Toddler Outings: National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Open House Tromarama for Kids

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NGV open tromaram

Photo from NGV website

Entertaining the kids during winter can be a bit of a challenge. In summer it’s easy just to head out to a park and playground but you have to be resourceful in finding indoor play areas when it’s cold and wet outside.

Recently my 2-year-old and I checked out the NGV with fellow mums and bubs. The current kids’ exhibition is called Open House which, according to the official website, is “inspired by the interior of a typical Indonesian home”. There are kooky artsy displays like a room full of stacked dinnerware (glued together of course). One room features a wall of plastic flowers, another showcases pillows. There are plenty of interactive elements like a disco floor the kids can run about  and dance on (photo above) and the opportunity to do stop motion art.

The pros are it’s indoors and FREE. The con is it’s much smaller than you would imagine it to be from reading reviews. It’s only 4.5 rooms big (the half is the fake bathroom at the end), and when school groups enter…well, good luck. Dozens of kids in a small space = plenty of mayhem and not a lot of breathing space.

The first room of stacked cups and plates was also pretty much bypassed so it might as well have been 3.5 rooms. Toddlers aren’t going to admire art they can’t physically move and break. The last room featuring the pillow walls (with a bed in the middle to boot) is where they can do stop motion art and this is probably more suited to older kids. I don’t think many toddlers would be too interested in the process of making stop motion videos!

The few things my toddler loved was the trash can that burped every time you walked pass and the dog in the kennel that barked (yup- all a little random). Being a bit introverted, she wasn’t too taken by the crowded disco floor but her little friends loved it. I imagine most kids would spend most of their visit in that dancing room. Lights and music…what’s not to love?

All in all, we were in and out pretty fast. I think if it’s convenient for you to get to, it’s worth a look but it’s not somewhere you can hang around for long. Note there is nothing else in the NGV suited for kids. From my understanding, the kids’ exhibition changes every few months (this one is until October 2015) but it’s always in that same space. Maybe if you’re into art more than I am, you would appreciate it more. Like I’ve said, it’s free so it’s an option if you have nothing more exciting to do on a cold and rainy day!

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