Virtual Family Fun: What’s On at Newcastle & Hunter Libraries, Museums & Galleries

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Are you missing out on family fun at local libraries, museums and galleries in Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter? Although we’re social distancing at home, you still enjoy fun activities and events from your home including live and pre-recorded storytimes craft sessions, theatre and magic show sessions and science experiments. Check out the list for all the details about what local attractions are offering virtually during the COVID-19 lockdown.

LIBRARIES

Newcastle Region Library

Even though the library branches are closed, you can still access e-books, e-magazines and stream legal music with Freegal. For kids missing out on Storytime, log onto the Storybox Library where some of Australia’s best storytellers read their stories on screen. It’s a vibrant and interactive way for children to enjoy their favourite Australian children’s stories, and enjoy a storytime at home.

Newcastle Libraries have launched a weekly live storytimes. Join all your favourite library friends for Rock n Rhyme Online on Mondays and Fridays at 10am! They will be singing songs, dancing together, and giving you some great activity ideas to keep the fun going at home. So grab a scarf (or a tea towel!) to dance with and make sure you say hi so they can wave back. These sessions will be 20 minutes long and suitable for ages 0-3 years and live-streamed on their Facebook page.

For older kids, you can join them for Story Stomp. Find a comfy spot and join them on Facebook Live for some Story Stomping fun. Every Wednesday at 11am, they will be exploring a new story, singing songs and sharing some great ideas to keep the fun going at home. These sessions will be 20 minutes long and suitable for ages 3 – 5 years and live-streamed on their Facebook page

Newcastle Region Library has also partnered with Curious Legends to present a fun & interactive series of live-streamed workshops – direct from their Newcastle Studio! Through make-at-home activities and fun games, kids and their families the world over get to explore theatre & puppetry – Curious Legends style! Workshops will be live-streamed from their website & Facebook page with participants joining in from home. Everything is being designed with materials you can find around the house – from dancing spoons and bits of string to mobile phone torches for your own shadow theatre! A workshop schedule will be posted on this page each week – come for one or join them all! Each workshop will have a different way of participating. For some, this is comments and shout-outs on our live stream – for others, you can send in your own video for them to share with people!

Lake Macquarie City Library

Lake Mac Libraries are rolling out a range of programs online. Enjoy weekly story-time sessions with local authors as well as magic shows with JD’s World of Magic on the Lake Mac Arts and Libraries YouTube channel.

Maitland City Library

Even though the library branches are closed, you can still access e-books, e-magazines and stream legal music with Freegal with Maitland City Library. For kids missing out on Storytime, log onto the Storybox Library where some of Australia’s best storytellers read their stories on screen. It’s a vibrant and interactive way for children to enjoy their favourite Australian children’s stories, and enjoy a storytime at home.

MUSEUMS & GALLERIES

Newcastle Art Gallery

The Newcastle Art Gallery may be closed but there is plenty of fun to be had online. They put together two weeks of virtual fun online, including a chance to join the global ‘homemade art’ challenge by recreating a work of art from the gallery’s immense collection using items you have at home. Missing out on weekend Art Cart? Explore Art Cart at home by downloading and discovering a range of accessible and hands-on activities. All inspired by iconic works of art in the Newcastle Art Gallery’s collection.

Museum of Art and Culture (MAC)

Museum of Art and Culture in Lake Macquarie is adding more online content. This content includes art tutorials and activities for kids, plus artist interviews and other educational content for adults. In addition to our new video series, they have also developed a range of online resources which will allow parents and kids to create art at home. They’ve set up ARTSPACE@HOME (ages 2-8) and MAKERSPACE@HOME (Ages 8+) to help encourage kids to get creative. These programs are designed with creativity and sustainability in mind, with activities simply requiring the use of everyday household items (such as milk bottles).

Maitland Regional  Art Gallery

To support the community staying connected and creative from the safety and comfort of your own home, Maitland Regional Art Gallery has launched a new weekly home delivery email full of things to See, Make and Do.  Your family can see an exhibition online, make your own artwork with downloadable work sheets or get doing with a range of activities designed to get those creative sparks firing. You can find all of the content at mait.city/34ensAq and sign up for #MRAGhomedelivery emails online at mrag.org.au/join-our-e-lists

Maitland Gaol

Learn about the history of Maitland Gaol with Snitch’s Spot. While the historic site is closed, Maitland Gaol has created some fun online resources guided by the ghostly character ‘Snitch the Rat’ to entertain kids at home. For those familiar with the Gaol site, Snitch the Rat is the voice of the children’s self guided audio tours, and he comes to life in the newly launched ‘Snitch’s Spot’ on the Maitland Gaol website, where his picture can be seen for the first time. There’s also activities for kids to try inlcuding making their own butter and liquid soap.

Newcastle Museum

Newcastle Museum is always a popular spot for local families. However, they have a variety of different online resources for curious kids. If you’re a fan of their science shows, check out the Discover section of their website to find science experiments and craft projects you can do at home. You’ll also find highlights of and insights into our important collection, videos, interviews and a whole lot more. Tune in on Tuesday mornings at 10:30am on Facebook for their preschool story time Tuesday Tales.

ANIMALS & NATURE

Blackbutt Reserve

Want to experience the great outdoors from your own loungeroom? You can still get up-close and personal with some of Australia’s most revered wildlife on Blackbutt Reserve’s Facebook page. Try a fun new activity each week, such as wildlife colouring in sheets and a whole host of other virtual animal encounters. You can also join spy on a koala with a daily streaming of the koalas at Blackbutt Reserve at 1pm on their Facebook page. See them being fed, explore their enclosure with a 360 degree view and chat online with Ranger Doyle!

You might also like:

Australia’s Best Virtual Tours, Zoo Cams & Museums to Explore From Home

What’s On This Week: Virtual Events for Australian Families

The Best Online Resources for Australian Kids Learning From Home

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