Imagine if your mum was Rachael Coopes, Play School presenter. Lucky Gabriel gets to hang out with Big Ted and Jemima when his mum, Rachael Coopes, is at work. Thank you so much Rachael for taking the time to chat with us – and thank you for sharing the Play School joy to toddlers all around Melbourne and beyond, we know how much a live performance resonates with children!
Rachael Coopes please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your family
I am a busy, single, working mum of Gabriel who is 11 months old. I’m a presenter on Play School and Little Ted’s Big Adventures and I also work with young people through the Australian Theatre for young people. I have a play called “Sugarland” being produced this year for ATYP. It’s about young people in remote communities in Australia. Creating and storytelling are really my great loves. And of course Gabriel, he’s the greatest love of all.
Do you have a favourite family outing? What makes it successful, any tips on making it a fun day, any insider tips
I love going for a walk with Gabriel. Parks are fun as there’s always lots to see. Then we have a picnic and Gabriel can have a play and a snack. Centennial park is great as there is a cafe to grab a coffee right next to a kids playground and there are always many different animals around to see on a walk: horses, dogs, birds and ducks. Going to galleries is also fun as he’s still at an age where I can keep him on me in the ergo or in the pram and he loves all the paintings and I get to do something for me! (Which as all mummas know is very rare.)
What do your school holidays (or just holidays in general) consist of for your family?
We will be hanging out at the Play School concerts! We often perform during school holidays.
You’re going out with Gabriel for the day – what do you need to do to do to prepare?
My Il Tutto nappy bag, some snacks, a bottle, a change of clothes for Gabriel, sippy cup with water, nappies, wipes, hat and sunscreen if we’re heading outside and the pram or ergo. I always take more food and drinks than I think we will need, in case we end up staying out longer than expected.
Family holiday destination – do you have a favourite to share? Why was it a success, any tips?
The Gold Coast, Queensland. Stay in a family friendly hotel with a pool. We checked that there was a portacot and sterilizer before we arrived to minimize what we had to bring. There was a local baby hire company where we rented a pram from for about $50 for the week. They dropped it off at the hotel for free. I’m all about taking as little as possible and finding what you can at the other end. We did take an inflatable baby floatie seat which he loved in the pool. I started putting him in the shower with me twice a week from about eight weeks old so that he got used to being under a shower in case there was no bath in the hotel room when I traveled with him, when he was very young. This is a very useful tip as I discovered from touring Australia with Play School that frequently hotels don’t have baths. I also did an online shop for everything we needed for the week: nappies, food, swimming nappies, everything and had it delivered to the hotel, as the hotel wasn’t close to any supermarkets.
Does Gabriel have any favourite books?
His favourite is the Sweet Dreams Book by Andrew Wynne and Emma Scott.
Any events/activities/travels planned for the near future that you want to share?
Just this trip to Melbourne for Play School concerts. I’ll be doing concerts almost every day so there won’t be much time for outings. I’ll make sure we have lots of fun things to do backstage. Plenty of blocks and books.
The Play School Live in Concert is travelling around Australia until September 2014 (and in Melbourne during March) Click here to book tickets.