These Melbourne Small Businesses Will Make Your School Holidays At Home Easier

If you’re stuck at home and looking for ways to entertain kids without leaving the house, here’s a guide to the Melbourne-based small businesses that are part of the #TOTSquad community! They offer online classes, workshops, activity packs, gift vouchers, delivery services and more. 

I have met many of these business owners in real life. They are a wonderfully passionate, hard-working bunch who’ve all had to adapt and pivot rapidly to keep their businesses afloat. I’m inspired by their resilience in spite of everything.

Small Business Answer The Call

Go forth and support these (and other) local small businesses as much as you’re able and feel good knowing that when you shop with them, you’re supporting a dream.


Melbourne Small Businesses – Food & Cooking

Local Pantry Co

We have brownie making kits, seeds and seed kits and Australian themed Children’s books in our online store, delivery available Australia wide.

Local Pantry Co Preston Market

‘We are primarily a bricks-and-mortar store in Preston Market. Without orders from our website, we will have no way to pay out rent and as a tiny small business supporting hundreds of Australian makers, growers and artists, this will break my heart.’ – Melanie Murcott


La Bellissima Pasta

We are a family run food business located in Werribee that manufactures pasta (ravioli, tortellini, gnocchi, spaghetti and much more), pizza, lasagna, pastries (cannoli, Italian biscuits, tarts, vanilla slices and much more). Our retail shop is located at shop 3, 41/45 Railway avenue Werribee 3030. All our products are packaged and ready to take home to cook for your family form either fresh or frozen and we are offering delivery too. 

‘As we are a convenience/grocer we are remaining open. We have plenty of stock of refrigerated and frozen items so please come in and get what you need. These times are challenging and uncertain for everyone however at this stage we are continuing to make our products. Grazie, La Bellissima Family’ – Vincent Dilorenzo


Boutique Cake Art

We are offering cake care packages and DIY cupcake decorating kits with free local delivery around Melbourne’s inner west!

Boutique Cake Art

“I have a small business in an industry which is currently crumbling under the stress of postponed events. We currently have an empty calendar with months of stock ready for you!

Cake care packages and Kiddie DIY Cupcake decorating kits have just been launched with both free (no contact) local delivery and flat rate delivery options available. We need to sell 60 of these DIY cupcake kits a week to survive as a business. If you ever want to try our cakes or are an avid fan now is your time to show your support in the sweetest way you can.” – Christina Blaby


Melbourne Authors & Booksellers

Real Kids, Real Play by Jack & Lu’s

Real Kids, Real Play is a book of over 150 activities to do around the home with household items. It is not just crafts, but energetic, STEM, fine motor activities and preschool experiments. It also contains play recipes such as bath paints, playdough, window paints etc. It is labelled 0-5yo but extends to about 8yo.

Realkidsrealplay 3d

‘Real Kids, Real Play has been endorsed by Maggie Dent and a number of early childhood and primary educators. It is available in hard copy for immediate delivery, but the ebook has also just been released on Kindle, Kobo and Apple Books. If you buy direct from us online then we get a bigger share of the royalties!’ – Alice Zsembery


Books By Amal

Children’s Books that promote the importance of religious and cultural understanding for a more tolerant society.

Books By Amal

‘As an author, I hoped my books would be used as a way to educate and enlighten readers. With sales dwindling and schools shutting down, I’m not able to do author visits, schools are not using my books in their classrooms and online sales have gone down to less than one a week.’ – Amal Abou-Eid



Melbourne Small Businesses – Art & Craft Activities


Our make-it-yourself Paper Puppet kits allow kids to be creative, use their imaginations, play and have fun. With the puppets are available in multiple ways covering ages 3 through to 12+, they cover a range of educational development areas too like hand-eye coordination (scissor cutting skills), following instructions etc. Take the exercise further and extend the experience with story writing with their puppets and put on a puppet show / play for the whole family.

Designed and created by a mum for her kids and yours to get our kids creating something with their hands – being creative – and all without a screen in sight!


‘I created this business 10 years ago to make creative play with your kids as easy as possible. The kits will be sent to your door and all you have to do is open the box and it’s ready to go – all you’ll need is the kids favourite textas or pencils to finish off their creations. I make all the packs myself so if there’s something particular you are needing or looking for and it’s not listed please get in touch.’ – Hollie Drake-Brockman


Little Art Yurt

I offer downloadable Art Kits for all ages!

Little Art Yurt Yarraville

‘I absolutely love sharing about different artists, their lives and amazing masterpieces with the children I teach in my little yurt. Sadly, I’ve had to unexpectedly cancel all my current classes. But it’s ok. Art is always around and the yurt may be closed, but my art kits can come to you!

I’ve created these simple-to-understand, colourful artist exploration kits, suitable for children ages 4 and up. To be honest, even 3-year-olds can benefit from these kits as they could learn along with parents. Teens and adults can use it too! Each downloadable lesson comes with 3 specially-designed pages, each filled with an artist’s info/story, some artwork examples, brainstorm questions, and of course… an activity of which you can work on from the comfort of your own home. Super fun, super do-able. From my little Yurt to you via the interwebs! :)’ – Dawn Tan


Plane Play

High-quality activities and busy bags to keep kids busy whilst at home, helping parents to work from home. We post daily to customers!

Plane Play

Little Art Big Art

Online art projects for toddlers, primary school students, high school and adults!

little art big art

‘Little Art Big Art is usually a bubbling art studio where families, kids and adults come to enjoy art creating. It’s a place where some children come to socialise in a non intrusive or competitive environment. It’s a place where parties make a child’s birthday a special memory. 

The biggest loss I will have personally is not being able to see my students, to give them a high five or for them to give me a hug, to have the social conversations with the children or their parents! Financially, like many others, I lose my income yet I have a rent and overheads to pay. I hope to just be able to pay my bills through the sale of art supplies and online classes. Yes, there will be free projects, but there will also be paid subscriptions in order to pay my bills. Thanks in advance for any support you can offer, even a virtual hug means a lot!!’ – Rachael Morris



Reusable colour-in silicone placemat for hours of doodling fun. HeyDoodle mats come in various themes around the ABCs and 123s to create an activity that is inviting and engaging.


“I used to run HeyDoodle out of hours and work part-time during the day. Unfortunately, I have just been made redundant – so now more then ever I need to channel my focus into HeyDoodle. It is a product that I believe in, my two young children love it, and best of all, it is eco-conscious and endlessly reusable.” – Beatrice Toh


Melbourne Babies & Kids Online Stores

Bambino Love

We make mealtimes FUN times and enjoyable.

Welcome to Bambino Love. We have an extensive range of eco-friendly, zero waste lunch boxes, drinking bottles, insulated cooler bags & cute bento accessories that inspire your endless lunch creation. We also sell a range of educational toys!

Laq Dinosaur Stegosaurus Model 1600x 7895fc22 C697 4ceb Af5d C368c47b5e9c

‘As many of the small business in Australia, when you shop with us, you are helping us bringing food on the table for our family and keep going through this tough season. Thank you for shopping small.’ – Angeline


Little Woods

We are a small, local business who celebrate eating for families and design products that make mealtime more fun for kids and more convenient for parents.

Little Woods Colour Mat

The Colour Mat is a silicone placemat that can be coloured with the 4 markers included. It can be wiped cleaned and used over and over again.


Supreme Incursions

We are a team of qualified teachers who run educational incursions to multiple schools per day. We are creating a large pack of hands on activities for children to do . All curriculum aligned. We are also selling Billy Cart Kits with free education packs. 

Billy Cart Kits Supreme Incursions

‘We have over 11 years of teaching experience and it is highly likely that we have visited your children at their school during an incursion. We are passionate about engaging children through hands-on learning. Our team is creating a timetable of activities so that your children never get bored! Our activities are differentiated, which means there are tasks that suit all ages. Our much loved Billy Cart Kits are an amazing way to keep your children busy as they assemble, ride, design, decorate and disassemble their carts as many times as they like!’ – Melissa Oliphant


Melbourne Small Businesses – Online STEM Science, Technology Engineering & Maths Activities

SciencePlay Kids

Science-based videos and activities for 3-10yos (with extensions for older kids) as part of a monthly subscription that’s less than the price of a coffee a week! You can also purchase science kits for guided experiments at home.

SciencePlay Kids

‘My vision is for every child to have the opportunity to fall in love with science regardless of their academic ability. My vision is for every child, across the full scale of neurodiversity, to experience how cool science is. My vision is for every child to understand that science and creativity are best friends. My vision is for play to be part of science education.’ Dr Lorien Parker


Number Doctors

Online course for parents of children in their first year of school. Learn about the maths taught in Prep and fun hands-on maths games to play at home to support your child’s learning.

Number Doctors

‘Parents know to read a book with their children, but thinking of ideas for maths fun can be challenging. If your child has just started school and you want to keep up the excitement and momentum from their first term of learning… this course is perfect for you:)’ – Dr Ange Rogers


Melbourne Online Music, Dance & Theatre for Kids

Baby Love Music Fun

Online music classes for parents at home with babies, toddlers and preschoolers. We have live streaming and a subscriber channel for unlimited viewing.

baby music love fun

‘Baby Love Music Fun has suffered badly. We had to cancel classes, our upcoming Easter concert and birthday parties. We are not sure when we will reopen. In the meantime last week we responded quickly and created BLMF Tv where we were able to livestream our classes to our members at home. The result was exciting and feedback was great. The kids still found it really engaging and interactive. We are now considering going ahead with our Easter concert as a live stream. With your help to share our TV channel we actually feel excited and hopeful that our program could help a lot of parents get through what is going to be a really intense time. The classes are designed for parents spend high-quality time interacting and doing the music class with their child or baby and in the tv format it enhances one of the elements our program seeks to do.’ – Melanie Maslin 


Hobsons Bay Music Academy

We are offering live online instrumental and music classes for students from the age of 4 years. Instruments that our qualified teachers can teach include Piano/ keyboard, guitar (acoustic/electric/bass), violin, singing, drums, saxophone, trumpet and flute.  We will also offer live online art/craft lessons for students of all ages from the age of 4 years.

Hobsonsbaymusicacademy Piano Lessons Altona North

‘I created our music school as I strongly believe that music is a powerful medium through which we can empower students to believe in themselves, to grow in confidence through performance and learn the value of perseverance and courage to face and overcome their fears. I believe the stimulation offered through the arts should continue now more than ever to offer a creative and expressive outlet to our students at home from school. Our online music and arts education program involving qualified engaging teachers in real-time will enable all students to receive the quality education they deserve from the comfort and safety of their own homes.’ – Mary Mastos 


Carp Productions

A series of filmed performances of popular children’s stories [eg: fairytales/classic picture books] with the use of props/costumes/actors for children aged 3-10, as close as possible to our on-stage performances. The stories will be approximately 10 minutes long, and offered for free at this stage.

Carp Productions

‘We run a Melbourne based Children’s Theatre Company and perform for schools, libraries, kinders and festivals. As these venues are all closed, we currently have no income. More than anything, the children need to laugh at this stressful time. We hope they can enjoy watching our stories and that this might inspire them to act out their own stories or read the books we focus on. It is our hope that once we are able to perform live again they will remember to book us for their venues!’ – Caroline Smart


Melbourne Online Active Classes for Kids

Jeongsin Taekwondo

Online taekwondo classes.

Jeongsin Takewondo

‘This is the first time in 15years of teaching martial arts to the inner west community that I have had to turn my students away. But fear not I will go online and keep everyone kicking their way through to the next chapter with some online classes. Granted it won’t be a full production but just like my lessons it will be real and a whole lot of fun!!’ – Kristy Busuttil


The Balanced Mum

Yoga classes specifically designed for primary school-aged children. Through individual movement and partner poses with parents and siblings, children will learn mindful movement, breathing and relaxation exercises which cultivate a calm mind and improve gross and fine motor skills and help them understand how to identify and use tools within that help to release stress.

‘Like most of us in casual work, as a yoga teacher and a parent of two primary school-aged children, I rely on classes for an income and now I’m temporarily left me unemployed. Let’s use this opportunity to share what we have. Our talents, our love, our energy and any resources we might be able to spare. Let’s think local, support each other and stay connected. ??? My gift to you is yoga and meditation on my Facebook page. If you head over to The Balanced Mum you will find live videos I’ve posted for you to access. If you feel the classes have supported you, your child and your kin in any way, then feel free to make a donation that you see fitting to my PayPal account the.mindful.yogi.aus@gmail.com’ – Laura Dixon


Dance Habit

Online dance classes for the whole family to enjoy in whatever space you have available to you.

Dance Habit

‘We have had to close our doors but still have numerous staff and huge commercial rent and overheads to continue paying. An extended period of forced closure could see us go under. We are committed to our community and hope to bring some joy to the families of the inner west in the only way possible in this climate. Online dance is here!!’ – Megan Jessop


Little Bees Dance

We are no longer running face to face classes but are developing online videos to help entertain all the little ones at home! Just join our private Facebook group! – Kumari Mangos


Melbourne Small Businesses – Mental Health Support

Launch Psychology

We are taking referrals for online consultations. We can help support adults and children in the community to cope with increased stress and anxiety during this time. 

‘Although clients will not be able to attend face to face appointments with psychologists, it is an important time to look after mental health and well-being. We encourage people to access online consultations to get the support they need.’ – Daniela De Fazio


Ready Set Learn

The Resilient Kids Program assists children ages 4 – 9 to recognise, understand and regulate their emotions to become more resilient. Children will also develop skills to become more socially confident.

‘I have been so proud to have assisted children on their journey navigating their social and emotional world to foster resilience. My programs are usually conducted face to face with a group of children. Given the current circumstances and the need to keep our community safe I am unable to do this, so I am moving my evidence-based programs online. I know that parents and children are going to need support in the areas of resilience, emotional regulation and wellbeing more so than ever! I want everyone to know that I am here to support your kiddos (and you) by continuing to teach during this unprecedented and challenging time. All the best to everyone. Xo ‘ – Emma Butler

If you own a Melbourne-based small business that offers a product or service that helps families keep kids entertained during the school holidays please out this short form so that I can feature you. 

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About Joyce Watts

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.

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