Welcome to the Kids Guide to Centennial Parklands! In this post we look at why we should get the youngsters outdoors – and simple ideas for fun and adventure in nature.
So, what are the benefits of kids playing, learning and exploring outside?
Research clearly demonstrates the benefits of getting kids outdoors and playing (sport or otherwise), including:
- reduced risk of obesity and increased cardiovascular fitness
- healthy growth of bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons
- improved coordination and balance
- improved sleep
- mental health benefits, such as greater confidence and improved social skills\
- assist with building children’s motor skills
- assist the performance of children with ADHD
- produce behaviour improvements in children displaying delinquent behaviour
What should we aim for?
For the 2-5 year olds, the goal should active up to 3 hours per day (ideally spending 30-60 minutes outdoors a day) with a mix of play and exploration.
Not only will this contribute greatly towards the recommended activity guidelines for young children, and help to develop their conceptual and intellectual curiosity with the world around them, but the outdoors activity will also help achieve the 2-3 hours a week of sunlight that young children need to avoid Vitamin D deficiency.
Centennial Parklands can help you
Here are some simple ideas for a good time outdoors for 2-5 year olds:
1. Walk in the Park
Just start with a walk in the park. It’s that simple. Young kids like to explore in safe environments – and what is safer than going for a walk in Centennial Park with mum, dad, a grandparent or carer.
We recommend starting near Lachlan Reserve and Lily Pond (go to our maps). This part of Centennial Park features many interesting and varied shady trees, ponds with birdlife and plenty of space to run that energy off (and even a food van nearby for a quick coffee or bite to eat).
Have a walk beneath the trees. Let the kids climb over the gnarled tree roots and watch the ducks and swans in Lily Pond. From the vantage point of Lily Pond Bridge, you can watch the water swirling beneath you, and you may see some fish or an eel!
2. Ride, play and enjoy
Bring the bike for a ride around the Children’s Learners Cycleway in Centennial Park. This cycleway is the place that generations of children have learnt to ride their first bike. This popular surfaced loop roadway is a one-way track with plenty of space for children of all ages to ride their bikes in complete safety.
The best thing about this location is that there is also an adjacent amenities block and children’s playground, making this one of the most family-friendly spots in the Parklands. We’d recommend bringing some picnic food (here’s some healthy food ideas or drop by Centennial Parklands Kiosk and pick up a kids lunch box and juice box/water – they also have great gingerbread men for a treat!).
3. Sports and exploration
Combine physical exercise with exercise for the brain. Pack a ball, bat and/or other basic sports equipment in the car and stop off at Brazilian Fields in Centennial Park.
This space is not only a great, flat area to run around kicking or hitting a ball, but adjoins Pine Grove – a place of endless fascination for many young explorers.
Playing hide-and-seek amongst the trees in Pine Grove will pass the time, and keep the kids active and entertained. Pine Grove is a magical place for the kids (and as a completely off-topic connection, it’s also one of our most popular wedding photography spots!).
We have even more!
We can help there too. Check out our programs online and look for programs like Banksia Buddies – these are programs that explore the natural world in a hands-on and engaging way.