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Ground Up Scienceworks

HOT: Ground Up: Building Big Ideas, Together, Scienceworks

Ground Up: Building Big Ideas, Together at Scienceworks is a permanent exhibition that’s focused on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) learning for children under 5 years.

Ground Up Scienceworks children's area

Scienceworks has a permanent children’s area dedicated to 0-5 year olds (so long, Nitty Gritty Super City) and it is awesome!

Ground Up Scienceworks children's area

Ground Up: Building Big Ideas, Together is a screen-free space where little future innovators can develop foundational science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). It’s part of Scienceworks’ $6 million gallery redevelopment in 2017-2018.

Ground Up Scienceworks children's area

Ground Up uses sensory play, construction play and imaginative play to engagement science, engineering and coding skills – the skills of future jobs.

Ground Up Scienceworks children's area

There’s also a particular focus on engaging girls in STEM activities because research shows girls as young as four already have a gender bias in thinking about future careers.

Ground Up Scienceworks children's area

So you’ll find that the space emphasises collaboration, uses gender-neutral colours and has a female ambassador, Dot.

Ground Up Scienceworks children's area

Instead of screens children use simple machines and real materials to engage with scientific-technological concepts. There are lots of opportunities to encourage testing, tinkering and problem-solving – like when your Mum refuses to help you build your wall when it’s taller than you….and so you build a stable pedestal instead!

Ground Up Scienceworks children's area


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While Ground Up is divided into three broad age and activity zones for 0-5 year olds, both Baby 2.0 (who’s almost 5) and Lady AB (who’s almost 7) enjoyed the gallery, including:

Ground Up Scienceworks children's area

…Flight Tubes where children can create contraptions to fly in huge wind tubes…

Ground Up Scienceworks children's area

…Car Wash: where children use gears to activate giant blue car wash brushes, learning that small movements can have a big effect in a large environment….

Ground Up Scienceworks children's area

…Build: based on the much-loved exhibit from Nitty-Gritty, children can work collaboratively to build walls with foam blocks using conveyor belts, pulley-systems and wheelbarrows. This is Baby 2.0’s favourite activity.

Ground Up Scienceworks children's area

Not to mention the hundreds of light-switches you can flick on and off!

Ground Up Scienceworks children's area

My only niggle about the gallery is that there’s no natural light in a particularly dark corner of the museum. Can’t be helped given the design of the building – but maybe head outside for snacks and lunch. There are spacious accessible toilets and change facilities within the area.

Ground Up: Building Big Ideas, Together is a permanent gallery at Scienceworks. Adult entry to the museum is $15; children and concession holders receive free entry. There is no extra charge for the gallery.

Read my reviews of other fun at Scienceworks – Beyond Perception and Little Sparks early years STEM workshops

Click here for my reviews of the best child-friendly cafes near Scienceworks – Duchess of Spotswood and Doyle and Sons

HOT Tips:

  • Pram parking is available at the cloakroom free of charge, along with storage for large bags;
  • You can park your pram inside the area, most parents seem to put their pram along the walls or  under the climbing structure, out of the way.
  • There are spacious accessible toilets and change facilities within the area.
  • Give yourself and your kids plenty of time to explore the new gallery. Baby 2.0 was there for 1 hours. It is aimed particularly at kids aged from birth to five but children (and adults!) of all ages will enjoy the space;
  • There is a small cafe offering drinks and light snacks; there’s also seating inside and out for people to eat. The kids lunchboxes ($9.50) are a hit with my kids and include a sandwich, fruit drink, choice of piece of fruit and cookie. If you’re a Museums Victoria member you get 10% discount and you can swap the fruit drink for bottled water.

I hope this post has helped or inspired you! Subscribe to my weekly newsletter to find out more ways for your family to have fun together!

cropped Kristyna Hess Lockdown Portraits x

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. […] new permanent children’s gallery ‘Ground Up‘ is ah-mazing fun for toddlers and preschoolers […]

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