I am a mum of a two-year old. A two-year old who doesnít actually like to sit still for longer than 5 minutes. You might think I am joking, but I am not.
As a teacher I had all these grand plans of sitting down with my son and reading or doing puzzles. I still laugh at myself now. He does not sit and do puzzles. He does not sit and read. He moves from on activity to another within 5 minutes. I get 12 whole weeks of holidays per year (I know Iím sorry for rubbing that in!) But trust me, it comes with its challenges now that I have a toddler!
Holidays used to be about rest and relaxation and holidays, now itís about trying to find as many things as I can to entertain my toddler for two weeks. Hereís what I got up to:
The Bellarine Leisure Centre is a great place for kids of all ages. There's a play area, a toddler pool and a deeper pool for the older kids. The water was a nice warm temperature on our visit, so we didnít feel too crazy going for a swim in 13 degree weather!
Next stop; Hello Birdie. This venue is a great little cafť that caters for children of all ages with their food, drink, and indoor and outdoor play areas.
If it rains you are stuck inside, but on this particular day it didnít, so we rugged up and braved the cold. We ordered some pancakes (that come with adorable smiley faces!), a kids milkshake, a coffee and a chocolate truffle.
We then headed out the back door and spent an hour and a half playing. Basketball hoop, lemonade stand, cubby house, cars, trucks, my little ponies and a sandpit. Plus some heaters to keep the adults warm undercover!
Address: 52 Grubb Road, Ocean Grove 3226
Meerkat Manor is a great little play centre that has a toddler section (for ages 0 - 4yrs) that catered to my son perfectly. The section for the older kids had slides galore, climbing towers, and so many other obstacles for them to rummage through. For the adults, a fantastic menu on offer and an open fire. You cannot go wrong with this play centre. They are also open later on some weeknights, and they have hotdog and pizza nights every now and then.
Address: 25 Sinclair Street, Ocean Grove
Craftercise in Airport West is amazing. Every week is a different theme (think Robots, Colours, Royals) and they have a play section that includes a parachute game (my son loved this part), and then an art and craft section. Every week the activities are different. 45 minutes of indoor play out of the weather, and always stimulating because the ladies who run this place change it up every week. They have children so they know!
Address: 52A Hawker Street, Airport West 3042
Melbourne and Werribee Zoo Ė Ranger Kids
Another winner for us is always the zoo. Either Melbourne or Werribee, we arenít too fussy. We have a zoo membership so will quite often go and just spend a couple of hours there. The Ranger Kids section of both zoos is a wonderful space created for little ones where they can learn, explore and avoid the cold weather outside. A beanie and a jacket on, and we are set for the zoo. My son absolutely loves it, regardless of the weather.
Address: Melbourne Zoo, Elliott Ave, Parkville
Werribee Zoo, K Rd, Werribee South
Next new find is Playnastics. Located in Keilor East, this is a little treasure. They run a couple of Playnastics sessions a week. We head there on Thursday mornings and for $12, yes $12, you get an hour and a half of unlimited play in a gymnastics setting. Two instructors are there to facilitate it, but I use the term loosely. They are there for safety reasons, but it is all children lead play.
The kids do what they want, for an hour and a half. I go to this regularly now, and we both love it. At the end they do a few songs and some dancing, and then they give the kids stickers and stamps.
There is no obligation to sign up for a month or a term or a year - you pay as you go. It fills up pretty quickly, so get there early enough to avoid missing out (my friends have missed out before!)
Address: Essendon Keilor Gymnastics Academy, 194-196 Roberts Rd., Airport West
Childrenís Gallery at Melbourne Museum
The Childrenís Gallery at the Melbourne Museum is wonderful for the whole family. My husband and I headed there with our son, along with my sister, brother in law, niece and nephew.
This place was a hit for all kids and all adults. The Childrenís Gallery itself has so many things for kids of all ages to do and explore. They have an indoor area and an outdoor area where kids can pretend to be archaeologists (my six year old niece loved this!)
My son and my nephew particularly enjoyed chasing the pigeons around in the outdoor area! The rest of the Melbourne Museum is an amazing experience. The kids enjoyed the animal and dinosaur areas, a place where a whole lot of learning can occur.