Sports Chiller Drink Bottle – Smash Enterprises Review

Exciting news! We are now officially Smash Enterprises and Nude Food Movers Ambassadors so we will be sharing with you some to their products and how you can use them to make your life easier. When it comes to making school lunches, we are all for easier!

Over the past week, we have been trialling the new Smash Sports Chiller drink bottle (which has just launched exclusively in Coles for $10 RRP) – I don’t know about you, but we go through a lot of drink bottles around here!

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The top features of the Smash Sports Chiller are the dual wall insulation that keeps drinks 2.5 times colder than regular reusable plastic drink bottles. We trialed the Smash regular drink bottles as well, and surprisingly we did find that the drinks stayed colder. I can’t wait to use them in summer where I am sure we will really enjoy the difference.

The Sports Chiller also has a sweat free design which boasts about it’s no condensation feature – this means no more funky, wet bags for school! It’s easy to clean because of the wide opening (which is also good for popping in ice cubes) and is light weight and squeezable even for the smallest of hands.

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There is a one-way performance valve which allows for fast flow and no leaks. We did a little leak test of our own, just to test! We trialled 4 bottles, and one of them leaked a little bit when we tipped the bottle upside down and jiggled it as hard as we could. When we tipped it up and just held it there it didn’t leak. What is so great about Smash, is that if there is a problem they fix it immediately – so never worry about your warranty.

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Whilst we have you here, as Nude Food Day Ambassadors, we wanted to let you know about their Nude Food Grant School Program where they are giving away $10,000 to schools, classes and students! Applications are now open and close on 22/6/18. For further information and register visit www.nudefoodday.com.au

What are your must-have features for a drink bottle?

More information on the whole Smash range can be found at www.smashenterprises.com.au

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STOMP, Melbourne – A Review

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STOMP is back in Melbourne this week, and it will have you stamping your feet, clapping your hands and laughing until your cheeks hurt!
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Alegria and I loved watching the eight performers use non-traditional instruments to thump out an explosively feel-good rhythm, although you need to be warned – the show is LOUD!

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For 90 minutes (there’s no interval), we were tapping our toes and wondering what they were going to do next! It really is amazing that a musical that doesn’t include any traditional instruments and is wordless could be, in fact, a musical. But it really is!

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One thing is for sure, I promise you will never look at supermarket trolleys, Zippo lighters, plastic bags and garbage can lids or even the kitchen sink the same way ever again!

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If you want to see what all the noise is about, then click on www.stomptour.com.au for more details!

Where: The Comedy Theatre, Melbourne
When: 1 – 6 May 2018 – 8 performances
Book: www.StompTour.com.au or call Ticketmaster 1300 889 278

Splash Test Dummies (by Trash Test Dummies) at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival!

If you think that the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is just for adults, then think again!

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We saw the the Splash Test Dummies (Trash Test Dummies) and they were so funny and seriously talented!

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The award-winning circus trio Jack Coleman, Jamie Bretman and Simon Wright are three lifeguards who will meet you out in the line and make sure you have sun protection before they set out to save you with their trademark blend of slapstick side-splitting circus, acrobatic, juggling, stunt work and imaginative comedy.

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Young and old were laughing until our cheeks hurt, there are bucket loads of audience participation, songs like the Baywatch theme song, Octopus’s Garden, Rubber Ducky and I’m too Sexy, unicycles, shadow puppetry, ping pong balls and water! We promise that it’s family friendly and the kids will LOVE it!

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We have a special code for you! When buying tickets, type in SPLASH for 2 for 1. Happy days!

When: 1pmSaturday 31 March – Sunday 15 April (Shows every day except Wednesday 11th April)

Where: Melbourne Town Hall – Lower Town Hall, Swantston Street, Melbourne
Cost: $20-25, click here to book

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Wooden Fairy Story Discs – DIY with Ryobi Australia!

This post is in collaboration with Ryobi Australia
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Alegria and Isaac love to play outside! There is nothing better than seeing their imaginations run wild whilst getting a great big dose of fresh air and being in nature! In an age where kids are spending more time on devices, we have been making a concerted effort to swap screen time for green time. To achieve this, we we visit national parks in our local area, go to playgrounds and spend time in our garden.

We have put aside a little area in the backyard, under some trees and in amongst the flowers, for a fairy garden. One of Alegria’s favourite things to do in the fairy garden is to play with our homemade wooden story discs. Wooden story discs, similar to story stones, are great as story-telling prompts for narrative play. They are fun, easy to make and your kids will love them!
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If this is your first DIY project, here are my Top 5 Tips to get you on your way! You don’t need to feel intimidated by DIY, there are many projects that require very little in the way of skill, tools or materials.

GEORGINA’S TOP DIY TIPS!

  1. Pick a simple DIY design – you don’t want to be overwhelmed and never finish. Save the instructions or take a screen shot on your phone for easy reference.
  2. Make sure you get some essential safety gear – safety glasses and hearing protection are a must. Gloves are handy as well!
  3. Ask for help – expert advice is available at stores like Bunnings Warehouse or local hardware stores. Ask your friends, you will be surprised at the hidden skills people have!
  4. Get prepared – make sure you have all the tools and materials you need before you begin. You don’t want to have to stop half way to pop down to the shops again!
  5. Set aside time to DIY – I often work on my projects when the kids are playing in the backyard. They come and check out what I am doing, have a go (if it’s safe) and then go back to playing. It’s amazing how much knowledge they pick up by observing you and participating, where appropriate.

HOW TO MAKE WOODEN STORY DISCS:

As I said, wooden story discs are easy to make, and even easier when you have the right tools!

For the wooden story discs, we stopped by Bunnings and picked out some Ryobi Tools to make the job easier. Isaac was in little boy heaven!

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Obviously we had a specific idea of what we were using the tools for, however, we have found that we use them all the time for various DIY jobs and for even lighting the Weber BBQ!

If you are a beginner, don’t be scared! Each tool comes with an instruction manual and there are also online tutorials on how to use all the Ryobi tools on Ryobi TV.

TOOLS WE USED:

MATERIALS WE USED:

  • 64 x 19 mm 3.0 m length of timber
  • Various rubber stamps (we chose fairy themed but you can choose anything!)
  • Versamark ink
  • Embossing powder

DIY STEPS:

STEP 1: MEASURE TWICE, CUT ONCE!

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Before cutting your timber, do a quick measurement to make sure your stamps will fit! Mark out where you want to make your cuts along the timber.

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STEP 2: GET CUTTING!

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Always remember your safety protection (safety glasses and hearing protection at a minimum) and get cutting! The Ryobi 2000W 254mm Slide Compound Mitre Saw With Laser was easy to use, and I highly recommend getting the stand. The saw has just enough safety precautions that you know you won’t cut off a finger (always a bonus!) and not too many that makes using it cumbersome. The laser makes cutting a straight line, exactly where you want it, a breeze!

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STEP 3: SAND AND SEE!

Now that you have your little bits of timber, it’s time to shape them! You could use a pencil to mark out the basic shape you want your discs to be or be like us and see what shape it becomes! Alegria really loved helping out with this task. With the right safety equipment and supervision, there is no reason not to include your kids in your DIY tasks!

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We used the Ryobi 200W Corded Multi Tool Kit sanding attachment and rounded the corners off the timber pieces. We used a vice to hold our discs (and an old sock as the vice was marking our timber!) and smoothed all of the edges so that they were safe for even the littlest of fairies.

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The Multi Tool is such a handy tool to have, although in hindsight, I would have used the Ryobi 370W Belt and Disc Sander as this was a job that took a long time! The Belt and Disc Sander would definitely be faster!

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STEP 4: GET SOME INK!

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Using your chosen rubber stamps, coat the stamp with Versamark ink and stamp it onto your wooden disc. Make sure you are very careful and don’t move the stamp once it is on the wood or the embossing powder will stick to it and ruin your image!

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STEP 5: SPRINKLE FAIRY DUST (EMBOSSING POWDER)!

As soon as you have stamped your wooden disc, you need to sprinkle embossing powder on it. You need to be quick as you don’t want the ink to dry as your powder won’t stick!

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Don’t waste your powder – pour the excess back into your container or use a piece of paper folded in half as a funnel.

STEP 6: TURN UP THE HEAT!

Activating the embossing powder is for adults only! Let me say that again! The heat gun is HOT so the kids need to step away!
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Now that they are at a safe distance, heat the embossing powder until it begins to change. It sort of bubbles and melts. The Ryobi 2000W Corded Heat Gun has a red light so that you can target specific spots and you don’t burn anything. The silver end gets hot, so be careful after you have finished to avoid burns. The gun itself is easy to use and as I said earlier Tim uses it to light his Weber BBQ all the time so it is a handy addition to your tool box.

STEP 7: ENJOY!

The kids can use the wooden story discs however they chose! There’s no right or wrong way to play!
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If you are looking for ideas, the kids can use the discs for:

Math Play: The discs can be used in sorting or grouping activities. Children can count how many people (or fairies), animals or food items they have or make shapes by lining up the discs into circles, squares and even in long lines.

Story Telling: Children can tell a story based on a single image or use another disc to further the story. Children can do this independently or as a group taking it in turns to tell a story or add another sentence to the group story.

Imaginative Play:  The discs don’t have to be used exclusively in the garden, they can be used as:

  • obstacles on the car or train track
  • characters in the dollhouse
  • guests at a tea party

Of course, there are many ways your children will find to play with these wooden story discs and you can put what ever images you like on them so they can be tailored to your child’s interests.

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Acknowledgements – This post was brought to you in collaboration with Ryobi Australia. Kidding Around Australia were supplied with the tools required for this project and as always our opinions are our own.


Please note all details quoted are correct at the time of publishing. All details are subject to change without notice and Kidding Around Australia takes no responsibility for information contained in this post. Please check the appropriate website to ensure that information is still correct and current.

ALL PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGES ON THE KIDDING AROUND AUSTRALIA WEBSITE ARE THE EXCLUSIVE PROPERTY OF THE KIDDING AROUND AUSTRALIA AUTHORS. ALL IMAGES ARE SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT AND CANNOT BE USED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM KIDDING AROUND AUSTRALIA.

Kinglake Forest Adventures – Treetops Experience

It’s not very often that you find a fun, different activity that the WHOLE family enjoys but that is exactly what we discovered when we went to Kinglake Forest Adventures!

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For 2 hours, we joined the experienced leaders who guided us (and the rest of our group) on how best to tackle the Zipline, Freefall Starter, Freefall Advanced, Tree Climbs, “The Triangle” peak challenge and the competitive “Centre Fall”.

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Everyone (adventurers and spectators included) are supplied with a hard hat to enter the Treetops zone, which for us included Georgina’s Mum and Dad along with our friend Payno, who you can all thank for our photos as we were having way too much fun to take photos!

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After being fitted with our helmets and safety harnesses, we had a go balancing on the slacklines, throwing the frisbee and playing with the hackey sacks whilst we waited for everyone to be ready. We then travelled along the rope bridge to home tree to get instruction on the zipline (or flying fox).

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For some it was as simple as running off the platform (hello Isaac!) and for others (hello Mumma!) it was a gradual process to slowly get off the platform. We were amazed at the kids who were going backwards, upside down and all manner of other positions!

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After the zipline, we attempted the freefall but it’s safe to say that we need a few more visits to muster up our bravery!

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The staff are masters at encouraging everyone to step out of their comfort zones and really take note about the individual journeys everyone is on throughout the day. They love seeing visitors try something new or challenging and succeed!

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We watched other members of our group have a go at “The Triangle” peak challenge – it’s not just the staff that take note when someone is trying to master a challenge, it’s everyone who cheers them on and joins in the celebration when success occurs!

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The climbs were fun for everyone, Isaac worked hard to ring the bell at the top of the tree climb and Alegria enjoyed all of the challenges that she had a go at! Some were easy, some were hard but it was great to see both of the kids push themselves to achieve their goals.

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It was after this, we headed to the “Centre Fall” for a game of tug-o-wall 8 metres above the ground. The climb to the platform was too challenging for Alegria and Isaac, and Tim politely declined so it was up to me to take up the challenge!

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I have to say, I went up the pole like a rat up a drain pipe, but when it came time to step out on the tiny platform (it’s about as big as my two feet together) one foot made it, and the other refused to leave the safety of the pole! It is really interesting to see how everyone reacts to fear – my mind was simply telling me that it wasn’t safe (even though I knew it was) so I couldn’t get my foot to work. I think I even yelled out to my family “I’m a celebrity, get me out of here” but there were 3 kids (8, 10 and 12) eagerly waiting for the 4th player so I had to do it, it was just a matter of getting onto that platform! With each passing minute, the kids got more and more confident that they would wipe the forest with me but they obviously haven’t learned about physics yet because this Mumma had mass behind her!

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Finally, I made it into position and the tug-o-war began. Two of the kids were eliminated, so it was just me and the 12 year old left. A top tip, is to wait until your opponent pulls on the rope and then release your end so the topple off backwards! I was crowned the victor, I was prouder than I should have been, but then had to jump off the platform for a freefall! It just so happens, that I still do exactly what my Mum tells me, so she counted me down. 1, 2, 3 …. JUMP GEORGINA! and off I jumped! My legs were shaking for a good 30 minutes after that, but I am really proud that I didn’t give up!

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We then went to our TeePee – which was decorated for Isaac and Georgina’s birthdays, and had a picnic lunch. The TeePee was such a great place to keep all of our belongings and we would all love one in our backyard! There are picnic tables as well, if you don’t want to hire a TeePee.

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After lunch, we spoke with the owners, Michelle and Colin about rebuilding after the 2009 Black Saturday bush fires, overcoming fears and the other activities visitors can do at Kinglake Forest Adventures.

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We can’t wait to go back and go biking through the forest (they have all the bikes there – from balance bikes for the little ones to mountain and electric bikes), as well as having another go at the treetop adventures! Colin has said we can’t go biking until we have run off the platform or have done a freefall! Challenge accepted!  

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MORE INFORMATION

Website: http://www.kinglakeforestadventures.com.au

 

 

OPERATION OUCH! LIVE ON STAGE WITH DR CHRIS AND DR XAND REVIEW

We were so excited to be invited to go and see Operation Ouch! Live on Stage with Dr. Chris and Dr. Xand as we had heard amazing things about the show. We were not disappointed!

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The show is so much fun, with audience interaction and clever explanations for the awesome way your body works, including your ears, heart, brain and eyes! We got to see first hand into Dr. Xand’s ear and how it moved when he held his nose and blew as well as Dr. Chris’s experiments to show how Dr. Xand’s pupil dilated with light.

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Dr. Chris and Dr. Xand used a cows heart and artificial blood to show us how the blood goes through the heart chambers. Here’s a fun fact, the heart is the only organ that will still work (ie. blood will flow through and the valves still work) after it is removed from the body.

We also learned how we can stop illness spreading! Giant balls floating through the crowd showed how fast disease can be spread and what immunisation does to protect the community.

Most memorably, Dr. Chris and Dr. Xand spoke about their childhood and education experiences. Dr. Chris was a gifted student whilst Dr. Xand was labelled “dumb and naughty”, and they both spoke about how society likes to give people labels, but it’s up to the individual if you accept this label. A great lesson for young and old.

If you ever get the chance to see Dr. Chris and Dr. Xand then make sure you do, the show is a must for science loving kids (and their parents!). We promise you will learn something new and have fun learning it!

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MORE INFORMATION

www.operationouchliveonstage.com

Artvo, Melbourne.

I have to be honest, an art gallery is not somewhere that I take the kids often. Something about being quiet and not touching anything has me in a mild panic before we even get in the car!

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Well, the time’s, they are a changing! The Artvo Immersive Gallery is the first art gallery of its kind in Australia and is located in Melbourne’s District Docklands precinct (formerly Harbor Town). Unlike other art galleries or museums, you can touch and interact with over 100 amazing large scale 3D artworks covering the walls and floors!

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Artvo recruited 14 international artists with over 40 years of experience to complete the awe-inspiring paintings with works complete in just 60 days.

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Now, I could go on and on about it but really, our photos do all the talking! I will say, that capturing photos on your smart phone is simple – we did take our “big” camera as well and to be honest, we got better photos on the phone. All you need to do is step onto the clearly marked photo point on the ground in front of each painting and follow the easy to read directions. There are TV screens showing you how to get the best results as well as the photo tips on the floor that tell you if you should be using a vertical or horizontal image capture, camera flash on or off and how to position yourself for a mind-bending picture result. There are also staff on hand to help you get the best image and to take family and group shots!

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There are 11 themed galleries in 1900sqm, so let’s get to it!

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As you can see, Alegria absolutely loved hamming it up for the camera, and Isaac liked it for about an hour and then started to get antsy. On this basis, I’d say that you have a limited time frame for under 5’s whilst school aged kids will have a great time. Everyone loves seeing the results of the image they just took as it looks completely different on screen!

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Artvo is open 7 days and is a fun, family-friendly destination – get ready to pose and get your photo taken!

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MORE INFORMATION

Venue: Artvo, 26 Star Crescent, Level 1, Harbortown Docklands, Melbourne
Dates &Times: Sun-Thurs 10am-6pm / Fri-Sat 10am-11:30pm / Open 7 Days
Tickets: Adult $28/ Child 5-15yrs $18/ Child up to 4 yrs Free / Conc $25 / Family from $55
Booking and Info: artvo.com.au
Social Media: facebook.com/ArtVoMelbourne , instagram.com/artvo_melbourne ,   twitter.com/artvo_melbourne

Alice in Wonderland – The Australian Shakespeare Company

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As you know, we really enjoy the Australian Shakespeare Company‘s productions. We think they are a great way to introduce children to the world of live theatre! We had never seen the Australian Shakespeare Company’s version of Alice in wonderland (based on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll’s classic story) so we knew we had to change that!

We grabbed our picnic blanket, our chairs and a picnic and headed off to Rippon Lea Estate (the gardens are amazing to explore after the show) and joined Alice as she follows the White Rabbit into the fun and magical world of Wonderland.

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Of course, the production is funny and there’s plenty of audience participation. We would expect nothing less of an Australian Shakespeare Company’s production! You can expect to see a hoard of little caterpillars are encouraged to crawl away as fast as they can before the Queen shouts “off with their heads” and they are all cheered on by a large deck of playing cards!

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Top Tip: Don’t put your kids in clothes that you don’t want grass stains on the knees!

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All of your favourite characters are there! Alice dances with the Dodo, is surprised by the Cheshire Cat, sings with Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, talks with a Caterpillar, sneezes with the Duchess, has tea with the Mad Hatter and keeps her head from the Queen of Hearts.

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Photography during the performance is not allowed, but there are plenty of photo opportunities after the show.

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Alice in Wonderland is a fun, fast-paced journey into fantasy and the kids will love it!

MORE INFORMATION

9 – 28 January, 2018
Tues – Sun, 11am and Thurs and Fri, 6pm
Tickets: $25 (children under 12 months free), $90 Family (4 people). $20 and $80 Family Early Bird Tickets available till 11 December
Bookings: 03 8676 7511 and online at www.shakespeareaustralia.com.au/productions/alice-in-wonderland/
Venue: Ripponlea House and Gardens – 192 Hotham St, Elsternwick (entry via main gate on Hotham St)
www.shakespeareaustralia.com.au

Tinkerbell and the Dream Fairies – Australian Shakespeare Company

If you have been thinking about introducing your little ones to live theatre, then Tinkerbell and the Dream Fairies by the Australian Shakespeare Company is the perfect introduction.

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Returning from a sell-out season in London, the Tinkerbell and the Dream Fairies musical is being performed in Melbourne’s Athenaeum Theatre 2, and Geelong’s Botanic Gardens.

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The show has been moved indoors for the Melbourne season (the Melbourne weather was too unpredictable to ensure the comfort of your littlest theatre fans), which is great for children aged between 3 – 8 as they join Tinkerbell and her friends the Dream Fairies, from a Midsummer Night’s Dream, as she searches for her wings.

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Together with Tinkerbell, the cheeky Mustardseed (who entices the most laughter from young and old), fluttery Moth, daring Cobweb, sweet Peasblossom create a flurry of fun and encourage all of the little fairies and elves to help them as they sing, dance and do some pretty impressive acrobatics before heading off on a special adventure to ‘Bubble Land’.

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Photography is prohibited during the performance, however if you remember to bring your camera you can get a photo with the cast after the show!

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MORE INFORMATION

MELBOURNE SEASON
2 – 27 January, 2018
Tues 11am, Wed – Sat, 11am and 2pm
Tickets: $20 each (children under 12 months free), $80 Family (4 people)
Bookings: 03 8676 7511 and online at www.shakespeareaustralia.com.au/productions/tinkerbell-and-the-dream-fairies or via TICKETEK
Venue: Athenaeum Theatre 2 – 188 Collins Street, Melbourne.
www.shakespeareaustralia.com.au

GEELONG SEASON
29 December 2017
11am and 2pm
Tickets: $20 each (children under 12 months free), $80 Family (4 people)
Bookings: 03 8676 7511 and online at www.shakespeareaustralia.com.au/productions/tinkerbell-and-the-dream-fairies/ or via TICKETEK
Venue: Geelong Botanic Gardens
www.shakespeareaustralia.com.au

Please note all details quoted are correct at the time of publishing. All details are subject to change without notice and Kidding Around Australia takes no responsibility for information contained in this post. Please check the appropriate website to ensure that information is still correct and current.