Does it make me a bad person that I am reluctant to do this post? Is it a shock to discover that the true calibre of my core being is so selfish?
Well I am and it is.
See, I would prefer that nobody else found out that there’s a new interactive game, Kspace, at the National Museum of Australia. Once word is out, everyone will probably show up at exactly the same time as me, and then I’ll have to wait in line for my extra turns. The thought of waiting in a long line, for anything, feels impossible right now.
Yes, I just spent 24 hours battling Sydney traffic; not plain old everyday Sydney traffic but Ed-Sheeran- concert Sydney traffic. I got stressed, I got honked at, I got lost and there was a lot of mindless waiting.
Alright, I guess I’m being unreasonable. Maybe, if you promise to visit Kspace on a day different to one of my chosen days, you can continue to read this post. Wave your pinkie- swear at me please, and proceed.
Do you remember that kid’s area in the National Museum? Where you could design a flying machine and then watch your machine travel through space with your 3D glasses on? My 10 yr old loved this activity and would line up to do it 3 times at a go.
He was reminding me about it as we walked into the museum this afternoon. ‘Let’s leave time to make our space machines, Mum’, he said.
Once inside, we were greeted and then ushered down to the same location where the space machines used to be created. Those machines were gone!! The 10 yr old cast me a withering look as though I had personally ordered their disappearance. I couldn’t respond however, because Josephine from the Museum, who had invited us along was introducing us to Karina, the manager of the new-look Kspace.
Karina briefly welcomed us and told us that the new interactive game that is Kspace involves designing your own time-travelling robot, which then blasts back to one of 8 moments in Australian history.
We got straight into testing the game out, heading to Stage1: the Design Station.
This is the 10 yr old’s signature look.
The first thing I noticed in the designing of your own time-travelling robot was how familiar it was. It is clearly a nod to the elements of the original Kspace activity that everyone loved the most. You even get to add a photo off yourself onto the robot! And we had wonderful guides to ease us through the process or just listen to a random story like below….
Notice some of the big kids? 🙂
Note that the designing portion of the activity is on a timer, so while you have plenty of time, make sure the perfectionist in the group doesn’t dilly dally. My perfectionist 10 yr old was totally absorbed in his project and didn’t notice the timer counting down available seconds on the left of his screen. He was a little bummed that his robot wasn’t quite as he wanted it. So thrilling to see something you created in 3D though!
After designing our robots, we moved to the Time Pod where we began the interactive portion of the game.
In the Time Pod, four people share a large segmented screen, each with their own controls.
There are individual components to the game, as well as times when the individuals come together as 4 parts of one mech robot and work together to achieve a common goal.
Obviously the 10 yr old is experiencing some success at the individual component here:
We had so much fun trying to co-ordinate our mech robot to locate and collect objects around the building site of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the 1930s. I couldn’t stop giggling because I was the head of the robot and I was a hot mess! Fabulous fun!
After the session, we went into the Cool down area, where we could chat about our experience or use the interactive screens to learn more about the era we had just visited.
We also emailed a postcard of our experience home. This is such a great way to round off the activity, pausing to reflect and having a chance to research what we had just experienced.
The moments in time range from 110 million years ago to the year 1990. Visiting public will get their moment in time randomly selected, whereas school groups can choose to have one that ties in with a part of history they may be preparing for and studying at school. There are a wide range of related, curriculum-based resources on the Museum’s website that go hand in hand with both Kspace and the wider gallery. The best thing about this new play space is that all the moments in time are relevant to exhibits in the Museum so it connects kids to the rest of the gallery.
Karina and the team behind Kspace worked hard over 3 years to develop the new activity; seeking a balance between fun, relevant and educational, and involving input from kids all along their journey. I think they have nailed their objectives, if the response from the kids this afternoon was anything to go by. Super impressed!
Kspace opens to the public for the school holiday period on December 19 and will have session running from 9:15 am – 4pm on weekends, public holidays and ACT school holidays . During ACT school term weekdays, session times are shorter. 12 pm-1:30 pm.
This game space is designed for kids aged 5-12 years old and a session lasts for half an hour.
So make sure you wow your kids this holidays by taking them there. Just don’t pick the days I am there though. You read to the bottom of this post and that was our deal, remember?