“Let them be bored for a bit”

I was at my sons Rippa Rugby game one day and a couple of the teachers from his school had come to watch. Upon noticing some children on the side-lines sitting down looking at iPad screens (maybe siblings of players waiting their game), one teacher said “now I know I am the technology teacher, but just let them be bored for a bit”

This got me thinking ……

Technology or screens in particular are so often used to distract or entertain whilst we parents are busy doing something else, whether that be something super important or not – I know for me sometimes I feel so busy and my mind is so full that I am just not up for the debate.

But kids do just need to be bored sometimes. Kids need to know how to stop, be present in the moment and be ok with it. Band-aiding kids boredom by means of distraction just stumps creativity. They will eventually “fix” the boredom themselves.

Often in my house when the screen time is over, it is met with quite a bit of moaning and “It’s just got 3 minutes to go” or “Can I just finish this episode” etc etc. My rule is if there is resistance to turning it off then the privilege is lost (for a certain time period, the length of time dependant on how much of a fight is put up).

I find my children are just nicer humans when not consumed by screen time, their imaginations spark when faced with boredom and beautiful things happen:

  • Games are created using all sorts of materials
  • Teamwork is in full swing (less fighting)
  • Huts are built
  • Artwork flows

 

(Rippa Rugby at home rips using flax for rips 👍)

Our world now is full of things and tools to make things easier and more convenient. Now I can see both the positives and the negatives of this change in society,  but it is also just a change that needs to be worked with and boundaries set to insure we don’t get complacent, and let the world go by us all unconsciously.

I want to teach my children to not just accept the easy route, challenge it and themselves – to be resilient.

Nga mihi, Anita 🥜✌️🌿

 

Bathe in the present moment.

You are enough, you have enough, you do enough.

Permission to relax. Stop filling dead space with your phone (sure I’m talking to my myself too). 🌿Go outside, breathe in the air, what can you smell? 🌺Gaze around you, what do you see?🐦 Look at your loved ones, see them. 😍Take a minute, pause.  I invite you to all go outside and take a half hour walk together, anywhere. Let them talk, listen. Let them play, then join in. Laugh! Be silly! Have fun! You are seen, you are loved. Connected.🧘‍♀️ Be sure to not report back to me, I’d rather you were outside than on your computer.👍 Have a super wonderful weekend🌍 Aroha Tammy x

Top 5 tips for bush 🌳 walking with kids aged 5+ 😜

How to get the little darlings moving and enjoying the great outdoors???

Our Top 5 tips:

  1. Intrigue: Peak their interest! Maybe you are walking to see MASSIVE kauri trees, or a waterfall? Take your togs for a river swim! Or are you walking to a secret beach? Perhaps they are rock hunters? Try my mum’s favorite the “magical mystery tour”! Start a nature journal or get one of these kids activity packs from the nature library Have you heard of geocaching? Its a world wide scavenger hunt! If they are older what about family friendly adventure racing? Check out Frazzled kiwi  for nation wide events.
  2. Friends: A million times easier to get them moving! I actually have to try to keep up with mine if they are with friends as they tend to run the whole way!
  3. The fine Art of Distraction: Once you are on the walk- there is a neat initiative here called “Wild Eyes”! Where the kids are given “nature missions” which they complete then upload once back home. Otherwise there’s always the more old school, but none the less useful: 1st to spot a…, i-spy… counting games e.g. the number of bridges, bird I.D, throwing skimming/rocks in the river, hand them the camera for a while. If all else fails stop for a snack/treat, take a minute to stop and look around and tell them how well they are doing!
  4. Leadership & Independence: Taking turns in the lead can help slow the faster kids down so you can stick together + it gives each child some responsibility within the group, this sometimes needs to be timed in order to stay fair. Let them pack and carry their own bags (checked by you before heading out). If they are older include some “group items” + their own snacks and water.
  5. Gear: Having the right gear is a biggie for overall enjoyment, but it doesn’t have to = expensive. Think comfort and protection i.e. sneakers (grip) over jandals (slip/trip), taking a waterproof raincoat, a jersey or thermal top, consider the comfort of their backpack, are the straps padded and comfy? Ideally it would have a waist and chest strap. Have you packed a 1st aid kit, sunscreen and sunhat. The NZ weather can be unpredictable and can change very quickly so best to be prepared. Always check the weather before you go and tell someone where you are going.

*A note on: Expectations.  If you or your family are new to bush walking start out by keeping your expectations low! Rome wasn’t built in a day! Be prepared to become a pack horse & expect some degree of complaining.  We highly recommend starting with some small easy walks (~1 hour) building up gradually. Always be prepared with snacks (including some treats) water, 1st aid kit etc. The first will definitely be the hardest but it will get easier every time, we promise.

We’d love to know if this was helpful or if you have any of your own “tips and tricks” that you’d like to share 👊😁

Top 5 Tips for bush 🌳walking with under 5’s

“My kids can’t even walk down the road without moaning” …. this is something we hear a lot! Guess what our’s were like that too when we started out!

 Here are our top 5 tips for bush walking with under fives:

  1. Expectations: If you are just starting out, keep them low, or maybe just don’t have any! Be prepared to become a pack horse & expect complaining.  We highly recommend starting with some small easy walks and always be prepared with snacks, water, plasters etc. The first few times will definitely be the hardest but it will get easier every time, we promise.
  2. Distraction: Story telling or singing, great time to practice the abc’s or that old kapa haka song. Treats, a lollipop at the top of the hill or M&M’s along the way to “dangle the carrot”. And of course games, pointing out interesting things along the way, first one to spot a…  or listening and watching out for birds.🦜🕊🐦
  3. Leadership: Taking turns in the lead and giving each child some responsibility within the group, this sometimes need to be timed in order to stay fair. Stop and smell the roses and walk at kids pace #slowwalk 😊
  4. Independence: Letting them pack a bag to carry themselves with 1-2 of their own “treasures”. My kids didn’t start carrying a bag/pack until about 4 years old, and even still now I have to have a turn carrying it.
  5. Gear: Having the appropriate gear always helps. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Think comfort i.e. sneakers over jandals and always carry a raincoat.

When our kids were young we had to use one or all of these in one short little 20 minute walk, but now they’re older – not so much. Part of it definitely comes from getting out there doing it.

What are some tips and tricks that work for you? Comment below and share with all us forest families ✌️

 

Conquering your fears💪🏔🌳

When I worked for the Department Of Conservation (DOC) as a biodiversity ranger pre-kids I would work in the bush daily on my own. I loved my job and never felt afraid, ok- except the one time I stumbled upon a family of wild boars😲🐷🦛, I thanked my lucky stars that we don’t have any wild animals in New Zealand that can kill or poison us!  I do remember people asking me if I was afraid working in the forest by myself and certainly they looked concerned at my lack of concern. Perhaps it was being young and carefree or perhaps it was just because I was so familiar with the forest I worked in? Anyhow I don’t remember feeling afraid of being in the bush alone.

Now 10 years on I occasionally work alone in the forest (usually doing some biodiversity monitoring) and I’ve noticed I feel a bit nervous being by myself. Maybe it’s because I read the news more these days which trips my mind into a negative and/or fearful zone? Maybe it’s out of my comfort zone because I rarely do it? Or maybe it’s because there is a higher chance of meeting people in the forest I work in now due to the smaller size of the reserve?

Recently I read an article from my favorite magazine, Flow, about keeping your own pocket sized “self help” notebook. The idea being that you write in it “pearls of wisdom” quotes or advice that mean something to you and then you keep with you always so in say times of stress or worry you can pull it out and gain some perspective.

Anyway… the other day I went into the bush to do this work on my own, but I hadn’t yet gotten around to doing this, so I pulled out my metaphorical notebook. Here are two quotes I pulled out:

  1. “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life most, of which have never happened” By Mark Twain .
  2. “Thoughts aren’t facts so don’t take them seriously” Ruby Wax.

Relevant much!😂 And so I had a lovely walk in the bush by myself. 🚶‍♀️🧘‍♀️🌿Nice.

Today I thought about this – “Self compassion is a more effective motivator than self criticism because its driving force is love and not fear”. I have a lot of saved quotes on my “Word Up” Pinterest board – it might be time to transfer them to my pocket notebook I think!

What do you do when faced with fears? Do you have a strategy to overcome them?

Love to know your thoughts, Tammy.

🌤 School holidays are here 🤗

Yay 🙌 The weather is clearing up and daylight savings starts on Sunday, time to get back out there! I don’t know about you, but this winter has been a tough one in my household, lingering bugs, uncoopervative weather and sadly a little girl with a broken bone in her ankle from jumping off the bunk bed 🤦‍♀️. All this has meant not many missions have happened for us as a family over the winter, but alas a couple of sunny weekends under the belt and we are all charged up 🔌 ready to roll.

What are your plans for the spring school holidays?

I plan to take the kids on an overnight hut stay! 🤞 for good weather. It’s been awhile, and since I am fortunate enough to have time off, I’m gonna make this happen 💪

Click the link to view our blog on “what should I take on an overnight tramp with kids“.

Whether you are inland, coastal or up near the mountains, there is a hut for you 👇

That’s the beauty of our awesome country 🏞, outdoor adventures are right on your doorstep. Even if you don’t have much time off, get the kids outside, get off those pesky devices and get ya feet dirty 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 together.

This week is also being Mental Health Awareness Week, so it’s a good time to remember that connecting to the earth and each other while being present in the moment can really help cleanse our minds from all of life’s pressures, not just for ourselves but for our kids too.

This doesn’t have to be a long winded huge mission costing an arm and a leg, even 10 minutes down at your local reserve can do the trick 👍.

If you do get out on a choice adventure and would like to share it with others – get in touch, we’d love to hear about it. Your adventure might just be what someone out there is looking for but never knew was available to them ✌️

Nga mihi, Anita 🥜✌️

 

🌿🌳 Want more time in nature?🌱

I read something earlier this year about questioning yourself before committing to something, to anything actually.

If your initial response isn’t  a “Hell YES!” Then it’s a NO. 👉Thank you my girl Rachel Hollis.

Because let’s face it we all have a lot on our plates and I want to do things that give me energy not steal it. After all, our time is valuable.

Recently I received a phone call from Terry the lovely coordinator of Friends Of Puketoki Reserve, who told me they were struggling to get any young blood to volunteer for their community pest control project. I have had a lot to do with the group and the reserve through my conservation work and so found myself saying “HELL YES”  to Terry before he even thought to ask me. The timing was right, my kids are old enough, I have an interest, I know the kids will enjoy it. We can get into the forest as a family on a regular basis and give back to our community. Yes, we’re in.

Of course time is an issue. However I am an ideas type of gal, so I asked if I could share the trap line with a few families, that way it wouldn’t be too much of a huge time commitment to anyone. Two hours, once every 6 weeks. Yes that’s doable.

And so now we have begun, and I have two other families on board who are also excited to be doing this. PLUS we are getting our kids out into nature on a regular basis and you know that’s got to be good for them!

If this is something you like the sound of I encourage you to have a conversation with your friends and see if it’s something they too would like to be involved in and then find out more about your local community group. Win win🏆

Nga mihi Tammy

 

Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori 2019

Kia ora 😊 This week is Māori language week here in Aotearoa. It is a week dedicated to helping keep the Māori language alive and thriving. I for one feel this is majorly important, as language is the heart of any culture, and Māori culture is part of New Zealand’s identity.

I grew up in Ngāruawāhia, home to Tūrangawaewae Marae – headquarters of the Kīngitanga. Growing up there being immersed in the culture as a pākehā (a minority) is something I feel very proud of and truly blessed by.

It was actually only recently that I completed a beginner’s course in Te Reo Māori. I knew a lot of the basics from my up-bringing but the in-class kōrero (speaking) really helped to make sense of things in my head. The surprising thing is, that in 2012 I attempted to learn a bit of French for an impending trip and I struggled! I kind of figured “language is just not my thing”, but since completing this course, so many more things of what I learnt all that time ago have clicked into place.

 

Having a second language is truly an amazing thing for our minds, most countries around the world have more than one language and taking a second language is even compulsory.

Māori is an integral part of New Zealand’s culture and the language is a taonga to be cherished. He taonga te reo – Our language is a treasure!

Below are some kupu (words) that you might be able to use while out and about in nature:

  • Rākau – Stick
  • Rau – Leaf
  • Ngahere – Forest
  • Manga – Stream
  • Maunga – Mountain
  • Moana nui – Ocean
  • Ngaru – Wave
  • Kāmaka – Rock
  • Wairere – Waterfall
  • Tāmure – Snapper
  • Manu – Bird

 

Whakatauki (proverb): Ahakoa he iti te matakahi ka pakaru i a ia te tōtara: A little effort can achieve great things.

Kia Kaha Te Reo Māori! Anita 🥜 ✌️

Lindemann Loop Track, Katikati

Last winter I took my two boys out to walk the Lindemann track, near Katikati with some friends and their children. Between us there were 6 kids, then aged between 4-7 yrs old. I wrote this story over a year ago, but had to hold off publishing it because the Department of Conservation closed the track due to the kauri dieback threat. The track has remained closed for the last year so they could upgrade the tracks to protect the kauri’s root system and help prevent the spread of this disease. But I have great news! The track has re-opened, so go check it out!

When we did this track we didn’t consider walking the 11km, 5 hr loop with the kids (as much as I love a loop track) we just walked a few hours in and back the same way, happy days.

I was told there was a waterfall somewhere… but after ~1 ½ hrs of walking we still hadn’t come across it, and so we decided to turn back. This turned out to be a good plan as the littlest got quite tired and started stumbling a lot. It is very hard work trying to keep up with those fast, often running 7 year old’s!

The track is well marked, but has muddy sections (in winter), slippery rocks in the un-bridged (shallow) stream crossings, and the track is uneven with lots of roots and rocks which the youngest (4) found challenging.  Marvelous fun in summer I imagine!

 

There is one part of the track after the largest stream crossing with a small waterfall (~ 30 mins in), where the track heads up hill and has a steep drop off. I must admit I walked very close to Mr 4 in case he stumbled.

To combat tiredness on the return journey we played games. The muddy sections became “the boggy bog” – you’d better watch out! Scrambling through fallen branches and “help its got me!” Red clay rock section became “hot lava” run! This helped Mr 4 & 5 keep walking and having fun. Mr 5 fell over and banged his knee on a rock (ouch!) thank goodness for ‘sour snake’ lollies and the strength of the mamas to carry the little ones!

For more details on this track visit our website- -trail information- Bay of Plenty or click here.

 

 

 

Cheers Dads 🍻 Happy Fathers’ Day

With Fathers’ Day coming up on Sunday I thought share a photo collage of some Dads, Grandads and Uncles all getting out there with the kids – Ka mau te wehi! 🙌

If you’re stuck for ideas on what to do on Sunday check out our trail info page for a kid-friendly bush walk.

Bay of Plenty peeps – here are some options for you:

Happy Fathers’ Day

Aroha mai, Aroha atu 💗

 

 

 

 

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