Getting Outdoors + Kids’ Gardening Sets Giveaway

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Congratulations to:

Making mud pies, letting them bake in the sun, then icing them with flowers, petals and cobwebs collected so gently with a stick.

Fiona G
Jumping from gum tree to above ground pool, no fences back then!!!

Natalie Stoute
Making homes out of ice cream containers for snails and slater bugs. We’d use empty matchboxes for beds and would decorate the homes with flowers and stickers. Great memories.

Sarah K
Building a bonfire with my dad was awesome. We got to help pile up the old tomato plants and fallen branches. But the great bit was that when a spark went down my gumboot and dad put his hose in there straight away (no harm done), I learned that it was ok to take a risk and try something big, as long as there was a plan for if something went wrong. And that you could trust others to be there for you!

Where we lived it was all bushland at the back of the house. We would just take off for hours, coming home when we got hungry. We were never injured and I don’t think my Mother worried too much. Absolute freedom. I remember coming home with bush lemons and macadaemia nuts. They just grew wild.

This is a review post.

Despite the fact that is was freezing outside today, the sun was shining and the preschooler interprets that as t-shirt weather! We had been sent some very cute kids gardening kits which he had been busting to try out, so for our 21 Challenge activity today, it was perfect weather to  plant our seeds.

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For a non gardener like me, this was the perfect gardening activity. The kit came with simple instructions and everything we needed bar the soil.

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We set about filling our pots with soil.

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Made some holes for the seeds and planted them.

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Gave them some water.

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And hopefully we found a puppy safe place for them in the sunshine!

Getting Outdoors

I do often think about the difference between my childhood and our kids.  There are certainly some difference because I grew up in the country, but there other differences that I think are more generational.  Our kids play outside quite a bit, but they would definitely play outside less than I did.

Our kids have more structured activities outdoors; weekday training sessions and weekend games, but I have been making an effort to encourage the kids to get outdoors more often in an unstructured way. Prompts like gardening work well – thankfully Mr I likes to spend time in the garden, so this draws the kids out to him on the weekends.

Allowing them space to create and be adventurous, without my prying eyes has had great success too. We don’t really have any climbing trees at our home.  A shame really, as I remember fondly climbing trees as a kid – we even had a special game for one big tree, called hide the stone, that I used to particularly love.

Last school holidays the weather was great and the younger three kids were spending time outside, but it was a bit sedentary; they were reading or listening to an audio book.  So I brought out  a box with recycled materials and  encouraged them to create something in the garden.

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While having suffered some damage from the puppy in this photo, they actually created rings, a swing and climbing tracks up the tree. It was one of the best things I have done with the kids in terms of getting them outside more. At times they took sheets out to make shade and picnic blankets to eat their lunch.

But it is something I have to think about and work on, when it comes to the upcoming winter school holidays. I will need to find ways to encourage them outside.

A recent survey of 1000 Australian parents with children aged seven to 12 has found fear of strangers and worries about injuries mean they are ‘over supervising’ their kids and not giving them the independence they had as children. The infographic below has some pretty interesting stats:


STIHL, has launched a national program to encourage kids to get outside and connect with nature. There are two parts to the program:

  • My Green Wall – Selected schools will receive their very own vertical garden – a complete kit which includes a steel frame structure carrying up to thirty pots. This is supported by curriculum-compliant educational and teaching materials for Grade 3 students, as well as inclusive take-home materials for each child to share with their family. You can head here to register.
  • My Working Bee – Primary schools across the country are invited to register for STIHL support for their working bees. If successful, STIHL will coordinate the use of a selection of STIHL equipment to support your scheduled clean-up day. I know our school working bees are BYO tools so this would be incredibly helpful. You can head here to register your working bee.

You can find out more about the programs at the Get Outdoors website and Get Outdoors facebook page.

Kids’ Gardening Sets Giveaway

Kids' Gardening Kits
Stihl also have five kits to giveaway to readers, they are cute and practical.   Each kit includes:

  • Planting pot
  • Kids trowel
  • Kids apron
  • Kids gardening gloves
  • Seeds
  • Re-usable shopping bag

For your chance to win:

  • Leave a comment telling me your favourite outdoor memory as a kid.
  • You must have a valid email address to enter. If no response is received with 48 hours, a new winner will be selected.
  • This give away is available to Australian residents only.
  • The give away will close 9pm AEST Saturday 29th June 2013.
  • Good luck!

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If you enjoyed this post, I would love it if you made a small donation to my 21 Challenge. Donations can be made directly here. All funds raised go to Open Family Australia who provide a range of Outreach services to young people experiencing high complex needs. Their focus is on homeless and at risk youth. Thank you!


  1. Marita says

    I just wanted to say thank you for the info about the green wall and working bee… I’ve passed them on to our schools buildings and grounds committee, fingers crossed :)

    • Nicole Avery says

      You are welcome Marita – they are great initiatives that I wasn’t aware of either.

  2. Narelle Rock says

    I used to love getting up before the sun, rugging up and heading out fishing with my step-dad, it was always so much fun, even when it was freezing and dark!

  3. sabine says

    Having no aircon in the house and running under the sprinklers to keep cool. Was always fun!

  4. sonya says

    We used to have a blood plum tree in the backyard and I loved it when us kids were told to pick the plums so Nan could make jam. There was lots of great climbing to be had in that tree and we would sit up there and eat heaps of plums….we often wound up with stomach aches because of it, but never mind, we had fun!

  5. Louise says

    As a child I would climb trees and eat all the mullberries from the tree next door, and coming home with my clothes all stains from the mullberries…Yep mum wasn’t impressed to say the least but I had a great time

  6. deanna says

    Climbing “big oak” a gum tree ar the old park in Surrey Hills whilst on holidays at grans.

  7. Rose says

    One of my favourite outdoor memories was spending time with my nanna in her garden who nurtured in me a love of gardening. She had beautiful roses, dahlias, daisies, petunias in her front and back garden as well as pot plants galore. I would visit and we would wander around the garden and talk about the plants; Nan would pick cuttings for me and I’d plant them in pots and take them home, where I amassed a big collection on our back patio. I then took over managing the front garden for Mum and Dad. It all come to an end once Year 12 arrived and I focused on studying, but have since then as an adult taken up vegie gardening and hope to introduce my children (at 4 and 2 year old twins, just getting in the garden is half the battle!!)

  8. Yvonne Vera Butler says

    My father has always had a love of the family garden – a passion passed down from his father I guess. From as far back as I can remember (and prior to that as evidence shows within our family photo albums), I was involved in the planting, watering and harvesting phases of the veggie patch as well as the garden beds. I think the many hours spent alongside my dad in the garden helped develop the special bond we share to this day (not to mention the ‘green thumb’ i seem to have inherited!) and has also given me the hope that my two girls will cherish the moments shared with me in our backyard in years to come….

  9. Therese says

    I have two favourite memories.The first is being allowed to stay out all day until the sun set. We’d ride our bikes, play cricket, play at our local primary school and generally explore and play all day. The other favourite is going to my Pop’s house and helping him rake leaves into a big pile then jumping in them.

  10. Stephanie Veljanovska says

    We had a Huge Vegetable Patch in our Garden I Loved to go and Pull out the Vegies and Eat Snow Pea’s straight from the Garden

  11. Heather Hopley says

    Using dads ladder as a monkey bar by laying it horizontally across some drums. Spent hours and hours walking across it.

  12. Sally Edwards says

    getting on my bike and riding, as long as I was home before dark, all was good,

  13. Nicole says

    working in the garden with my mum, planting plants and seeds and watching them grow, growing vegies and eating them fresh from the garden, some of the best times

  14. Virginia Watson says

    My favourite outdoor activity as a child was helping my grandpa in his veggie patch! Everytime we visited him I’d ask if the potatoes were ready yet?! I just loved finding them, it was like looking for buried treasure!

  15. erin ritosa says

    Building a princess fairy garden and fairy tree hut, then spending all the Spring days out there until the sun went down (or mum begged me to come in for “Fairy” dinner.) Then when dad came home he see all the hard work I had put into it and while I was watching my bedtime show he came in and told me the fairies must have made a visit. I had no idea what he was talking about, went out side to see dad had fixed the tree hut properly attached some old fairy lights to it and moved the pretty flowers to that area. I was convinced we had fairies and looked in all the planter boxes and veggie patch.

  16. marypreston says

    Where we lived it was all bushland at the back of the house. We would just take off for hours, coming home when we got hungry. We were never injured and I don’t think my Mother worried too much. Absolute freedom. I remember coming home with bush lemons and macadaemia nuts. They just grew wild.


  17. Linda Hynson says

    We had a wooden water channel system set up in the backyard-i spent hours poring water into them and watching it travel:-)

  18. disqus_pborwv3TpH says

    Making cubby houses out of anything we could find – mainly branches and sticks – then wanting to live in them :)

  19. Rosie says

    My favourite outdoor childhood memory is walking up the paddock just up from our house where there was a huge pile of rocks and playing there for hours until Mum called me and my brother back. Playing outside is so good for encouraging imagination!

  20. Mikaela says

    I loved racing around on my bike and going down the road to play at the park with friends. I especially loved the feeling of flying through the air on the swings.

  21. Vicki Jeffrey says

    Quick note to say thank you for reminding me how much fun gardening can be with little ones! Tomorrow I shall have my troops rugged up and outside investing time in our gardens, rather than their gadgets… Thank you also for the links to the green wall. I have registered our schools interest so fingers crossed. Enjoy your weekend!

  22. Kimmmmm says

    My favourite outdoor memory was playing in the dirt mounds and building sites in the estate with the others kids where our home was and others were being built … lots of treasures to find, cubbys to build and hours of unsupervised fun! email inkimshouse AT

  23. bubble936 says

    I still remember every sunday i use to go to our near by lake to feed ducks with my dad. After that I use to play in the playground and enjoy our sunday afternoon.

  24. Kerryanne Bourke says

    I remember going to work with dad. We would milk cows and then drink the fresh milk, round up the sheep to shear them, check on the fence lines and best of all rescue the orphaned sheep to take home and feed!

    Dad really showed me how tough life could be, to this day I still remember the sweet taste of the milk when I have a milky coffee or hot chocolate and its been almost 30 years!!

  25. Taylor Lambert says

    Question…. I try hard to do more “free range parenting” I totally get the value of letting my kids be outside or even inside with mostly unsupervised fun. But DS is spirited,and adventurous. He gets into trouble. How do you deal with this? He is 4, and if left in the back yard, he will jump the fence and go down the alley behind our house. He was in the bathroom yesterday, and he opened DH’s bathroom cabinet, opened his packages of contacts, and put one in the toilet, and ripped another. This is the same toilet he recently flushed his underwear down. Twice. And there are rx in that cabinet! He didn’t eat any, (they were in a pill minder, we can see that none were gone) but what if he had?! I already have a hasp and combo lock on my bathroom cabinet because I was sick of him squeezing my $30 bottles of toothsoap down the drain. Guess DH needs to put his on his cabinet, too. ANyway… advice appreciated!!

    • Sarah K says

      You would be VERY busy keeping track of DS – I know because I have one too who is nearly 5. It is starting to get better…but – safety has to come first. I try to give him the experience of independence and being free-range even if in reality, I have to keep a fairly tight watch. And if you can get someone else to help you out with that sometimes, it is a sanity-saver. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries (physical and otherwise) and then encourage him to explore within those. I try to remember that my DS will probably grow up to be one of life’s explorers or inventors, I just have to keep him in one piece til he gets there :) Best of luck

  26. Lesley Needham says

    I grew up on my parent’s prawn trawler. I would spend my days on the deck of the boat looking for dolphins, reading books, fishing and sometimes we would explore islands and beaches. Back then I thought my life was boring but I wish I could give my boys even a fraction of the adventures I had.

  27. Dean Brandt says

    Me and my brothers used to build a tree fort as high as we could in the
    bush across from our house.We used to spend hours using dads hammer and
    nails and pieces of left over timber dad had.We were like robin
    hood.Exploring our bushland and pretending to defend our fort.Those were the days

  28. Tess Howard says

    I grew up in Alabama on a small farm. We laugh now, b/c during summer we would just roam around the farm all day. We’d pick blackberries and eat them, then climb our pear trees and get sticky eating pears, and also pick the pecans from our huge pecan tree. My mom laughs because she could never get us to eat lunch as we were eating ‘off the land’. Its wonderful memories and the beginning of my love of fresh good food!

  29. Louise says

    My favourite outdor memory as a kid was being at the beach. We lived across the road from a beach, and my brother and I would head over to the beach without supervision and build sand castles, bury each other in the sand, swim, dig for crabs and just amuse ourselves for hours, only returning home for food. I would never let my daughter do that now!

  30. Roberto Colombi says

    Camping in the back garden – it was always an in’Tents’ experience :)

  31. Marie Pohnetalova says

    Going to the beach and making sandcastles – it was a ‘Sand’sational time – it’s a shame I had to Wave goodbye to the sea and beach!

  32. Karen Edwards says

    I loved digging in Mums veggie patch and picking the fresh veggies and eating them before they made it inside YUM!!

  33. Katherine says

    My favourite memory is running around the neighbourhood with all the neighbourhood kids playing all sorts of imaginary games

  34. Sharon says

    My favourite memory is helping my father in the bean patch on our farm. I loved helping him so much that when I was four, all I wanted for Christmas that year was a ‘chipping hoe’ just like Dad’s!

  35. Samantha Bartlett says

    My favorite memory would be riding my bike everywhere, every weekend and school holidays as long as we were home before the street lights, there was a big bunch of us that would ride to the beach and the corner shop to play the pinny machines. Miss those days (sad that our kids are unable to do the same)

  36. Jasmine N says

    My favourite memory was jumping on the trampoline with my siblings and my dog. We would jump and do flips until we got hot and sweaty. Then we’d place the sprinkler under the trampoline, so we could get wet and slide off

  37. Sarah K says

    Building a bonfire with my dad was awesome. We got to help pile up the old tomato plants and fallen branches. But the great bit was that when a spark went down my gumboot and dad put his hose in there straight away (no harm done), I learned that it was ok to take a risk and try something big, as long as there was a plan for if something went wrong. And that you could trust others to be there for you!

  38. Joey Wright says

    Building cubby’s in the bush, yabbying in the creek, building and racing go karts, catching grasshoppers, tadpoles, guppies, doing hand stands on the front lawn. Boy how things have changed!

  39. Rebecca Cragg says

    My favourite outdoor memory as a child was a simple as playing in a huge mound of dirt with my brother and sister. As a civil engineer my Dad occasionally kept his excavators and other machinery at home. We loved climbing in and out of the buckets and running and jumping into the piles of dirt and mud. I remember we would come straight home from school and, probably to Mum’s disliking, took our shoes and socks off and jumped straight in, uniform and all!

  40. planetpamela says

    Mine is playing out ALL day with all the neighbourhood kids. There was a wheat field at the bottom of the cul-de-sac and we would catch ladybirds and walk down to the wee burn (scottish for small stream) and play for hours. We’d spend hours picking rose petals from the garden too, and putting them in jam jars with water to make ‘perfume’…ahhhhh the 70s and early 80s ;)

  41. Amanda Manning says

    Mum gave us all a little section of the garden for our own garden. I planted bottlebrush trees and weeds. I put rocks around the edge and mum thought it looked so good, she put big rocks around her proper garden.

  42. Over 40 says

    We lived behind an old deli and I would find treasure when mum would dig up the garden like old pennies, bottles. Veggies too!

  43. Holly Robertson says

    I loved cycling around our village for hours at a time with the neighborhood kids. We then used to hide in the trees and scare people who walked past! I remember one tree was designated our club tree and we used to hide treasures in its hollow – notes, pencils and things we’d found during our adventures. My prize find was a Michael Jackson card I found discarded in a field – it was definitely one of the club’s prized possessions!

  44. Kelly Ryan says

    Gardening with Dad when he was redoing our yard, loved the trips to the tip and garden centre picking out plants and pots!

  45. Smilie2601 says

    Feeling nostalgic as I reminisce,

    My “Pop” was a
    carpenter which epitomised pure bliss,

    27 grandchildren he did cleverly build,

    A “Go Cart” from scratch! He was rather skilled!

    Each numbered after our birth date,

    Our “Christian” names for the number plate!

    The local park near “Pop’s” house was the meeting place,

    “Pop” was the judge and we would all line up and race!

    These fond memories we all still carry on,

    Because we’ve handed down our “Go Carts” to our children so
    the tradition stays strong!

    “Pop” may not be here,

    But when the kids now race we always give “Pop” a special cheer!

  46. Joe Glavan says

    Planting and gardening with mum,

    Was so much fun,

    Made learning about plants a pleasure,

    All precious moments I treasure,

    Together we watched vegetables grow, I was in awe,

    I was so inquisitive, full of questions galore,

    Mum was patient and eager for me to experience it all,

    And with mum, life was a ball,

    Vegetables grew, time to pick,

    I was filled with delight and picked them real quick,

    So proud of what mum had taught me,

    And I thank thee,

    Today mum is no longer here,

    But all she taught me, I hold dear.

  47. Ms Wolly says

    I loved the sugar cane fires as a child: the roar and the heat of the flames only metres away, dodging the rats, snakes, bandicoots etc which escaped from the fire, catching the cane black (ash) but missing more than we caught, being yelled at by mum for being covered in the soot we had failed to catch…..

  48. Renee Annison says

    i remember i used to get snails out of the garden and lick the bottoms,mind you i was 3 hahaha

  49. Lynne Lillington says

    Making a club house on vacant land, we used it all our childhood, had sleepovers and made damper.

  50. Gary Salvaggio says

    My grandfather built a rain forest on 1000sqm in his yard, he use to take us on wheelbarrow rides through it and then in his work shed we use to hammer and nail together off cuts of wood. Simple yet strong lasting memories

  51. Natalie Stoute says

    Making homes out of ice cream containers for snails and slater bugs. We’d use empty matchboxes for beds and would decorate the homes with flowers and stickers. Great memories.

  52. Marlene Tham says

    My mum made me a frog, snail and catepillar cake for my birthday when I turned 4. It looked so real I threw the frog cake in the pond, and set the snail and caterpillar cakes free in the garden. My mum was not impressed, but the part guests were amused.

  53. Judith Mumma Fasshauer says

    My mum preparing daily a treasure hunt with different clues and at the end some yummy reward for me and my sister i loved that we enjoy everyday plus at the end we ate something yummy bake for my mum

  54. Kirsten W says

    I grew up on a farm and my whole childhood was spent playing in the paddocks. How can I have a favourite memory? I was lucky – there are too many to choose from! Climbing trees, riding my motorbike, swimming in lakes, going on hikes, building cubbies, driving the tractor…..sigh…it was such a wonderful, carefree time!

  55. Courtney Brideson says

    I was never a sporty kid, I was more likely to be found with my nose in a book somewhere, but I’ve got some very fond memories of backyard cricket games going well into the evening, until we had to pack it in because we couldn’t see the ball any more.

  56. Belinda Smetioukh says

    Climbing the mango tree…then jumping out of it onto the trampoline and into the pool!

  57. Diana says

    Making mud pies, letting them bake in the sun, then icing them with flowers, petals and cobwebs collected so gently with a stick.

  58. Brenda Pevitt says

    Climbing the huge pine trees that were along the main road just in front of our house. We spent many hours climbing and having fun.

  59. Karina Wong says

    Taking my little car for a spin around the car park every Saturday while waiting for mum to finish her keyboard lessons. Vroom vroom!

  60. Monique Mennerich-Rabanin says

    Walking or riding my bike to the beach with the dog (off leash) in tow! :)

  61. Frances Lundon says

    I remember when I was a little kid and my mum used to plant all these vegetables and I joined in once and lets just say it didn’t turn out to good. I was digging a hole and I was flicking it everywhere on me and I got really dirty and I had the best time.

  62. Cheryl Dyer says