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3 Jul 2020

Winter School holidays – tips to explore the outdoors

Join Ollie and his friends on their adventurous hike through the Australian bush and learn all the important things you need for a life outdoors.

Finally… another term is over, Ollie thought!

And what a strange term it was… staying at home, being taught by mum and dad… being allowed in front of the computer all day… even extra TV hours when they were caught up in video conferences. The time at home wasn’t bad at all … but being back at school with all his mates was fun as well.

But nothing is better than HOLIDAYS

One day, Ollie and his friends decided to walk through the forest close to his house. They had left early in the morning to go on a hike. He could hear lorikeets, crows and lyre birds singing in the branches above but Ollie had seen a beautiful butterfly and stopped to check it out.

When he turned around his friends had disappeared into the forest. Ollie was looking for his friends but remembered something he had learned last school holidays... he had Eagle Eyes! So Ollie put them on and stared into the forest to spot his friends. 

Play a game of Eagle Eyes

Follow our instructions and use your Eagle Eyes too. What can you find?

He kept on walking along the trail and there it was – a perfect climbing tree. He made sure to check that the branches were thicker than his thigh before he started climbing low down the trunk. Carefully Ollie made his way up the tree – always making sure to have three points of contact.

Climbing trees 

If you need to climb a tree to get a better overview, follow our simple steps and you and the tree will be safe!

Halfway up he saw Sophie and Mike. “COO-EE” – he shouted and saw Mike turning his head! “Up here – wait for me!”

He made his way down and joined his friends. Together they kept on walking – their destination was the lake right in the middle of the forest. They wanted to find out who lives in and around the lake.

After half an hour, they arrived and took out their equipment – Sophie and Mike both  had a net on a long stick to see what they could find in the water.

And what they found in there! Fresh water shrimps, dragon nymph and damsel fly larvae and Mike even caught a tadpole!


If you want to find out who lives in water, take your nets to the next pond or lake and start dipnetting. Find out how with our activity sheet.

Ollie was more interested what he would find around the area. He had brought some little transparent pots. He dug holes with a small stick and buried the pots in there – the perfect pitfall trap for insects and spiders.

Pitfall traps

Do you want to trap some insects, spiders, or bugs like Ollie? Find out how with our Pitfall trap instructions.

He wandered around and found some really good long Y-sticks. “That’s perfect cubby house building material”, he thought. He started to collect all the sticks when Sophie and Mike joined him.

Together, they created the perfect cubby. 

Cubby Building

You want to build a house like Mike, Sophie, and Ollie – here is the plan!

They brought their bags up from the lake and as they all were quite hungry from the walking and dragging sticks around, they decided to have lunch. They sat in front of their cubby and shared their sandwiches and fruit.

When he had finished, Ollie got up to check his traps – and sure enough he had trapped some cool insects and spiders. He lay flat on his tummy to watch them – there even was a beautifully coloured spider. This must be the peacock spider his brother had been telling him about.

He turned onto his back and looked up into the trees – how beautiful their crowns looked. He squinted and tried to make out where one crown started and the other one ended … but he just couldn’t – it was a beautiful green roof over him.

Sit spot

Lay on your back and look up into the trees or the sky – can you see all the shapes?

Sophie and Mike came over and dropped left and right from him.

“This day has become a real adventure. I had to search for you in the forest. We have caught and trapped animals from the lake and the land. We have built a house – it’s a pity it’s winter if not we could stay here overnight and make a fire!”

“Great idea – but we better get back home now before the sun sets – we could collect kindling and tinder on our way and make a fire at our house! My mum is home and can help us!” No sooner said than done – they emptied all their traps and released the animals, they broke their cubby house down and started on their way home.

On the way they collected small kindling sticks and bigger tinder sticks to get the fire going!

Collecting Tinder

Check with sticks make the best fire with our activity sheet.

They were definitely quicker on their way home – Mike had told them that his mum has marshmallows in the kitchen.

And so it came that their adventure day out in nature ended with three families around the fire in Mike’s backyard – with marshmallows on long sticks roasting over the fire.
If you want your kids to have days like Ollie and his friends, join our Nature Play programs Bush School Centennial Parklands or Seedlings Nature School Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney and Seedlings Nature School Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan that will start again from 20 July.

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