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Published March 15th 2011
Marrickville Council's Magic Yellow Bus unique scheme is a mobile play group which visits a different park within the Marrickville council area every day. The bus has various toys and activities for the different ages, all making use of the park space encouraging active playing and age-appropriate development. Besides the service being welcomingly free, it allows parents to gather with their friends usually with a cuppa and sometimes a muffin for a chat in the sunshine.
The bus caters for a wide age range of children, from six weeks until twelve years old. All children need to be accompanied by a parent or carer. The bus operates fifty weeks of the year but not in rain or extremely hot conditions (usually over 35 degrees Celsius). For more information on all the parks they visit and the times, it is best to look at the council website.
The bus uses various parts of each park according to age; there is a section for new-borns which is basically a large mat with lots of grab and colourful toys such as rattles and squeeze toys aimed at encouraging exploration through touch and sound. For the toddlers there are many outdoor toys encouraging physical and gross motor skills through running, throwing, balancing with the use of toys such as balls, ride-on toys and movement games. There is also a craft and painting section complete with aprons and all supplies.
On Friday mornings, the bus is at Dulwich Hill's well-loved Johnson Park in Constitution Rd. This gorgeous park has several sections as well as a large grassy area where the bus meets. It has sheltered picnic tables, BBQs, a basketball court, a large field to play ball sports and tracks for rollerblading or bicycle riding. There is an enclosed playground for active toddlers with a small swing, climbing frame/cubby house with a slide and ladders. For older kids, there is a small playground section with a roundabout and climbing equipment. It also has lots of shady spots for chatting, breastfeeding or simply having a quiet breather. Another superb aspect to this park is its closeness to the child-friendly deli cafe, Sideways also on Constitution Rd. It is perfect for grabbing some supplies on your way to the park or afterwards when everyone is ravenous.
For many parents, knowing that they don't have the task of having to tidy up after their child's messy adventures is usually a relief. Additionally, knowing their little one has started the day with an educational and fun adventure that hopefully results in a gloriously long nap once they get home is enticing.