Often described as Australia's cultural capital, Melbourne is renowned for its wonderful museums, galleries and art centres. As well as providing a plethora of activities, events and services for adults, most of these centres also have great children's programs that serve as a fun and dynamic introduction to the arts for the youngest members of our community.
Children's programs at Melbourne's cultural institutions cater for all age groups, ranging from the littlest preschoolers to mature and creatively-inclined teenagers and older kids. The following paragraphs outline just a few of the wonderful cultural programs that are available in Melbourne for young people, and are a great starting point to explore what else is available throughout the city. If you're aware of any other programs that may be of interest to readers, feel free to mention them in the comments box at the end of this article.
Image courtesy of Jennifer Rensel / Wikimedia Commons
Creativity is an essential and very enjoyable element of life, and enrolling your children in one of these programs may be the start of a hobby that they'll enjoy throughout their lives or even a rewarding career.
National Gallery of Victoria The National Gallery of Victoria houses one of Australia's foremost art collections, and serves as a venue for a wide variety of presentations, lectures and workshops throughout the year. With the goal of instilling the youngest members of our community with a love for the arts, the gallery also hosts regular children's events and activities, including interactive exhibitions, art classes, creative workshops and even an NGV Kids Club. To find out more, take a look at the National Gallery of Victoria website.
Art Play A unique creative space where children, school groups and families can engage in a wide variety of artistic pursuits alongside professional artists, Art Play at Federation Square has loads of fun for every age-group. A vibrant hive of activity, it holds a dazzling array of workshops, both during school term and the holidays, including nursery programs for babies and their carers, classes for preschoolers, workshops for school-aged children and projects that entire families can do together. Incorporated into Artplay is a great outdoor adventure playground, the only of its kind in Melbourne's CBD. Some of the cool stuff to see and do at Art Space includes special children's art exhibitions, art and book playgroups, performances, family workshops and great classes in various creative media.
Go to the Art Play website to learn more about the centre and all its wonderful creative programs.
State Library of Victoria Situated in one of Melbourne's most iconic buildings, the State Library of Victoria holds regular fun creative programs to enrich children's understanding and appreciation of literature. While there's generally a program held during school holidays, workshops also regularly take place during the term. For the littlest children, the library hosts baby rhyme times and story readings for preschoolers. Finally, one of the many wonderful things about the programs held at the State Library is that the vast majority of them are totally free of charge: great if you're struggling to keep your budget under control.
100 Stories Another awesome cultural centre with loads of great literary-orientated courses for kids and teens, as well as plenty of other cool stuff, is the 100 Story Building at 92 Nicholson Street in Footscray. This amazing centre is cent-percent dedicated to enriching children's creative potential and holds programs in storytelling, writing, illustration and much more for children, families and, during the term, entire school groups.
Take a look at the 100 Stories website to learn more about all the things this exciting creative space offers.
Australian Centre for the Moving Image Located in the heart of Melbourne at Federation Square, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image is another creative hub that artistic children and teenagers will absolutely love. Throughout the year creative workshops are held for youngsters of all ages including ones in movie-making and animation. While most of these require bookings and payment, the centre also regularly holds free drop-in workshops such as their popular Magic Noodle Bowl Animation program. ACMI also has a good Kids' Flicks program.
To find out more, including what's on, when to visit, and prices, go to the ACMI website.
Australian Tapestry Workshop One of Australia's foremost textile art centres, as its name indicates, the Australian Tapestry Workshop focuses on the ancient and exquisitely beautiful art of tapestry. For a creative children's course with a difference, why not enrol your child in one of their special children's weaving courses? These are generally held on just one day during the school holidays, for a couple of hours, and the very reasonable fee covers both tuition and materials to take home. This course is suitable for children five years old and over.
To learn more, go to their website. The Australian Tapestry Workshop is situated at 262 - 266 Park Street in South Melbourne.
The Thread Den If you have a child five years old or older who loves sewing, design and creativity, one of the fabulous sewing classes at the Thread Den may be right up their alley. While throughout the school term the Saturday morning sewing club is a great way to learn new needle-craft skills with kindred spirits, the Sewing School and Craft camp, held during school holidays, is a terrific way for children nine and up to develop their skills and complete a few cool craft projects.
The Thread Den is situated at 3d / 26 Wellington Street in Collingwood. Go to their website for more details.