Why you should visit MOTAT’s holiday experience Energize this summer?

Why you should visit MOTAT’s holiday experience Energize this summer?

Zorb Balls at MOTAT's school holiday experience

It was a MOTAT visit with a difference, in fact we didn’t even make it to the Trams!

As a family with three kids (8,10 and 12 years old), we are regular visitors to MOTAT, and we were excited to discover our summer holiday visit coincided with the first day of MOTAT’s School Holiday Experience – Energize!

As a long time MOTAT supporter, I have always been a fan of the nostalgia, the quirky exhibits and the rustic historical elements. Our kids have always enjoyed tinkering amongst the ‘old stuff’ too but these holidays MOTAT is offering a little more it seems!

Energize is a fun summer holiday experience for 2020 that showcases what energy is and how it is created. 

One of the Energize activities with the cars and the ramps and jumps was particularly popular with our two younger boys and it has rekindled their interest in their own collection of hot wheels and cars here at home.

Even a light sprinkle of rain didn’t deter the kids from taking a couple of spins on the outdoor ZORB track.

Heading to MOTAT is always a good family day out and the Energize holiday activities brings a fun and physical element to the experience which our kids took to in a big way!

The Energize experience also complements MOTAT’s newest exhibition, Machine Makers which is on in the school holidays. I think this exhibit is a must for anyone with kids that love to build, invent or has excess energy to burn! We spent a solid 4 hours at the museum most of which was spent in the Machine Makers exhibit.

And like most parents I am grateful for the relaxing, quiet time MOTAT helped ensure when we brought our three exhausted kids home that afternoon!

Hamster Wheel at MOTAT

Looking back on our family visit to MOTAT:

What was the kids favourite activity of the day?

Ella:  “Definitely the ZORBs and also the CARD game

Marshall:  “The ZORBS for sure”

George:  “I liked the Hamster Wheel in Machine Makers and building my own machine in the maker space laboratory.”

Mum’s perspective:  I was surprised at how much time the kids were absorbed by the new exhibition Machine Makers and while the big popular attraction was obviously the ZORBS the lines moved quickly and all the staff were super helpful.

Zorb ball track at MOTAT
Machine Makers Lab

What did the kids learn at MOTAT?

Ella: “I don’t think I learned anything new to be honest, but it was a lot of fun (and a little tiring!)”

Marshall: “I already know about the six simple machines from school but it was fun to play on them like a playground.”

George: “Nothing, but I liked that we could climb on all the machines and race each other in the ZORBs – I also liked the car tracks and choosing the fastest car to race and do the biggest jumps….”

Mum’s perspective:  While all my kids were adamant that they hadn’t learnt anything new, I noticed that throughout the day there was a lot of chatter between them testing their knowledge of the fundamentals of physics. Like: “You’re the biggest so that’s why you could get your ZORB rolling faster…” or “The only reason your car won the race was because your track had a steeper jump…”  

I think MOTAT has found an effective balance between learning and doing this summer… the emphasis seems to be on, getting the kids busy doing stuff and then letting their experience spark ideas and lock in learning.

Ramp at MOTAT

What’s with all the little cards you have brought home and are now spread out all over your bedrooms and the kitchen table?

Marshall:  “That’s the MOTAT card game, there are all sorts of different cards with different machine parts on them.”

Ella:  “You join them together to make mega machines and there are points and categories which add up so you can play against other people.”

George:   “It’s kind of like dominos but different… there’s 85 different cards to collect. I’ve got 43 cards and so I think we need to go back to MOTAT so I can get the whole set.”

Mum’s perspective:  We appear to now have about 3000 of these cards everywhere. The game is called CONNECT- IT and thankfully they are not nearly as annoying as those Disney tiles the supermarket was giving out. The imagery and design of each of the machine parts has a bit of a steampunk vibe about it and I was impressed with how quickly the kids got hooked on collecting them. I still need a bit of time to work out how to play the actual game so I can help the kids get into that aspect now we have the cards at home. But for now they seem to like joining up the pieces into big weird looking machine puzzles!

Connect IT Card Game at MOTAT

Energize summer holiday experience at MOTAT

MOTAT’s Summer Holiday Experience Energize is on until 27 January 2020, and their newest exhibition Machine Makers runs in compliment to these extra holiday activations and will be on display at MOTAT until May 2020.

For more information about what’s happening at MOTAT visit www.motat.org.nz

I Love MOTAT sign

Reader Interactions


  1. Machine Makers teaches kids the fundamentals of engineering while having tonnes of fun in the process.

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