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Special events

Little Big Shots (film screenings)

Group of cartoon rodents Welcome to Little Big Shots!

2014 is a big year for Little Big Shots as the festival turns 10 (just like ArtPlay!) Little Big Shots invites you to celebrate this important milestone with the biggest and bestest event ever. With a bumper collection of short films from across the globe, special filmmaking projects, parties, competitions and much more.

Package 1: Tiny Tots (2-5 years)

A fun-filled selection of international short films for kids. Plenty of cute furry friends doing hilarious things. Two special themes in this package; friendship and music.

Package 2: Little Tikes (3-7 years)

This package has heaps of great characters with important messages. Special themes for this selection are; adventure and growing up.

Age: 2 to 5 years (Package 1: Tiny Tots)
Dates and times
: Saturday 7 June and Sunday 8 June, 10.30am to 11.20am; 11.45am to 12.35pm
Bookings essential: book online
Cost: $10 per person

Age: 3 to 7 years (Package 2: Little Tykes)
Dates and times:
Saturday 7 June and Sunday 8 June, 2pm to 2.50pm
Bookings essential: book online
Cost: $10 per person

All children must be accompanied by an adult.

NOCTURNAL launch (light and sound installation)

Glowing red cube on concrete floorArtists: Michael O'Dwyer, Emah Fox, Nilgun Guven with children at ArtPlay

Over 50 hand-crafted boxes have been made by children using native Australian timbers. Each child has explored their connection to place by creating their own soundscape which has been housed in his or her box.

This installation will see the boxes lit from within and scattered across the green hill outside ArtPlay, creating an enticing scene which glows in the dark. You are invited to wander through the installation, drawing near and picking up individual boxes as they reveal to you their own intimate soundscape.

Drinks and nibbles provided.

Age: Family
Launch: Saturday 7 June, 5pm start
Free, no bookings required

NestsNests

Devised by: Ken Evans, Gillian Howell and Rebecca Russell; featuring: musicians Gillian Howell and Adam Simmons, and facilitator Rebecca Russell

Have you ever sat in a nest? Do you know what treasures they hide?
Come to the giant nests at ArtPlay to discover the enchanting music they conceal.

Nests is all about musical discovery.

A soundtrack of birds, trees and running streams will evoke an inspiring musical environment. Instruments hidden inside large eggs – beautiful, unusual instruments that you can’t wait to pick up and play – will fill the space with evocative sounds as you interact with the musicians and each other.

Age: 3 to 5 years
Dates and times: Friday 4 July, 10.30am to 11am; 11.30am to noon
Bookings essential: book online

Age: 6 to 8 years
Dates and times: Friday 4 July, 1pm to 1.30pm; 2pm to 2.30pm
Bookings essential: book online
Cost: $15 per child
Capacity: 12 children per session

There will also be two sessions of Nests as part of the Engaging with Quality Learning Exchange where up to 24 observers will be discreetly viewing the session as professional development.

Age: 3 to 5 years
Dates and times: Saturday 5 July and Sunday 6 July, 10am to 10.30am
Bookings essential: book online
Cost: $10 per child

All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Melbourne Writers Festival at ArtPlay

Saturday 23, Sunday 24, Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 August
Bookings open 18 July at Melbourne Writers Festival

Literary littlies will love Melbourne Writers Festival at ArtPlay. Children from 3 to 12 years can participate in hands-on activities with renowned illustrators and authors over two weekends of family fun and discovery.

Illustration of dog with 'Bark' speech bubbleBark! Bark! Bark!

A Treehouse exhibition: Terry Denton’s illustrations, prints and plans from the series created with Andy Griffiths

Presented in partnership by the Melbourne Writers Festival and ArtPlay

See original illustrations, prints and preliminary works by Terry Denton from the famous Treehouse series created with Andy Griffiths.

But that’s not all! Terry has painted a mammoth and magnificent mural on the ArtPlay gallery wall and you can add your own mark! Yes, you can draw your own Treehouse-inspired character, contraption or crazy critter – you really can – and watch as the mural grows and changes over the exhibition.

There will also be DIY activities such as making your own cartoons and flip books.

Supported by Pan Macmillan

Age: 6 to 12 years
Dates and times: Thursday 21 August to Sunday 14 September (open Wednesday to Sunday) *Note: At times exhibition may be closed during events, please contact ArtPlay for more information.
Free, no bookings required

All children must be accompanied by an adult.

Maree CooteAlphabet City Melbourne: Letters and Activities

Artist: Maree Coote

Learn your ABCs in a fun and surprising way, with letters and shapes found right here in the city of Melbourne. Look at letters in a whole new way and have a heap of fun. We really are a city of literature! Today’s alphabet learner is tomorrow’s writer (or perhaps the day after that).

Age: 3 to 6 years
Dates and times: Saturday 23 August, 10.30am to 11.15am and Sunday 24 August, 10.15am to 11am
Bookings essential: mwf.com.au
Cost: $10 per child
Capacity: 30

All children under eight years must be accompanied by an adult.

Ann JamesHow to Draw a Dinosaur

Artist: Ann James

Illustrator Ann James used pencils, brushes and mud to make the pictures in I’m A Dirty Dinosaur. And for this session, you can too. Explore the playful dinosaur world with Ann and join her to create your own versions. Good clean fun guaranteed.

Age: 5 to 7 years
Dates and times: Saturday 23 August, 11.45am–12.30pm
Bookings essential: mwf.com.au
Cost: $10 per child
Capacity: 25

All children under eight years must be accompanied by an adult.

Kylie DunstanDrawing Adventure

Artist: Kylie Dunstan

Create portraits in this hands-on drawing adventure lead by illustrator and author Kylie Dunstan. You will use different materials and some ingenious techniques that will open your eyes to hidden talents and new possibilities.

Age: 6 to 9 years
Dates and times: Saturday 23 August, 1pm to 2pm
Bookings essential: mwf.com.au
Cost: $15 per child
Capacity: 25

All children under eight years must be accompanied by an adult.

Maxx RumbleWriting to the Max

Artist: Maxx Rumble

When it comes to stories Maxx Rumble is kicking goals and hitting it out of the park. Author of the Maxx Rumble stories Michael Wagner will help you to get your sporting dreams down on paper in an energetic session full of goals, big grabs and nail-biting finishes.

Age: 7 to 10 years
Dates and times: Saturday 23 August, 2.30pm to 3.30pm
Bookings essential: mwf.com.au
Cost: $15 per child
Capacity: 25

All children under eight years must be accompanied by an adult. 

Amanda CooperGallery in a Day

Artist: Amanda Cooper

Explore the original illustrations of some favourite Australian picture books and go behind the scenes to see how a picture book is created with Amanda Cooper. Follow the reading trail of this travelling exhibition and create an illustration of your very own. You will see the books you love in a whole new light.

Age: 5 to 10 years
Dates and times: Sunday 24 August, 11.30am to 12.30pm; 1pm to 2pm; 2.30pm to 3.30pm
Bookings essential: mwf.com.au
Cost: $10 per child
Capacity: 30

All children under eight years must be accompanied by an adult.

Book Factory

Artist: Sue deGennaro (illustrator), Simon Mitchell (writer), Ailsa Wild (Kids’ Own Publishing)

The Book Factory is back with its interactive workshop program that immerses you in an innovative and creative story production experience.

Create your own unique pathway through four zones – a studio, a study, a library and a print room – as a writer, reader, illustrator and publisher.

Supported and guided by professional illustrators, writers and the Kids’ Own Publishing team, you will create your own book to share and take home on the day.

Age: 7 to 12 years
Dates and times: Saturday 30 August and Sunday 31 August, 1pm to 4pm
Bookings essential: mwf.com.au
Cost: $30 per child
Capacity: 40

All children under eight years must be accompanied by an adult.