Being an outdoor based program, we do require participants to bring some basic and important equipment.
It is a big day out for the children. So pack sensibly, keeping weight down but covering all the essentials!
Please label all your child's gear so we can get it back to you easily at the end of the day!
Here is a basic list of things children need for a typical day on the land......
A medium sized back pack to hold their gear. Preferably waterproof. Cloth or material is generally heavy, will absorb water when raining and won't keep their stuff dry. Mentors expect children to take their own bags for the whole of the day.
Water! 500ml to 1.5 litres depending on the season and temperature. Our mentors always carry spare water on them. No glass thanks. A light weight container is best- stainless or BPA free plastic.
Food. Children will need morning tea and lunch. Keep it healthy, please avoid sugar, processed foods and plastic wrapped foods. We do allow children to share foods as we believe this is a lovely way for the children to connect. We do require the children to ask a mentor first as we have some children with dangerous food allergies. A lunch box makes good sense as it keeps the food from becoming a squishy mess after walking around for half the day.
Raincoat. This may not be the thing you want to pack in your child's bag on a clear sunny day but it is still essential. Rain can come at anytime and it is better to be dry than to bring the kids out cold and shivering. You can get some great raincoats that tightly pack down and are light weight. Having said this it doesn't mean you have to buy a top dollar raincoat either, a garbage bag with holes cut out for arms and head will suffice! Some parents also pack waterproof pants on wet days.
Suitable Clothing. Please dress to prevailing conditions but also be aware that these conditions can change! If it is windy or looking like rain dress your child appropriately. Think warm and dry! Nothing worse than being cold and miserable all day! Also good to check the weather forecast before you leave.
Shoes and socks. Light weight are best. Be aware we are in bushland and there are snakes about in the warmer months.
Sun Protection. We are outdoors all day. Children will need a broad rimmed hat (write their name on it). Sunscreen if you use it, long sleeved shirts are good in the hotter months.
Swimmers, Towel and Rashy. This is for the warmer months. The children love the water and we do take them in (very carefully). A small light weight towel is best for obvious reasons. Include a couple of plastic bags for wet items unless you (or they!) like unpacking an icky wet mess at the end of the day!!
Medication. Any medication your child needs please give it to them and let a mentor know what it is and how to administer. If they need help or reminding to take it give it to a mentor.
Before your child comes for the day, just lift up their fully laden pack and guage whether you think they could walk around all day with it. Too heavy and your child will be suffering, too light, then you probably haven't packed all the gear they need!
What NOT to Bring.......
Please avoid electronic gadgets and mobile phones. The mentors carry a mobile phones that can be used in any emergency, or if needed to be contacted by parents.
Toys, magazines or anything that will distract your child or other children. The mentors plan for a full day of engaging activities. Leave those things at home. Those extra things add dead weight in their bags and don't add to their learning or help the group process.
Please avoid processed, sugary foods and foods wrapped in lots of plastic. Wholesome simple foods support your child in remaining calm and centred and give them enough energy to last them for the whole day on the land. Sugary foods excite children giving them a short term high followed by a low which can take the form of emotional reactivity or low energy. Many processed foods contain preservatives and colours all of which can adversely effect your child's behaviour. Our experience confirms that healthy, simple whole foods are the best types of foods to bring out for the day. Plastic wrapped food also creates unecessary waste.
Knives. The Wild Wallabies (6-8year olds) are not allowed to bring knives. The Black Cockatoos (9-12 year olds) are allowed to bring a sheathed knife (must be in a sheath or cover). They must first ask permission from a mentor before they are allowed to unsheath the knife. They are not allowed to use a knife out without mentor supervision.
If your child has something they would like to bring and you are unsure about it, ask a mentor!