After some fresh ideas for entertaining the kids at home? Museums, galleries, zoos and more have created fun-filled activities for families, to keep young minds active and promote a sense of connection.
We've put together a list of virtual resources offered by Melbourne and Victoria's top attractions. Listen to radio shows, watch live-streaming webcams, play amazing games and explore galleries and theatres through virtual tours.
Some of these activities can be done on short walks around your neighbourhood, in your own backyard, or within the comfort of your home. Start a new virtual adventure and bookmark these places to visit in real life, when the time is right.
1. Create your own stop motion animation film (ages 5+)
The free Tromaramix app will keep the kids occupied with the wonders of stop-motion animation film. Produced by the National Gallery of Victoria in collaboration with Indonesian art collective Tromarama, it leads amateur creators step-by-step through the process of developing their own animation masterpiece. Family and friends can join in the fun, as these short films are easy to share online.
2. Take a virtual tour of the Melbourne Museum (ages 8+)
If you can't explore the museum in person, take a virtual spin around the museum's collections at home instead. Walk with dinosaurs, tour the first nations Bunjilaka Cultural Centre or deep-dive into the museum's jam-packed YouTube channel. Most exhibition resources can be found online and come with specialised videos, worksheets and fact archives for hours of learning and entertainment.
3. Tune in to the Fact Detectives radio show (ages 7+)
This fun-filled radio show is hosted by two inquisitive young folks who seek answers to many of life's greatest questions: Did monster kangaroos once roam the land? Do killer butterflies exist? And, what happens to the contents of a toilet when you press the flush button? Pick a highlight from their archives or tune in fortnightly for the live shows.
4. Complete an Escher workshop (ages 12+)
Sharpen your pencils and escape into a world of perspective, illusion and fantasy. NGV has put together a detailed, downloadable workbook outlining the life of famous artist Maurits Escher. There's a range of practical activities and step-by-step pointers, which cater to a range of young artists with various skill sets.
5. Be inspired by the Royal Botanic Gardens from home (ages 2+)
Here's one for those wishing to spend a little time out in the sun. There are 50 things to do on this massive outdoor checklist. Kids can challenge themselves to cross a task off the list each day as they venture outside for fresh air and exercise. You don't have to go to the gardens to participate; these activities can be adapted to most parks and gardens, or even your own backyard.
6. Live-stream from Melbourne's zoos (ages 2+)
Zoos Victoria are streaming the daily antics some of our furry and feathered favourites via live cam. Keep up with the otters, lions, zebras, giraffes, penguins and truly adorable snow leopard cubs, and track back in time if you missed their earlier antics. You can also watch talks with the experienced keepers and go on a virtual tour of the various sanctuaries.
7. No mess science experiments (ages 5+)
Scienceworks has you covered for the scientific part of the kids' curriculum. Among long-form articles of science stories and fascinating facts, there are virtual tours of the museum's best exhibits, for family members of any age. Check out the Museums Victoria YouTube channel to view the results of various scientific experiments. Some can be replicated at home and others should be left to the experts, such as exploring what can and cannot be heated up in the microwave.
8. Become an expert bird watcher (ages 4+)
Did you know there's a world of birds right outside your back door? Learn how to make your green spaces bird-friendly, or complete a seasonal survey of the birds in your backyard. You can download a series of info-sheets providing a range of information, including bird watching tips and instructions for DIY bird boxes.
9. Go on a virtual treasure hunt (ages 6+)
Go behind-the-scenes at Melbourne Theatre Company on a virtual treasure hunt through the company’s headquarters. Hunt down props from past MTC shows now hiding within the Small Props Store and find out how they were originally used onstage.
10. Learn how to draw (ages 8+)
Get the kids drawing along as Kenny Pittock breaks down how to sketch in a fun and accessible way from the National Gallery of Victoria, including a cute paper fish making activity.