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A collection of great activities to do outdoors with your kids.
We’re rolling on into the summer months and there are loads of large scale sports events to inspire you and your kids to get active. We’ve got the Cricket World Cup and FIFA Women’s Football World Cup happening at the moment and Wimbledon tennis just around the corner. We’ve put together a collection of toddler sports themed games for you to try at home.
You’ll probably have most of this equipment lurking around at home so they’ll be no need to buy anything more.
You can play these toddler games indoors or outdoors although don’t pick a windy day for the outdoors choice or you’ll loose your balloon props!
Equipment you will need:
This is a good team game where everyone stands in a circle and tries to keep a balloon in the air using football skills.
Your toddler can use the cardboard tube like a cricket bat with it touching the ground. Or in a baseball bat position (like in the image above).
This type of hitting across the midline is a great activity for boosting brain connections between the left and right side of the brain. This helps get the two sides of your toddler’s body ‘talking’ to each other to make more co-ordinated movements.
See my post about Motor Skills and the importance of activities like this if you want to find out more behind the science of this.
Have you heard about All Stars Cricket? If your toddler loves this game, you might like to think about signing up at your local cricket club when they’re a bit older. This is for boys and girls aged 5 to 8 years old. It’s a great program to learn the basics of batting and catching and it’s loads of fun.
Grab your plastic kitchen spatulas or fly swatters to use as tennis racquets.
See how you go with these 3 activities, my 10 year old still loves playing these games so you don’t have to just restrict them to your toddlers!
Parkrun is about to launch in my home town of Exmouth which my family are super excited about! We discovered parkrun in Australia and loved it as it was an activity that we could all do as a family. As a worldwide initiative, it’s mind blowing how many parkruns take place every weekend in different corners of the globe.
The idea behind parkrun is simple. The organisation supports a free, weekly, timed walk or run over a 5km course. It encourages all abilities to take part from those just starting out on their exercise journey to the super fit.
The great thing from my perspective is that your kids can join you too, a perfect activity for some family fun. You become the role model for your child in developing great active habits that will go on to have positive life long implications when they are older. Children from the age of 4 and up can register for their own barcode and get their own times although if they are under 11, they do need to run or walk with a responsible adult at all times. Babies and toddlers in buggies are welcome too as well as the furry friends on leads.
After the event, you receive a personalized email with your time and whether it’s a personal best (PB) for you. It’s a great motivator to try and improve your time each week as your fitness improves and kids just love getting this feedback. For the competitive of you, you can also measure your results against other age group runners or walkers.
parkrun truly is a community event and builds a great community spirit. It relies on local volunteers each week to carry out a few simple roles so it’s a bonus if these are shared around those that regularly take part.
If your child might feel a little intimidated walking or running with lots of adults, there are also Junior parkrun events around the country too. These follow the same concept as the parkrun but the only difference is this event is only for children ages 4 – 14 and the course is 2km not 5km.
Once you join parkrun.org.uk, you can use your barcode for either the 5km or 2km events.
Step 1: Register online via the Registration Form found on the Parkrun UK website and receive your barcode via email. Print it out and keep it in a safe place.
Step 2: Click to find the parkrun event near you and take a look at the course and where to meet up.
Step 3: Pick any weekend and head down to enjoy the 5km soaking up the views and fun with one of your printed barcodes. Don’t forget to get your bar code scanned at the finish.
Step 4: Your personal time will be emailed to you automatically after the event.
Once you are registered on Parkrun UK, you can join a parkrun anywhere in the world!
Hope to see some of you at the Exmouth parkrun soon,
I’ve just spent the last couple of months working on a local community Kids Triathlon in my small town of Bowen, North Queensland. I volunteer to run it each year and it’s quite inspiring to see our youngsters challenging themselves both physically and mentally to complete a mini triathlon. We have kids as young as 4 years old doing their first ever event and the joy on their faces when they complete the course is just priceless.
For the younger athletes ( 7 & Under), they do a wade in the sea of about 25m, then transition out to collect their bikes and ride 500m. After that, they head back to transition to deposit their bikes and run 200m to the finish line.
What I love about many of these kids events is that they are totally participation based. They are all winners! Most events like these reward your child’s efforts with a coveted medal and often some merchandise and a few goodies from sponsors to put a big smile on their face.
It is definitely a daunting prospect for some children. Whether it’s a mini triathlon (swim, bike & ride) or duathlon (bike & ride). Aquathon (swim and run) or fun run, it is challenging to be around lots of other children, push yourself harder than you’ve ever done before and try something totally new. But, the benefits are immeasurable.
Often these events can be done in a team too, so they can try just one part of the event as their first taste of the activity with their mates. It’s also great at building friendship bonds.
Location: Various locations around Australia
Start time: Various
Parkrun organise free, weekly, 5km timed runs around the world. They are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in.
These events take place in pleasant parkland surroundings and people of every ability are encouraged to take part; from walkers or those taking their first steps in running to Olympians; from juniors to those with more experience; all are welcomed. This is a perfect outdoor activity for Mums & Dads with buggies too!
Location: Port Douglas, N. Queensland
Start Time: 9am
This is a free event and you can register on the day. This race encourages all shapes, sizes and ages, visitors and locals to join in the fun and dress up or down in the name of the raising money for research for the Great Barrier Reef. Prizes on the day will be on offer for the most outstanding entrants. Winners of each age group for girls and boys will win trophies and every junior will take home a ribbon and certificate.
Location: Gold Coast
Start Time: Nippers at 9.40am Main Start at 10am
XRACE is a mystery adventure race where parent and child aged 6-14 race together, locate and complete 10 mystery challenges; racing the clock and all the other family teams with the fastest and luckiest crowned XRACE champion. The challenges are where the magic is delivered – all designed to strengthen family bonds and deliver bucket-loads of self-esteem to the kids. Distance covered is about 4km.
Cost for the nippers is $15, Main event: $95 for 2 person(parent and child) or $125 for 2 teams of 2 from one family.
Location: Hamilton Island, Whitsundays
Start Time: 7am
This event is for kids aged 4 – 14 years on the beautiful Hamilton Island. There is a Triathlon of different distances depending on ability or a Splash and Dash (no bike required). They swim in the resort pool. Cost is $30 and you get a race pack, race singlet and medal for all the competitors.
Location: Kawana Waters, Sunshine Coast
Start Time: from 9.30am
There are different distances for different age categories with the mini aquathon for 7 – 9 year olds consisting of a 100m swim and 5oom run. Cost is $20.
Location: Kawana Waters, Sunshine Coast
Start Time: from 6.45am
This event is part of the Gatorade Queensland Tri Series and is for kids aged 7 – 14 years. Cost is $39.50
Location: Tamborine Mountain Sports Centre
Start Time: 9am
This event is part of the the Hinterland Sports Festival on Tamborine Mountain, celebrating its 14th year, and welcoming participants from all areas. In addition to the sports, there are several celebrations and educational activities throughout the mountain community – as well as FREE celebrations including outdoor movies on the mountain. Entry is $15 online, $20 on the day.
Location: Raby Bay, Nr. Brisbane Start Time: from 6.45am
This event is Round 4 of the Gatorade Queensland Tri Series and is for kids aged 7 – 14 years. Cost is $39.50
Why don’t you see if your youngster would like to give one of these events a go this year? I’d love to hear all about it if you do.
“Using Million Dollar Satellites to Hunt for Boxes in the Woods” is how one child described Geocaching – I love that definition!
Geocaching is a totally real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices as opposed to Pokemon Go which crosses between real and virtual worlds. Your mobile phones are perfect – you don’t need to get any more fancy equipment than that! Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. It’s fabulous fun for a family outing and there are geocache sites all around Australia and many other countries in the world so it can be done at home or on holiday.
This brings back so many memories of letterbox hunting on Dartmoor in the UK when I was a child. Many a weekend we would search out a letterbox that was hidden amongst the ancient rocky outcrops called Tors. Sometimes we found it, to huge jubilation, and proudly marked our book with the stamp found inside the metal tin or box. And sometimes we didn’t, there are some life lessons in that. Geocaching is simply a more high tech version of this.
Geocaching is a perfect motivator to get kids out for an adventure in their own environment with all the benefits that that brings. They’re building their stamina and strength as well as experiencing nature which helps create a positive mood and reduce stress. It can be incorporated easily into a family walk. Not to mention problem solving, map reading and compass skills, all components of the first few years of the school curriculum.
Take a look at this video, created by Geocaching HQ, where kids explain geocaching…it’s completely adorable.
Keen to find out more? Check out www.geocaching.com for the full story or start your Geocaching adventure now by following the 3 steps below:
Explore, find and log geocaches around the world by signing up to the Free Basic membership. This gives you access to all the easy graded caches around the world. You can also get access to more tools to make geocaching even better with a Geocaching Premium membership. This currently costs AUD$38.71 a year and gives you access all cache types.
Turn on your GPS Location setting on your mobile device and you will see all the Geocache sites around your location. You can view them by Map or by List. Personally I find the map view better. Pick a chosen location by tapping on the screen. There will be a description of the cache location which can be expanded by tapping on the summary. Some of the sites contain little trinket/toys which make the find even more fun. Don’t forget to take a pen and a little something to swap with the trinket that you take. Click Start and away you go, use the map and compass to try and navigate to its location.
Once you find it, sign and date the logbook, re-hide the geocache exactly how you found it, and share your experience online on the App.
This is my son Joe’s treasure that he found on the last school holidays. It’s one of the oldest Geocache sites in Queensland down on the Gold Coast and it’s a beautiful walk up around Burleigh Heads.
We’d love you to share your adventures with us too so tell us how it went if you gave it a try!
Happy high tech real world treasure hunting!