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Don’t worry about your kids becoming bored on the weekends because you can make memories in Melbourne with our Activity Guide. We’ve done all the hard work searching for ideas – so all you need to do is decide where to go first!

IN THE CITY:

The CBD offers a variety of interesting and exciting activities all year round. Check out what’s happening now:

  • IMAX is releasing an exclusive documentary SEA LIONS: LIFE BY A WHISKER 3D.Narrated by award-winning actor Sam Neill, this classic coming-of-age story tells the tale of Otto, a young Australian Sea Lion pup, and the Marine Park Ranger dedicated to saving her species. Presented in immersive 3D, the movie features stunning footage of the uninhabited wilderness of the Great Australian Bight and to the lush kelp forests off the Californian coast. Visit https://imaxmelbourne.com.au/ for more.
  • Looking for an exciting and educational day out? Take your family to one of Melbourne’s three biggest zoos where they can meet all sorts of animals! With everything from lions, to giraffes and Australian bush animals you’ll be sure to have a fun day out. Plus, don’t miss the new Dino Lab where your little ones can explore the giant dinosaurs and learn about their extinction. Visit Melbourne Zoo, Werribee Open Range Zoo and Healesville Zoo. Go to https://www.zoo.org.au/
  • Ride the Scenic Railway around the perimeter of Luna Park where you can catch the view of St Kilda beach or enjoy the range of children’s rides on offer. If you’re more of a thrill seeker, have a go on the Enterprise or Supernova to get your heart racing! Visit https://lunapark.com.au/
  • Catch the best views of the city on the Melbourne Star. The giant ferris wheel takes you 120 metres into the sky to see 360 degree views of the busy port, city gardens and streets and views towards Mount Macedon and the Dandenong Ranges. Go to https://melbournestar.com/
  • Walk amongst creatures of the deep at the Melbourne Aquarium. With everything from sharks to seahorses to the Mega Croc, you are guaranteed a fun day out. Plus, don’t miss the Ice Age 4D Cinema! Go to https://www.visitsealife.com/melbourne/

  • If your kids are interested in science, then Scienceworks is a must! With loads of live shows and self-guided activities, your kids will be sure to discover something new! Check out the new show Colour Uncovered! to learn about how and why we see colour or stop by one of the Planetarium shows! Go to https://museumsvictoria.com.au/scienceworks/
  • Discover the rare and beautiful plants in the Royal Botanical Gardens of Melbourne. Jump on a bus tour to explore the gardens or visit the new Arid Garden which is over 100 years in the making! Visit https://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/
  • Take a stroll down Hosier Lane to admire the artwork of some of Melbourne’s most talented graffiti artists.
  • Discover fresh produce and speciality shops at the Queen Victoria Market. Located on Queen St in the CBD, browse through hundreds of stalls covering 17 acres!

REGIONAL VICTORIA:

Looking to get out of the city for a day? Go for a drive through the beautiful countryside of Victoria where you will stumble upon a number of activities to entertain your family.

  • Summer is here, it’s the perfect time to be with your family and friends making the most of the warm summer evenings – immerse yourself in a magical world of myth and make believe!  Be captivated by a show of world class knights jousting on war horses – as you sip on a cold beer and all enjoy wood fired pizzas together. This summer’s ALL STAR program includes our favourite characters from Alice in wonderland, the Queen of Hearts, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter and the White rabbit! Robin Hood and his crew will be defending the kingdom against the nasty Sheriff! Rapunzel and her Prince will plan an escape from the evil witch’s tower! And do not forget to meet our dragons and the brave knights who compete for the title in our world-famous Championship Joust! Go to: https://www.kryalcastle.com.au

  • Your Mornington Peninsula adventure starts here, at the top of Arthurs Seat. Hit the ground running with our ground-based adventure activities – all included with General Admission! Experience the all-new Sky Scramble as well as our garden mazes, stunning formal gardens & boardwalks, Canopy Walk, epic Tube Slides & giant brainteaser puzzles! Embark on an exciting eco-adventure and get your adrenaline pumping with our exhilarating Grand Tree Surfing course. For the little climbers, our Nippers Tree Surfing course is suitable for ages 4 & up. We highly recommend pre-booking to avoid any disappointment. Visit our website for more information and to book your tickets! www.enchantedadventure.com.au

  • Fancy a ride on a century old steam railway? The Puffing Billy takes you on a 25km journey through the Dandenong Ranges, providing a relaxing day out with fantastic photographic opportunities. Pack a picnic and bring your family along for an enjoyable visit just one hour out of Melbourne. Go to https://puffingbilly.com.au/

  • The Great Ocean Road Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery offers a delightful day of fun with hands on chocolate making classes, a showroom featuring thousands of chocolate products and daily tasting sessions! Don’t forget the landscaped gardens and an orchard, where you can go for a stroll while enjoying a treat from the café. Visit https://www.gorci.com.au/

  • Take a drive along the Great Ocean Road to see the famous Twelve Apostles and the beautiful Loch Ard Gorge. Continue along to reach the Great Otway National Park to enjoy a day of adventure.
  • Spend a relaxing day at the Peninsula Hot Springs where you can immerse yourself in the Bath House or relax in the private baths. Seeking a bit of R&R? Indulge in a spa treatment or massage. Visit https://www.peninsulahotsprings.com/

  • Located at the foot of the Grampians, Halls Gap Zoo is Victoria’s largest regional zoo with over 160 species of animals to keep you entertained all day. Experience a close encounter with cheetahs and red pandas or visit the endangered Tasmanian Devil! With over 600 individual animals to check out, you are guaranteed a day of fun! Go to https://hallsgapzoo.com.au/

You can stick to a budget and still have everything you need with some clever planning.

Welcoming a new bundle of joy is exciting, but with so many products on the market the prospect of preparing for life with a newborn can be completely overwhelming. Fear not, Offspring has created the ultimate guide to help you sort the essentials from the gimmicks.

 

The Australian Institute of Family Studies suggests a first child can cost between $3,000 and $13,000 in the first year alone – a marked difference between thrift and indulgence when it comes to preparing for your little one’s arrival. The truth is you can stick to a budget and still have everything you need with some clever planning.

 

Tip: Talk to other mums about what was useful and what was useless. They may be willing to loan you items, just check the safety standards and condition.

Tips for buying on a budget:

  • Question every purchase: is it really essential?
  • Plan ahead to take advantage of sales
  • Buy in bulk especially nappies and wipes
  • Borrow items
  • Decide on the brand/model and then check local Buy and Sell pages, eBay and baby markets.

Out and about

Before you hit the shops, what do you actually need to buy? Here’s a list of what a newborn needs:

Heading out with a newborn is like packing for a small camping trip and involves the biggest ticket items, so do your research to get the right equipment:

Essential

  • Car restraint:

The car seat will be one of the most expensive items on your shopping list. It is best to buy new, as car seats have a life span with most not made to last more than 10 years.

  • To trim costs, consider a travel system with a capsule that clips onto a pram frame. It might also mean easy transfers from the car to the
  • Baby capsules can be hired as they are quickly outgrown.
  • Convertible models that change from rear-facing to forward-facing will last from birth to four years and will save you the expense of buying two seats.
  • Pram/Stroller:

The price tag on a pram can vary dramatically and there are many features and accessories on offer so set a budget and do lots of homework.

  • When will the pram primarily be used – exercising or leisure?
  • Check it is easy to fold and lift
  • Check it will fit in your car boot
  • Are you planning another baby quickly or expecting twins and require a double pram or added accessories such as a skateboard or toddler seat?
  • Is it important to have a reversible handle or interchangeable seat to grow and change with your baby?
  • Do you need a rain cover, sunshade, cup holder or storage?
  • Look for second-hand alternatives as many mums change their minds or opt for different transport options as their baby grows.

Optional

  • A nappy bag
  • Pram Liner
  • Baby carrier
  • Window shades

Luxury

  •  Trolley cover
  • Breastfeeding cover
  • Portable Cot

Sleep needs

Unfortunately, sleep isn’t for sale, but you can set up a safe and secure environment for your baby to encourage a bit of shut-eye.

 Essential

  • Cot:

A cot is often one of the most expensive and difficult decisions faced by parents-to-be. All new cots have to comply with Australian safety guidelines but if you’re on a budget, ensure a second-hand cot meets current standards. To save money consider a cot that converts into a toddler bed. But, sometimes spending money on quality will ensure it can be reused for future siblings.

  • Mattress:

There will be many (yes, many) spills and accidents and years of use so select a good quality mattress that snugly fits your cot and invests in a waterproof mattress protector.

  • Wraps

There is a huge market dedicated to wraps, swaddles and sleeping bags, but they may take some trial and error to see which suits your baby. A large muslin wrap and some practice swaddling will work just as well.

Optional

  • A bassinet, Moses basket, cradle, cozy sleeper or hammock is smaller, more portable than a cot and great for those early days.
  • A baby monitor – to save money consider a monitor that doubles as a nightlight for those late-night feeds.

Luxury

  •  Light and music display
  • White noise machine
  • Room thermometer
  • Quilts, fluffy blankets, and cot bumpers

Feeding essentials:

Breast

While breast milk is free there are some things you will need to make the experience easier:

  • Breast pads
  • Breast pump – consider hiring or buying a manual one

Bottle

Bottles and formula can cost a pretty penny and there are so many options. Ask for recommendations and trial a couple of brands. Even if you are certain you will breastfeed, you may need bottles for expressing.

  • Bottlebrush
  • Drying Rack

Optional

  • A feeding chair/glider
  • Nursing pillow
  • Burp Cloths
  • Formula dispenser
  • A high chair, food processor, and plastic cutlery can all wait a few months.

Luxury

  • Bottle warmer
  • Bottle sterilizer

Change time:

Essential

  • Nappies and wipes:

Cloth or disposable – you will need to stock up and be prepared to use lots of them!

  • Toiletries:

Babies don’t need lots of products on their delicate skin. But having some baby shampoo, moisturizer, and nappy rash cream ready to go, is a good idea.

Optional

  • Change table – a changing mat on top of a dresser might be a cheaper option.
  • Nappy bucket or nappy disposal bin
  • Baby bath – to save money use the sink or an adult bath with a bath support.

Luxury

  •  Wipes warmer
  • Nappy Stacker

Clothes

One of the best parts of preparing for a new baby is buying gorgeous teeny tiny outfits! But it is easy to go overboard and people will often gift lots of outfits.

Essential

  • At least six onesies get a mix of size 0000 and size 000 for an average-sized newborn (short-sleeved, long-sleeved, full length or a combination, depending on the season they’re due). These can double as day clothes and PJs.
  • Singlets or singlet suits
  • A jacket or cardigan
  • A hat (a sun hat for summer and a beanie for winter)
  • Socks (these can double as mittens)
  • Bibs

 Optional

  • Scratch mittens
  • Going out outfits

 Luxury

  • Shoes – super cute but not necessary

Sanity savers:

  • Baby thermometer
  • Grooming Kit
  • Baby proofing kit
  • A few rattles, teething toys, and books
  • A bouncer, swing or activity mat for play and tummy time.

Tip: If you’re having a baby shower, set up a baby registry. It isn’t offensive to ask for gifts that will be appreciated and well used.

Your newborn will not know if you purchased the most expensive nappy bag or put them in designer clothes. The most important thing your baby will ever need is your love and attention. Fortunately, that’s free!

Does the thought of Christmas shopping make you sweat? Never fear, Offspring Magazine’s Christmas gift guide has gift ideas covered for all of the family.

BABIES

Although a baby cannot make their own Christmas wish-list, there are so many options to spoil your little one this festive season.


Rocking horse
A beautiful rocking horse will be a loved gift for years to come. Coco Rose Rattan Rocking Horse, rrp $399, www.cocoroseinteriors.com.au

The Clean Collective bundle
Practical gifts are always a good choice for baby (before they can make their own Christmas wishlist, and this range of essentials are not only good for baby but also for the planet! This lovely bundle includes goodies including natural wipes, organic muslin swaddle, biodegradable nappy bags, massage oil and so much more. Items can also be added, removed or swapped on request. The Clean Collective – Baby’s First Christmas Bundle, rrp $215, thecleancollective.com.


Poppy & Pom rompers
Bub will have something gorgeous to wear throughout the festive season with these adorable rompers from Poppy & Pom. Their core romper range is made from 100 per cent cotton and is Australian made and designed. Poppy & Pom, $50+GST (for basic romper), www.poppyandpom.com


Roly Poly Koala
Baby will love this friendly koala – it makes a bell sound when it rolls. Roly Poly Koala, rrp $30 from www.tigertribe.com.au


Carrol Boyes ‘Bunny’ Children’s Set Tube
This stainless steel cutlery set is useful and cute! ‘Bunny’ Children’s Set Tube, rrp $60, available from David Jones, www.carrolboyes.com


Safari Learning Playspace by Leapfrog
This fun activity centre is designed to grow with your child – with three configurations so your little one can play with it through the sitting, to crawling to standing stage. It also has three modes (music explore and learn) to keep bub entertained. For babies 6 months and over. Available from Big W and selected toy stores, rrp $99.95.

Stocking fillers: bibs, teething toys, bath towels, books

TODDLERS

There are so many options to fill your toddler’s stocking. Just ensure you check the recommended age for the toy you buy to ensure you get something that is safe for your toddler’s age.
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PJ Masks Super Learning HQ Welcome to the PJ Masks Super Learning Headquarters by VTech
If your child is a PJ Masks fan, they will love this Learning HQ, with 12 activities to keep your child entertained, as well as the PJ Masks theme song and sound effects. rrp $49.95 from Big W, Target and selected retailers.


Storytime Buddy from Leapfrog
This adorable puppy is educational and cuddly! Buddy teaches colours, shapes, numbers, letters and so much more. He comes with five books and also has a nightlight – perfect for night time cuddles. rrp $59.95 from Big W and selected toy retailers.


Peppa Pig Lights and Sounds Family Home
It’s Peppa Pig’s house! Sure to delight Peppa Pig fans, the house features seven rooms and a range of accessories. The house also features favourite sounds and phrases from the show. rrp $149 from Myer, Big W and selected retailers.


Pokémon Power Action Pikachu
This Pikachu is so much more than a cuddly toy – it has a light up tail and cheeks, movement sensors and speaks more than 15 different responses. rrp $59 from Big W, Myer and selected retailers.


Push Along Pet Carrier by VTech
Toddlers love toys they can push along, but this push along carrier also features a cuddly puppy, as well as fun songs and sounds. VTech Push Along Pet Carrier, rrp $69.95, available from Kmart.


Starlight
Of course, Christmas is about more than presents, and these delightful toys from Starlight helps raise money for sick children and their families. Star Wand ($10) and Captain Starlight Doll ($25) from
www.shop.starlight.org.au

Stocking fillers: bath toys, balls, swimwear, clothes, bubbles

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KIDS 5-9 YEARS

Whether you are looking for something educational or purely just-for-fun, check out these great gift options for your children.


NeoBear AR Globe
If you are looking for an educational toy for your child, this globe makes learning about the world interesting with 3D animation, interactive learning and videos. Things become even more fascinating when viewed through the NeoAR app using a mobile device, enables children to see buildings, animals and more in the countries around the world. NeoBear AR Globe, rrp $59, available from Kmart.


Time teacher watches
These watches not only look great, but their easy-to-read faces help children learn how to tell the time. Stylish and educational! Time Teacher Watch, from rrp $39.95, www.cactuswatches.com


African djembe drums
Does your child love music? Then why not let them make their own with these fantastic drums. rrp from $59 (for the 30cm size) from www.africanbeat.com.au/product/djembe/


Jewellery box
This lovely Mini Beau Jewellery Box is perfect for a child who would like to keep their jewellery and precious trinkets safe and sound, rrp $24.95 from Smiggle

Ultra Trampoline
Let the kids burn off some energy with a gift that will be used long after the Christmas decorations are packed away. Vuly Play’s Ultra Trampoline, rrp from $599   from www.vulyplay.com

Lush
These gorgeous Lush products are perfect stocking fillers that look and smell great. Lush Candy Cane Reusable Bubble Bar, rrp $7.95 and Lush Gingerbread Man Sparkle Jar, $15.95, www.lush.com.au

Hatchi-Babies
Does your child like Hatchimals? Then they will love hatching the adorable HatchiBabies! Each comes with a highchair and birth certificate and they can be taught how to talk and play games like ‘find my toes’. HatchiBabies, rrp $109.99 from Target, Big W and Kmart, www.hatchimals.com

Stocking fillers: PlayDoh, art and craft supplies, books, clothes

PRETEENS 9-12 YEARS

No longer a child but not quite a teen – these are some great gift ideas that are fun or educational, depending on your preteen’s interests.


Smart watches
Delight your tween or teen with their own stylish smart watch. Cactus Kids Smart Watch Activity Tracker, rrp $99.95. Interchangeable banks available for rrp $14.95. www.cactuswatches.com


iPad cable
‘Can you charge my iPad?’ is a cry many parents will be familiar with – and now charging has become a bit more glamorous! The Laser Glitter Lightning Cable looks great and is a handy spare to have over the Christmas holidays, rrp $15 from Big W, www.bigw.com.au


Drone
If a drone is on your child’s wishlist, the Smiggle Remote Controlled Drone is easy to fly (and will fly up to 25 metres, which is sure to impress the kids), rrp $64.95 from Smiggle.

 

 

Slam Pro Basketball Hoop
Future basketball star on your hands? This portable hoop is multidirectional – allowing slam dunks from any angle. rrp $999 from Vuly Play, www.vulyplay.com

 

 

Comic Book Kit
Let your child create their very own comic, with step-by-step instructions and everything they need, rrp $25 from www.tigertribe.com.au

 

 


The Daredevil’s Guide to Dangerous Places
This fun book introduces your child to fascinating and destructive wonders, from venomous snakes to erupting volcanos. rrp $19.99, www.lonelyplanetkids.com

Stocking fillers: art supplies, slime, books, vouchers, PJs

MUMS

Mum deserves to be spoilt this Christmas.


Sustainable necklace
Handmade in Australia, these unique necklaces are ethically made from ceramic stoneware, leather and sterling silver, and a great gift idea for mums. Woodfolk Natural Wonders Necklace, rrp $75 from www.woodfolk.com.au


Parenting for Legends
Give a mum or mum-to-be a big belly laugh with this hilarious parenting guide by bestselling author Shannon Kelly White. Parenting for Legends by Shannon Kelly White, rrp $29.99, www.parentingforlegends.com


Bobbi Brown Eye & Lip Palette
Spoil Mum with the pocket-sized Bobbi Brown Life of the Party Mini Eye & Lip Palette, for glamour on-the-go, rrp $80, www.bobbibrown.com.au

Stocking fillers: books, gourmet treats, pampering goodies, movie tickets

DADS

From budget gifts to something a bit luxurious, there are options for the perfect gift for the Dads in your life.


Crash camera
Whether Dad is a car enthusiast or a stickler for safety, he will love the Naavig8r GPS X 616 Crash Camera, rrp $99.95 available from Harvey Norman.


AncestryDNA kit
Are you looking for a gift for the person who has everything? Then look no further than the AncestryDNA kit, which can provide a personalised ethnicity estimate back up to 1000 years from more than 350 regions around the world! This unique gift is sure to be talked about for years to come. AncestryDNA kit, rrp $129 plus shipping from www.ancestry.com.au/xmas


Wine cellar
Can you imagine Dad’s face when he receives his very own wine cellar? Smeg’s Dolce Stil Novo collection features two wine cellars to choose from, including a 450mm high built-in model and an 820mm underbench, the wine cellars are tailored to store and mature Dad’s favourite drops. rrp CVI618NR Compact Wine Cellar, $3490, www.dolcestilnovo.com.au

Stocking fillers: Books, gourmet delights, skincare/body products, socks, scratchies/Lotto

FAMILY

Why not get the family something to enjoy together?


Car charger
Christmas road trips just got easier! The Belkin Road Rockstar: 4 Port Passenger Car Charger features four USB ports so you can charge four devices so the kids can keep playing their tablets without the risk of the battery running out mid-trip. A six-foot cable also means even the kids’ devices in the backseat can charge. $59.95, www.belkin.com/au


Monopoly
Nothing brings the family together like a good board game, and the new Monopoly Cheaters Edition (which rewards cheating) is sure to be a hit. rrp $39.99 from leading toy retainers including Big W, Myer, Target and Kmart.


iFLY
Experience gifts are always a hit, so why not try indoor skydiving for something a bit different? The great thing is it is suitable for most of the family, suitable for ages 3+. For pricing and details go to https://downunder.iflyworld.com/

Gift options for all!

  • Gift vouchers. A great idea for those who are difficult to buy for. To make a voucher a bit more personalised, they can be gifted in a funky gift voucher case or card.
  • Experiences. For the people who have everything, an experience is a great idea, and there are so many options – from movie tickets and restaurant vouchers to spa vouchers and hot air balloon rides.
  • Books. A book (or a magazine subscription) is a great gift for all ages.