Surprise your kids with the ultimate at-home adventure thanks to these glorious nature-themed activities dreamed up by eco-warrior, sustainability educator and children’s TV star, dirtgirl. With eight joy-inducing options to keep your little explorers busy, you might just find yourself immersed in all the fun too.
In this next instalment of The Helpers Series, curated by activist and changemaker Maree Lowes to help you navigate these turbulent times, dirtgirl offers a few fun ideas for home-bound families to keep kids entertained.
Today’s Helper: dirtgirl
Eco-warrior, sustainability educator for families and star of international TV shows, dirtgirlworld and Get Grubby TV
A NOTE FROM DIRTGIRL CREATOR, CATE McQUILLEN:
Those who have the most to gain from the community, by becoming passionate about and committed to protecting the natural world, are the littlest and the voiceless. It has always been dirtgirl’s mission to speak up for them, the children of our generation. I always hoped to create something bigger than myself, a fictional reality like no other – nurtured by a village of creatives and accepted as the ‘real deal’. More than a storybook character, dirtgirl lives and breathes ‘better change’ as she connects with millions of kids and families across the globe every day. Pinocchio wanted to be a real boy – there is no doubt in the minds and hearts of families that dirtgirl is very real. I’m delighted to share her heart every day, as together we boldly adventure as changemakers in a world that is hungry for change.
Now more than ever families are stepping out into their backyards, community gardens and verges to reset, plant seeds, make compost, eat and harvest. To connect, understand and act in ways that create a brighter future for their children and those yet to come. This fills me with hope and optimism for a family-led future full of positivity. dirtgirl believes that together we can live a lifestyle that makes a difference! ‘Love, know, do’ is her motto… and I’m with her!
‘Get out’ while staying in
Spending time freely and wildly in the world is one of my heart’s desires. But I am super aware that, at the moment, many of us aren’t spending time in our regular naturehoods. The parks and gardens, the patches of green sprinkled in the urban landscape where kids find their toes in the moist earth, swing to the sky, spy an ant stealing a crumb and connect to the big world outside.
So while we stay distanced from each other and also nature, let’s go wild inside. We can let our imagination and curiosity collide with nature and planet care. It’s as simple as creating some ‘zones’ at your place. Here are a few of my fave ideas for ‘Excursion Zones’ at home!
Book an appointment at the eco-hairdressers
Set up your salon with a mirror, a chair, some booster cushions, hairbrushes, hair bands and hair decorations. Make it super luxe with some mint tea or water with ice, magazines, a nature soundtrack, and a DIY hair spray bottle with water and lavender. Next, watch some hair-do YouTube videos, and you’re ready to become a ‘hairdresser’ and have some great chats with the kids! (Bonus points if you swap out and let them do your hair too… you might be surprised! And besides, it’s not like you are going anywhere!)
Start your own media empire
Recycle a box into a TV and start a daily good news broadcast. Share good news about family, great planet stories and happy weather reports. Film it and send it to the rest of the family – it’s a great time to share the goodness!
Under the table relax-ville
Pop on a tablecloth and give the kids their own zen zone. Set up a cushion and a pot plant, make up a mindful meditation, find a nature story to tell, or even have a nature soundtrack ready to hit play. A simple idea with so many benefits.
I think you know what’s coming here… time to build a mud pie kitchen, inside! It sounds outrageous – but the kids will love you forever. Lay down some ground rules along with a groundsheet on the kitchen floor and let the mud pie bake-off begin. Bonus points for mud piping and petal decorations!
Little library under the stairs
Kids meet the librarian (that’s you) between 10am and 10.30am to return books and check out the next bundle. Use a stamp and homemade library cards – this will be a total winner. For even more fun, host a library story-time session!
Sand-tray archaeological dinosaur dig
Bury the dinosaur collection (or any small non-breakable toys) in a sandpit or tray – you can even use rice for this. Supply a paintbrush, a spoon and a pair of tongs and you have an afternoon of science-centred, kid-powered fun.
Under the bed museum
There’s a new palaeontology wing of the museum opening under the bed (or on a table!). Pop different kinds of rocks, twigs, miniature dinosaurs or animals under the bed for the kids to identify. You could even print out pictures to include, but don’t forget things they can touch and feel! The kids will need their ‘ticket’ and a torch for this one. Go the extra mile by pre-recording an audio guide!
Pull on your PJs and head outside to check out the night sky. Whether it be from the balcony, the backyard or from the window… turn off the lights, lay on a blanket and send kisses to the stars. Do this at the same time with your distant family and encourage the kids to send messages via the moon to their grandparents, family and friends. Ask them what messages they are getting back, too. This is a gentle way to end the day and let the kids take nature to bed with them.
The Helpers Series is a blog series inspired by a wise (and widely shared) snippet of childhood advice courtesy of Mister Rogers – “look for the helpers”. It was curated and created by activist and passionate changemaker Maree Lowes, who has rallied some of her favourite ‘helpers’ to offer up their best advice and tips for getting through these challenging times. #thehelpersseries
WORDS: DIRTGIRL / MAREE LOWES
ILLUSTRATIONS: EMILY EHLERS