When I was a kid, I grew up on Christmas Island – a small little island covered with tropical jungle. It was in this jungle that myself, my siblings and dozens of other neighbourhood kids would play for hours. It was uncharted territory as far as we were concerned, and our playtime was always filled with excitement and imagination.
I guess I grew up with a belief that kids don’t need colour-coded play equipment and computer games.
Kids need to run around and PLAY. They need to get dirty. Climb trees. Scramble on rocks. Build things out of sticks. Dig holes in the ground. And to be able to eat their sandwiches from a plate of pure, clean grass.
I had an awesome childhood, and becoming a parent, meant I also wanted my kids to experience the WILD.
So while we were on holiday up north, we spent a lot of time at a beautiful local creek. My two older boys, with a little help from my husband, built a leaky dam out of rocks across the whole width of the creek. They literally changed the way the water flowed, experimented with rock shapes, opened channels and saw the way water swirls in deeper pools. They had so much fun.
In the photo above, my boys decided it was time for a “smoko” – Aussie vernacular for a little rest break.
I loved the way they just waded into the knee deep water, unafraid. Of course their shoes filled up with water and they got completely soaked. This is my 4yo catching tadpoles, with a kitchen sieve.
I really like to teach kids about stuff… by allowing them to be in it. You can learn about frogs and tadpoles in the classroom, but until you’ve actually caught one and have it wriggle between your fingers, I don’t think you’ve really learnt about the urgent, miraculous cycle of life.