Excited boys running through a forest.

Top 10 Ways to Celebrate the National Day of Real Play in Canberra

You can celebrate the National Day of Real Play anywhere! Get outside and have fun making up your own adventures, whether it is in the park at the end of your road or one Australia’s magnificent National Parks.

To help you get started though Nature Play and OMO have come up with our Top 10 ways to celebrate the National Day of Real Play, along with some great places in Canberra you can go to try them!

1. Climb a tree

Climbing trees is something every kid should do!

Good climbing trees can be found just about anywhere and good kinds of trees to look for include Moreton Bay fig trees, mulberry trees and gum trees – look for strong, sturdy branches, with good spacing between (and a sandy or grassy base for softer landings!)

To be safe remember to always have three points of contact (two hands and a foot, or two feet and one hand) and not to climb on a branch that is thinner than your thigh.

2. Build a cubby at home or at your local park

Every kid needs a base of their own! Find a spot in the backyard to make a cubby just for you, or go to your local park and see if you can recruit other kids to help you make something you can share.

You can use just about any materials you can get hold of. Try cardboard boxes, bits of wood, sticks or sheets from the laundry. If you are making a cubby in nature remember to leave only your footprints and take home only memories!

3. Make a mud pie at Namadgi National Park

Mud is good! There’s nothing better than squishy, dirty, gloppy mud to bring out your inner super chef.

Namadgi has National Park has great campgrounds and marked trails for bushwalking, but best of all there are loads of spots for you to set up your own mud kitchen.

4. Go camping in your backyard

Camping out under the stars is amazing and you don’t need to go bush to do it. Why not pitch your tent in the yard. If you don’t have a tent you can string up a tarp with rope and snuggle up with your doona and pillow.

Why not invite your friends around and camp together?

5. Go on a family bike ride at Sparrow Hill (Kowen Forest)

Having a bike is like having a licence for freedom! You can explore, meander, or just go on a ride to nowhere. Why not get the family together and explore the Kid Stuff loop at Sparrow Hill which is a family friendly 5km track, well-suited to mums and dads trying to keep up with the kids!

6. Make a kite and fly it at Currumbin Beach

Kites are popular for kids all over the world. And best of all making them is super easy. A quick internet search will show you dozens of designs you can make with things you probably already have in the house.
Once you’ve made your kite try taking it to The National Arboretum which has a fantastic amphitheatre that is perfect for flying kites and there’s plenty of space for more than one kite!

7. Invent an outdoor game with friends

The best thing about inventing your own game is that you get to make up the rules! Get some friends together and start inventing. You can do it in your backyard, in your neighbourhood or even organise a visit to one of Queensland’s amazing National Parks.

8. Build a city in the sand at Casuarina Sands (Murrumbidgee River)

Sand is perfect for building your own city and Casuarina Sands on the Murrumbidgee River is just the spot to get unleash your inner architect. It has perfect riverside beaches with 360 degree views of the surrounding hills. You also have easy access to water (an important ingredient when making a city in the sand).

9. Go on a photo safari in your neighbourhood

All you need for this activity is a camera (maybe mum or dad’s phone), and a sharp pair of eyes. Now, head out into your neighbourhood and see how many animals you can spot and photograph. Look for birds, insects, reptiles and pets.

You can even print your pictures and make a scrapbook of your safari to share with friends.

10. Make a stick boat and float it down a creek at Swamp Creek (Murrumbidgee River)

Get creative with sticks and leaves you find on the ground and make a boat – it doesn’t have to be fancy, it just needs to float!

Swamp Creek is a great spot to explore a small nature reserve near Uriarra Crossing and you’ll find plenty of small sticks along the creek bed to use.

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