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MCA Contemporary Kids Workshop
Photograph: Anna Kucera

The best virtual and at-home activities for kids in Melbourne

Try these fun and educational virtual and at-home activities with your kids during lockdown

By Adena Maier
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If your kids are bummed about being cooped up at home during lockdown, gather the family and try out some of these fun online and at-home activities. Pretend you're going on an excursion to one of Melbourne's zoos with cute animal live streams and zoo talks or try your hand at some science experiments and arts and crafts activities. 

Looking for more fun things to do during lockdown 5.0? Check out our guide on all of the best activities to do from home.

Best at-home and virtual activities for kids

Scienceworks kids
Eamon Gallagher

Try a fun science experiment or craft from Museums Victoria

Museums Victoria has put together a number of YouTube videos that can guide you and your child through some fun science experiments and crafts. Make slime, dye some eggs, craft an air cannon or learn to tie-dye some masks. Between activities, the team has also included educational videos that explain concepts like why bubbles are so colourful and how our lungs work. 

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An image of three magpies on an abstract background of blues and browns
Photograph: © Ammie Howell and BJ O’Toole

Catch an online screening of Parrwang Lifts the Sky

Music Classical and opera Your Place, Melbourne

The sound of magpies warbling at dawn is a sound that's familiar to many Australians. But did you know that according to the Wadawurrung people, the magpie is actually responsible for the sunrise? Arts Centre Melbourne is presenting Parrwang Lifts the Sky, an all-ages opera you can stream at home. The opera is based on a traditional Wadawurrung tale about a magpie – Parrwang  who hatches a plan with his new human friends Tjatjarrang (Big Sister) and Koki (Brother) to raise the sky from the ground and lift the world out of darkness. 

Walks, Plenty Gorge
Photograph: Belinda VanZanen/Parks Victoria

Go for a walk and get some fresh air

Things to do Walks and tours

Tucker your kids out and show them some of Melbourne's natural beauty with one of these walking tracks that range in duration. The following trails show off sides of Melbourne’s inner city and close-by suburbs that you may not have explored yet, so lace up your comfy shoes and head out as a family. Just make sure they're located within your 5km bubble.

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Melbourne zoo seal and trainer
Photograph: Chris Phutully

Take a virtual tour of Melbourne's three zoos

Melbourne Zoos are bringing the wildlife experience into your homes with a series of keeper talks and virtual tours of their parks. Both fun and educational, your child will love learning about the lives of some of Australia's most beloved native animals. 

A family hide and play under a bedsheet
Photograph: Supplied/Lakshal Perera

Go on a magical, at-home audio adventure

News Kids

Theatres may have gone dark again, but two Kyneton-based creatives have conjured up a magical theatre experience that kids and their parents can enjoy at home. Threshold creates at-home family theatre experiences such as Mountain Goat Mountain, which leads you on an incredible adventure using little more than a bedsheet, and internet connection, and a whole lot of imagination. Or try the company's other at-home adventure, Feather Quest

 

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A drawing of a dinosaur
Photograph: Supplied/Anna Kucera

Learn about natural and Victorian history with Museums at Home

News City Life

You might not be able to physically visit museums in Melbourne anymore, but you can visit them virtually. Museums Victoria has launched Museum at Home, an online platform where you can take a virtual tour of Scienceworks, Melbourne Museum and the Immigration Museum. There is also plenty of educational content, including activities that teach your child about Victorian First People's culture, outer space, the ocean, dinosaurs and more. 

 

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Escape the Gaol
Photograph: Supplied

Take a 3D virtual tour of the Old Melbourne Gaol

News City Life

For a fun but educational virtual excursion, take an online 3D tour of the Old Melbourne Gaol. You’ll be able to explore all three levels of the gaol and spend time in an old cell. It’s completely interactive, so you can toggle through the building like you would on Google Maps. You can read the text panels on the walls and learn about the many felons and convicts who spent time there, including Ned Kelly.

Boxes of books
Photograph: Archie Chew

Borrow children's ebooks from the library

News Tech

Get your kid hooked on a fun ebook from one of Melbourne's libraries. Click through for more information on where you can access the huge digital catalogues as well as some sites where you can borrow audiobooks and magazines. 

 

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Rainbow lorikeet
Photograph: Michael Livingston

Wander the neighbourhood and try your hand at birdwatching

Birdlife Australia has put together some resources about native Victorian birds that you might even be able to see from your yard or a nearby park. They're even running a survey to learn about what unusual birds are turning up in your neighbourhood, so turn it into a fun mission for your family and keep an eye out for local feathery friends. 

Penguin captured on livestream
Photograph: Supplied

Watch a live stream of the adorable animals at Melbourne Zoo

News Weird & Wonderful

Need some entertainment while at home? Luckily for you, Melbourne’s zoos have decided to live stream their animals so you won’t miss out on a second of all that cute creature fun. Zoos Victoria has set up live streams at some Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo enclosures, including giraffes, snow leopards, penguins, zebras and adorable otters. 

 

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Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre 2016 exterior daylight 01 photographer credit Brett Boardman
Photograph: Brett Boardman

Work on arts and crafts together with guides by Casula Powerhouse

Art Casula

The Powerhouse team have pulled together a gorgeous activity book for kids called the Creation Station. It has heaps of colourful ideas you can work on together and even better, share online. We particularly love this guide to making your own playdough and creating a cute fish from used toilet rollsIt’s packed full of videos to watch together too, as well as colouring-in sheets and more.

 

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kid squeezing paint bottle
Photograph: Dragos Gontariu

Connect with contemporary Asian and Asian Australian culture through art

There’s an incredible array of cool stuff to do on the dedicated kids’ bit of 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art’s website. The museum has commissioned a heap of artists to create ideas to share with young people from five years old right up to 17. Learn how to make your own zine, try some great colouring-in options, make your own find-a-word puzzles, and make your fingernails dance.

a painting of a First Nations rights march with colourful placards
Photograph: Milani Gallery © Richard Bell | detail of ‘Immigration Policy’, 2017, Richard Bell

Get your kids thinking about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

First Nations artist Richard Bell is renowned for his powerful political art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney has put together educational resources rooted in his work that can teach your child about important First People's history. Craft animal faces, learn about paper storytelling and create protest placards. There are resources available for early learners and primary students as well as for secondary learners. 

Staying in? Here's some more ideas

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Time In: The best things to do at home

Things to do

We've collected the best ways for you to experience Melbourne while staying at home here into this hub, so you can stay sane, comfortable, fed, watered and entertained at home – while helping small business owners, hospitality workers and creative people who desperately need your business.

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