Spring time is finally here, meaning better weather and longer days. After such a temperamental winter, Aussie kids are chomping at the bit to get outside and play in the sun. So turn the TV off and make the most of it with these ideas for fun-filled family outings that encourage a level of physical activity.
Invite your neighbours and friends who have families with kids around the same age and organise a family-on-family social football competition at the local park, beach or sport ground. The great thing about football is that it’s a sport that everyone can partake in, because even the little ones who can’t catch a ball can generally kick a ball! Make it easy with five- or 10-minute halves and incorporate an afternoon barbecue lunch. You can also visit a two-dollar shop and grab some little gifts for the kids for things like “best and fairest”, to add another level of excitement. If you’re involving quite a few families, a top tip is to utilise iron on clothing labels for equipment and gear to make sure your belongings actually make their way home afterwards!
Hit the local park for a day armed with family-friendly sports equipment including kites, Frisbees and rugby balls. If you don’t already have these kinds of toys, you can pick them up for a few dollars at various department stores, on eBay or in dollar shops. To drive the healthy theme home even harder, give the kids five dollars each and challenge them to create or come up with some nutritious and delicious picnic snacks, like vegetables and dip, fruit platters and chicken salad sandwiches. It’s a great opportunity to instil some healthy habits, and your kids will be very proud of their contribution to the picnic lunch.
With the weather now warming up, chilly winter mornings are a thing of the past. Get out and make the most of the sunny springtime weather and spectacular spring scenery with Saturday morning bike rides in your local park. Biking is a great family activity, as even baby can join in on the back of Mum or Dad’s ride. Most of the Aussies city parks are also very safe and easy for young riders, including Centennial Parklands in Sydney and the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne. If the bike prices are putting you off, check out Salvation Army stores or look on eBay where you can find hundreds of second-hand bikes, often in immaculate condition.
Make the most of Australia’s beautiful natural scenery and distinctive landscape with family hiking or walking expeditions. Check out New South Wales’ beautiful Blue Mountains, South Australia’s picturesque vineyards, Victoria’s glorious National Parks, or Western Australia’s stunning beaches. As well as keeping everyone fit, your kids will also learn to appreciate some of the natural beauty that sits in their backyard. They’ll come to realise that they don’t need a TV or a PlayStation to have fun. Walking is also a great excuse for bonding as it gives you time to really talk to your children due to a lack of distractions. If you’re hiking in Australia, chances are you’ll never be far away from water, so pack a picnic lunch and the kid’s swimmers and make a day of it. Just be sure to invest in really good walking shoes, the right equipment, and make the time to teach your children about safe hiking practices.
Australia is a beach-going nation, and every Aussie kid should be comfortable in the water and know how to swim from an early age. Swimming is also a great form of exercise, and kids will often spend hours playing in the water without ever getting cold or bored — which is great news for mums who want some time to relax on the beach. Take water fun to the next level with family-friendly water sports including kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding or tubing. If you don’t live by the beach, check out your local lake or river to see if they have water sport equipment rentals. Paddleboard and kayak hire can start at just $10 dollars an hour, and both activities are easy enough for primary school kids.
About the Author: Nicola Thomas is a Perth parenting blogger and busy mum of three active boys. She is forever searching for ways to keep them entertained outdoors and away from the TV!