What’s On – Friday 17 March to Thursday 23 March

whats on melbourne

Halfway through March and so many fun things to do this week! Mark your diaries for next weekend too when I’ll be leading family-friendly bike rides as part of WOW Women of the World Festival and getting crafty at the West Footscray Festival of Colours.

CBD / Docklands

  • Invisible Light Garden Artplay (Fri 17 Mar – Sun 26 Mar) – Discover the interaction between digital imagery and physical action in this interactive art installation. Full review. 
  • Play Pod State Library of Victoria (Fri 17 Mar – 31 May) – free play space inspired by Where is the Green Sheep. Full review.
  • NGV Car Wash (Fri 17 Mar – April 2017) – enjoy a neon pink installation in the sculpture garden inspired by a car wash. FULL REVIEW.
  • Family Footy Fun Zone Queen Victoria Market (Sat 18 Mar – Sun 19 Mar) – Every Saturday and Sunday until Easter the Vic Market’s A Shed near Victoria Street will be transformed into a footy extravaganza with inflatable kicking goals, a specky-marking zone, handball challenges, footy arts and crafts and more.
  • Harmony Day African Drumming Storytime (Tue 21 Mar) – This workshop, for pre-school children, will include drumming, dancing and singing.
  • Queen Victoria Night Market (Wed 22 Mar) – Eat and drink your way around the world one dish at a time with more than 50 street food traders cooking up a global feast plus specialty shopping and entertainment.



  • Berwick Food Truck Carnival (Thu 16 Mar – Sun 19 Mar) – Travelling carnival featuring food trucks with fully licensed bars and entertainment.
  • Burrinja Kids Stay and Play (Fri 17 Mar – 31 Mar) – free family activity by local studio artist Andrea Innocent.
  • Hank Marvin Market (Sat 18 Mar) – weekly Saturday market with awesome playground at Alma Park.
  • Flavours Prahran  (Sat 18 Mar) – Celebrate Stonnington’s cultural diversity through tastes, sights and sounds. Be invigorated and inspired by market stalls, cooking demonstrations, entertainment and children’s activities in this fun day for family and friends.
  • In One Voice Elsternwick (Sun 19 Mar) – Jewish street festival with music, food, kids zone.
  • Gnome and Fairy Festival Mordialloc (Sun 19 Mar) – jumping castle and games, music, entertainment, snacks, stall.
  • Sandsculpting Frankston Waterfront (Fri 17 Mar – Tue 25 Apr) -Twenty sculptors carve out themed sculptures from the sand. 



HOT: The Messy Shed, Factory 4 and 5, 1 Watt Rd, Mornington

The Messy Shed

The Messy Shed in Mornington is a creative and sensory play experience inside a play centre. It is relocated from its previous location next to The Hungry Peacock in Tyabb.

The Messy Shed is every parent and child’s come true. During each 45 minute session kids have fun playing with paint, mud, water and craft materials – and parents relax knowing that they don’t have to clean up!

The Messy Shed

Every week is a different theme and for our visit it is all about Creepy Crawlies, so bugs abound.

The Messy Shed

The Messy Shed

Having said that, Baby 2.0 is most fascinated by the glass-cleaning station and the pegboard with ball run.

The Messy Shed

The Messy Shed

I particularly like the magnetic wall where various pipes can be stuck together to create a different sort of ball run experience.

The Messy Shed

Kids can also get messy searching for bugs, sifting through a sensory play table based on The Hungry Caterpillar or just go wild with the paint wall.

The Messy Shed

The Messy Shed

The real highlight of the morning is walking away from all the paint and dirt and foam, knowing that Baby 2.0 has had fun but I don’t have to clean up.

If you want to extend you play there is a small play centre attached to The Messy Shed which attracts a separate $7 charge (or $5 combined with The Messy Shed).

Click here for more places to go with kids on the Mornington Peninsula.

HOT Tips:

  • Each session runs for 45 minutes;
  • Session times are 9.30am and 11.15am daily;
  • Sessions are $10 per child;
  • Bookings are recommended though it is possible to drop-in subject to availability;
  • Aprons are provided but best to pack a change of clothes for everyone;
  • Dress your children in old clothes and shoes that they can get messy;
  • There’s a cafe onsite though note it can be very busy before and after The Messy Shed sessions; and
  • free parking on site.

The Messy Shed, Factory 4 and 5, 1 Watt Rd, Mornington (03) 5975 2080

Daily 9.15am and 11.15am

45 minute session $10

Play centre $7 separate entry or $5 combined with The Messy Shed

What’s On – Autumn School Holidays – Saturday 1 April to Monday 17 April 2017

autumn school holidays melbourne 2017


Easter school holidays are starting soon from Saturday 1 April to Monday 17 April. Here are some ideas to keep kids, particularly under 5s, entertained during the whole period of school holidays, sorted by location and date order.

Click here for school holiday activities in Melbourne’s suburbs.

Click here for Easter events (Friday 15 April – Monday 17 April).


  • Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (Fri 31 Mar – Sun 9 Apr) – share, learn and eat with with the festival’s family-friendly events.
  • The Very Big Laugh Out Loud at Federation Square (Fri 31 March – Sun 23 Apr) – Get a belly full of laughs at Fed Square with the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
  • Melbourne Gaol (Sat 1 Apr – Mon 17 Apr) – Come to the Old Melbourne Gaol these Easter Holidays to be locked up in the old Watch House and then sent to gaol.
  • ACMI (Sun 2 Apr – Thu 13 Apr) – be a game critic, build a VR world, family Lego robotics, minecraft, Scratch day and more.
  • Federation Square (Mon 3 Apr – Sun 23 Apr) – FREE experiment in collective art-making with the LOL roll, free outdoor cinema, stargazing live.
  • Eureka Skydeck (Sat 1 Apr – Mon 17 Apr) – FREE Crayola Kids Zone filled with fun craft and drawing activities, including bunny-ear making and the opportunity to scribble on windows.
  • Under 8s Ice Fun at O’Brien Arena (Sat 1 Apr – Mon 17 Apr) – A unique toddler experience in shoes or skates every day of the school holidays.
  • ArtPlay (Sat 1 Apr – Wed 12 Apr) – Come and play in the free ArtPlay Backyard and join other paid workshops.
  • Melbourne International Comedy Festival (Sat 1 Apr – Sun 23 Apr) – comedy events for kids.
  • Pirate Sunday Polly Woodside (Sun 2 Apr) – Dress as a pirate and come help us search for hidden treasure, play tug of war and have your face painted.
  • Code Camp (Mon 3 Apr – Thu 14 Apr) – During the camps, kids create and build their own game, learn about user design and the psychology of user experience.
  • Smurfs High Tea The Langham (Mon 3 Apr – Tue 25 Apr) – school holiday high tea especially for teens (but kids can still go!).
  • Wheeler Kids (Tue 4 Apr – Wed 12 Apr) – literary kid-friendly events.
  • Lemonade Stand Kids Coding (Thu 6 Apr – Fri 7 Apr) – coding workshop for kids.
  • Paw Patrol Live (Fri 7 Apr – Sun 9 Apr) – Based on the hit animated TV series on Nickelodeon produced by Spin Master, PAW Patrol Live! brings everybody’s favorite pups to the stage for an action-packed, high-energy, musical adventure.
  • Lego Educational Centre (Mon 3 Apr – Thu 13 Apr) – Serious fun with Lego! READ THE REVIEW.
  • Melbourne Library Service (Mon 3 Apr – Thu 13 Apr) – classes, workshops performances and stories.
  • State Library of Victoria (Thu 6 Apr – Tue 11 Apr) – Be inspired by the State Library’s collection of beautiful, rare books then use your imagination to create your own masterpiece.
  • Cerita Anak Arts Centre Melbourne (Thu 30 Mar – Sun 2 Apr) – Combining puppetry, song, shadow imagery and sound, the show bustles with all the life of the ocean. Full review. 
  • Mr Stink Arts Centre Melbourne (Sat 1 Apr – Sun 9 Apr) – touching, twisted and very smelly adaptation of David Walliams’ award-winning children’s book
  • Queen Victoria Market (Sat 1 Apr – Sun 16 Apr) – Family Footy Zone and FREE seasonal cooking, drawing and craft activities.
  • Cooks’ Cottage Easter Adventure (Sat 1 Apr – Mon 17 Apr) – egg-cellent adventure of discovery these school holidays. Follow a trail of clues to find the answers and receive a treat upon completion.
  • Good Friday Appeal Kids Day Out at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (Fri 14 Apr) – giant roller-skating rink, laser skirmish, sports clinics, the popular Teddy Bear Hospital, kids cooking classes, rides, music and dancing and more.
  • CPR Challenge at Crown (Fri 14 Apr) – family fun activities, the setting of a world record (most people trained in paediatric CPR in 6hrs, celebrity meet’n’greets with all proceeds for Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital.

Click here for school holiday activities in Melbourne’s suburbs.

Click here for Easter events (Friday 15 April – Monday 18 April)

HOT: Baby Sensory Classes, Melbourne

Baby Sensory classes

It’s hard to think of things to do with little babies. They do a lot of feeding, sleeping, crying and  I do feel bad sometimes for my six month old that the biggest excitement of the day is lying on his play mat.

This is where Baby Sensory classes fit in.

They’re a new thing in Melbourne and weren’t around a few years ago when I had my first baby but have been running for ten years overseas.  Ellie Dodd, who runs Baby Sensory classes in Melbourne, says they are based on scientific and educational research with activities promoting visual, social and physical development.

I went along to check out the Richmond class which is in a dance studio.  Classes start by sitting around in a circle and singing the same song each time called “Say Hello to The Sun” which comes with actions which the babies all seem to enjoy. Classes are an hour long and are split into three sections (activities together, then a play break and then activities together again).

Ellie then passes around bags with different things inside for the babies to look at, listen to, play with and smell.

Baby Sensory classes

For example, there are spices to sniff and soft toys to cuddle.

Baby Sensory classes

The class then moves through a range of different activities including dancing with the babies in a darkened room and a “free play” time where Ellie sets up activity stations like a ball pit and a mat full of ribbons. You can work your way around each one.

Baby Sensory classes

The highlight for my baby is probably the big parachute at the end and the bubble machine.

Classes go for an hour and apparently no two classes are the same so your baby (and you!) won’t get bored. I was impressed by the amount of time and effort Ellie has gone into in setting up all the activities so I feel like even though the classes are not cheap, they do offer value for money.

To be honest I’m a bit of a lazy Mum and am happy enough with my little one getting his sensory experiences just in everyday life such as a walk around the block in the pram or a visit to the supermarket. So I think the benefits of Baby Sensory classes are if you are keen to do an activity with your baby and to get out of the house and meet some other new parents.

Click here for more ideas of where to go and things to do with babies and toddlers.

Cara Waters is a journalist and mum of two. She also blogs about food and travel at Gourmet Chick and you can follow her adventures on Instagram at @carawaters

HOT Tips:

  • Classes currently run in Richmond, Port Melbourne, Brunswick, Blackburn, Mount Waverley, Kensington and Thornbury.
  • $12 trials are available at all classes.
  • Classes are run specifically for babies aged 0-6 months and 6-13 months.
  • half and full term options and gift vouchers are available.
  • You can bring your pram (there’s room to park it) or a baby carrier. It’s also fine to feed, change nappies etc during the class.

 Baby Sensory classes, various locations Melbourne

Class Fees $247 for the thirteen week term or $140 if you opt for the first seven weeks of term.

The HOT List: Top 10 Playgrounds in Melbourne for Older Kids

Today’s HOT List represents the 6+ years of playground adventures with my kids and is a compilation of the best playgrounds for older kids.

Challenging climbing equipment, tall slides, natural elements and water play are all on the wish list!

You’ll find the full list over at Planning With Kids, one of my favourite parenting websites. Nicole Avery is a Melbourne mum with five children aged 7-17 years and her blog provides helpful advice and tips on all the challenges that entails – including where to take them to play!

I hope you enjoy exploring these amazing play spaces with your family. I’d love to hear your favourites!

Where are your favourite playgrounds for older kids in Melbourne?

HOT: Sweet Lane Festival, Harbour Town Melbourne, Studio Lane and Star Crescent, Docklands

Sweet Lane Festival Harbour Town

Sweet Lane Festival is a 5 day food festival at Harbour Town Melbourne celebrating all things sweet.

Sweet Lane Festival Harbour Town

From Thursday 9 March to Monday 13 March The Food Truck Park and the Australian Grand Prix are bringing food trucks, DJs, cooking demonstrations, kid’s activities, competitions plus the Australian Grand Prix F1 #AUSGP Fan Zone with displays and an interactive GP board.

Sweet Lane Festival Harbour Town

Sweet Lane Festival Harbour Town

We were invited to the first day’s festivities which included Guide Dogs Victoria Meet & Greet with dogs in training…

Sweet Lane Festival Harbour Town

…and tastings from a choice of sweet and savoury food trucks including…

Sweet Lane Festival Harbour Town

….gourmet ’haute’ dogs by Maille Mustard Mobile….

Sweet Lane Festival Harbour Town

….vegan Nepalese dumplings by Vutu on Wheels


Sweet Lane Festival Harbour Town

….ice creams from Mini Melts

Sweet Lane Festival

…the decadent Tella Burger (Nutella sandwiched between two doughnuts!) by Nuts About Tella.

There’s a small pop up food truck park where you can sit and chill out and nearby there’s Melbourne Star and Harbour Town’s small play area for kids, with weekend activities including a Hot Wheels activation. 

Click here for more information on the entertainment and food truck line up every day.

HOT Tips:

  • Catch the Free Tram 86, 70 or City Circle direct to Harbour Town Melbourne
  • Park at Harbour Town Melbourne, parking from $3

Sweet Lane Festival, Harbour Town Melbourne, Studio Lane and Star Crescent, Docklands

Free entry

Thursday 9 March – 4pm to 9pm

Friday 10 March – 12pm to 9pm

Saturday 11 March – 12pm to 9pm

Sunday 12 March – 12pm to 9pm

Monday 13 March – 12pm to 7pm



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