21 ideas for a special outdoorsy ‘Mama date’

Hectic schedule? Time flying by? Little ones growing taller before your very eyes?!

The quality time we get to spend with our children is fleeting in the scheme of things, but so precious – and if you have more than one child, it can be really hard to get some one on one time with the children separately. But when you do, gosh how they love it!

I have a friend who is dedicating Thursdays after school to her five year old girl – some special Mama time, just the two of them (without her younger sister). She was after some outdoorsy, active, free ideas that they could enjoy together for an hour or so – trying not to go down that road of buying ‘stuff’ and ‘treats’ every week. It is the time they have together which is the treat!

She put the question to our Facebook group, and here are some of the ideas that we came up with. If you’d like to do something similar with one of your children, we hope this might be useful.

My suggestions were:

  • Any local walking tracks you can do for 30 mins or so?
  • Instigate an ‘animal investigation.’ Find their habitat and any special things they do (could be anything from an ant to the neighbour’s cat to a falcon). Could be a different one each week.
  • Play Poohsticks if you have a river nearby.
  • Find a paddock or field and lie down in it (preferably away from traffic noise) and ask what she can see, smell, feel, hear and taste.
  • Build a natural bivvy together somewhere, your special place. Decorate it with special leaves, feathers, and bits and pieces you find.
  • For a wet day: get the wet weather gear and gumboots out and go find the wettest, muddiest puddles you can. Have a jumping and splashing competition. Throw rocks into the puddles. Float things on them and then make a ‘storm’ with waves. Have a change of clothes, hot water bottle, and thermos of milo in the car for afterwards.

Celia Hogan from Little Kiwis Nature Play suggested:

  • Collect sticks and twigs to make a big house. Could be a bit of a project using old bits of wood to make the frame (that part might be done at home) but the collecting would be out and about.
  • Collect leaves to make a leaf rainbow with all the different colours from Browns to reds to orange to yellow and green.
  • Print a map of a local park/reserve and put marks on the map that you have to find together…you might know that there’s a funny shaped tree or a flowerbed or a bridge at the marks or you can just set a challenge to find something interesting at each spot.
  • Sink and float experiments with water. What natural items sink and what floats – collect lots of different stuff and test it out and make a game of it.
  • Read her favorite book cuddled up in your new hut (above) or on a rug with a thermos of hot milo to keep you warm in the winter.

Jane Frazerhurst from The Mother Hood  suggested:

  • One for a wet day – go to the library. You can then bring the books home and make a cosy den to read in (with 3 year old sis).
  • My 4 year old loves scooting or just wandering along together looking at things – that can take a long time!
  • Making sculptures with found objects and taking photos of them!

Laura Morley from Toddler Talk NZ suggested:

  • Take photos of things that she loves or around a theme ie textures, colours. Then print the photos to make a book or use as an inspiration for a painting.
  • Another day you could take some canvas out into the environment to paint something.
  • You could take a basket and collect things to bring home to make something out of at home later on.
  • We love animals so we do activities like collecting eggs, horse riding, taking the dog for a walk.

Dee Cruse from Inspire your Wellbeing suggested:

  • Explore your local parks and reserves – the kids just run! 
  • Making forts and things.

Gemma Knight from The Baby View suggested:

  • Print off a scavenger hunt check-list from Pinterest, go exploring and tick things off the list as you find them.

So there are just a few things to get you started – we’d love to hear about your adventures, or anything you’d like to add to the list. Please comment below!

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  • Michelle
    22/05/2016 at 2:45 pm

    I’ll just add a post script here that we knew our friend lived semi-rurally, she isn’t on the coast, and here in New Zealand it is autumn and becoming increasingly cold and wet!! Hence the suggestions reflect those conditions 🙂

  • Ursula
    24/05/2016 at 7:57 pm

    Hi, Here are a couple of things we do:
    1. Build dams either a small stream, at the beach or a roadside drain. Build with what ever material is handy, sticks, rocks, mud and then burst the dam!
    2. Bug hunts, see how many different bugs you can find and talk about them, then build bug hotels for them to visit.
    3. My 5 year old daughter and I often just walk round our garden and pick flowers, smell them and talk about the different ones what ones we like etc. Make posies with them or flower arrangements in the sandpit.
    4. Search for fairies in the garden. Its so important for our children to believe in fairies, to use their imagination. Purchase or make one of the fairy doors and move it around the garden and talk to the kids about what the fairies are doing or where they are. We have tooth fairies that live in the snow drops (the snowdrop flowers are all teeth in their former life!). Both my daughter and 3 year old son love it.
    5. Garden or pick fruit, sometimes we help nature with pollinating and sometimes we sit in the orchard and stuff our faces with the fruit in season at the mo mandarins, other times we sow seeds.
    Lots to do!

    • Michelle
      25/05/2016 at 8:48 am

      Those are all fantastic ideas, Ursula. Love the fairy doors! Snowdrop flower ‘teeth’….genius 🙂

      • Janine Ogg
        26/05/2016 at 2:36 pm

        never heard of fairy doors definitely going to look into that one both our girls love fairies!

        • Michelle
          26/05/2016 at 3:41 pm

          Ohh they are really cute Janine! You can either buy them or make your own 🙂