Monday, 20 November 2017

Kids take over Ken Done's studio

Ken Done (artist and UNICEF Australia Ambassador), has, for the first time ever, let five seven-year olds take over his studio to create a unique artwork in his bold and colourful style to celebrate World Children’s Day (20 Nov).

The kids worked with Done to paint a series of canvases that will create a large scale work.

The aim is to raise the profile and voices of children in places and spaces where they may not usually be seen or heard by UNICEF.

You can check the artwork out with your kids at the Ken Done Gallery (located in The Rocks) from 21 November 2017 to 1 Jan 2018.

One the way home pick up a canvas and some paints for your family to create their own Ken Done inspired artwork.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Vivid Sydney / Ideas - for kids and families

Vivid Sydney and Ideas kicks off at the end of the month - the festival never fails to deliver an extensive range of workshops and experiences young and older youth.

Highlights include:

An interactive project using code, light and music. 

 Code in the Park is about inspiring everyone to learn the basics of coding, to acquire a new digital skill for the future of work, innovation and education. 

 The Sydney suburb of Rhodes opens its arms to residents and visitors with a program of masterclasses, workshops, activities and talks that focus on 3D printing, NAO robotics and wearable art and tech. Highlights includes: Robots: Human Robot Friendship Ball, NAO Robot Workshop and Meetup, Simplebot Maker LabOur Robot Future, as well as 3D Printing : The Future Is Now, CAD Design Masterclass Jewellery Making, CAD For Adults and Kids, and ; Wearable Tech and Fun with Electronics for Kids 8-12. Meet some of Sydney’s coolest robots and participate in an epic human robot dance.

 Future Making is a fast-paced, hands-on session for 9-12 year olds that explores Human-Centred Design and Design Thinking. 

Using Autodesk 123D Design, participants will learn how to create and customise a game piece for a set of checkers. 

 Get together with your family and friends (in groups of up to four), as your are guided  through making simple bots that use common robotic mechanics.  

The MAAS has collaborated with Vivid Sydney to present a comprehensive program of innovation and technology-based activities for the whole family.  For the full lineup of MAAS events during Vivid Ideas:

Dive into the world of wearable electronics and learn how to add and control full colour LEDs to your wardrobe, skateboards, installations.

Visit for the full details on what is on offer.

Sydney Film Festival 2017 / Family Films

image: My Life as a Zucchini
The 64rd Sydney Film Festival (7-18 June) announces six family-friendly films will screen at the Festival in daytime sessions over the weekend.
Even better news - Tickets for under 18s are just $13. If you have older teens in your household, a new Youth Pass will also introduce cheaper tickets to film lovers aged 18-24. Festival films will now cost young people just $72 for a bundle of six-tickets.

Follow our Sydney Film Festival coverage here for younger films and also over at Film in Revolt for coverage from 12 - 18 year olds.  

Director: Dash Shaw | USA | 2016 | 76mins | In English
Cult comic artist Dash Shaw directs a kooky end-of-the-world disaster movie for Gen Z featuring a host of indie stars and a colourful blend of animation, painting and collageMisanthropic high school journalist Dash discovers that his dysfunctional school is built on a fault line. When an earthquake sends the building floating out to sea, where it begins to inevitably sink, Dash tries to lead his fellow students to safety. It’s a snarky and oddball disaster movie that’s part Titanic and part Ghost World. Featuring the voices of indie heroes Jason Schwartzman, Lena Dunham, John Cameron Mitchell, Reggie Watts and Maya Rudolph, plus Susan Sarandon as Lunch Lady Lorraine, Shaw brings his singular and hilarious POV to teenage angst and activism. With its vibrant handmade and digital animation techniques, My Entire High School… won over audiences at the Toronto and Berlin film festivals.
Director: Claude Barras | Switzerland, France | 2016 | 88 mins | The Festival will screen the English version, plus the French version with English subtitles
An Oscar-nominated Swiss-French stop-motion family animation that’s realistic and life affirming, dealing with real issues in a way that doesn’t patronise or traumatise its audience. When nine-year old Zucchini’s alcoholic mother dies, he is taken to an orphanage filled with misfits who, like himself, have been dealt a rough hand by life. Little does he know, they will soon become his de facto family, from his crush Camille to the gentle father-figure policeman Raymond. Based on a best-selling young adult novel and adapted for the screen by CĂ©line Sciamma (Tomboy, SFF 2011), My Life as a Zucchini is an unusual, affirming but honest film that calls on its young audience's ability to empathise with lives far tougher than their own. They’ll come out heartened, strengthened and more resilient from the experience – and so will the adults who take them.
Director: Alain Gagnol, Jean-Loup Felicioli | France, Belgium | 2016| In English
From the French team behind the Oscar-nominated A Cat in Paris comes this beautifully animated supernatural crime-fighting adventure, set on the streets of New York. 11-year-old Leo is ill and can’t leave the hospital – but he can leave his body and fly around New York. One night, on one of his excursions, Leo comes across a mobster plotting a crime. The dastardly criminal is called The Man With the Broken Face: he wears a mask resembling a Picasso painting and is followed around by Rufus, his sidekick pup. To use his supernatural powers and become a super hero, Leo must team up with wheelchair-bound detective Alex and fearless journalist Mary to fight the super criminal threatening the city. With distinctive and vibrant animation, Leo’s is a mission of empowerment as he fights the good fight, as well as his own tougher health battles.
RIP TIDE  (Ages 11+)
Director: Rhiannon Bannenberg |Australia|2017|85 mins| English
Disney star Debby Ryan makes her Australian film debut in this perfectly-pitched tween feature about surfing, romance and deciding what to do with your life. There comes a point in everyone’s life when you have to make a decision about the direction you’re going to take. For newly-18 American fashion model Cora (musician and Disney star Debby Ryan, Jessie, 16 Wishes), that time is now. She’s moved to a Australian coastal town to be with her favourite aunt, after a ‘fashion faux pas’ back home. At first she feels isolated, but soon romance and new friendships start to bloom, and Cora must decide between returning to the modelling career driven by her ambitious mother, or staying with the community that has welcomed her in. A great Aussie cast excels in this local feature by talented director Rhiannon Bannenberg, with surf scenes shot on the Illawarra coast.
Director: Kirsten Carthew | Canada | 2016| 93 mins | English | Australian Premiere
An urban teen encounters a mystical hunter in this charming debut feature shot in Canada’s magnificient, remote Northwest Territory. For teenager Lia (rising star Kawennáhere Devery Jacobs), the only way to truly find herself is to get lost. Lia's father sends the sullen teen to visit her grandmother in a pocket-sized First Nations community in sub-Arctic Canada. With her pink hair, faux fur coat and a dusting of attitude, Lia is immediately a fish out of water. She runs away, stealing a canoe to try and paddle back to the city, but gets lost in the wilds of her ancestral country. A chance meeting with an older hunter, Alfred (played by Duane Howard, The Revenant) leads to an unusual mentorship. Alfred is obsessed with finding a lost herd of caribou, and Lia joins him on a semi-spiritual journey to find the missing herd – and also herself.
Short animated gems from all over the world, selected for SFF by Guest Programmer Malcolm Turner.  Art, fairytales and folkstories. Felt pens, cotton wool, computers and crayons. Funny, happy, sad, thoughtful and thought-provoking. Creative, silly, serious, strange and curious! The best animation for younger audiences.
The full Sydney Film Festival program will be announced on Wednesday 10 May at 11am.
More details on films mentioned and ticket sales visit

Friday, 3 March 2017

Art Express 2017 - a refuge from the rain

Art Express at the Art Gallery of NSW has turned into one of our yearly day adventures. An inspiring day for children (and adults) of all ages that continues the conversation of art well after leaving.

Art Express 2017 
until the 23 April
Art Gallery of NSW

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

FlickerKids 2017

Flickerfest have another day of school holiday entertainment sorted this Sunday with the FlickerKids short film program at 2pm at Bondi Pavilion. We have a double pass to give away to one lucky family. For your chance tell me what film you are looking forward to in the program and why - email by Friday 6th Jan.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

ArtMoves - EOI open

Australian creatives (of all ages) now have a chance to make their mark on the Sydney landscape with ArtMoves, a new public art program that will transform Kensington and Kingsford into Sydney’s next great artistic suburbs.

ArtMoves is an upcoming public art program where five sites along the Sydney Light Rail route in Kensington and Kingsford will be transformed by local artists into cultural landmarks. Creatives can contribute in a number of ways – public art, performances, sound installations and more will be considered.

Transport for NSW invites creatives to express their interest from today until 31 March 2017. Once the judging is complete; the successful projects will be installed from June, with a chance of becoming permanent fixtures in the community.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Erth Dinasour Zoo / Seymour Centre

This September 27th to 1st Oct the Seymour Centre is hosting the wildly acclaimed Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo.

My children ages 3 and 7, and I were luckily enough to go and see Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo at the Seymour Centre yesterday. It is suggested that it is suitable for children 5+ but I took a chance with my 3 yr old daughter, and she loved it!

Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo is technically a very elaborate puppet show, but these are no naive puppets on strings, these are amazing and exquisitely made walking roaring dinosaurs! The look, sound and move like absolutely "alive” prehistoric creatures. We enjoyed the production very much. The show is hosted by a charming and funny palaeontologist, with interesting facts and educational dino info for the kids, plus some tongue and cheek laughs for the adults. 

The show starts with the the introduction of the smaller Dino’s to help the kids settle into being comfortable and curious about these highly lifelike creatures. It then moves on to the bigger and scarier dinosaurs where you might be deceived to thinking these are live creatures for a while as they look so real. Even though the host is openly reminds up these are only puppets, the dinosaurs delight the kids with their realism of movement and loud scary roars. 

My 7 year old son knew they were puppets but he enthusiastically played along letting them scare him out of his seat! The talented designers, makers and puppeteers of Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo have done an amazing job here to delight us into believing we are being entertained by these “alive” creatures while we are in the theatre. 

For $22 a ticket for this 60min show, I would definitely recommend the whole family to go along and enjoy this amazing Dinosaur experience these school holidays. Even though it says 5+ I think kids from 3yrs will be ok also. Also, make sure you stay back after the show as the kids are able to interact, pat and take photos with the smaller Dino’s, it was a great experience and all of us we thoroughly loved the show.

by Virginia and family
Erth Dinosaur Zoo / Seymour Centre

Saturday, 24 September 2016


Storks is a family friendly animated adventure into the world of package delivery, storks delivering babies is no longer a profitable business, the focus is now on the delivery of the latest mobile phones or household items.

With an all-star cast, Mr and Mrs Gardner voiced by Jennifer Anniston and the modern family’s favourite Dad Ty Burrell, have a son called Nate.  Nate is lonely and longs for a brother and his parents to pay him more attention instead of working all of the time.  One day Nate stumbles across an old book in the attic with instructions on how to order a baby from the storks and so the adventure begins.

Hunter, voiced by Kelsey Grammer is the Stork Chairman, his top employee is Junior voiced by Andy Samberg.  Junior is nominated for a big promotion if only he can get rid of Tulip, the annoying human girl who was created at the Stork factory but never got delivered to her true family due to a mix up. It is Tulip who finds the letter that Nate has written and sets off with the unwilling help of Junior to deliver the baby Nate desires.

Many obstacles are faced on the way including the very funny wolf pack and a very strange Pigeon Toady.  My only criticism of the movie is that I found Pigeon Toady difficult to understand at times, other than that I would highly recommend it, my 5 and 7 year old daughters thoroughly enjoyed it although parents, be prepared for the inevitable question of “how are babies made?” when leaving the cinema.

by Amanda and her family

Storks is now screening Nationally. 

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Erth | Prehistoric school holiday action

This September school holidays, the Seymour Centre will presenting the roar-inspiring Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo from 27th September – 1st October.

For children aged 5+ the show features prehistoric creatures ranging from cute baby dinos to some of the largest carnivores and herbivores that ever walked the planet! In this fun and educational show, children will learn how to feed and interact with Erth’s amazing array of unmistakably ‘alive’ creatures.

We have three double passes to attend the performance on Wednesday 28th September at 12.30.
Let us know what you child's favourite dinosaur is for your chance by Sunday 26th Sept - email (conditions). The winner will be notified via email.

Monday, 12 September 2016

I want to be a Rockstar

I want to be a Rock Star is a new children’s book by Melbourne author Mary Anastasiou. The book is charmingly illustrated by Anil Tortop.
This is the first in a series of books for young readers by Anastasiou, inspiring them to explore their future passions and creative dreams. I Want to be a Movie Star and I Want to be a Sports Star are the upcoming titles in this series.

My son, who is 7, read the book straight away by himself when he received it, after being intrigued by the title. In fact this book came along at just the right time as we are introducing him to music and pop culture. Only a week ago my music loving husband carefully curated a best of alternative Rock playlist for him to listen to. I must agree it was a great playlist but we would like to open him up to many more genres out there, I am personally not a rock person but love country and retro disco and would like to share that with him (much to the dismay of my husband!). 

This delightful book takes the young reader on and adventure following Luke and his dog Ralphie on their dream of being music stars through the many different genres of music such as country music, rap music, all the way to classical music. There is no general info about these genres, but each of these musical styles is given personality through Anil Tortop’s energetic illustrations. My husband and I follow and appreciate pop culture of all levels and hope to share that passion with our kids, this book is a great way of introducing creative musical dreams in a visual and entertaining way. My son really loved reading the book with us also and listening to our personal insights on these music genres. 

Coming from music loving parents, he was familiar with most of the genres in the book except for Jazz and the art of DJ-ing, so we will definitely create some fun playlists for him to further explore now.

This book isn’t a fairytale it’s so much more. It’s an opportunity for young readers to discover that ‘happily ever after' can happen in real life by having ambitions and dreams that are real in this world. Whether those dreams be creative or sporty, discussing and reading about what these are with children can become an exciting way for the young readers to begin this journey. We are looking forward to reading the rest of this series. I want to be a Rock Star is available in a hardcopy, a portion of the sale of these books go to the children charity TLC for Kids.

Reviewed by Virginia and family

For more info visit

Monday, 5 September 2016

A Beautiful Planet 3D | IMAX

Now playing at the Darling Harbour IMAX theatre is A Beautiful Planet in 3D. This astonishing documentary takes us on a genuine space mission alongside astronauts as they circle the Earth showing us our magnificent planet from the International Space Station ISS. Narrated by Academy award winner Jennifer Lawrence and directed by Toni Myers this film celebrates Earths beauty and also addresses its decay caused by our human race via global warming.

The cinematography is like nothing I have ever seen before, throughout the movie, its almost impossible to believe that what you are seeing in the film is real and untouched by CGI. We were taken on an adventure over the most wondrous places on Earth from the massive deserts of Australia to the bright night lights of the USA that look like stars on Earth. Seeing massive lightning storms from space was my 7 year olds favourite bit.

We also saw the devastation when passing over the rapidly melting ice sheets of Greenland and the scarring of the Earths surface caused by the masses of deforestation in South America. All along this tour of Earth we got a glimpse into the lives of the astronauts on board the ISS, who gave us insights into their daily life and inner workings of the space station, which was really interesting.

I absolutely loved this experience in 3D, my 7 and 3 years old kids were locked to their seats passive by this outstanding experience. This film is for all ages, its fascinating, educational and awe inspiring.

The IMAX 3D experience was a great way to see this film. Normally 3D films take you on a rollercoaster of fancy editing and movement that often makes me queasy, but this film had a calm but enjoyable rhythmic 3D sensation that I came out of the cinema visually and emotionally satisfied, and with calm and inspired kids too!

Virginia and family.

A Beautiful Planet 
IMAX | Darling Harbour
Now Screening

Friday, 26 August 2016

Friday Finds

+ Spot on Festival from the 27 Sept - 2 Oct at Riverside Theatres. So much quality stuff on for over the festival. We are looking forward to Slingsby Theatre Company's Oscar Wilde's  The Young Kimg and $10 movie tickets.
+ Lights and  Lanterns / Dandenong Festival of Lights 26 August - 9 October
+ Film in Revolt / A platform for teens who are intersted in film

Friday, 29 July 2016

Friday Finds

image credit: Raquel Caballero

+ My youngest son adores animals and did a vet workshop with these guys a few years ago. New programme out for 2017 AND they are also offering two scholarships.
+ My daughter would love these graphic tights. Too many choose from!
+ Our friend Lilly Blue from BIG Kids magazine will lead participants through theatre games, collaborative invention and art making in response to SCAF's immersive installation, After Voices. 
+ My daughter is my new photographer for my project Hello Bookshop (That's her pictured). It was very exciting to work with her.  We will give you a heads up when our first conversation is up.
+ If you are in Penrith this is your last chance this weekend to catch The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer. We loved  it in 2011 at the Sydney Festival.
+ We will be in Melbourne this weekend and will be popping along to Circus Oz's open house in Collingwood.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Friday Finds

+ Pop up ice skating in the city and Bondi may have ended but you can skate seven day a week at The Ice Zoo
+ Melbourne Writers' Festival children and teen program looks wonderful. Love the podcasting workshop
+ Your teen may be find their voice at the Australian Poetry Slam
+ We love this Tokyo time-lapse / Tokyo is an amazing city to visit with your kids
+ Tracks - A pop up program of events for young writers
+ My teen is at Splendour in the Grass this weekend - but they also cater for the little ones.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Friday Finds

+ Assignments from artist Miranda July's project, Learning to Love You More
+ Beautiful online games for younger children
+ Grab a camera, jump on a train and create your own 52 Suburbs
+ Like a TED for mums. A collaborative community for creative mothers
+ Keep your teen busy for 100 days
+ Kidtopia festival in October

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Australian National Maritime Museum - Wildlife Photographer of the Year

images by Mischa

This week over the school holidays I took my two youngest children (15, 12) on an adventure. An adventure like we used to do when they were younger. I didn’t tell them where we were headed just to take their cameras.

As we approached the Maritime Museum they were little apprehensive. They had been before there when they were younger and saw no sense in going again.

We were stamped at the front counter, which gave us access to the whole museum – boats and all. With our map in hand our first stop was the submarine (which is quite an experience, imagining people working and living within the space), we then hit up the HMAS Vampire and the HMB Endeavour. The submarine was our favourite.

Inside the museum we wandered through the regular exhibitions heading towards the main purpose of our visit – to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.

On loan from the Natural History Museum in London, this beautiful exhibition showcases the most amazing photographs from around the world. The kids are into photography at the moment and I knew they would appreciate the skill it takes to capture rare natural moments on film. It was also an opportunity for us to view parts of the world that are rarely seen.


Australian National Maritime Museum
Darling Harbour, Sydney

Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition runs until the 16th  October 2016