Engage Your Children With The Arts These School Holidays at the MCA

By: Kylie Purtell, ellaslist explorer

If your kids love to do arts & crafts then look no further for a fun family day out than the Contemporary Kids Art Workshops at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Sydney!

When we first arrived at the MCA we headed up to Level 3 and were greeted by the wonderful educators running the workshop. The girls (3.5 & 5 years old) were each given a clipboard and a pencil and sent off in search of two installations to gather inspiration for our own artworks later. We set off to the The National 2017: New Australian Art Exhibition just down the hall and followed the Family Trail until we found the installations we were looking for. After checking out the other artworks along the way we sat down to draw some of our own ideas for the workshop, Different Dimensions.

Welcome To Another Dimension

Back at the workshop space we were taken down a magical red hallway filled with windows & doors and were told to prepare ourselves for a Different Dimension! The girls thought the windows & doors were very cool, and excitedly chose their favourites. Once we entered the workshop space we discovered a room filled with everything we needed to create our own mini world that could be added to the growing installation in the corner. Armed with scissors, tape, cardboard, coloured paper and all sorts of recycled craft materials, Miss 5 was super excited to get to work creating her "Computer Flower Tower"!.

Kids Can Experiment With Art & Sound

Along with the tables set up for creating artworks & sculptures there was also a table with iPads where the kids could record what they thought their different dimension might sound like. This was Miss 3.5's favourite part, and she had a lot of fun recording her voice and singing songs once she'd finished with her own crafting. We then explored the crazy new city that kids from all over Sydney have been helping to create in the workshop.

We Didn't Want To Leave!

Once Miss 5's artwork was complete she spent a bit of time checking out the other artworks before deciding where she wanted hers to sit within the display. We were all very impressed with the creativity & imagination of the other artworks in the Different Dimension and it was with great reluctance that we headed back out through the red hallway to experience some of the other exhibitions & attractions the MCA had to offer.

Time For A Bite To Eat

After the workshop we headed up to the MCA Café for lunch. I was really impressed with not only the view from the MCA Cafe but also the selection and price of food in the cafe. It was no more expensive than any other cafe we've visited in and around Sydney before. The meals were super tasty & arrived hot & fast to our table.

Plenty To Check Out At The MCA

Our favourite exhibition in the gallery was Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday, an exhibition of works from the MCA's own collection. It was filled with some amazing pieces, the favourites being Manuhiri (Travellers) by Fiona Hall (a selection of found wood in the shapes of various animals, we had lots of fun saying which animal we thought each piece looked like) and Manbuynga by Barayuwa Munungurr (the girls were pretty sure they could see mermaids within this sculptural mural).

The Perfect Way To Introduce Kids To The Arts

I would never have thought to take really young children to an art gallery but the Contemporary Kids Art Workshop was a really great way to introduce them to it, and gave them the opportunity of being hands-on in a safe space, as well as an appreciation for the different ways artists express themselves. They both had a really great time and are keen to visit again. Best of all, once you've bought your ticket (family tickets are $15 and gain entry for 2 adults & up to 3 kids) to the Different Dimensions workshop you can come back and visit again and again at any time while the workshop is running, even on different days, all for the price of the one ticket!

Top Tips For Visiting The MCA:

  • The MCA facilities are really clean & tidy, and there is an accessible bathroom on each level with a kid-friendly toilet and nappy-changing station.

  • There are some great kid's options on the menu at the MCA Cafe and it's definitely worth the visit for lunch.

  • A visit to the MCA is probably best kept for kids 3 years & up. Make sure you keep a close eye on them while checking out the exhibitions in the galleries, hand-holding to make sure curious fingers don't touch the artworks is recommended.

What You Need To Know

Where: 140 George St, The Rocks

Opening Hours: Monday-Tuesday: 10am-5pm; Wednesday: 10am-9pm; Thursday-Sunday: 10am-5pm

Costs: $18/family, $14/members, $2 per additional child (plus boking fees). Babies up to 1 year are free.