Unstructured play outdoors, especially in nature, is a vital part of a child’s development and Tropical North Queensland is the perfect place for kids to experience nature at its best. Guest writer, Amanda Cranston suggests rainforest for kids plus 5 others FUN ways to get your kids engaging with nature in the Far North…….
Kids are so consumed with technology these days that ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’ has become a real concern. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of spending time in nature for our physical and mental wellbeing, but for kids it’s even more important. Time spent riding bikes, climbing trees and enjoying fresh air, is an important part of their development.
So if you’re looking for some ways to entice your kids back outdoors and generate some quality family time, here are 6 ways for your kids to engage with nature in Far North Queensland:
Queensland has an amazing coastline with plenty of beaches, not to mention the Great Barrier Reef which is a wonderland of marine life. Whether you take your kids snorkelling or just explore the beach at low tide, there are plenty of opportunities for kids to get up close to starfish, sea cucumbers, fish, coral and lots of other amazing sea creatures.
The beaches themselves also offer hours of fun with shells to collect, discovering animal tracks, going fishing off the beach and building sandcastles fit for a mermaid.
The Daintree Rainforest is like an enchanted forest with native wildlife, butterflies and insects aplenty, as well as a huge range of tropical plant life. Kids love being able to explore and view the world from under the canopy of green.
While you do need to be careful of stinging trees and wait-a-whiles, most of the plant life is safe and some even have healing qualities. Taking a tour of the rainforest with an Aboriginal guide will teach you and the kids about the rainforest’s amazing history and medicinal qualities.
Editors Note: A great rainforest for kids option is the Skyrail cableway which gives your children a bird’s eye view of the rainforest canopy and an opportunity for some hands on exploring at each of the Skyrail stations.
Observing nature is such a joy and kids can spot all types of birds and butterflies in FNQ’s wetland areas. It truly is a bird’s paradise as the wetlands are not only a breeding ground but a safe haven for the birds too.
Pack some binoculars and a birdwatching book so the kids can look up pictures of the birds they see, helping them recognise the species of birds spotted in each wetlands habitat.
Known as the ‘red centre’ because of the orangey-red dirt found in these inland, outback areas, Queensland’s outback is a fascinating place to visit. There is so much history and so much to do from exploring caves, fossicking for fossils, discovering Aboriginal rock art, looking for quartz and star gazing.
Getting away from the crowds and pitching a tent in one of Queensland’s many outback towns will help your kids appreciate nature at its best and learn about the history of some of our oldest towns.
Crocodiles and stingers (box jellyfish and Irukandji jellyfish) are a fact of life in FNQ so the safest place to swim and enjoy the water is at one of our many croc-free freshwater creeks and rivers.
Swimming, river tubing, kayaking, canoeing, lazing on lilos, snorkelling and playing on rope swings are the best things about our freshwater swim holes and an easy way to get kids outdoors and having fun. Not many kids would prefer to sit on technology when there is a waterhole just waiting to be explored.
Whether it’s a trip to one of our many zoos and wildlife parks or a crocodile cruise in the Daintree, kids are always fascinated by wildlife. And Far North Queensland has an abundance of wildlife to discover.
We have bat hospitals, butterfly museums and crocodile parks, or you could just take the kids butterfly spotting in the rainforest or searching for starfish in the shallows.
Images and Story by Amanda Cranston of Travel NQ
How do you get your kids exploring outdoors? What’s their favourite thing to do outside?
Nature Play QLD have more great ideas on how to get your kids interacting with nature –> CLICK HERE to grab an Outdoor Passport for your kids!