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We invite you to be inspired, creative and connected. At a Making Connections Playgroup you and your child will have opportunities to explore playful experiences in the idyllic natural setting of the Herdsman Lake Discovery Centre. In a supportive group environment we will explore new ideas and concepts through open-ended and skill-based play. We will make connections to stories, our senses, our imaginations and to nature.


The Making Connections Playgroups have been designed by PLAY to Be.

We believe... Food Grows Bodies, PLAY GROWS MINDS.


This principle comes from evidence-based research into the neurological, cognitive, physical and emotional development of young children. "A child's experiences during the earliest years of life have a lasting impact on the architecture of the developing brain... everything is connected and what comes first forms a foundation for all that comes later." (“Experiences Build Brain Architecture” - Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University).


Play is as important to a child’s mental development as food is to their growing bodies. Just as we try to provide our families with a balance of food groups, we can also offer a balance of rich play experiences that stimulate intrigue, engage minds and promote play based learning. Our goal is to help you provide your children with opportunities to play in and around nature, make sensory observations, strengthen language and communication skills, and refine gross and fine motor abilities. Through open-ended playthings we encourage children to navigate their own play journey with creativity and imagination.

PLAY to Be…

Empower families to create playful experiences, 

make connections, learn and grow.


We offer a variety of hands-on activities made using natural, recycled or everyday materials. We will show you how to maximise the potential of play and promote play-based learning with accessible, achievable and sustainable ideas that you can replicate at home. Each playgroup session will be a little different but with common underlying values which are:

  • Experiencing the joy and power of play

  • Appreciation of and exposure to nature

  • Opportunities for sustainability & creativity

  • Fostering mindfulness, wellbeing and parent-child connections.

A typical Making Connections Playgroup session will start with a story and introduction into what is on offer such as:

  • Open-ended playthings

  • Natural materials to explore

  • Sensory play opportunities

  • Pretend play prompts

  • Fine Motor activities

  • Gross motor activities / active play

  • Creative inspiration

Sessions will generally follow a theme which could be an investigation of patterns and colours, a focus on leaves and sticks, an exploration of spider webs (from a safe distance), or a morning all about mixing! Each child's experience will be unique - defined by what interests them and their individual skills and understandings.


Parents are encouraged to be guided by their child and support them to explore, discover and make connections. These playgroups are not only intended to be fun and engaging for your children, but also a valuable chance for you to connect with them, learn about them, and help them learn. You will be able to observe their interests and abilities and be supported with ways to extend them. You will be able to offer similar play experiences at home, that both engage your children and help equip them with many school ready skills such as fine motor, language and communication. We hope that parents will be playful and have fun too!

Sessions may be held inside the Discovery Centre or outside on the grass (or a combination) and may include play with water, ice, paint or mud so please dress appropriately and pack a spare set of clothes. Please see below for further important details.

The Making Connections Playgroups have been created and are facilitated by Danielle - founder of PLAY to Be, qualified teacher and designer, parent and passionate play enthusiast. Feel free to get in touch to find out more ways we can support and inspire your play journey.

For more information and a link to book, please see below.

Making Connections Events List

If you’d like more information please contact Danielle at:

PLAY to Be on Instagram and Facebook.

What does my child need to bring or wear?

We will be playing outside so please wear clothes that you don't mind getting a little dirty. We can provide aprons when using paints or other art materials. Please wear closed shoes and bring a hat, water bottle and morning tea.

Food and Drink

You are very welcome to pack a morning tea and enjoy a picnic on the grassy lawns before or after playgroup. There is a barista coffee window available with a small selection of snacks.



Casual rates: $20 per session. Please see Events page for tickets. Term Pass available for a 15% discount (to attend one session per week)

Health and Safety

Please stay home if you or your child are feeling unwell.

To ensure the health of our staff and participants from the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses, the early learning room will be routinely cleaned and disinfected.

As the centre is in a natural environment and presents water safety hazards, please note that a parent or carer MUST be present at all times during the session. Supervision is key to providing your child with a safe and fun learning environment, and is a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time!

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