HOT: Beam Me Up Baby, Artplay, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne

beam me up

For our first outing for TOT: HOT OR NOT, Baby Explorer and I jump on a tram to visit ArtPlay for Beam Me Up, Baby! presented by Emma Salzano.

In the foyer we are greeted by Emma and Benji who point out the family-friendly facilities and ample pram parking before opening the session with a Welcome to Country, recognising our meeting on the land of the Kulin Nation.

Trained at Mangala Studios of Yoga and Creative Dance, Emma introduced her own children to modern dance, realising how the practice was perfect for little ones learning to move and interact with the world around us. While her own children have grown up, Emma continues to introduce modern dance activities to little ones. As per the session’s description, Baby Explorer has brought her “most playful adult” which I have interpreted to mean wearing clothes that I can comfortably crawl around the floor in; we are also told to take off our shoes and socks so I am relieved that I’d bothered to slick on some polish onto my toes prior to leaving the house!

Benji instructs parents to leave our phones behind so that we can be fully present to experience the activity with our children. Who knew that babies are surprisingly well-adapted for Space! Baby Explorer is just shy of five months when we get beamed up.

beam me up baby artplay

The session runs for around 45 minutes which is a good length of time to capture baby’s attention –  her face lighting up and delighting in the sounds, textures and opportunity to meet other babies.

beam me up

This session reminds me that the every day can be elevated to something a little more delightful simply by adopting a playful attitude. Emma is resourceful and her practice highlighted how ordinary household items can be combined to create a new world even for just a few moments. A wonderful way to add a sense of adventure to an otherwise regular day.

As an added bonus I am delighted to find that Baby Explorer gets so tuckered out that she naps for two hours afterward the session is over- hurrah! You can beam us up into space, anytime!

We attended the final session of Beam Me Up, Baby however do keep an eye out as Emma runs it again from time to time.

Click here for more places to go with babies and toddlers

Cheryl Lin Rodsted is a blogger at and mum to Baby Explorer. You can follow Cheryl’s adventures on Facebook and Instagram

HOT Tips:

Beam Me Up Baby, ArtPlay, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne

HOT: Sir Duke, 99 Puckle St, Moonee Ponds

sir duke cafe

Sir Duke is new on the scene on bustling Puckle Street in Moonee Ponds. The large site provides funky all-day dining in a family-friendly atmosphere.

sir duke cafe

When the weather’s good the most popular tables are on the pavement but inside is more spacious for prams. There’s a long banquette along the wall, a series of small tables plus one large circular table to choose from.sir duke cafe

There are booster seats for little bottoms, a children’s menu with $9 options of cafe standards (toastie, fish and chips, pasta etc) and a change table in the disabled toilet.

The menu is huge so there’s bound to be something for everyone, and the serving sizes appear to be universally enormous.

sir duke cafe

Baby 2.0 and I share the fish and chips ($20) which comes with two large fillets of fish, a stack of chips (we ask for fewer than usual) and a substantial bowl of purple cabbage slaw. Ask for the dressing on the side if you want to keep your veggies crisp.

sir duke cafe

The hotcakes is a huge breakfast dessert really made for two ($17). It’s delightfully fluffy and heaped with seeds, strawberries, whipped ricotta and Persian fairy floss. Again ask for the maple syrup on the side if you don’t want your hotcake soggy with syrup.

The service is friendly and fast and the large menu means that there’s an incentive to return, especially if we’re attending a performance at the Clocktower Centre.

sir duke cafe

While you’re in Moonee Ponds why not take advantage of the free shopping nannies at Moonee Ponds Central across the road? Drop off your children for 1-2 hours while you’re inside the shopping centre. Shopping nannies are available every Tuesday and Wednesday 10-2pm until Wednesday 29 November.

Click here for the best family-friendly cafes in Melbourne

HOT Tips:

  • pram access;
  • numerous high chairs;
  • kids menu;
  • kid-friendly standard menu;
  • change table;
  • limited free street parking on Puckle Street.

Sir Duke, 99 Puckle St, Moonee Ponds 03 9041 4022

Monday to Friday 7:30am – late
Saturday and Sunday 8am – late

Sir Duke Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Taste of Melbourne Family Fun Day – Giveaway!

 taste family funday sunday

Foodie families are invited to bake, paint, learn and create together at this year’s Taste of Melbourne with the launch of the first Family Fun Day on Sunday 3 December!

Taste has curated a fun, information and delicious program in partnership with Electrolux inside leafy Yarra Park outside the MCG.

Highlights include YouTube sensation Grace from popular kids’ channels Grace’s World and Grace’s Room, who will present a live demonstration of one of her favourite recipes and share her creations with young fans afterwards.

Visit the Lurpak Bakery for a lesson in making and baking a danish or shortcrust pastry with premium Lurpak butter (followed by, of course, eating)….

taste family funday sunday

Check out the Cooks’ Corner presented by Meat & Livestock Australia for cooking demonstrations using beef and lamb with a friendly farmer and his giant Akubra.

You can enjoy a picnic under Yarra Park’s canopy of elm trees or reserve a Taste Tipi for a private family sanctuary fitted out with luxe furnishings. It even comes with a butler to deliver drinks!

Finally when all the eating’s done kids can get creative by helping to decorate the giant Taste letters and mini chef hats with bright paint and pens.

Best of all, children aged 14 and under can enter for free accompanied by an adult with a valid entry ticket on Family Funday Sunday 3 December.

Taste of Melbourne Family Fun Day

Yarra Park at the MCG, Marathon Way, East Melbourne

Sunday 3 December 2017

Tickets from $23

Children aged 14 and under can enter for free accompanied by an adult with a valid entry ticket


Thanks to Taste I have 6 x double adult passes to the Taste of Melbourne Family Fun Day on Sunday 3 December (Children aged 14 and under can enter for free accompanied by an adult with a valid entry ticket). Each ticket includes entry into the Family Fun Day Session and a souvenir Taste tumbler.

To win just follow the instructions below. Note that unlike the blog’s standard giveaways you will be signing up for the Taste of Melbourne newsletter as well as the TOT: HOT OR NOT newsletter (and you are free to unsubscribe to either newsletter at any time).

The competition closes midnight Monday 13 November and the winners will be randomly drawn and contacted by email. Winners must respond within 48 hours with their contact details or new winner/s will be drawn. Australian residents only. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What’s on – Friday 3 November to Thursday 9 November

If horse-racing isn’t really your thing, here are 40 ways to enjoy the Melbourne Cup  long weekend with your family! On Monday I’ll be making Spring Racing Carnival inspired headbands with Book Swap Bike at Highpoint – see you there!

If you’re thinking of buying a children’s bike for Christmas then mark your diaries for Saturday 18 November. I’ll be running ByK Bikes test rides and helmet fittings from 10:30-12:30pm in Footscray. Buy on the day and get 10% off and guaranteed Christmas delivery!


  • Southbank Book Sale (Sat 4 Nov – Sun 5 Nov) – Grab yourself a bargain and pick up some pre-loved library books.
  • Queen Street Plaza (Sat 4 Nov – Sun 5 Nov) – A place to sit, eat, have a drink and enjoy free family entertainment right in the heart of the city.
  • ACMI’s Family Sundays (Sun 5 Nov) – day for families to come together and interact with screen culture in all its forms with different theme each month. Full review. 
  • Polly Woodside Pirate Day (Sun 5 Nov) -Dress as a pirate and come help us search for hidden treasure, join in on the pirate games and even scrub the decks!
  • Under 8s Ice Fun (Sun 5 Nov) – unique toddler experience in shoes or skates.
  • Play Pod State Library of Victoria (Fri 3 Nov – 5 Dec) – Play Pod is the SLV’s program for children aged under 8 years with activities to read, create and play. This season’s theme is The Very Noisy Bear.
  • Wallace & Gromit and Friends: The Magic of Aardman (Fri 3 Nov – Sun 29 Jan) – take an extraordinary trip from sketches and models through to elaborate sets as these beloved characters take shape on screen. Full review. 
  • MPavilion (Fri 3 Nov  – Sun 4 Feb 2018) – An event hub, a meeting place and an invitation to experiment, each MPavilion brings creative collaborators together to present a free, four-month program of talks, workshops, performances and installations from October to February.
  • The Pool: Architecture, Culture and Identity ( Fri 3 Nov – Thu 1 Feb 2018) – A multi-sensory installation of water, light, scent and sound, The Pool is an interactive space, complete with wooden decking and pool lounge chairs.
  • Aladdin the Musical (Fri 3 Nov – Sun 22 Oct) – Disney film turned into lavish musical. Read the review.
  • Night Noodle Markets (Thu 9 Nov – Sun 26 Nov ) – all the sights, sounds and smells of an Asian hawker market plus the buzz, hype and vibe of a huge outdoor festival




  • Yarra Valley Railway (Sun 5 Nov) – take a trip on the historic Walker RM22 Railmotor from Healesville to Tunnel Hill. Full review. 
  • Party Time Eastland (Mon 6 Nov – Wed 8 Nov) – Join in the fun with Poppies for Grace’s PARTY TIME. A morning of party craft and games. Free for 3 to 5 years.
  • Moonlit Markets Eastland (Thu 9 Nov) – up to 60 stalls from local designers, artisans and artists. Find an assortment of fashion, jewellery, art, homewares and delights for the kids.


HOT: Princes Gardens, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran

princes gardens prahran

Princes Gardens Prahran is a green oasis just off busy Chapel Street and it has lots of features that make it a great place to hang out with kids for the day.

princes gardens prahran

The skate park at Princes Gardens is one of the most notable skate parks in Melbourne and thus it is very popular on the weekends and school holidays.

princes gardens prahran

Visit on a weekday, however, and you’ll probably have the place to yourself, making it a perfect location for preschoolers practising their bike, scooter and skateboarding skills.

princes gardens prahran

Baby 2.0 spends several hours switching from the mini bowl, the ledges and network of ramps.

princes gardens prahran

princes gardens prahran

He even drags his scooter up to the scary metal vert ramp before realising that it’s a *leeetle* too steep for him!

princes gardens prahran

Next to the skate park there is a basketball court which you can also ride on if no one’s playing.

For spectators the skate park has seating either on the equipment or the single park bench and some natural shade from the surrounding trees. Unfortunately there can be a bit of litter in the area.

princes gardens prahran

Also within Princes Gardens you’ll find a medium sized playground. It features climbing structures, a nest swing and spinners in bright curvy red lines.

princes gardens prahran

Within the park facilities include public toilets, water taps and tennis courts. Adjacent to the park is the independent theatre Chapel Off Chapel – which often hosts family-friendly programming, including the Roola Boola Children’s Arts Festival in July every year – as well as Prahran Pool.

If you need a bite to eat there’s a plethora of choice along and around Chapel Street.

HOT Tips:

  • Skate park and playground suitable for toddlers (though skate park during off peak times only);
  • Suitable for older kids;
  • Basketball court;
  • picnic tables;
  • Toilets ;
  • Water tap; and
  • Time limited free street parking;
  • Walking distance to Chapel Off Chapel;
  • Walking distance to Chapel Street shops and cafes.

Princes Gardens, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran

HOT: Lance Reichstein Playground, Braybrook Park, Churchill Ave, Braybrook

aeroplane playground braybrook

The Lance Reichstein Playground at Braybrook Park was a huge all-weather adventure playground built to look like a plane that vandals burnt down in 2015. Fortunately, it’s recently been reopened with another aeroplane-themed playground, this time with extra features!

aeroplane playground braybrook


It’s a big space, with multiple pieces of equipment suitable for different ages.

The central plane structure is split into four parts.

aeroplane playground braybrook

The cockpit and front section is good for confident climbers and has a long slide…

aeroplane playground braybrook

….the tail and back section is better for little kids…

aeroplane playground braybrook

aeroplane playground braybrook

…and the two wings are two swing sets complete with nest swings.

aeroplane playground braybrook

There is also a tall aviation control tower with twisty slide and toddler slides…

aeroplane playground braybrook

…two popular flying foxes…

aeroplane playground braybrook

….plus a merry go round rope climb surrounded by decorative paper planes that swing in the breeze.

aeroplane playground braybrook

Smaller kids will love the two see-saws, the musical bridge, the numerous plane springers and merry-go-round.

aeroplane playground braybrook

I like how visitors are welcomed to the park in various languages, including Vietnamese, Chinese and Arabic.

aeroplane playground braybrook

Bring your scooter or bike along too as the perimeter of the park has a smooth scooter/bike track as well as various barbecue shelters, picnic tables and a water tap.

aeroplane playground braybrook

The Lance Reichstein Playground at Braybrook Park is a great destination for those little aviation fans. It’s also adjacent to Braybrook Library, one of Melbourne’s best libraries for children, which is also the site of the nearest toilets. There is also a strip of shops across the road on Churchill Avenue.

For more plane-themed playgrounds visit Williams Landing.

Big Fish, one of the designers of the Lance Reichstein Playground (and local to Footscray) also responsible for the dinosaur playground at McNish Reserve Yarraville.

HOT Tips:

  • Suitable for toddlers;
  • Suitable for older kids;
  • bike/scooter track;
  • Sheltered picnic tables and BBQs;
  • Public toilets in Braybrook Community Centre/Braybrook Library next door;
  • Next to Skinners Reserve oval;
  • across the road from Churchill Avenue shops;
  • Water taps; and
  • Free parking on street and off street.

Lance Reichstein Playground, Braybrook Park, Churchill Ave, Braybrook

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