'Go outside and play' my mother used to always say in response to our whining 'what's there to do?' Growing up in the country must've been a real challenge for her, the long summer holidays must've seemed like an eternity! We had a creek nearby so catching an occasional catfish was a treat; hopscotch on the back cement was my favourite; or helping her in the kitchen when she cooked the family's cakes and biscuits for the week always ended in a fight over who got to lick the bowl. These days I love it when I pass by a playground and see kids exploring their 'design'; there'll be the quiet ones, sitting, comparing marbles or sharing secrets, the active ones chasing each other, the ones that as soon as they stand still have to start doing hand-stands or cart-wheels, and yet others who just have to play a sport - give them a bat and ball of any shape or size and they're happy. Whatever activity you choose, and there's so many to choose from, they'll be happy little Vegemites if you can match the child to their design, and so much fun finding out what that may be. Here are a few ideas:-
HEAD TO THE BEACH - it's the most obvious and often the first thing we do around here. It's simple and fun, especially when most of our beaches have wading ocean pools and shady playgrounds; all you need is an umbrella, bucket and spade. Then there's the more organised 'weekend nippers', where children of all ages learn about surf safety, confidence in the water, and respect for the ocean. The older teens will learn the skills involved in life-saving, such as first-aid. They make new friends and are challenged in a safe environment with plenty of mentoring adults around to supervise. If your child loves water, or even if they're scared of waves, this is a great opportunity to learn water skills that will last them a life-time. If you'd like more information about what's involved, click here.