We’ve all had to scrap our upcoming adventures thanks to our ol' mate, Rona. So, let’s pivot and embrace some You-beaut Backyard Adventures!
If you’re looking for a fix of your regular outback or river getaway or want to see the kids engage in something that isn’t delivered via YouTube, Zoom or Houseparty, then head into the backyard and create your own Backyard Adventure.
These can be anything that engages you with nature, just within the boundaries of your home and surrounding yard. We’ve put together some of our favourites to get you started, and if you want to give your kids the full camping experience without leaving home, try a backyard campout and check our range of kids camping gear to make it an unforgettable family experience for the kids.
Draw a map of your yard with as much detail on plants, building structures, tanks, paths, etc. on it and make multiple copies of this map, then hide things in the yard or set them off on a series of tasks using the map to mark their location. Each checkpoint could be a challenge to find a treat or clue to unlock the next step.
You can vary the difficulty depending on the age of your kids - those that want to learn how-to use a compass may enjoy following compass directions or younger ones may need a breadcrumb trail to follow.
There are already many ‘Ninja Warrior’ type obstacle courses in backyards now, but you could extend this to incorporate all sorts of challenges that extend all the way throughout your front and back yard.
Balance beams, rope swings, climbing walls, it all depends on what you have available in your yard, but they don’t have to be elaborate and can be continually modified as the kids get used to them. Pool noodles, timber, rope, sporting equipment, PVC pipe, old tyres, hanging hula hoops and existing swings and play equipment can all form a part of a bigger obstacle course that kids can race around.
Use old sheets, logs, branches, PVC pipe or timber to make a space the kids can escape to and make their own.
Existing structures, such as trampolines, are good for this, otherwise a little lean-to against the shed with sheets or a tarp over the top may be all they need for a hideaway. You may like to turn it into an activity with ropes and timber, teaching (or learning as you go) about knots and lashings. Try to create a structure that will stand up to sun, wind and rain.
If your kids are old and sensible enough to use a pocket knife, why not challenge them to whittling some structures out of scrap timber in your yard - This could occupy them for hours! Some may require some supervision to ensure fingers stay intact… blade points away from hands!
Some challenges to set them:
• Animal shapes, such as a rabbit, bird or fish
• Boat or car (they can make a sail from leaves)
• Knife, fork and spoon
• Vegetables (carrots are a good one)
• A whistle (Google 'Whittle a Whistle')
If it’s safe and considerate to do so, have a go at lighting a campfire. You’ll need to make sure you have a clear space to do this and ensure you are allowed to do so in your suburb. This can be a great way to learn an essential survival skill and toast some marshmallows while you’re at it.
If you need some help, take a look at our guide on how to start a fire, even if you've got wet wood.
You can practice all sorts of survival activities in your backyard, skills that could one day save your life.
Try using solar to fill a cup with water or tell the time, set a trap, make a bow and arrow (once again, using caution), treat a make-believe wound or make a stretcher to carry the smallest member of the family out of trouble. Set up scenarios and challenges to work through with your kids. It’s fun and could one day save their life.
Check out Bob Coopers Outback Survival Book for ideas.