Bush Kids

Children and Nature

Sunday night walk

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Now that the days are longer and warmer, we all find it hard to come indoors in the evening. Often this urge plays havoc with getting kids to bed and we all linger outside longer than we should. In a bid to find a way of winding down we include a Sunday evening ramble as a seasonal tradition at this time of year: a walk together as a family after dinner but before bed, signalling the end of one week and the start of another. Our weekends are often busy, so this small portion of time with just our family is an opportunity to just be together.

This little evening ritual at the end of the week during the warmer months has now become one of our cherished family traditions. When the children were all small, we used to bundle them into prams after the typically hectic kids dinner to walk them along our quiet road – and more often than not we would return with several kids asleep, granting us a welcome reprieve from the usual crazy bedtime routine. Now that they are all more than capable of walking on their own steam, the Sunday night walk is less a peaceful bush walk with sleepy babies, than a chance to explore together.

One of the things I love about living where we do is that the land around us is full of the connections we have made; places rendered intimate by our interactions, discoveries, and memories. Features of the landscape are known to us as familiarly as the rooms in our home, only they are constantly changing with the seasons and the weather and there is always something new to find. There are favourite haunts, such as ‘wombat hill’, ‘shark-fin rock’, the ‘house boulders’, or ‘troll bridge’, but there is always a new discovery awaiting us: new bracken fern fronds ready to uncurl, a patch of native violets, a sapling just strong enough to shimmy up and hang off.

The Sunday night walk has become a time to connect with each other and with the land around us. We are fortunate to have bush on our very doorstep, but no matter where you live there are always special places around the corner; changes to observe in gardens and parks, scope for discovery and exploration.

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