School holidays are time to relax and chill out, but if you have kids with active minds who need to burn energy, or kids who spend too much time in front of screens, then finding fun activities outdoors to keep them entertained can be a challenge. Be it creative play, unstructured exercise or unleashing the spirit of adventure, encouraging kids to get outdoors and do something different is one of the best things for them.
So to make life easier for you and more fun for your kids, we've got a list of suggestions that will help to give your kids some outdoor entertainment and maybe might even wear them out a little, so they sleep well at night.
Farm Encounters Giving kids the experience of animals can be a lot of fun, especially when they can feed or care for them, even if just as a one off for the day.
Edendale Farm has two experiences available this holidays. Farm tour, is a 45 minute tour around Edendale. Your kids will get to meet and help feed many of the animals. They'll be able to get up close to the sheep and recently born lambs and feed them hay. Feed chooks some grain, meet Ava, the jersey calf and the goat, Ringo.
This is being held on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of both weeks, 11.30 a.m. – 12.15 p.m. for a cost of $8 per child. Adults and under 3 no charge, children must be accompanied by an adult.
Edendale Young Farmers will give your child the opportunity to help one of the Edendale farmers with the morning animal chores and experience what it is like to be a farmer. They will get up close to the farm animals and help in the daily care and feeding of these animals. The activities may include feeding the poultry, collecting eggs and cleaning waterers, feeding and brushing and having a go at milking a goat, hay feeding sheep and cows, meeting the newly born young goat kids.
This is on 28 September 2017 at 9:00 a.m. to 12 p.m. for children aged 9 -12 years. It is $30 per child. Edenvale is located at 30 Gastons Road, Eltham. You can find out more information and book in on the Edendale Website.
The Big Goose is based on the Mornington Peninsula. Your family can explore the farm and learn all about the different animals and their breeds. There are fluffy chicks, greedy goats, cheeky lambs and so many animals for you to see. As it is a working farm, there are often baby animals to meet too, with lambs, piglets, chicks and calves to see throughout the year. On top of this there are also other fun activities like mini golf, a tyre maze, jumping pillow and more which will keep them entertained for the day.
The Big Goose is located at 233 Mornington-Tyabb Rd, Moorooduc Victoria. Entry fees are: Adult $18, Child $14, Family $54 (extra child $10), They are open every day in the school holidays. You can find out more details and prepay entry on the Big Goose Website.
Collingwood Children's Farm. Everyone knows of it, but how long has it been since you've been there? It's always something different every time you go. There are cows to milk, guinea pigs to cuddle, chickens to cluck, pigs, goats, horses, geese and so much more.
Collingwood children's farm is located at 18 St Heliers St, Abbotsford. Entry Prices are child $5, Adult $10, Family (two adults & up to four children) $20. You can look up the daily activity times on the Collingwood Children's Farm website.
Go on take your kids to a farm and let them see the animals, if they get to cuddle them, they'll love it!
Horse Riding If you or your kids have a love for the sleek beauty of horses then why not go on a trail ride. There are options at various locations for a short ride or a full day, so you can choose the option that best suits you.
Ryders Horse riding tours will take you through Bunyip State Park, which is south east of Melbourne. They offer fully guided horse riding tours, 7 days a week, ranging from one hour to half day tours. Ryders take care of both the environment and their horses, they have partnered with EcoTourism Australia to ensure all our tours are conducted with a focus on sustainability and endorse Carbon Neutral to be part of the solution. The cost of the tours ranges from $50 to $100, depending on the length of the ride and they run throughout the year. They depart from 350 Forest Road Labertouche. For booking details please see Ryders website.
Tandivale run a School Holiday Program in Warrandyte where no riding experience is required because you will learn the basic skills to groom, saddle and ride your own horse or pony for the day. The program is also suitable for those with some riding experience too, as children with riding experience will be suitably challenged with an appropriate horse and activities matching their skill level.
The day runs from 9 a.m. till 4 p.m. with lunch provided. This is suitable for children aged 8 & above. The cost is $130. They depart from 88 Johansons Road, Warrandyte. You can find more information and book on the Tandivale Website.
Gunamatta conduct various horse trail rides on the Mornington Peninsula. The Trueman's Ride is a walk-only ride, unless everyone in the group wishes to try some slow trotting. You will learn the basics of riding before the ride commences. This is a 50 minute ride for $70. There are various options for more advanced riders and the pricing depends on the length of the ride and other extras you may choose. There are also 2 hour rides and all day options available for those with riding experience.
The rides leave from Corner of Truemans Road and Sandy Road, Fingal and can be done any time, with special programs in the school holidays. For bookings and more details please see the Gunnamatta Trail Ride Website
If you love horses then it's best you put this on your must do list.
Sleeping under the stars is a totally fun way to get out of the urban city sprawl and connect with nature. Here are a few options from the basics, to packing the kids bags and sending them off to camp for an adventure without you.
photo credit: Parks Victoria
Just camp out in nature. Parks Victoria has a great range of camping locations to choose from. Be it caves, an ocean view or a wilderness walk you are looking for, there are so many options to choose from that you could have your holidays sorted for many years, going somewhere different each time. Go with your family, or with some friends, either way its a great way to chill out, away from it all.
Prices vary based on accommodation type. For more details or to book your camping trip, a great place with many options throughout Victoria is Parks Victoria. Being in State or National Parks, the surrounds are always naturally beautiful. For more details or to book check out ParkStay.
Nature Village Camp is camping trip with a focus on connection, which is great for those who haven't been camping in a while or ever. Or if you are a seasoned camper it makes it easy because there are guided kids activities in the morning and the evening meals are included. There are even some activities for the adults to help you connect with nature, that you can choose to participate in, if you wish to. A great way to give yourself a break, while the kids are having a fun adventure in the great outdoors.
This is being held from 4th October to Sunday 8th October at Rowallan Scout Camp in Riddells Creek. Here are more details for Wild by Nature Village Camp
Billabong Camping Ranch is a fun place to send the kids off on their own to adventure. Activities on this camp may include: Low ropes course, giant water slide, mini golf, archery, pedal boats, initiative games, commando course, bikes & trikes, animal handling, horse trail ride, frisbee golf, bush craft, yabbying, bush first aid, Indigenous games, bouldering wall, raft & hut building, undercover swimming pool & pool games, orienteering, campfire night, big screen movies, disco, and more.
This is on from 24th to 30th of September for the activities or for a horse-focused camp 1st to 7th of October. The cost is $660.00 all inclusive (meals, accommodation, instruction) at Cnr Glanville Road & Tehan Rd, Echuca. You can find out more or book in at the Billabong Ranch website
And if none of that suits you, but has left you wanting more ideas for camping locations, then check out the reviews on Weekend Notes for even more options.
Go on, get your camping gear out, the kids will love it!
Just get Outdoors Many kids and adults need to get outside to ground themselves, but in this day and age of busy schedules and technology overload, sometimes we really have to make an extra effort to do this. So why not make a pact to get outdoors on the weekend or in the afternoon, not just the holidays.
Just plant something, anywhere you have the space.
Create a veggie garden.
The easiest way to do this is to plant a veggie patch. All you need are some seeds to scatter, or you can get a head start with some seedlings from a nursery. If your soil is average, it might be a good idea to bring in some mushroom compost or quality soil. Otherwise pots can be a good way to start. Beans, zucchini or radish are great because they germinate and grow fairly quickly. But grow what you like to eat, tomatoes, lettuce, herbs and if you have the space try melons or pumpkin, which are always fun.
Once it's planted you then have to make yourself get outside to water and better still harvest. And while your at it, take a deep breathe and enjoy the greenery around you. Watching plants grow and harvesting the rewards is such a delight for kids, and adults too.
Go for a bushwalk
A great way to get fresh air and exercise is to go for a bushwalk. It will help to unleash your spirit of adventure and your kids will love it too. You could make it even more fun, by letting them help choose where you go. Somewhere local or go for a drive, you can make it a lot of fun. Make a day of it and take a picnic. Packing it together with the kids, can be a part of the fun, and it can be surprising what foods they suggest to take, if given the option to decide and pack for the family.
Need ideas, then Parks Victoria has it covered. And if while you're at it, why not check out the BioQuest, which is a part of the Junior Rangers program.
And if a drive isn't practical, but you like the idea of a walk, why not just walk your block, but don't just pace it, observe the surrounds. Ask the kids to point out certain trees, flowers, bugs, signs or whatever will keep them engaged. Make it fun and they'll want to do it all the time.
Go to a playground.
Free, easy and fun. I'm not sure what it is about slides and swings, but this will entertain the kids for hours. Sometimes they'll want a push on a swing and sometimes you can sneak in a chapter of a book, if they're old enough to just run free. If you often go to playgrounds, then why not try somewhere different, get the kids to randomly pick a place, or find somewhere you can go on the train line for an extra adventure.
Now the trouble is you have so many options to get your kids outdoors that that you might just have to go the coin toss to decide where to start this holidays. No more excuse, just get out and enjoy some fun new locations outdoors!