Learn through play

The Pod is an unstructured, open-ended, non-defined play context where children and their adults digitally access new experiences alongside manipulable resources and materials for rich and diverse play experiences. Children’s curiosity is activated through access to loose parts that encourage them to rearrange, redesign and tinker, all whilst being inspired by carefully curated digital content projected across every surface of this expansive space!

Backed by research

The Pod is informed by researchers in the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child alongside Early Start researchers with expertise in play, specifically loose parts play.

The Pod affords children with agency; the freedom to create play experiences based on their ideas and goals, rather than predetermined built environments. In partnership with their adults, children will respond to both digital and physical resources available to them to rearrange, redesign and tinker to develop both physical and cognitive capabilities.

Non-prescriptive play environments like The Pod have been shown to provide opportunities for children to develop positive social behaviours, improve problem-solving skills, develop verbal and non-verbal communication, build confidence and develop resilience.

There is a complex relationship between on-screen and off-screen play. Children seem to be able to move between the two contexts when there is opportunity for connection. Their ability to play imaginatively are bound within the parameters of the design of digital content. Children need opportunities to engage with digital technologies where they take from the digital to direct the outcome of the experience, have control over the how they access the technology, and make real life connections.


The Bakery

With a rolling pin and baking tray in hand, specialty treats are always on the menu in The Bakery!

Circle Garden

Skip, jump and hop through climbing structures, secret gardens, a mud kitchen, wharf and sand pits to create, innovate and imagine!

The Pod

Children’s creativity and curiosity are ignited in The Pod, a place where digital connections and access to loose parts encourages children to design their own environment and explore possibilities!

The Sanctuary

Stimulate your touch, sight, smell and other senses, in our sensory room

Emergency! Emergency!

Police, Fire, Ambulance, SES – you get to be the hero!

Antarctic Research Vessel

Climb aboard and take the helm of a research vessel on its way to Antarctica.

The Campsite

Come on a camping trip in the Australian bush, complete with model campfire.

Bricks & Clicks

Build your own mini world with thousands of LEGO® bricks.

Crawlers’ Beach

A safe-haven of sensory discovery for children two and under with its own jetty.

The Cave

Grab a torch and explore the tunnels and nooks. You may even spot some of the cave’s inhabitants.


Gear up with a hi-vis vest and tool belt, we’re looking for builders who are ready to help construct our tiny home.


Take a trolley for a spin and collect your shopping before you start cooking in our Critter Café.

Critter Cafe

The kitchen is prepped and ready for young (and old!) chefs to take orders, make and serve the next Michelin star meal!


Unleash your creativity and be inspired to paint, draw, write and sculpt with daily art activities.

Lights, Sound, Action

The stage is yours! Express yourself with costumes, backdrops and lighting.

Discovery Garden

Step outside and explore our natural wonderland – an oasis that will excite all your senses.


All aboard the Critter Express! Shovel coal to fuel the engine or control a model train around its miniature world.

Puzzle Room

Step inside a room filled with big blue blocks to build, create and innovate!

Plan Your Visit

Ready to explore more than 15 experiences? Plan your visit now to get the most out of your trip to Early Start Discovery Space.

Become a member & save

First Year of Life


1 Adult + any Children
under 12 months

Discover for 2


2 people
1 Adult + 1 Child

Discover more


Add more people for $30pp
Max. 8 per membership

Transferable pass


Add a pass to a membership that can be used by anyone

Become a sponsor by donating to fund new research and experiences

We love collaborating with groups who share our passion for play. You can become a sponsor today or work with us to create a whole new experience.