Children engaging with digital technology experiences at the Early Start Discovery Space.

Early Start festival brings research and play together

Early Start festival brings research and play together

Early Start Discovery Space event explores changing digital space and what It means for children and families

Children and their families are invited to take part in the Festival of Digital Play at the University of Wollongong’s Early Start Discovery Space on Thursday 11 April 2024.

The family-friendly event brings research and play together. Research findings will be translated through play to inform families about the changing digital space, what it means for children and ways technologies may be used to encourage positive interactions.

The Festival will include a range of digital play experiences including robot rallies, mechanical marvels, coding in space, Lego trains (with a twist), exploring our natural world with digital microscopes, creating and capturing stories with digital technologies, ozobot maze drawing, digital hide-and-seek, bubble burst wall murals and other pop-up play activities.

All activities will be co-facilitated by Early Start researchers from the Australia Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child in partnership with the Discovery Space team.

The digital-themed events will celebrate the opportunities of technology for children’s play and provide children and their adults with ideas about how digital technologies can be incorporated in exciting and meaningful ways.

Early Start Director of Research Professor Lisa Kervin said our current generation of children are growing up in a digital world.

“Digital technologies are part of many children’s lives, they don’t know a time without a smartphone or an iPad,” she said.

“There are so many options with digital resources and families often ask us about recommendations for their child. In this Festival of Digital Play we draw upon the many conversations our team have had with families during the Friday Bytes program, to incorporate a range of digital technologies, including commercially available digital toys, to engage children and their adults in play with a digital twist.

“Our researchers and Discovery Space team have collaborated to develop a range of quality experiences where children will engage with technologies in exciting and meaningful ways.

“We look forward to welcoming children and their adults to the Festival of Digital Play.”

Discovery Space Manager Mr Josef English said the Festival of Digital Play epitomises the uniqueness and impact of the Discovery Space in the community.

“As the first dedicated children’s museum based on a university campus, the Festival provides a terrific opportunity to showcase research translation experiences that are accessible to children, their adults and the broader Discovery Space community,” he said.

Tickets to all Early Start events, including the Festival of Digital Play, are available via Early Start: