What Sparked the Idea?
My eldest son Oscar, now 9, is an outdoors boy- he loves a good bushwalking challenge, climbing trees and scrambling rocks. A bushwalking adventure with seven friends. Party decision…too easy.
We are familiar with the large bush reserve behind our house. We thought this was the easiest journey to take, as the adventure starts at home. Two weeks before the party we did a family practice and risk assessment walk. Oscar loved the route we chose- open space, tree canopies, trees to climb, pathways and rocks.
We planned a 3 hour party, with about an hour for pressies, food and birthday wishes first, then on with the adventure.
Rain, Rain Go Away!
On the day of the party the rain came down, the big ol’ fat kinda rain, and we’re walking in it! A bushwalking party is totally meant to be outside! No worries. I suppose it helps that my husband and I have bushwalked and camped in the rain over our many years and know that it is totally do-able. Besides, there are so many advantages to walking in the rain- no sunburn and less water to carry. Hail, strong winds, lightning and thunderstorms were our no-go.
Let’s Take a Walk
Oscar’s small group of friends walked, talked, played spontaneous make-up games, ate snacks, ran and sang. Mostly in the rain. This is what brought the party to a new level.
Oscar’s friends said the coolest bit was the “rainforest” part. The dripping overhanging trees and naturally created plant tunnels gave the rainforest atmosphere.
The newly ankle-deep-watercourse walking track led through these tunnels. Decision time: walk through or jump over the water onto the mini embankments? Aha, this was an experience! “My sneakers are wet!”…”I can feel the water in my socks!”
At the halfway point we stopped in a large open space bordered by she-oaks and the lake. The rain stopped, the boys ate their killer pythons and played. They organised their own teams for hide and seek in an army kind of way. Oscar said he loved how they could “make up our own games”. It was fabulous to see Oscar and his friends play within their child-focused rules, using nature as their boundary and source of inspiration.
Oscar said that the boys liked the walk because they could just talk and take turns in being the leader.
When walking in the rain, the natural eyes-down approach takes over. This meant the boys noticed when water runs continuously downstream, bubbles form. What did the bubbles mean? They thought it may have been pollution. This was water through bush, so could it be possible they wondered? One boy said that it may be the movement of water over rocks that created the bubbles.
The showers disappeared. The boys had their first chance to look up and around. Oh the things you can see – trees of different shapes and flowering native plants. It wasn’t just me who was taking in the sights.
I noticed there were two distinct groups of walkers: the competitors and the talkers. This meant that my husband kept pace with the walkers at the front who felt compelled to walk in record time! I stayed at the back with the children who loved to connect with each by having a chat about anything and everything.
And so we walked mostly in the rain. The boys thought it was fun, adventurous and a party with a difference.
This party idea is most suitable for: 7-10 year olds, however it is extremely adaptable for younger and older ages.
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