Because it was supposed to rain in the weekend, but didn't, we decided to make the most of the fine weather and go for a family walk.
There is something magic about going for a bush walk with kids. Instead of walking and having boring grown-up chats about the house, parenting or finances, you get to experience a real children's adventure in one of the best playgrounds that NZ has to offer - native bush.
Ssshhhhhh..... we had to tiptoe and be very quiet, so we didn't wake up the gnomes.
In case you aren't aware, there are gnomes in the forest. They live in the bottom of trees, under exposed roots and in little hidey holes. It's important to be very quiet, because forest gnomes usually sleep in the afternoon. They are tired from their busy morning gathering nuts and berries. If you see mushrooms and toadstools, that means that gnomes live nearby.
We had a lot of fun peeking in holes and guessing if there was a gnome sleeping inside. Gnomes are very mysterious. Where do they go to the toilet? And why don't they have cars? The boys just ran from tree to tree, the bigger the hole, the more exciting it was.
We played another game in the bush - I call it 'slow kid vs fast kid'. Mr 4 is always ahead, looking at the next tree. Mr 3 is, well, I'll just say we sometimes call him Captain Slow. He wanted us to read every sign along the way and wanted to climb every stump.
It's a balance. You don't want to rush it, but really, Captain Sloooooooow. In danger of turning a 30 minute walk into a 3 hour struggle with only three apples between us, we turned Captain Slow into Superman to see how fast he could catch up to his brother, and it worked.
Their imaginations are amazing. They found a piece of vine and we strung it between two trees. It was (depending on who you asked), a clothesline for the gnomes, a trap for a wild pig, or a bush rope that we should give to Bear Grylls, because he might need it.
The fresh air was great. There was no fighting or arguing, good moods for rest of day, and most importantly, easy bedtimes. At dinner, when talking about what made us happy today, Mr 3 said "walking in the forest", so it's nice to know they appreciate it. I have visions of doing real tramping when they are older. Doable, right?
How lucky we are in New Zealand, we are never far from great places like this. Do you go on bush walks with your kids? Or tramping?