Archives For kids

Getting children outdoors with friends and family is an easy, cheap and fun way to grow healthy and happy kids. Auckland Operations Ranger Drew Divehall tells us how kids can get involved in nature. 

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One-and-a-half year old Corban and his mum Tracey share with us his very first geocaching adventure for Conservation Week.

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It’s grey, it’s raining but these kids don’t care. They are excited to be outside, exploring and taking part in the launch of the Toyota Kiwi Guardians programme.

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The challenge for parents is to balance a child’s digital and physical worlds. To help kiwi families keep track of green and screen time this summer, DOC has produced a simple fun colouring chart.

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Paul O’Shea from Kiwis for kiwi takes us behind the scenes to see how the Save Kiwi Month video came together and disregarded that old piece of Hollywood advice that you should never work with children or animals.

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Most of my strongest childhood memories are of free, unstructured play in wild places near my home—building huts out of fern fronds, playing explorers by wading down a stream in the Kaimais, collecting tadpoles, and waving toi toi flags.

A stream in the Kaimais. Photo: Dennis Kuhn/flickr (cc)

Childhood memories of exploring streams in the Kaimais. Photo: Dennis Kuhn

These experiences were a huge influence on the adult I am today—someone who believes conservation is vital.

I’m trying to do the same for my own kids—but in this increasingly urban and tech-driven world it’s getting pretty hard. There are less “wild places” in cities. I’m competing with the TV, the computer, gaming devices… for their attention—and not always winning. Homework, sports and structured extra-curricular activities makes for busy lives.

We need to help families that are struggling to find time to reconnect with these wild places. Here in Christchurch DOC has partnered with the Greening the Rubble Trust to create a nature-play park in central Christchurch.

A small Greening the rubble garden in Christchurch.

Greening the rubble in Christchurch. Photo: Christchurch City Libraries

The park will encourage families to discover—through free play—what is special about Canterbury plants and wildlife, and how they can make conservation part of their urban lives as they recover from the devastating earthquakes.

It will be interactive and exploratory, allowing for fun and learning. It will be a key drawcard to engage children and young families within Christchurch’s regenerating CBD.

We hope the site will be well-visited and part of any trip to Central Christchurch, and we plan to run several events and activities here over the coming year—starting with an opening ceremony as part of the Open Streets event on Saturday 29 September.

Greening the rubble site. Photo: Fiona Oliphant.

Turning the sod at the new nature-play park. Photo: Fiona Oliphant

We have a lot of work ahead of us to create this space, and it’s projects like this that make you realise that it’s people that bring the magic. Without a whole lot of people happy to help and donate time or materials, this park will not happen. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in!


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By Angeline Barnes, Community Outreach Coordinator

DOC's Piripiri campsite sign.

Welcome to Piripiri campsite

Last week, while out with DOC’s Manawatu Area team, I met a young girl named Hannah. She had planned and arranged a camping trip for her group of friends and they were camping at Piripiri, a free DOC campsite, along the Pohangina River.

Cooking on the campfire at Piripiri campsite.

Cooking on the campfire

Along with a little bit of help from her mum she had organised the camping trip. She had developed invitations, food plans, budgets, travel plans, sleeping plans and more.

The kids made gifts from natural materials at the Piripiri campsite.

Making gifts from natural materials

To make it happen they allowed one adult to come, purely for health and safety reasons! But the adult’s attendance (in the form of Hannah’s mother) came with rules – she had to sleep in her own tent ‘outside’ of the campsite territory, which was marked with colourful bunting spread amongst the trees.

The campsite was so lovely – a young girl’s dream  – nature as the backdrop, colourful bunting, tents, friends and lots of giggling.

Making chocolate damper dough leads to messy hands.

Chocolate damper dough hands!

Hannah’s mum was allowed to accompany them to the river where they swam (beautiful swimming spot), jumped off a ledge and had a fabulous time. I went and had a chat to them and they were all so happy – creating their childhood memories.

Crowding around the campfire.

Crowding around the campfire