If you live in Canberra and your little ones need a new place to play, help is at hand. The new Play Up exhibition at Canberra's Old Parliament House may be just the ticket to get you through the day and have a lot of fun.
Actually it's now called the Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD), and new life has been breathed into this grand old white building that was the home of Federal Parliament for more than 60 years (1927 to 1988), providing it with a new purpose and mission while maintaining its history and charm. Designed originally as a provisional Parliament House, the building served the country well, but eventually we outgrew it without discarding it.
A very recent addition to the House, Play Up is actually a grown-up exploration of play and its importance in our world, dressed up in a multi-roomed, multi-coloured kids' heaven. There's big blocks to make princess castles or a fort, little blocks, a table to make craft at (complete with supplies), a puppet theatre booth, a white board with giant letters, skinny and fat mirrors, masks, and more.
In fact, there's just about everything. And the book selection is amazing. You could spend hours there snuggled in the bright and brilliant beanbags or on the glorious collection of coloured crewelled cushions reading to your child except there's too much else to do.
It doesn't really matter what your kids do, they can't get into too much strife because it's all been designed for them, to be safe and reasonably indestructible.
For the slightly older child, there's a multi-media section where a range of thought-provoking videos can be selected and viewed, imbuing social justice material about rights and responsibilities into interesting material for kids. In fact, there is whole world of further discovery at the Museum from the nearby dress up room to school holiday programs, from free guided tours to art exhibitions, from Sunday music to Friday night drinks, not to mention the great cafe. Take a look at What's On.
And all this for a $2 entrance fee, less if you're a student.