Last winter, my family stumbled upon an outdoor production at Wollongong Botanic Gardens that was loosely based on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. For copyright and royalties reasons, Harry Potter was turned to “Harry Hotter” and Hogwarts turned to “Mugworts” etc with all the cross-referencing adding an extra layer of fun for the genuine Harry Potter enthusiasts. Continue reading Outdoor Theatre
For my kids and their grandparents, feeding ducks bread at the local park has become an enjoyable and relaxing way of interacting with the local Pacific Black Ducks. However, feeding them bread can lead to nutritional imbalances, altered animal behaviour, and increase their risk of disease and predation.
I stumbled across the “100 Things To Do Before You’re 12” list in 2017 and quickly got to ticking off things I had done before I was 12. Even though I was raised back in the olden days, without smartphones or Ipads to distract me, with parents and grandparents advocating outdoor play, I could not tick off all the activities. Well, some of them were impossible like No. 99 Make a snow angel. I grew up in a tropical country. This list has since become my “100 Things To Do With Kids While Outdoors”.
The Bunya pine, Araucaria bidwillii, is native to Queensland but can also be found in other parts of the Australian east coast. The process of Aboriginal cultural migration over thousands of years, as well as their towering appeal in parklands, has led to these trees thriving in parts of New South Wales and Victoria. These slow-growing and long-lived trees have special significance for some Aboriginal groups, with gatherings and festivals being held at times when Bunya nuts are in abundance. In the past few weeks, our local Sydney crop swap group has been abuzz with Bunya pine tree sightings. While some members shared recipes and photos of their bunya bounty, others zealously guarded their tree locations, with most located in public spaces.
When we go bush walking with our kids, we always come across a multitude of natural loose parts – rocks, stumps, sand, twigs, bark, logs and water to name a few. They come with no specific instructions and the children alone can decide on how to use and/or combine materials.
“Take the day and leave us the moon ‘carpe noctum’ and we will seize the night.” – Atticus
I recently read Richard Louv’s book, Vitamin N, and was inspired to incorporate some of his practical outdoor activities in my family life. I started with the moonwalk: a winter walk on the night of a full moon. Our first moonwalk was on the afternoon of my day off, when the sky was still blue and on the cusp of darkening, with streaks of pink clouds on the horizon. Earlier that afternoon, as I parked into our driveway, I looked back at the rear view mirror hoping that the kids were asleep so we didn’t have to go on the moonwalk in the 9°C weather. The kids were both wide-eyed, twisting and turning, eager to get out of their car seats. With their high-pitched voices they announced that we didn’t have to go on a moonwalk because they could see the moon outside the car window anyway. I assured them that the walk would be quick and that we would bring a flashlight and a scooter. We rummaged through the layers of toys, books, and dirty clothes on their bedroom floor – no flashlight. We took out everything in our boot – no scooter. We just had to make do with what the outdoors had to offer.
A Dutch organisation is encouraging parents to allow their children to be involved in risky play. Risky play is defined as thrilling and challenging forms of play that involve a risk of physical injury and this is usually done outdoors. Risky play involves allowing children to experience height and depth, movement and speed, den building and using tools, and fire. Something to keep in mind for the next walk?