Happy boy digs a hole in the sand on a beach while other children play nearby.

Top 10 Ways to Celebrate the National Day of Real Play in New South Wales

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 New South Wales 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 Centennial Park

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

Centennial Park has some great spots for creating your mud pie delicacies! So many lakes to choose from, with lovely muddy banks; find your favourite and your mud pie bakery is open for business. Yummy!

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 Sydney Olympic Park

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 Bike Safari Circuits at Sydney Olympic Park? There’s over 35 kilometres of cycleways for safe bike riding and the tracks are perfect for kids of all riding abilities. Find frogs in the wetlands of the River Heritage Circuit, and do some birdwatching in the bird hide and waterbird refuge on the Parklands Circuit – what a great way to get active in some real play!

6. Make a kite and fly it at Bondi 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 stunning Bondi Beach for a test flight. Bondi plays host to the annual Festival of the Winds, where local and international kite flyers show off their skill, so you know it has perfect breezes for kite flying!

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 New South Wales’ amazing National Parks.

8. Build a city in the sand at Balmoral Beach

Amazing views with enclosed swimming areas, Balmoral Beach is a beautiful harbour beach surrounded by parklands. Build your sand castle city here or in nearby Little Sirius Cove that can be reached from Balmoral Beach on foot via the walk to Taronga Zoo. Or join with other kids and make a Sand Castle Metropolis!

9. Go on a photo safari in your neighbourhood

All you need for this activity is a camera (or mobile 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’ll be amazed at what you find!

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 Lake Parramatta

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!

One of the most significant and beautiful bushland reserves in Sydney, Lake Parramatta offers idyllic natural beauty and wildness, clear waters, beautiful rock pools, and lots of interesting estuaries for a stick boat to navigate. Smooth sailing.

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