Overview

Virtual family activities

Victoria's major attractions may have temporarily closed up shop, but there's still plenty going on behind closed doors.

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 this 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+)

A collaboration between the National Gallery of Victoria and the Indonesian art collective Tromaram, this is a brand new and free app, which allows users to create their own stop motion animation film. With step-by-step instructions, kids can discover the magic of stop-motion animation and create their own 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+)

The museum's doors may be closed in a physical sense, but within the virtual world, they remain wide-open to all. 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 that will keep the kids occupied for months on end.

3. Tune in to the Fact Detectives radio show (ages 7+)

This is a fun-filled radio show, 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 have 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's fifty things to do on this massive outdoor checklist. Kids can challenge themselves to cross a task off the list a day, as they venture safely outside for some fresh air and exercise. These activities can be applied to most parks and gardens, or even your own backyard, while the Botanic Gardens are closed.

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 echidnas, tree kangaroos, lions, zebras, giraffes, penguins and truly adorable snow leopard cubs. Animals need their beauty sleep just like we do - a highlights reel is available for viewing, should they be having a snooze when you tune in.

7. No mess science experiments (ages 5+)

In the mood for a little bit of science? Scienceworks have got you covered. 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 their YouTube channel, where you can 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. Complete the zoologist design challenge (ages 10+)

Learn how to problem solve, just like a zoo keeper. Discover what issues affect animals in zoos and help design solutions. These challenges come with a downloadable workbook. You can create prototypes and share them online with other young people, who have completed these tasks in the past.

10. 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, hiding within the Small Props Store and find out how they were originally used onstage.

Resource list

Virtual family activities

Here's a list of online resources from Victoria's major attractions, perfect for keeping kids busy and entertained.

ACMI

The entire season of the ACMI Cinémathèque is streaming free every Wednesday.

Heide Museum

Get involved in creative workshops for kids with downloadable resources.

Immigration Museum

Explore curated online content from home.

Koorie Heritage Trust

Click through the Trust's oral and visual recordings collection.

LEGOLAND

Live-stream workshops and watch interviews with LEGO Masters.

Melbourne Museum

Check out Melbourne Museum school holiday activities for kids at home.

TJump on a Virtual Tour accompanied by online hosts via the Learnadome.

Tune into the Kinderling Kids radio show.

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

Watch past performances free, online.

Melbourne Theatre Company

Take a virtual tour of MTC.

Complete the MTC props store treasure hunt.

National Gallery of Victoria

Explore a range of online resources for kids.

Continue young student's education via online learning resources.

View the NGV's exhibitions online.

Explore current and past Top Arts exhibitions.

Take part in virtual drawing lessons through the NGV Channel.

Old Melbourne Gaol

Wander through the Old Melbourne Gaol via a virtual 3D tour. Explore former prisoner cells, learn about the gaol's history and the infamous felons and criminals that were housed there.

Make your own chatterbox among other activities with these printable activity sheets.

Polly Woodside

Jump onboard this 19th century iron-hulled barque and get exploring on a virtual 3D tour.

Make a paper boat and design a postcard to send to someone special, using a printable activity sheet.

Royal Botanic Gardens

Complete this outdoor checklist on walks around your neighbourhood, or in your own backyard.

Scienceworks

Get virtual access to museum exhibitions.

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

Sign up to SEA LIFE to dive into their virtual aquarium.

Discover new underwater creatures and see what the aquarium's beloved inhabitants are up to via live-stream.

State Library of Victoria

Access over 19,000 free e-books.

The National Trust

Print off fun activity sheets to complete at home.

Zoos Victoria

Zoom into Zoo education resources online.