9 Fun Rainy Day Activities in Melbourne

Looking for some fun rainy day activities with the children? Read on for our must-visit attractions around Melbourne this winter 👇

Rainy days in Melbourne don’t have to be dreary! Instead of letting the cold weather get you down, embrace the opportunity to get the children out of the house and exploring Melbourne’s vibrant indoor attractions. Not only do these activities get children active, but they also get them engaging with the community and learning all kinds of physical and social skills.

Whether you’re a local or just visiting Melbourne for the weekend, here are our top 9 rainy activities for those wintery days.

1. Melbourne Museum

Take a trip through history and culture at the renowned Melbourne Museum. Explore fascinating exhibits, including natural history, art, science, and Aboriginal culture. Through interactive displays and engaging programs, the Museum offers an educational and entertaining experience for all ages.

Better yet, the Museum introduces children to the vast and fascinating history of our planet. Importantly, that history is pretty cool – filled with amazing creatures and natural events.

If you’re planning on visiting the Museum, be sure to check out the Museum’s Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery. This exhibition is for babies all the way up to age 5, and features hands-on exploration, play-based learning, immersive environments, and unique exhibits the little ones are sure to love!

2. Live Theatre

Worried your child is spending too much time on screens? Take them to the live theatre instead! There are loads of age-appropriate performances for children around Melbourne, from magic shows to Disney on Ice.

Not only are live theatre shows a wonderful day out of the cold, but they also teach children valuable social skills. Unlike television shows or movies that can often overstimulate children, live theatre requires children to exercise concentration and patience, while also boosting their attention spans.

3. Aquarium

Dive into an underwater wonderland at SEA LIFE Melbourne! A trip to the Aquarium introduces your little one to a whole new world filled with breath-talking natural creatures and environments. From majestic sharks to adorable penguins, your child is sure to enjoy this aquatic day out.

Explore interactive exhibits, walk through tunnels surrounded by captivating sea creatures, and learn about the importance of ocean conservation. And who knows – you might just inspire a future marine biologist.

4. Legoland

For Lego enthusiasts over three years of age, the Legoland Discovery Centre is a must-visit this winter. Legoland is an open-ended experience filled with creativity and imagination through an abundance of Lego-themed activities and attractions.

Together, you and your child can build and race Lego cars, explore miniature Lego cities, and construct anything their not-so-little imaginations can conjure – the possibilities are endless. Additionally, Lego boosts children’s fine motor skills and problem-solving abilities, helping them become better learners.

5. Cook Together

Rainy days provide the perfect opportunity to stay indoors and indulge in some culinary creativity. Gather the children, choose a recipe, dust off the whisk and embark on a cooking adventure as a family.

Cooking is also a great learning experience for children. They engage with all kinds of smells, textures, and chemical reactions from the boiling of the pot to the oil floating in water. You can also use this as an opportunity to explore measurements and reading instructions. Additionally, cooking helps children identify different fruits and vegetables, food storage, and general kitchen safety.

Importantly, it teaches children that food can be tasty and good for you.

6. The Library 

Escape the rain by delving into the exciting world of books at one of Melbourne’s many public libraries. Whether you’re raising a little bookworm or just trying to get them away from the screens for an afternoon, libraries offer a peaceful and stimulating environment for children of all ages. Introduce them to captivating board books, discover new authors, or participate in children’s book club discussions and events.

The library is also a great way to meet local families to organise play groups so your little one can make new friends!

7. Get Crafty

A day inside is the perfect opportunity to challenge your child to get crafty. With just a few materials, you can finger paint, stamp craft, or make some clay masterpieces. Arts and crafts are always a hit with children, as it encourages them to explore their creativity and see a project through from start to finish. In other words, it teaches them the nature of cause and effect.

The best part is there’s no right or wrong way – just get your child’s imagination active!

8. ArtVo

Unleash your creativity and immerse your child (and yourself) in the mind-bending optical illusions at ArtVo Melbourne. This interactive art gallery provides a unique experience where you become part of the artwork.

Strike a pose, take amazing photos, and let your imagination run wild as your child explores the captivating 3D paintings. This is the perfect way to introduce children to the mind-bending nature of perspective, geometry, and how things aren’t always as they seem.

9. Museum of Play and Art (MOPA)

Experience a world of creativity and play at the Museum of Play and Art (MOPA). This interactive experience offers hands-on exhibits and activities designed to ignite the imagination of children and adults alike. From sensory play areas to art workshops, it’s a rainy day haven for budding creatives.

And don’t take our word for it. Visit Victoria called MOPA ‘Australia’s most acclaimed Children’s Museum.’ This is a day out you don’t want to miss – they also make a great coffee!

Overall, rainy days in Melbourne don’t have to be dull. With these 9 fun indoor activities, you can make the most of these precious moments with your child, while also staying dry. From live theatre and museums to playing with Lego, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So why not embrace everything that Melbourne has to offer and create some unforgettable memories?

🍃 To tour one of our beautiful Centres, please click here. Otherwise, check out our website to register your interest at Explorers Early Learning today!

11 Sensory Activities in Melbourne this Summer

Looking for some summer activities for the little ones? Read on for our list of 11 sensory activities to check out in Melbourne this summer.

Summer is upon us in Melbourne which means sunny days, kicking off the blankets, the odd thunderstorm and some great opportunities to get out and explore with the family.

Whether it’s indoors or outdoors – sunny or raining – there’s so much to do in summer to get the little ones moving and interacting with their environment. Moreover, the early years are essential for developing children’s creativity and sensory perception, so we’ve listed some fun activities around Melbourne to engage the little one’s senses this summer!

1. Museum of Play and Art (MoPA)

MoPA is an interactive learning experience for children of all ages. Accordingly, the museum has child-safe play spaces, rainbow tunnels, craft stations, cityscapes, confetti slides and an onsite café! Additionally, MoPA is Reggio Emilia inspired, referencing Loris Malaguzzi’s focus on ‘the importance of play and creativity in early learning.’

MoPA, located in Melbourne and Geelong, is open 9am-5pm seven days a week over the school holidays.

2. Scienceworks

Scienceworks is a science and technology museum designed to inspire and educate young minds. Although the museum is suitable for ages 5 and up, Scienceworks and Baby Sensory have teamed up this summer for an immersive experience for ages 0-13 months. These sessions, as part of their Little Kids Day In program, are filled with ‘gentle exercise, much-loved games, and end with a sensory filled celebration.

3. Imaginaria

Imaginaria is a walk-through play experience for children of all ages. They can freely roam this interactive indoor display filled with soothing sounds and multi-dimensional light. Above all, Imaginaria is a shining example of how art and audio-visual play spaces encourage creativity and imagination in children. These skills are vital for success later in life.

4. Melbourne Museum

There’s always something happening at the Melbourne Museum. Their daily exhibitions feature all kinds of cool science and historical displays such as skeletons, fossils, artefacts and interactive displays.

Additionally, this summer the Melbourne Museum are showcasing the Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery. This autism-friendly exhibition features ‘hands-on exploration and discovery, open-ended play-based learning, extraordinary immersive environments and unique museum collection objects.’

5. Monet & Friends at THE LUME

We love art at Explorers – especially impressionism. Therefore, our Little Impressionist program encourages children to explore the impressionist (and post-impressionist) styles of Monet and Van Gogh to express themselves through art and colour.

To see the power of this art for yourself, why not take your little one to the Monet & Friends exhibit at THE LUME? Overall, this exhibition of life, light and colour feels like you’re stepping inside one of his famous paintings!

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LEGO is a fantastic way to improve children’s fine and gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving and teamwork. Moreover, LEGO has psychological benefits, as children imagine, plan and build intricate creations.

Lastly, LEGOLAND’s enclosed spaces and interactive environments are suitable for children aged 3 – 10, just remember to always supervise younger children to prevent choking hazards.

7. SEA LIFE Melbourne

Summer is the perfect time to visit SEA LIFE Melbourne to enjoy the interactive Pirate Treasure Hunt. This journey takes you around the aquarium, seeing and learning all about the ocean, its creatures and the delicate ecosystem which binds it all together.

Moreover, a trip to the aquarium is a wonderful way to teach children the importance of sustainability and preserving the natural world.

8. Jurassic Park High Tea

Is your child going through a dinosaur phase? Langham Melbourne are hosting a one-of-a-kind, Jurassic Park themed high tea for the little ones. You’ll find Dinosaur Trifle, Jungle Nasturtium Ham and Cheese Sandwiches, Black Rock Arancini and so much more!

Dietary alternatives are available, but the most spellbinding part of the experience is the atmosphere and attention-to-detail. For instance, you’ll find dry ice mist, leaves, toy dinosaurs and earthy tones, making this a truly immersive prehistoric experience.

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9. Pixar Putt

Toy StoryMonsters IncSoulLuca and The Incredibles. Are any of these movies playing on repeat in your household? If so, this Pixar-themed golf course is a must-visit this summer! With a range of terrains and environments, the whole family can enjoy a day of mini-golf featuring your favourite Pixar characters.

Pixar Putt is located in Frankston, with a choice of either 9 or 18 holes. Just remember that this family-friendly outing is only available until February 5, so get in while you can!

10. Hire a Boat

What’s more Melbournian taking a cruise down the Yarra River? The sound of the water, the gentle sway of the boat and seeing the city from a completely different point-of-view is the perfect summer activity!

GoBoat, and other businesses like ON A BOAT and Melbourne Boat Hire, allow you to hire and drive your very own boat for the day (no boating licence required)! These trips are pet-friendly and suitable for newborns, so you can bring the whole family on this nautical adventure.

11. Christmas Festival

No list of immersive summer activities would be complete without Christmas! Each year the City of Melbourne hosts the annual month-long Christmas Festival. Naturally, the city goes all out and the CBD comes to life with the festive spirit.

Alternatively, you can always take your little ones to see the Christmas lights around your local neighbourhood! Above all, there’s nothing like a summer evening walk with the family, taking in the lights, the sound of cicadas and the starry night.

🍃 To tour one of our beautiful Centres, please click here. Otherwise, check out our website to register your interest at Explorers Early Learning today!

Why Your Child Should Get Active this Spring

Spring is ideal for getting the little ones active, but how much exercise is enough? Read on to learn the science of why it’s so important to get the little one’s moving this spring.

Spring is the perfect time to get outside, stretch your legs and smell the flowers with the family. While it’s a great opportunity to reconnect with nature, it’s also a wonderful way to get your little ones moving so they can lead an active and healthy lifestyle.

Remember, your child doesn’t have to play organised sports or gymnastics to get active. Rather, the key is to get them moving more and sitting down less to experience all the physical, psychological and developmental benefits of an active life.

1. How Much Exercise is Enough?

Firstly, you may be asking yourself, how much exercise do children really need? According to Better Health Victoria, the amount of recommended exercise for children varies by age group:

  • Babies (birth to 1 year) – no set time required; however, it’s encouraged to get babies active with supervised floor-based play in safe environments.
  • Toddlers (1-3 years) and pre-schoolers (3-5 years) – at least three hours spread throughout the day.
  • Children (5-12 years) and teenagers (13-17 years) – at least one hour of moderate to vigorous activity throughout the day. For additional health benefits, up to three hours.

But what exactly is exercise? Well, leading experts define exercise as ‘any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure.’ In other words, anything that quickens your breath and spikes your heart rate is exercise – so don’t stress if your child isn’t bucketing with sweat.

2. Types of Active Play

There are countless types of active play, so don’t feel limited! Playground play, dancing, climbing, crawling, backyard cricket, tiggy, bike riding, skateboarding and swimming are just a few examples.

  • Babies (birth to 1 year) – no set time required; however, it’s encouraged to get babies active with supervised floor-based play in safe environments.
  • Toddlers (1-3 years) and pre-schoolers (3-5 years) – at least three hours spread throughout the day.
  • Children (5-12 years) and teenagers (13-17 years) – at least one hour of moderate to vigorous activity throughout the day. For additional health benefits, up to three hours.

But what exactly is exercise? Well, researchers at Public Health Reports define exercise as ‘any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure.’ In other words, anything that gets your child moving is exercise – so don’t stress if your child isn’t bucketing with sweat.

The trick is to discover and nurture the activity your child enjoys. You might’ve loved basketball growing up, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your child will too. They might love gardening or skipping rope or running around in circles pretending they’re a dinosaur. Encourage their chosen activity and reward them by doing it together!

Here are just some of the many benefits of active play:

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3. Better Sleep Quality

Steady exercise has been regularly linked with improved length, and more importantly, quality of sleep. The more energy they burn throughout the day, the quicker they’ll doze off when it’s time for bed.

Sleep is a vital part of children’s physical and neurological development. Toddlers are recommended to get anywhere between 12 to 13 hours of sleep per day, so making sure they’re getting quality sleep is crucial.

Children’s Health Queensland suggest that children who don’t get enough sleep ‘may be easily distracted, irritable, disruptive or generally hyperactive and restless,’ and argue that a ‘lack of healthy sleep has been linked to mental health problems, poor growth, excessive weight gain, and reduced school performance.’

4. Improved Intelligence

new study recently suggested that regular aerobic and resistance training may actually boost intelligence in children. Researchers at the University of Granada gathered a group of 109 children aged 8-11 and placed them into two groups:

  • Control group: usual routine over a 20-week period.
  • Exercise group: participated in a 20-week cardiovascular and resistance training program consisting of three supervised 90-minute sessions per week.

The results were remarkable, as the exercise group showed significantly improved:

  • Crystalised intelligence (stored knowledge)
  • Fluid intelligence (problem solving)
  • Cognitive flexibility (ability to switch thought processes to adapt to different situations)

Overall, the study found that general intelligence was considerably boosted by exercise sessions just three times per week. Programs such as Auskick, local sporting clubs, scouts and many others are a great way to achieve this, as well as building teamwork and collaboration skills. However, playing at home also works (just make sure it’s consistent)

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5. Muscle and Bone Strength

While any exercise is great for strengthening bones and muscles in children, it’s best to engage in weight-bearing activities. Although your two-year-old won’t be spotting you at the bench press, they can run, hike, dance or play team sports.

Bone and muscle strength are essential to children’s growth and physical development. In fact, the bones in children actively absorb nutrients and minerals to develop bone density – a process that doesn’t stop until their late 20s!

6. Reduced Health Risks

Being active at an early age gives your child the best possible chance at leading a long and healthy life. Regular exercise in childhood and adolescence has regularly been linked to reduced risk of:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Obesity

Moreover, regular exercise and a balanced diet have been proven to reduce the likelihood of children developing anxiety and depressive disorders later in life. If you’d like to read up on some techniques to begin a healthy dialogue with your child about mental health, be sure to check out our R U OK? Day blog post!

In conclusion, there’s countless benefits to getting your child active this spring and beyond. Regular exercise makes them fitter, smarter and gives them the tools to succeed. The secret is to find a way to make them actually want to exercise, so it doesn’t feel like a chore!

🍃 To tour one of our beautiful Centres, please click here. Otherwise, check out our website to register your interest at Explorers Early Learning today!

Rug Up: How to Dress Your Child this Winter

Winter’s back! To fight off the runny noses, read on so your little ones are all rugged up for the chilly times ahead.

Winter is upon us in Melbourne. The puffer jacket’s out of the closet, soup is back on the menu and you need to give yourself a pep talk just to crawl out of bed. With temperatures reaching the lowest in years, it’s vital that you and your little ones are all rugged up for the chilly times ahead. 

We’ve compiled some handy tips to dress your child this winter without breaking the bank.

Layers of Winter Clothing  

When picking clothes, it’s important to remember the three layers of clothing for children:  

  • Base layer: underwear, singlets, stockings, socks, etc. – this layer protects the skin from irritation, fits snugly and wicks away moisture. 
  • Mid layer: shirts, vests, lightweight wool, pants, etc. – this layer provides warmth, insulates body heat and doesn’t add much bulk.  
  • Outer layer: waterproof jacket, boots, gloves, beanie, etc. – this layer keeps wind and moisture away and makes up most of the bulk. It’s essential that this layer is waterproof and durable.  

Remember: it’s better to have too many layers than not enough, because layers can always be removed. The last thing you want is your child shivering at the park, on a playdate or in childcare for lack of a jacket!  

This is doubly important as some children aren’t verbal yet – or have learning disabilities – so they may not be able to communicate to an adult or Educator that they’re actually cold. It’s always best to err on the side of caution and rug up (just make sure to label each layer so they don’t end up in the lost property box at childcare!). 

A handy rule of thumb for toddlers is to consider how many layers you would need to keep yourself warm, then add one more.

The Winter Essentials  

  • Undershirts are a wonderful and cost-effective base layer to keep your child warm – especially for babies. Leggings and long sleeve shirts are a handy fit for all ages and sizes.   
  • Winter jackets are a must for outer layers – just be mindful of the size and material to avoid sweat chills. 
  • Woolly socks are perfect for frosty weather, but make sure they’re fitted tightly to avoid slipping on wooden floors (especially when playing games). However, socks are not the item to splurge on in winter; they go missing, they turn up with mysterious holes and they’re likely to get muddy and sopping wet when swimming in a puddle-filled gumboot. We recommend you opt for quantity here. 
  • Fleece-lined pants are a terrific choice as they’re light, breath well and are easy to clean and dry. Although more durable – avoid jeans. When wet they get heavy and can take a very long time to dry out.   
  • Gloves and beanies are a must this winter, but make sure any headgear covers the ears! 
  • Gumboots – an Australian classic for a reason. They’re durable, waterproof and come in a range of colours and designs. If it’s not going to be wet, you can’t go wrong with some trusty runners!  
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Best Winter Clothing Materials  

The right choice of material is important to ensure comfort, warmth and to reduce irritation. Merino wool is an ideal underlayer as its odour-resistant, breaths well, naturally insulates and is super soft – so no need to worry about itchy skin! 

Synthetics such as polyester and Gore-Tex materials work well as an outer layer due to their waterproof nature, which is perfect for rain, outdoor activities and is durable enough for playdates and childcare. Avoid cotton as it insulates poorly, absorbs moisture and traps it to the skin, which actually makes you colder. 

TOG Rating   

If you’re wanting to dig deeper, you may want to explore the Thermal Overall Grade (TOG) – a standard unit of measurement to indicate a garment’s thermal insulation. This can help give you a map of what kind of clothes, and what combination, will work for your child without making them too hot. If you would like to read more about TOG ratings, click here.  

Our Educators at Explorers Early Learning always keep an eye on the little ones – especially outdoors – to ensure they’re properly fitted for all conditions. Additionally, the temperature of our rooms are carefully controlled so no child is too hot or too cold to learn and play. 

🍃 To tour one of our beautiful Centres, please click here. Otherwise, check out our website to register your interest at Explorers Early Learning today!