Does this weekend scenario sound familiar?
You’ve spent most of your weekend running your children around to their sporting activities, and dragging them through the supermarket grocery shopping. Every parent’s delight, right?
Now it’s Sunday afternoon. You need to get outside in some fresh air. Your kids are going a little stir-crazy and need to get outside to burn off some energy.
But what is there to do? With a lack of spare cash, a movie is out of the question. The kids have been to the local park a thousand times, so they will be bored in no time.
Proudly supported by ACT Health, Good Habits for Life
This same situation kept occurring for us weekend after weekend. We spent most of Saturday running around doing errands and the dreadful, but much needed, grocery shopping. Sunday came and we had a nice morning inside, but by Sunday afternoon we were all desperate to get outside and move. I was craving fresh-air.
Then we came up with a fun activity for all the family; a park-crawl! We got this idea from the 30 Ways To Get Into Life and Move More in Canberra checklist. A park-crawl involves playing in a number of the beautiful and scenic parks around Canberra. Initially we started off by going to three or four of our local parks for around 20 minutes per park, but we have since explored Canberra more and are venturing further afield. Now there is no park in Canberra that is too far.
This is what a typical Sunday afternoon park-crawl looks like now:
- Boundless Canberra, Lake Burley Griffin
We start off at Boundless on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin at Kings Park, on Wendouree Drive in Parkes, just off Kings Avenue. If you haven’t heard or been to Boundless yet, where have you been and why not? This park is an ACT Government initiative but funded through community fundraising, to provide a park suitable for children of all abilities and ages. Hence the term ‘Boundless’.
- Pod Playground, National Arboretum
Image courtesy of Visit Canberra
Next we hit up the Pod Playground. Located at the National Arboretum, Canberra, the Pod Playground is a unique playground featuring a giant acorn cubby house and banksia pods. It has a very tall built-in slide, which is tall enough and dark enough to lose any husband! (He said it was a ‘test run’ to see if it was suitable for our youngster, any excuse!).
My little one loves stomping on the metal music pods on the path, and banging on the drums in the cubby house. We often deliberately park further away from the park so when we walk back to the car, we can walk through the trees rather than directly through the car park.
- Yarralumla Playground, Loftus Street, Yarralumla
This is the perfect park for under-3s. It is the most suited for our little 20 month old, where he can climb freely over the fort. There is a large pyramid, which is a favourite for older children.
Image courtesy of Visit Canberra
We always finish our day here, at Western Park. One of our favourites. The reason why it is our last stop, is because it is spread out over the beautiful waterfront, meaning we always get the afternoon sun. Yes, even in winter! Our little one loves to run around this park, watch the water trickle down the little river, get dizzy on the dizzy-wizzy, and ride the Weston Park Miniature Railway!
Depending on the time of day, we might have an early picnic dinner with the swans that waddle up the riverbank or cook up some kebabs on the park barbeques.
Sometimes we’ll come straight home after a park crawl and cook up a yummy feast from our family favourite cookbook, The Mixing Bowl: Healthy Recipes for Families. There’s nothing yummier than a shepherds pie or a spaghetti bolognaise after a busy afternoon outside.
And I can pretty much guarantee, that we all sleep very well that night!
So next time you’re stumped for family outdoor activities, try a park-crawl. You will soon find parks that are suitable for children of all ages, and they will quickly tell you their favourites too! And don’t forget to check out 30 Ways To Get Into Life and Move More in Canberra checklist to see more ideas on getting out and about with your family in Canberra.
What are your favourite parks to go to in Canberra?
For more ideas on how to engage your little ones in every day activities, visit Good Habits for Life.
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