I love getting into the outdoors with my little man and following his lead, so often as adults we have a predetermined outcome or programmed ways of thinking and we let this get in the way of some great adventures.
Heuristic play in the outdoors is free and the best thing about New Zealand is that its available to everyone. Its a resource that we should be looking after so that we can keep immersing ourselves and our kids in it.
So my challenge to you is to go outdoors with your little one and follow their lead, let them go where they want to explore. Keep them safe and support them on this adventure.
Kids find lots of cool things to discover and will spend ages playing with the most unlikely things. Mimic their body position (sitting, crouching, crawling) get in their with them and explore with them, you could pass them similar items or ask questions about the object, make music or tell stories.
Another idea is to give you kid a kete/bag and get them put in treasure as they find it and you can add this to their Imagine Box once your back home. This is great for all ages and gives the kid a connection and a story with the contents of the box.
I also challenge you to find as many different outdoor settings as you can to go on adventure with your little one, a few examples are long grass, the beach, the bush, a river or stream, the mountains ie drive up Mt Ruapehu in summer or stop on the dessert road.
Let them get covered in mud, splash in the water, run down hills and explore the environment with their whole body. Set them up to start with so they are safe and then let them go for it and get in their with them! When was the last time you rolled around in the mud? It will result in laughter and expanding their horizons.
Happy adventuring to you big and little kids!!