Mimi V a writer, social media manager, foodie, music lover, and mum, currently residing in Sydney with Mr V, two little Vs and doggy V.
Growing tomorrow's green thumbs today
Dandy Lions is a kids program run by the Royal Botanic Gardens Trust. Every Tuesday and Thursday morning during term term, children under 5 (probably best suited to kids aged 18 months plus) and their carers are invited to explore a new garden-related theme, through a variety of especially designed activities, all run by Royal Botanic Garden education department staff. Most sessions include garden activities, art and craft, storytelling, song and dance, garden walks and playtime.
The sessions run from 10.30 until noon, and are broken up into short bursts of activity so that the kids don't have to focus on one thing for too long, and therefore don't get bored.
When we arrived, we were quickly registered and Miss V was given a name badge to wear. We were then shown the play area and told how the morning would be structured. The week we went, the themes were Father's Day and scarecrows, so activities were centred around those themes.
Although there are structured activities organised, kids can also 'free-play' at any time @ Dandy Lions, Royal Botanic Gardens
The first big activity was building a scarecrow - all the bits and pieces had been laid out including clothes, a head made of a canvas bag, a pole to put him on, and of course, straw to stuff him with. The children all "helped" to stuff him, which although chaotic, was a lot of fun.
'Helping' to build a scarecrow @ Dandy Lions, Royal Botanic Park
The next structured activity was art and craft - we were to make our own mini scarecrow on a stick, which was a bit fiddly, and involved cutting and tying string, so wasn't really suitable for those under two.
Next, everyone was called together to sit on the mat to sing songs (some familiar, some not so familiar) which were lead by the fun and friendly staff.
After this we were all lead for a stroll through the gardens until we reached a secluded and very manicured lawn. We settled ourselves down for story time, which required audience participation (complete with dress-up) - some of the older kids were quick to volunteer to take part, and seemed to have a ball playing their roles.
Digging a hole to plant our sappling @ Dandy Lions, Royal Botanic Gardens
The final activity of the day involved another walk through the gardens to a planting area, where each child was given a mini trowel with which to dig a hole, and a little seedling to plant in it. The final part of the process (and by far the most fun for the kids) was for them to water it in, armed with their own bright red watering can.
Watering in the sappling @ Dandy Lions, Royal Botanic Gardens
At the end of the session we literally had to tear our daughter away as she was having such a good time, although all the excitement was obviously a bit much for her as she promptly fell asleep in the pram. We made a morning of it and packed a picnic lunch, which we sat and ate on one of the lawns overlooking the harbour, once the session was finished.
Bookings for this programme are essential, and sessions for Term 4 start on Tuesday 9th October. You can either pay for a whole term which is $99 for up to two kids ($36 extra for each additional child), or $11 for a one-off session. Check out the Dandy Lions web page for more information
Phone 9231 8134 or 9231 8331 to book.
This is a great activity if you have out-of-town grandparents visiting, like we did - part kids' quality time, part tourist daytrip – the perfect combination.