14 Apr 2020
Encouraging kids to get into nature in their backyards or the local park is the focus of Sydney Olympic Park’s Mini Park Ranger online program.
At a time when kids have been focussed on screen activities, the virtual Mini Park Ranger program teaches kids and families how to make the most of their time outdoors, discovering the sights and sounds around them as they go for a walk.
Sydney Olympic Park Ranger Judy Harrington said while families had to get creative with the activities they could do with restrictions in place, they should take the opportunity to learn more about the habitat around their homes and neighbourhoods.
“Kids are naturally interested in nature, and exploring their backyard or even around the home can be educational,” Ranger Judy said.
“We should be encouraging kids to use their eyes, nose and ears when they go and play in their yards.
“They can look under rocks and logs for snails, look under leaves, turn logs over and look for insects.
“Kids can make their own environments by creating a pond of water in the yard and seeing what it attracts. Or they can pour some water on some dirt, get mud between their toes and make footprints.
“At night kids should be encouraged to lie on their backs and look at the stars, or take a torch and see what is in the trees – they may find a possum or maybe an owl.”
The Mini Park Rangers program is usually held for children up to five years across the parklands at Sydney Olympic Park. Children connect with Park Rangers for stories, rhymes and crafts while they explore the natural world.
The program has now been crafted into a virtual experience with the first episode now live, teaching kids about bird watching and how to make binoculars. The activity sheet features a bird-watching scavenger hunt and details on how to make telscopes binoculars from a cardboard tube.
New episodes will go live each week at 10am on a Tuesday. Topics will include:
• Trees and Leaves
• Rainbows in Nature
• Spiders and Spider safety
• Bugs, beetles and insects
• Possums and possum boxes
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