Over kids parties? Tantruming toddler stuck indoors?
As my mother eloquently said –
“why keep them locked up indoors – when you can let them lose on the general public?!”
We built upon this sound advice and took to the great outdoors as a family.
The world is an exciting place when you are two feet tall and seeing it all for the first time. After a fun-filled day of new sights and smells chances are your little one will crash out at bedtime with less stalling tactics deployed.
Our gorgeous girl is of the strong-willed variety and doesn’t miss a trick. In true toddler tradition, from the moment she could walk, it’s been an almost impossible mission to stand at the checkout or the ATM.
Pretty much anything that involves staying still for more than a moment – she’s off wandering down the street. So we ditched the shops and made every weekend a new outdoor adventure. It’s been really good for her (and us).
These are our top three picks:
The Row Boat
This can also extend to kayak or paddle-board. Hire a boat and find a river to paddle down. You can hire a paddle boat for two hours around Sydney for about $25. If you are in Sydney, good places to go for this include the Royal National Park and Lane Cove National Park.
There are plenty of water creatures under and above the surface to ogle at. My little one was happy to paddle for hours once we found her a suitable stick (she thought she was helping). Let them take the oars and row the boat in circles for a little while, take the opportunity to sit back and relax. The modern world can be so fast paced and it’s nice to find stillness in life. If you like to fish, try that too. We got our little one using a hookless squid line. She was thrilled to be a part of it.
This is a well-known family favourite but it had to be included! I encourage you to do it with a twist. Every time try and find a new one. We prefer the raw beaches without masses of people. The sea is a god-sent for the busy mum! After a busy week the sea just seems to wash it all away and reset.
Find a shallow inlet and let them run wild. We put a proper boating life vest on our little one – it’s not the most fashionable item – but there’s zero chance of going under. Two-year olds are allowed to look a little ridiculous.
Tag-team where one adult plays lookout while the other takes a swim or snorkel. You may even get a chance to lay in the sun (or the shade if shade-baking’s your thing). There are so many fun games to play including ‘jump the wave’ or ‘save the castle from the invading wave army’. The beach is nature’s playground.
Alternatively, just walk along the beach for as long as it will go. Your toddler will be happy to skip along, with many birds and crabs to be chased.
You can still hike with a toddler, you just need to be prepared. I wouldn’t suggest a day or overnight hike. Bring water, hats, sunscreen and lunch. Depending on the length of the hike, your toddler probably won’t want to walk the whole distance. There is always horsey (on the shoulders) when the little legs get tired – but keep a look out for low branches!
There are also plenty of toddler carrying backpacks available if your toddler is not opposed to them – ours is of course. Make sure you take a big break halfway to have snacks and sandwiches. For this purpose, its probably best to find a hike with a destination. The New South Wales National Parks website is a brilliant resource for finding hidden gems.
These are only a few of many outdoor activities that you can try. I would highly advise to get out there, as soon as possible, and find your own way! Out of all of it, outdoor family adventures are still the most vivid memories for me as a child.
For more great weekend ideas see our other blog post “Five Great Places to Go With Toddlers in North Sydney”.