We Review Australian Museum's Playgroups For Babies And Preschoolers
- Mums & Bubs
Did you know the Australian Museum has not one but two weekly playgroups for children? During term time, little ones aged 9 months to 3 years can join the Tiny Tots, or for those aged 3 to 5 years they can join the Mini Explorers. As I have a four year old and an 18 month I recently went along to both on a Friday morning!
We are led by wonderful hosts Charlie and Momo, who are First Nations educators, and the group starts with sitting in a circle and saying thanks to the Gadigal people. Together we sing songs together and clap with the clap sticks which follow the sounds of your heart. The activities are interactive and the kids get to touch real taxidermy animals which was really cool. I love that the playgroup encourages children to explore and touch different things in the museum. I've always thought of museums being a 'don't touch' zone! Allowing the children to be hands-on is a great way of encouraging little ones to understand and care for our world.
During free play, there are lots of books, musical instruments, and things to touch and play with. This was miss 1.5's favourite thing, she didn't quite know where to start, she sat there flipping through books, rolling and throwing balls. It felt like a safe place they could freely play. She also loved the sensory sand in a box. We enjoyed songs from Torres Strait, and these songs are especially beneficial as they teach hand eye coordination.
As a mum it's hard to find things that aren't regular term time classes for this age group that you can just book in on a casual basis. I found that Mini Explorers was interactive and engaging to Miss 4. Her favourite thing was a little walk through the "Surviving Australia" exhibit where all the kids wore a camouflage vest or waist belt or hat.
Part of the Mini Explorer playgroup, it is a fully sensory experience to talk and read about the animals, feel them and see them in the the Museum, followed by a dance of the way they eat and move.
This area is a must do! Allow plenty of time for the kids to explore in Kids Space, which is a positive learning space designed for 0 to 5 year olds (they even have pram parking). It's open 7 days from 10am-4pm (they have storytime at 11am and 2pm daily) and only adults pay, kids are free.
This is the perfect medium for multiple kids because there are pods with different things set up inside. The girls especially loved the tree house, puzzles, craft table and dress-ups. It was especially hard to drag the girls away from this space!
An Extra Tip
Get the code from the Museum for cheap parking on Riley Street nearby! Australian Museum visitors can park at Wilson Parking (70 Riley Street) for $15 Monday – Friday, and $6 for nights and weekends. Perfect when you have a day out in the city plus you'll want to spend more than a few hours at the museum - there is so much to see including dinosaurs, birds, whales and more!
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