This SheKnows parenting bucket list is designed to help you achieve all those things you should do with your kids while you’re still young enough to enjoy them, and before your kids get to the age where it’s far too embarrassing to hang out with their mum.
It seems like kids go from first words to first day at school to first boyfriend to slamming doors and accusing you of being embarrassing in the blink of an eye. While at the same time you go from having the energy of a teenager on Red Bull to waking up constantly tired and wondering whether your aching knee is the onset of arthritis. Life is short and quality time with your children is important. Make family memories to last a lifetime while you can.
Share some old favourite stories with your children, like Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series, The Secret Seven or John Marsden’s thrilling Tomorrow When The War Began series. You’ll find them begging for you to read just one more chapter.
Make cubby houses
Rearrange the lounge and make a monster-size indoor hut using dining room chairs, old blankets, sheets and pegs to hold everything in place. Fill it with pillows and cushions and read books, play board games and eat lunch inside.
Get some comfortable walking shoes, pack a picnic and off you go. There are plenty of great day walks right across Australia, from the giant staircase in the Blue Mountains to the Carnarvon Gorge in Queensland. Start small and work your way up to a world-famous mountain.
Watch a sunrise
There’s something serene about watching the sunrise on the beach or after an early morning climb. Dress warmly, take ready-to-go hot Milos for the kids and the must-have cup of coffee for you. What better opportunity to sit and talk without any other distractions?
Create your family tree
Turn researching your family history into a family project you can share with the kids. You may find out you’re related to a celebrity or your great grandfather had five wives.
Ride a lot of roller-coasters
It’s every kid’s dream to go to Disneyland, but if it’s simply not in the budget, there are plenty of theme parks on the Gold Coast. Get a 3-Park Super Pass and go to Movie World, Sea World and Wet ‘n’ Wild.
Learn to surf
Join a surf school and learn to balance and how to catch waves. If you are living or holidaying on the Gold Coast, you can learn in the safety of the Wave Pool at White Water World.
Have a slumber party
Get in your PJs, make oodles of popcorn and stay up late watching a family movie. Perhaps have a retro movie night with a few classics like the Adventures of the Wilderness Family or Swiss Family Robinson.
Make a Harlem Shake video
If you haven’t heard of the Harlem Shake, it’s the latest dance fad — if you can call it dancing. It’s a mixture of a flash mob with a lot of pelvic thrusting. Once you’ve finished, upload it to YouTube and watch it go viral.
Go on a treasure hunt
Geocaching is essentially a worldwide treasure hunt. It’s a fun way for your family to explore your local neighbourhood. All you need is internet access and a GPS.
Enjoy a photo shoot
Get the whole family glammed up and find a picturesque spot at a local park for a fun photo shoot. Go a little silly and pull crazy faces. Pick out the best photos and get them enlarged and framed.
Walk in the rain
Put on gumboots, grab an umbrella and go puddle jumping. Take a camera with you and capture the joy on your kids’ faces when they’re splashing around in muddy puddles.
Make a time capsule
Grab a cardboard tube and decorate it. Write letters to your kids, get them to write notes to you or what they plan to do in the future. Bury it in the backyard and agree to dig it up in around 10 years from now.
Have your own instant restaurant
Following in the footsteps of My Kitchen Rules (MKR), set up your own instant restaurant. Get the kids to help in the kitchen, transform the dining room and invite the grandparents or friends to act as judges.
Turn back the clock to your school days and get out a big long skipping rope. It’s great exercise and it’s loads of fun trying to learn to double skip. Teach your kids the skipping rhymes from your primary school days.
Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge at night
Located on one of the most spectacular harbour settings in the world, the bridge is a 134-metre climb and there’s nothing more breathtaking than the view of the city skyline from the top.
For more family fun in Sydney >>
Hire a campervan and go off the beaten track. Whether it’s a week or six months, Australia has so much to do from the heart of Dubbo to Uluru.
If you’re going camping, check out 10 family camping spots >>
Overcome a fear
Plan something adrenalin-fuelled like bungee jumping or white water rafting and conquer your fears as a family. It will help create a closer bond when you succeed.
You’ll find yabbies in freshwater swamps, dams and rivers. All you need is string, meat and a bucket. Tie the meat to the string and lure the yabbies out of the water. They’re great on a barbecue with garlic butter.
Also known as Chinese jump rope and rubber band skipping, this game is hours of fun, great exercise and all you need is a thick piece of elastic. Use a dining room chair if you’re short of a pair of legs.