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How a dinosaur helps kids get active

Meet Mimi the muttaburrasaurus: Medibank’s newly created play space in the Yarraville community.

Playing outdoors is essential for happy, healthy kids. But time-poor families, a lack of community recreational facilities, increasing time spent in front of screens, and parents’ concerns about the safety of outdoor play all mean Australian kids are getting outdoors to be active less than ever.

To launch the next round of the Medibank Community Grant program, we’ve created another reason for kids to play outside – a new play space in the Victorian community of Yarraville. And it’s not just any play space, but one specifically designed to spark kids’ imaginations and inspire active, creative play, going beyond the expected.

The play space takes the form of a giant Australian dinosaur – Mimi the muttaburrasaurus. Plenty of opportunities for creative play activities are integrated into the space. Her tail is a slide, a rope web leads up into her belly and, once inside, kids can bang on drums and make noises through a voice tube that leads out the mouth. This inspires kids to imagine actually being the dinosaur. Plus there are climbing grips, rope scrambles, low egg clusters and giant egg cubbies. Basically, there’s something to excite all ages.

To help get kids excited to play outdoors, we’ve released an illustrated children’s book, created in partnership with local illustrator Annie Davidson. Colourfully titled “BAMM! THWONG! SPROING! PHROOMP! WEEEE! Playing outside is the best” the book stars Mimi and describes her favourite thing to do – play outside. The story encourages kids to do the same and invites them to come down to the playground and meet her.

The response to Mimi in Yarraville has been overwhelming. As well as helping to get kids outside and being active, it has also brought together local families and community. You could do a similar thing in your area with a Medibank Community Grant.

(Download the ebook about Mimi here!)

2015 Medibank Community Grants – applications open now

Medibank Community Grants support local initiatives throughout Australia and New Zealand that encourage healthy eating, physical activity and community connectedness. Applications for the 2015 Medibank Community Grants open on 8 September 2014, and finalists will be announced in October.

For more information or to apply for a Medibank Community Grant, visit medibankcf.com.au

Learn more about how to encourage active kids, or read about more projects supported by the Medibank Community Fund.

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