Gift Experiences are the Best Kids Gift!

Date Day for Adventure

Have you been looking at all your friend’s photos and posts about their child starting school for the first time or returning to a new class? Well, truth be told I am already thinking about this time next year when my son will be venturing into his school years.

A year sounds like a long time, but I know it will fly-by so instead of getting worried about not having enough time I am going to create time. Instead of drawing up a schedule of school readiness activities i.e. reading and writing (you know the things he will be taught in school) I am writing a list of experiences I want to share together. As I believe the best way to learn is by experiencing it first-hand.

I am going to commit to not letting chores, work or other distractions get in our way and dedicate Mondays to be our ‘Date Day for Adventure!’ We have 36 Mondays, starting March not including school holidays or public holidays.


Who’s with us? Who else feels like playing and enjoying a year of adventures? In no order, here is where we will be playfully skipping and dancing this year;

  1. Centennial Park – Ian Potter Children’s Wild play garden! The name says it all, this is one of our favourite ways to play by getting our hands dirty and playing with nature. This is a park that I would like to add to our regular rotation as it has no plastic equipment!
  2. Targona Zoo – We already love this place especially when its quieter so we can observe the animals without having to move on to the next one quickly. This gives us lots to discuss and learn plus who doesn’t love watching a monkey play and taking in the magnificent views. You can find entry tickets with a ferry pass here;
  3. Watson Bay – A ferry ride, beach play, a view and possible chippy’s and/or ice cream and we might be doing this every week!
  4. Marrickville Library – I have been meaning to check out the new facilities since it opened. Apparently, there is a fabulous indoor and outdoor area for children and who doesn’t love cuddling over a different books.
  5. Maritime Museum – A free interactive play space just for under 5’s, this is a must. Some exhibits and vessels require a paid ticket (the big ticket). Under 4’s is free however children must be taller than 90cm to board the vessels. Caperly now has The big ticket available;
  6. Bicentennial Park – Going on a frog hunt to spot some endangered critters along the boardwalks throughout the wetlands and mangroves at Sydney Olympic park. I think we will both be amazed by the brick pit and what other bird life we might find.
  7. Manly – Endless options here but on our list is catching the iconic ferry and then letting my son decide what he would like to see. Hopefully exploring Shelly beach and an ice-cream.
  8. The Powerhouse Museum – Will be starting to close exhibits mid this year, have a look at what you would like to see before its moved. I love the old heritage building that’s what I will be looking at and my son will love the trains and space exhibits plus The Wiggles is a highlight for most children.
  9. Mortbay Park – A shady playground that includes a wooden fort and the best-looking climbing tree I’ve seen plus spectacular views will have us playing for ages.
  10. Parsley Bay Reserve - Swimming area surrounded by bush land, children’s playground and a walking circuit that includes a waterfall and possibly some water dragons, yes please!
  11. The Movies – Experience the new junior playtime session that has an intermission to play or for snacks or the bathroom. As a child, the only way I would sit through a movie was at a smaller cinema where you would have an intermission.
  12. Nielsen Park – Pack a picnic to enjoy a day at the beach with a stunning view of the Harbour. When we get too hot, we can play under the shady fig trees or take a stroll along the foreshore.
  13. Sydney Living Museum – Currently has ‘on the move’ interactive transport exhibit until October and I just know this will be a big hit. Paper planes anyone? now that’s something I could re-learn.
  14. Clovelly Rock Pools – This is pure nostalgia choice of where I spend lots of time exploring the rock pools and learning to snorkel. Everyday at the beach is a good day.
  15. Cockatoo Island – Offer a free kids activity book with challenges and clues, this is right up my son’s alley right now as we are into treasure maps. Large areas to run and play, bonus you are on an island in the Harbour. If we love it as much as I think we might even look at camping for a night.
  16. MCA – This is my wildcard entry…I will need to plan this visit around a day when our energy levels are not to high and maybe make it into a game of what we can find so it will be enjoyable for a 4 year old but it is free and has an excellent view for lunch or a coffee/babycino if things are not to my son’s liking.
  17. Malabar Headland – Western escarpment walking track is a nice 1km with gorgeous coastal views that we plan to visit in winter to try our luck at spotting humpbacks. I believe this is the quieter, shorter walk than its Sister one; Bondi-Bronte.
  18. Golden Ridge Animal Farm – Let’s get our senses ready for an interactive farm tour where we will be feeding and patting the animals. A full morning of adventure and fun might just be the right mix for a guarantee nap in the car on our return.
  19. Berry Island Reserve – Is no longer an Island but this playground looks like it will be a huge hit! Wooden play equipment, sandstone's & large trees both to climb, grass and dirt, a walking track if we feel like exploring more and a fabulous view.
  20. State Library of NSW – Hosts Story-time at their brand-new Children’s library on Mondays…Perfect! Did you know the Mitchell wing has a ‘family room’ dedicated to children under 5?  This old or original part of the library is my favourite and now there is a space we can both enjoy.
  21. A Theatre Show – There numerous choices for Children’s live stage shows so we might even see more than one but first up is the 'Cat in the hat'. This is one of our favourite book collections so I am hoping the stage show will not disappoint.
  22. Harold Park - The new playground was spotted late last year but we are yet to play there. The equipment looks amazing so Ill be sure to climb and slide on these too. This park will make for a nice day out for us as it’s a short light rail trip and will include a café for lunch.
  23. The Mint – Is not open on the weekend so this year is the perfect time to visit especially when the learning possibilities are endless, and it is free! My son will love spotting all the ‘treasure’!
  24. Balls Head – Coal loader has so many things to do here we might need to visit again. The sustainable centre, community garden and nursery. The view which includes the Navy boats, adventures to be had on the walking track and through the tunnels. I’m excited for this one.
  25. Luna Park – Is bursting with exciting rides especially if your child, like mine loves those ‘shopping centre rides’ and I have a little secret…Mondays are cheaper! Take a walk down memory lane and into Coney Island for us Sydney raised big kids no trip to Luna Park is complete without going down a giant slide. Unlimited rides passes;
  26. Pirrama Park – A friend has been telling me about his park for years, this year is the time to check it out. Great views,we can get out feet wet and make up our own games. I believe it is a good spot for riding bikes or scooters too.


“Hey that’s only 26?” I hear you say…"what happened to 36?” Now my son loves both the outdoors exploring and siting on the floor playing and sometimes he/we needs to have a day of rest. A day to stay in our pj's all day and relax with no agenda so I have allocated at least 10 ‘home days’. That’s one day a month, if we have had a busy weekend or week and feel like doing nothing, these days will be my biggest challenge. To still give my son my undivided attention when at home!

This list is mostly of places or experiences that we have not yet enjoyed, your list might look very different, but I do hope it inspires you go and explore. We might even add more activities or things to see to the list, but I’ll leave these for events that might pop up.

I know that we will still explore and experience many wonderful things for years and years to come but I want to make this year extra special as it will be our last chance to have this many days just the two of us!

Playfully skip and dance,