MELBOURNE NEWS

Whether your child likes coding, craft or something completely different, there are fun and free activities to enjoy on your doorstep all year round.

If you’re looking for family-friendly events, dining and entertainment, What’s On Melbourne is a great place it start. Filter your search by “Family and kids” to explore what’s on offer, and sign up to the newsletter for weekly event updates in your inbox.

Our library events also offer all sorts of interesting activities in your neighbourhood, from storytimes to STEAM classes.

Read on to find out more. Follow the below links to jump to sections of interest.

Services for children and families

Maternal and child health services

Our maternal and child health nurses provide a free support to local families with newborn babies, right up until the child starts school. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​They can help you with feeding, sleep and settling, mental wellbeing, referrals to additional services if needed, and much more,

Your hospital or midwife will let us when your baby is born and we will contact you to arrange a first appointment, usually in your home. Follow up appointments will take place in one of our centres, which are located in Carlton, Docklands, Kensington, North Melbourne and Southbank.

To learn more, visit Maternal and child health.

Local families come together in one of our community spaces

Friendly neighbourhood playgroups

We provide free and inclusive playgroups for families with children aged 0 to 6. Playgroups give children the opportunity to learn through play and socialise with other children.

Playgroups also help families feel connected to their community and access information about parenting and wellbeing.

Facilitated playgroups are located at the following venues:

  • Boyd Community Hub
    207 City Road, Southbank
  • Carlton Learning Precinct
    Palmerston and Rathdowne streets, Carlton
  • Community Hub at The Dock
    912 Collins Street, Docklands
  • Kensington Maternal and Child Health Centre
    81a Altona Street, Kensington
  • Lady Huntingfield Early Learning and Family Services Centre
    89-97 Haines Street, North Melbourne

Our playgroups provide sessions for specific language and cultural groups, fathers, and the LGBTIQA+ community. We can also connect you to parent-run playgroups.

To learn more and register online, visit Playgroups. You can also phone 9320 4749 or email play.groups@melbourne.vic.gov.au

Children enjoy a local playgroup

Inclusive early education

We’re here to help all local families navigate early education, kindergarten, parenting and wellbeing services. This includes families from diverse backgrounds, and people with disability.

“Children who do not attend kindergarten are 2.7 times more likely to be developmentally vulnerable for language and cognitive skills in prep and 40 per cent of children not participating in kindergarten in 2021 were from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

“By supporting brain development through education we can change the trajectories of children’s lives and this can result in better life-long outcomes, especially for vulnerable children and their families.”

Emmanuelle Maurel
Early Years Inclusion and Access Officer

Learn more about the importance of early education from Emmanuelle.

A person with a red top and glasses, smiling in the sunshine
Emmanuelle Maurel

Take a virtual tour of our childcare centres

We’ve made it easier for you to find a childcare centre that suits your child and family’s needs. Follow these links to take a virtual tour of childcare centres managed by the City of Melbourne:

Our high-quality childcare centres provide rich and respectful learning environments that cater to Melbourne’s diverse and growing population. Both our centres are open and accepting registrations for children aged from 0 to 5 years.

There are also a number of other community-run childcare locations in the City of Melbourne. To learn more, visit Childcare options.

Discover rich and respectful learning environments in our childcare centres

Library events

Our libraries are treasure troves of language, literacy and learning. Check out the packed program of weekly events, featuring regular storytime, songbird and stomper sessions for little people and their grown-ups.

You can also find coding clubs, STEAM sessions and origami-making. And don’t forget to explore our makerspaces.

The City of Melbourne has six permanent libraries, as well as pop-up libraries, across the municipality. They are located in the CBD, Carlton, Docklands, East Melbourne, North Melbourne and Southbank.

View library locations and opening hours.

Children enjoying one of our regular Stompers sessions at their local library

Toy libraries

Our toy libraries offer a range of quality toys for ages 0 to 8 years that encourage play, help develop children’s skills and imagination and support brain, muscle and language development.

All you need to borrow toys is a free library card, and a toy catalogue is available to browse online.

Toy library locations:

  • The Chapel
    469 Cardigan Street Carlton VIC 3053
    Monday: 3pm to 6pm
    Wednesday: 9.30am to 12.30pm
    Saturday: 10am to 2pm
  • Hotham Hub
    113 Melrose Street North Melbourne VIC 3051
    Tuesday: 9.30am to 12.30pm
    Thursday: 3pm to 6pm
    Saturday: 10am to 2pm
  • Library at the Dock (click and collect only)
    107 Victoria Harbour Promenade, Docklands VIC 3008
Borrow educational and age-appropriate toys for free with your library card

Top playgrounds

We provide more than 40 playgrounds across the City of Melbourne. Here are some highlights.

  • Bayswater Road Reserve, Kensington
    Rubber pathways make this playground accessible for wheelchairs.
  • Fawkner Park, South Yarra
    Find a sandpit, musical steps and a sensory garden in the toddler play-space.
  • Kensington Adventure Playground
    Enjoy a free communal backyard and play space staffed by youth leaders at JJ Holland Park. Learn more at The Venny.
  • Lincoln Square, Carlton
    Play in the treetops of 150-year-old Moreton Bay fig trees in this unique playground.
  • Ron Barassi Senior Park, Docklands
    Take on the rocket ship slide and rope bridges at this playground under the Bolte Bridge.
  • Royal Park, Parkville
    Explore the climbing forest and cool off under the fountains at this award-winning nature play area.

View all playgrounds in the City of Melbourne.

The treetop playground at Lincoln Square in Carlton

Creative spaces for children and young people

ArtPlay

ArtPlay brings together children (from babies to 13 years of age) and artists to explore and create innovative experiences that encourage self-expression and playful exchange. It’s located at Birrarung Marr behind Federation Square.

To learn more, visit ArtPlay or meet 8 amazing artists aged under 12.

A group of children in colourful costumes, holding assorted signs
ArtPlay’s “By Kids For Kids” Collective

Signal

Signal is the City of Melbourne’s creative studio for young people 14 to 25 years, located at Northbank. The program offers young people the opportunity to work alongside professional artists in a collaborative way, through multi-artform workshops and mentoring. For more information, visit Signal.

More empowering activities for children and young people

We support children and young people through a wide range of arts, recreation and community programs, including funding partner organisations like The Drum to deliver exceptional activities.

Here are some more ways to engage in your suburb.

Caravan of Sound

Bop along to sweet beats as a new music studio on wheels pops up at local public housing estates in North Melbourne and Kensington, and beyond. Learn more from songwriter and head roadie Akolda Bil.

A person in a backwards cap and tie dye shirt rapping into a microphone and smiling
Akolda Bil

Career and personal support

Get help with job applications, study enrolment, career planning, leadership skills, family challenges, mental health and more. The Drum offers tailored support for your journey.

Carlton Scouts

Be prepared for adventure with Scouts Victoria! More than one billion young people have been scouts, and memberships are subsidised for young people who couldn’t otherwise afford to take part.

LGBTQIA+ communities

Queerspace Youth and (in)visible are two dedicated programs run by The Drum to connect and inspire queer and trans young people.

Safe, inclusive spaces to grow

Enjoy sport, fun and friendship at the The Drum’s Young Men’s programs in North Melbourne and Carlton, or the Underground Women’s program in Carlton.

Skateboarding

Join a free All Aboard session and learn how to skate from the experts at the Kensington and Riverslide (CBD) skate parks. Learn more from pro skater and local coach Richard Flude.

Young women chat in a skate spark

Child safety standards

At the City of Melbourne, we are committed to child safety and create environments where all children have a voice and are listened to, their views are respected and they contribute to how we plan for, design and develop our services and activities. Read more about our child safety standards.

Additional services for parents and families

Becoming a parent is both a joyful and challenging time. We’re here to provide support to help children and families gain confidence, build their skills and live their best lives. Our services and programs include:

To find out more, visit For children and families.

Children and older people doing tai chi in South Yarra

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