Want to have some fun in the great outdoors with the kids this summer, but don’t know where to start? Get inspired, scouting-style, with our top 10 outdoor activities to get you going.
10 Outdoor Activities
go for a bush walk
A great way to get some exercise while your kids have fun, this ultra low-cost activity is suitable for kids of all ages and gives you a chance to talk with your kids without distractions. Make sure that the walk is suitable for your children’s ages. Why not carry a plastic bag and collect any rubbish you find along the way. Remember to plan, tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back. Take several layers of clothing, adequate food and water, as well as first aid and basic survival items, and a phone if possible. More info: www.mountainsafety.org.nz
help me build a camp fire
For an evening of sheer magic, why not build a small fire in the backyard from dead wood. Cook baked potatoes and chocolate-filled banana wrapped in foil, toast marshmallows, sing and chat until past bedtime.
let’s build a shelter & sleep under the stars
On a warm night, why wouldn’t you build a simple lean-to out of branches of a plastic tarp and enjoy a cosy night wrapped in blankets, sleeping under the stars with your kids. Remember to put some dry leaves or some plastic under you to keep out the damp.
teach me to fish
Fishing is something that all kids enjoy, whether for sprats from your local wharf, or for eels at a river or creek. A simple handline and some meat is all you need for hours of fun. Remember to let the fish go again if you are not going to eat them.
let’s have a boat race
Build a miniature raft using materials you find in the bush and see which one goes the furthest or fastest.
take me camping
New Zealand has a huge wealth of camp sites. For a very low cost, you can pitch a tent in some stunning locations and teach your kids how to enjoy the simple things in life.
Bush, shorelines, streams and estuaries. Enjoy some free-range time outside with your kids. Simple tasks such as making different bark rubbings, collecting shells or rocks, photographing as many birds or critters as you can see will make time disappear and the kids come alive.
learn to whittle
Whittling is one of man’s oldest means of expression; it is both artistic and functional. This is a great simple skill you can teach your children using a sharp knife and a block of soap or a soft stick. Make spears and have competitions to see how far you can throw them.
On a baking hot day, ask your local tyre shop for some spare old inner tubes, grab some life jackets and head to your nearest lazy river or estuary and spend a blissful afternoon just floating with the kids. It’s good relaxation for you and great play time for your children.
join me up
There are 16,000 Scouts in New Zealand, and this number is growing every day. Scouts equips boys and girls aged 6 to 26 with life skills of problem-solving, teamwork, citizenship, and healthy living; and provides them with access to a large range of outdoor activities. More info: www.scouts.org.nz.
[byline]Bruce Parkenson has two young children and is a local Scout leader[/byline]
more outdoor activity ideas from Tots to teens: