“Your son is the most active baby I’ve ever seen. He’s going to grow up to be sporty, possibly even a professional athlete”
As a Mum, I was beaming with pride when our paediatrician made this comment about my then 10-month-old son. As a woman who prefers curling up on the couch with my buffet of evil snacks while binging the latest Netflix gem, I was horrified. How on Earth was I going to keep up with this little tornado?
It’s been three years since that appointment, and I’m pleased to say that I have managed to come up with some ways to entertain the little person. Here are some of my favourites; served with my sympathies if you too have a high energy child.
Enclosed playgrounds in Perth
If you have a little runner with selective hearing, a gated playground is a godsend. You can safely allow your child to run amok, feeling safe with the knowledge that they are not going to run into oncoming traffic.
Before you dismiss enclosed playgrounds as glorified baby dungeons, there are an increasing number of playgrounds which are so huge that it’s easy to forget that it’s enclosed. Bibra Lake Regional Playground, Woodbridge Riverside Park and Pia’s Place in Whiteman Park are outstanding examples which provide a range of play equipment, including water tables and nature play elements, for different age groups.
Can’t make it out to the mega playgrounds? The smaller fenced playgrounds are useful too. When you’re feeling especially sleep deprived but need to tire the little one out, a smaller playground allows you to view the entire play area from where you’re nursing the second coffee of the day. Some great ones to pop into: Riverside Gardens in Bayswater, Oxford Street Reserve in Leederville and Hobart Street Playground in North Perth.
Nature based activities in Perth
Forget the latest “it toy” – nature is where it’s at! Parenting gurus such as Maggie Dent give nature play a big thumbs up for all the benefits it delivers for our little humans. Communing with nature increases environmental awareness, helps develop immunity, provides sensory simulation and promotes creative play.
We’re lucky in Perth to be blessed with beautiful weather for most of the year. There are also so many national parks to explore, with different difficulty levels to suit your abilities.
If you’re not confident bringing your little one out for a hike on your own, Kid’s Nature Club offers a range of nature-based activities for children, including Little Grubs Bush Playgroup. Run as a curated, 6 week program, you might find yourself scaling the buttress roots of majestic Moreton Bay fig trees one week and wading through mud looking for the tiniest frogs the next. Regardless the venue, a change of clothes is advisable – for both your kid and yourself.
Trampoline Play in Perth
Trampolines are tiring. I get exhausted just watching my son bounce around on them like an overcaffeinated Tigger. However, I will happily take my son to Bounce because trampolining is a fantastic way to develop his gross motor skills, coordination and balance all in one! The act of jumping also helps develop the bones, muscles and joints – which I’m sure will be very useful when he plays for the Wildcats (if his dad has his way).
Bounce Joondalup (formerly Latitude) has the added bonus of a massive play structure in the under fives area. So when your child is bored of bouncing around in the trampoline, they can explore the nearly three storey high structure and slide down curly slide that leads straight into a ball pit.
A classic but a goodie. Pack a picnic and bring the little ones out for an educational trek around the zoo. Got an inquisitive young mind on hand? Perth zoo’s roving docents are always nearby and ready to answer any questions.
A zoo membership is surprisingly affordable – an adult membership starts at $88 and will give you unlimited entry to the zoo for a year. You only need to visit thrice to completely recoup the cost of your membership. To sweeten the deal, members also get 10% off at the gift shop and food trucks at the zoo.
Speaking of food, keep an eye out in 2023 as the zoo is currently building a new alfresco dining area smack in the middle of the grounds.
Caversham Wildlife Park
If you’re looking for an alternative to the zoo, head to Whiteman Park and check out Caversham Wildlife Park. This park focuses predominantly on Australian native fauna and they are proudly featured in the activities on offer. Kangaroo feeding, photos with a wombat, meet and greets with the animals; entry covers them all except a photo with a koala.
My recommendation is to go as soon as they open and head straight to the kangaroo feeding area. The roos will be more than eager to hop up to you for a graze after a night of fasting. Once everyone’s had their fill, take a leisurely walk to the farm at the back of the property. By this stage, the kids will be ready for a snack, which they can consume in the shade of the barn while watching the farm show.
Fun fact, this park is owned and operated by a local WA family with no funding. So your entrance fees goes towards keeping the park up and running for everyone to enjoy!
If by some miracle, your child is STILL full of energy after time at the park, there is lots to do in the vicinity including Pia’s place!