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Posts Tagged ‘places to go’

I want to try and write regularly about things I do with Sebastian that are toddler friendly in Melbourne, because I think there’s a vast difference between a location/activity being child friendly and being toddler friendly. There’s a lot of playgrounds out there that reaaaally aren’t great for him, because he’s only two and can’t climb very well, and asides from one death-trap animal on a giant steel spring for riding, there’s not much for him to do.

He’s getting to the age where he and I both go stir crazy if we’re around the house too much, even if we go play in the backyard. So I’m trying to get out more, to try new things and expose him to more varied and interesting activities. I’ll blog about the places I go, everything from parks and playgrounds, to child-friendly cafes and educational activities, and give my opinion on how interesting and involving it was, both for myself and a toddler.

So to begin: Edendale Farm. Edendale Farm is located in Eltham in the north-east of Melbourne, and the site itself has a history dating back to 1852. I remember visiting Edendale Farm about 15 years ago with some younger cousins – I think back then it was a collection of garden beds and penned animals set in scrubby bushland. Things have changed a lot.

Now, visiting Edendale is like wandering through a collection of beautiful and interesting rooms, each with its own activities and purpose. There’s the cafe area, where we purchased egg and bacon muffins, coffee and orange cake. We ignored the tables and chose instead to sit on a provided picnic blanket on a slope with the kids, and once the kids were done trying to eat all of the cake and not share, they ran and played amongst rows of vegetable plantings while we sipped coffee and watched. Until an escape attempt was masterminded by Sebastian and we had to retrieve the children from halfway down a dirt track.

We visited an indoor educational area, and even though a lot of material was aimed at older children who could read, it was still toddler friendly with aquariums to look at with Bob the turtle, yabbies and fish, and even a case of spiny leaf insects that were so well camouflaged it took me a while to figure out it wasn’t actually a display of sticks and dead leaves.

Sebastian loved examining the fish. He talked about little yellow fish for days.

Sebastian loved examining the fish. He talked about little yellow fish for days.

Whenever I go somewhere, I judge the location by how easy it is to do a nappy change. Bad nappy change locations can ruin my day, but Edendale farm was very family friendly in this respect – there was a change table in the disabled bathroom that even had a nappy disposable unit. Of course, right outside the bathrooms is Edendale’s spiral garden, which is supposed to be for gentle strolls through, with little watering cans provided that the kids can use. Our kids just screamed and ran through the whole thing, but still. They loved it. I’d like to go back and try the spiral garden properly, because Sebastian has been getting very interested in watering our garden at home, and I’m trying to teach him about where food and herbs and flowers come from.

We also spent some time in a dedicated play garden, which was toddler heaven with little areas set aside for dolls, books, trucks and cars, drawing with crayons and even an easel set up for painting. Unfortunately rain was threatening by this point, so an army of volunteers came to pack up the toys, but still, we had fun.

Painting in the play garden. Two brushes, no less.

Painting in the play garden. Two brushes, no less.

We were on our way out of Edendale when Sebastian spotted the young goats, who were poking their heads through the fence to get to the obviously much more desirable grass. He’s spent the last 18 months on a farm with dogs, chickens, cows and horses, so of course he ran straight up to them and started patting them and ‘cleaning’ their heads with a baby wipe and encouraging them to nibble on his shoes. They were adorable and friendly and one of the highlights of the trip.

He wanted to keep them. I kinda wanted to keep them too.

He wanted to keep them. I kinda wanted to keep them too.

There was a lot I didn’t see and investigate at Edendale – it’s an educational facility that promotes sustainable living, and there are many classes for adults and children throughout the year. There’s a plant nursery, and apparently gunea pig holding on certain days, and composters and worm farms that can be purchased.

For a toddler, this day trip was an absolute delight – the environment is peaceful, the children were engaged with age-friendly activities, and the staff and volunteers we met were unfailingly friendly. I’ll definitely be going back to see and do more.

Edendale Farm does not charge an entry fee, however you can make gold coin donations. The cafe prices are more than reasonable, and I found it to be pram accessible. On their website you can find the latest information about upcoming activities and a location guide.

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