Visit Ivon Wilson Park in Te Anau on Sunday 2 March and the bush will not only ring with the sounds of birds, but also the excited chatter and laughter of children exploring nature.
To celebrate national Children's Day, Plunket have teamed up once again with 'Kids Restore the Kepler', Fiordland Kindergarten, Southern Stars, the Department of Conservation and Southland District Council to bring families the biggest ever 'Play Date with Nature'.
Jenny Tapsell, the event coordinator for Te Anau Plunket says the aim of this day is to encourage families to enjoy quality time in the wild with their kids.
Boy on a swing at Children's Day
"Play dates with nature are fun for all the family," she says, "and best of all, nature provides everything for free!"
Connecting children with nature in their everyday lives is the first step of the major restoration project 'Kids Restore the Kepler'. This community-driven initiative, led by the Fiordland Conservation Trust, aims to restore the Kepler area to its former state. Tina Perry, the Education Coordinator for the project said that children who know and love nature would also want to protect it. "That is why we are so supportive of this event," she said. "The activities the kids get up to on this day can be replicated on the Kepler, in your garden, or practically anywhere outside."
'Play Date with Nature' will take place in Te Anau's Ivon Wilson Park, between 11 am and 3 pm. The event will go ahead in almost any weather so be sure to dress appropriately. "It just gets more fun in the rain," Mrs Tapsell says.
Be prepared to go critter-crazy, be splattered in mud, climb a tree, listen to stories read under the shade of a tree, make damper on an open fire and so much more. New play stations for the 2014 event include an under two's sensory area, making music with natural objects and tree planting.
Everybody is welcome but the organisers ask that you please leave your four-legged friends at home. Sausages will be sizzled for lunch by Te Anau Scouts.
Visit the Kids Restore Kepler website if you would like to know more about this event.
- Children's Day is celebrated each year on the first Sunday of March. Its aim is to encourage everyone to 'Treasure our Children'.
- 'Kids Restore the Kepler' is led by the Fiordland Conservation Trust. The project's principal sponsor is Kids Restore New Zealand, a programme under the Air New Zealand Environment Trust that encourages leadership and environmental education in young people.
- The Department of Conservation is working towards having 'one million conservation kids' in New Zealand. Find practical ideas and activities to explore nature with your children