Over half of Australian children spend less than one hour outside each day, which is alarming given that being surrounded by nature is known to be a crucial educational step according to Early Childhood Australia. Being in the great outdoors allows children to develop a respect for nature, build stamina and physical abilities, enhance social skills and understand how to manage risks. But at what age should children be exposed to an outdoor environment? Although some parents worry about the various dangers of being outside, experts frequently recommend that babies and toddlers are given the opportunity to soak up the rich sensory experiences that it provides.
If you’re considering going on a camping trip this year, but are worried about the hassle of travelling across Australia with a baby in tow, then don’t let your new little bundle be reason to miss out. Instead, do your research and reap the rewards of spending time in nature as a family. Here’s how to prepare.
Choosing Where To Go
Seeing wildlife in its natural habitat is one of the major draws of camping in Australia. Little ones love going to the zoo, but seeing koalas, lizards and wallabies up close will make for wonderful family memories that you’ll treasure forever. The Kimberly Region of Western Australia offers fantastic opportunities for bird-watching, particularly at the El Questro wilderness park which is known to be one of the best wildlife viewing spots in the area. But if it’s ocean wildlife that you’re looking for, then why not stay in one of the many camp sites located off the Great Ocean Road in Victoria? You can sleep under the stars, then spend the day spotting migrating whales just off the breath-taking coastline.
What To Bring With You
Babies tend to require a lot of equipment and it’s important that you remember to bring the essentials or else both you and your little one will end up miserable. Begin by packing enough nappies and wipes, plenty of changes of clothes (cotton layers and waterproofs) and blankets to assist in keeping warm in your tent at night. Your tent should be large enough to house the entire family and you may want to bring a travel cot with you unless you’ve sought advice and are comfortable co-sleeping with your infant.
In terms of feeding, if your baby is yet to be weaned, then you’ll need to make some plans for milk feeds. If you’re breastfeeding, then be sure to bring enough cushions and support that you’re able to nurse comfortably while sat on the ground. Alternatively, if your baby is either combination or bottle-fed, then you must bring a travel steriliser, formula and an ample supply of bottles to keep you well-stocked throughout your trip.
Once you’re ready, all that’s left is to have some fun and embrace being outside with your new family. Let your little one get stuck into exploring their new environment, whilst you kick back and let the fresh air wash over you.