Another lot of school holidays is over. Bummer! I really enjoyed my sleep-ins and not having routines or the school run. Oh the school run, how I hate it so. The day I get out the door without going back in for something, without yelling, or without being late will... well, it'll probably never come. My kids are incapable of getting ready without constant harassment from me. So our pyjamas-till-midday and lazy brunches and late movie nights are gone for another 10 or so weeks. And I'll have to come up with a whole new bunch of ways to amuse the kiddos. These holidays we had lots of fun exploring nearby spaces - Norah Head Lighthouse, Pearl Beach, nearby parks and reserves as well as hanging out at home baking, painting and toasting marshmallows in our homemade fire pit.
One of the surprise favourite activities was our hunt and gather last Thursday at Pearl Beach. This beach was perfect as there was a nice little bushy area nearby for extra adventures. I made a few two-sided lists for the kids - one side was "Things to spot" and the other was "Things to collect". I added some obvious ones (spiderweb; Australian animal; autumn leaf; shell) and some not-so-obvious ones (spiderweb with a fly in it; seaglass; pinecone). I kind of thought the kids would enjoy it for a while and then just give it up and build a sandcastle. But nope. They did it for ages and explored the beach and bush together looking for all the items on the list. We met some friends down there and they teamed up, bags in one hand for the things to collect; pen and list in the other for the big tick-off.
Just before they set off, the ultimate "water creature" appeared in the distance that they were able to tick off - a whale jumping out to wave hello! Of course as soon as my camera came out he vanished (why do they do that? How rude. Don't they know if there is no photographic proof it didn't happen!?!?!). It was a beautiful day and most of both lists were found - several times as Zak and his friend Emma teamed up and Emma's sister Jordan helped Layla and Immy find their things. The walked almost the entire length of the beach to find a red flower (it may have been stolen from someone's front yard in the end) and on the way back, I found a piece of seaglass. I put seaglass on the list because we were at the beach and that's where you'd find seaglass, right? But I certainly wasn't expecting anyone to find any because of all the times I've ever been at the beach, I've never found a piece of seaglass (that I know of; maybe I did as a kid, but it's not etched in my memory.)
Anyway, they had a ball and are keen to do another one another time. Good clean free fun! You can do this literally anywhere - even in your own backyard, just choose relevant "finds" for them to, well, find.
Here is the full list if you're keen to try it yourself and are just not in the mood to think too hard!
Things to spot
Spiderweb with a fly in it
Tree that looks like something
Black and white bird
Signs of a fire
Rock with oysters
Things to collect
Stick shaped like a "Y"
Perfect green leaf
Piece of driftwood
(A find to us is something you find that is kinda random but kinda cool. Zak has a whole jar of them he's collected since we moved into this house, mainly consisting of things he's found in our yard when Steve was working in it - a really old coin, unique bottle top, rusty bolt, springs, dog tag or piece of jewellery. Layla found a golf ball on this hunt, so that was her "find"!)
So it was quite a big list! The only things they didn't find were a tree stump, puddle (darn no rain!), rock with oysters and a cicada shell. Not too bad! And if we'd ventured closer to the beach pool we'd most likely have found a rock with oysters on it. But the wind was whippy and the waves were scary - we weren't getting too close to the water. In fact, we were really sad to hear the very next day a little boy was swept out to sea from that very same beach by a huge wave. I'm glad I trusted my instincts and kept our distance - those waves made me nervous. And obviously with good reason. That poor family...
Ugh, I hate ending things on a sad note... So, is this something you'd do? Have you done before? What's something else they could find next time? Or a good place to do a hunt? x