instinctively want to run around the maze or chase each other, bang on the rubber walls or try to slide down the sloping edges.


Lady AB and Baby 2.0 loved the experience of being inside the Exxopolis Luminarium, exploring the different coloured rooms and imagining the sun (bright yellow room) and a place to sleep (calm blue room). There were lots of very photogenic moments.

Exxopolis Luminarium, Glow Winter Arts Festival 2014, The Jam Factory rooftop carpark, 500 Chapel St, South Yarra

However, I found it difficult (and not enjoyable) trying to control them. At 3.5 and 1.5 years old they were much too loud and boisterous (which didn’t help the serene atmosphere that the site is supposed to inspire), they kept running around in excitement and once they worked out you could slide and bounce off the walls then they kept doing that too.

Exxopolis Luminarium, Glow Winter Arts Festival 2014, The Jam Factory rooftop carpark, 500 Chapel St, South Yarra

After 20 minutes I gave up after being told one too many times to stop the kids from running or sliding.

Exxopolis Luminarium, Glow Winter Arts Festival 2014, The Jam Factory rooftop carpark, 500 Chapel St, South Yarra

I paid $17.50 for entry and the kids were free – for 20 minutes of entertainment that’s not very good value (not to mention the horrible across-town car trip to get there). I think they would have loved going to a playground or indoor play centre more, a place where they were free to be active.

So my view of the Exxopolis Luminarium is to give it a miss unless you have older kids who are amenable to being told to walk around colourful, empty spaces quietly and can appreciate the beauty of the structure or you have an under 1 year old strapped to you (prams are not allowed inside). Unless you sit and meditate on the experience then you probably won’t spend more than 20 minutes exploring. For that price I’d rather go see a movie.

The Glow Winter Arts Festival program includes more than 50 events over 11 days across Prahran, Malvern, Armadale, Toorak and South Yarra. There are other child-friendly events which seem to be more suitable for kids.

Exxopolis Luminarium, Glow Winter Arts Festival,  The Jam Factory rooftop carpark, 500 Chapel St, South Yarra

Thu 14 Aug – Sun 24 Aug, 12pm–9pm

$15 / free for children under 5 years


HOT: Romulus and Remus, 648 Bridge Road, Richmond

August 15, 2014

Romulus and Remus are characters from Roman mythology – which quickly gives you an idea of the kind of cuisine you can expect from this surprisingly family-friendly restaurant in Bridge Road Richmond. I was invited to sample some items from their broadly Italian menu which is all about ‘modern day feasting’. This translates to sharing plates, […]

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What’s on in Melbourne for families and under 5s – Friday 15 August to Thursday 21 August

August 14, 2014

Mid-way through August and lots of fun events for the whole family! (Photo from our previous visit to Heide Art Bubs). CBD / DOCKLANDS love2read/Reading Hour at Reader’s Feast (Sun 17 Aug) – The Reading Hour is an initiative that promotes reading with and to children. In the lead up to The Reading Hour on […]

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