Here’s an idea that might just work in your area over the summer holidays.
Get the kids involved in a day adventure by finding a map (an original paper map or in a traveller’s atlas) and ask them to find a national park, reserve or similar (even a recreation reserve or picnic area) within about 100kms or one hour of where you live (or are holidaying). Or set your own distance.
Once they’ve found something that you think might be OK, ask them to do some research! I’m sure they’ll be happy to get on line and google the park and find out what the facilities are like, if you can drive in there and what you need to know about the park.
Ask them to work out what are the major roads that need to be taken to get there. (You can work out the finer details if you’re children are a bit young for this task).
Treat it like an adventure! Ask them to pack the supplies for the day. If it’s a national park or reserve you are looking at, and the google info is up to scratch, maybe they could all nominate one animal or bird they are going to search for at the park.
They could even look out for specific trees, plants or flowers. There may even be some geology or rock formations that older children might be interested in.
Is there a swimming hole there? Maybe a swim could be in order, or there might just be somewhere to stop on the way there or back – get the kids to google and find out!
If all goes to plan and you find yourself at the park get them connected with the nature that surrounds them.
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What three things can they hear? What three colours can they see in the trees? What can they smell? What sounds do their footsteps make on different surfaces (leaves, gravel, bush floor, sand).
Does the park have an Aboriginal name? Find out who are the custodians of the area if there is signage and what the meaning of the park name is (you could use Ayers Rock and Uluru to explain this point).
You could also ask them to collect some fallen bark, twigs, leaves, seed pods, driftwood or grasses to make a ‘park collage’ when they get home.
Once at home set them up with paper, glue and other craft materials to create their inspired art work. You’d be surprised what kids can come up with when using simple materials.
Lastly, get them to write about their day. Even if it is as simple as recording the things they saw, smelt and heard.