There was a bear at the Royal Australian Mint on Sunday, and a chair as well. There were people with games, and 50 years of Play School stories to tell.
The air was thick with nostalgia as hundreds of excited children, parents and grandparents gathered for a sing-a-long with Play School hosting stalwart Simon Burke to mark the iconic show's 50th birthday on Sunday.
Burke was in Deakin to officially launch the Mint's collection of three commemorative 50 cent coins, which bear coloured images of toy characters Humpty Dumpty, Jemima, Big Ted and Little Ted in party mode.
Youngsters clutching balloons sang along to the show's ubiquitous theme song, as well as a string of classics including Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall, Incy Wincy Spider, If You're Happy and You Know It and, of course, Happy Birthday to You.
Burke thanked the Mint for the "incredible honour" it had bestowed on the show by issuing the limited edition coin set, while noting the enthusiastic singing from the older members of the crowd.
"Mums and dads are in good voice as well. I think they might have watched me," he said.
Play School first aired in 1966 and went on to become Australia's longest-running children's television show, holding a special place in the hearts – and daily routine – of millions of families for five decades.
Mint chief executive Ross MacDiarmid said the huge turnout at Sunday's event was indicative of the fact "people just love Play School".
"I think parents were into it just as much as the children. I remember with my children growing up they were very engaged with Play School – it's held very dear in most people's hearts."
Mr MacDiarmid said while the Mint was used to commemorating major events in Australian history and culture, a coin collection targeted at children was a first. He hoped it might inspire some youngsters to get interested in coin collecting.
"We're trying to maintain our relevance to a broader audience than the old, traditional collector and I have to say in the six years I've been here, I think that's starting to happen.
"I think there are people who are looking for some more material things to recognise or commemorate events."
Long-time Play School fan Marg Harvey, of Duffy, who watched the show with her own children, was at the sing-a-long to get the boxed coins signed by Burke for each of her grandchildren.
"It's just lovely to be able to share that special time watching Play School still with your grandchildren. They just [love] it and love singing along. Nothing's changed."
The Mint's product development team leader Adonis Cox said last week almost 2000 sets of the coins, which will not be in general circulation, had been pre-ordered.
It's not the first time Canberra has played a key role in marking the show's milestone birthday. Celebrating 50 years of Play School is now on at the National Museum.