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Observatory Hill Environmental Education Centre

Observatory Hill Environmental Education Centre

Leading environmental education to empower learners for a sustainable future.

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Come to the party

Come to the Party is an incursion program designed to support the ES1/S1 History syllabus in the topics Personal and family histories and Past and present family life. Students will participate in story telling and birthday party activities that focus on three different periods in time: the present, the 1960s and 1880’s. Old fashioned craft activities and traditional and contemporary games will be used to link the past and the present and show continuity and change by encouraging interaction, empathy and participation from students.

Key inquiry question

  • How has family life changed or remained the same over time?
  • How can we show that the present indifferent from or similar to the past?

Key syllabus outcomes


Early Stage1: Personal and Family Histories

Communicates stories of their own family heritage and the heritage of others HTe‑1


  • discuss then and now; past and present
  • recognise that stories of the past may differ depending on who tells the story, eg stories of their childhood told by themselves and another member of the family
  • share experiences of family, school and local events that are celebrated or observed

Stage1: Present and past family life

Communicates an understanding of change and continuity in family life using appropriate historical terms HT1‑1


  • compare and contrast their immediate family with earlier families through photographs and other sources, discussing similarities and differences
  • investigate the roles of present family members and compare with the roles of earlier generations using a range of sources  
  • discuss similarities and differences from generation to generation, eg family celebrations and traditions, leisure activities and changes in technology/communications over time through a range of sources
  • compare and contrast daily life with that of parents and grandparents at the same age through stories or photographs and pose questions to ask parents/grandparents
  • define and use terms relating to time, sequencing objects or photographs from the past, eg then and now, past and present, a long time ago

Integrating the ‘Sustainability’ Cross Curriculum Priority is a feature of the program.

Skills outcomes

  • distinguishing between the past, present and future
  • identify and compare features of objects from the past and present
  • recognise difference and similarities between individuals and families in the past and present

On the day activities

During the incursion, students will:

  • listen to a story about a fictitious boy who visits three different time periods to learn about customs and celebrations at family birthday parties
  • identify different drinks and foods from different time periods
  • learn about family relationships by studying a family tree
  • play a range of old fashioned games like Tug-of-War, Quoits and Hoops
  • listen to a story and play a dress up game with clothes representing different time periods
  • use craft materials to make an old-fashioned toy.

Pre visit and follow up resources

Pre visit activities 

Successful incursions are those that have direct relevance to current classroom learning. We recommend the completion of the suggested lead-up activities to enhance classroom learning and to emphasise to students that their program is an extension of their school’s educational program. 

Activities may include:

  • Have students reply to the party invitation by designing an acceptance and illustrating it with a theme from the program. Have these ready on the day of the incursion.
  • Make and decorate a party hat preferably by re-using scrap materials with either a Victorian or 1960’s theme and wear it on the day of the program. (Instructions included in this pack).
  • Investigate the clothing styles of children in various times with an emphasis on Victorian and Sixties clothing. Refer to Origins of Games (see Bibliography).
  • Introduce the concept of a family tree. Compile a family tree of students and talk about different family relationships e.g. grandparents, uncles/aunties, siblings etc.
  • Invite parents or grandparents to come and talk to the class about their childhood recollections.
  • Talk about precious heirlooms and family treasures and get students to talk about or display their heirlooms.
  • Investigate different celebrations held by families from different cultures.
  • Play games that were popular in the past e.g. Quoits, Leap Frog, Hop Scotch, Blindmans’ Bluff and inform students of their origin (see Origins of Games attached).
  • Devise simple time lines and plot events relevant to their experiences.
  • Learn and recite old nursery rhymes.

Follow up activities

  • Revisit the family tree and allow students to compile a simple family tree of their own, preferably with names of relatives.
  • Identify celebrations or rituals from various parts of the world e.g. Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Marriages, Birthdays, etc. Investigate symbols associated with various celebrations; e.g. Christmas Trees, fasting, etc.
  • Play childhood games from the past such as “Cats Cradle”, “Oranges and Lemons”, “Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush”, “What’s The Time Mr Wolf?”, “Jacks”, “Hop-Scotch”, etc.
  • View pictures of fashions from Victorian times, the 1960’s and today and make life-size cardboard cut-outs for the student to design paper clothes and accessories to dress.
  • Make party food such as fairy bread, chocolate crackles or white Christmas and write their recipes.
  • Make up party drinks from the recipes provided - ginger beer, lemon barley water.


  • DoE - $10 per student (GST free). 
  • Non Government School $15 per student (GST free). Minimum cost of $600.

Excursion program downloads

Download these documents to help with your excursion planning: