Nature Play in the Rain


Yes… our Little Foxes Nature Play groups still go ahead if there is rain is coming down.

And while it’s not necessarily something everyone looks forward to or enjoys (although strangely, some people do!) it can be a great time to get outside and play.

Being inside all the time in winter can have everyone starting to feel a bit edgy, a little stir crazy and maybe more than slightly cranky.
The weather often looks worse when we are inside looking out. Then once we’re outside and on the move it can hold good moments, opportunities for wonder, discovery and of course, puddle jumping.

You can come home from a walk in the rain having all your senses enlivened – a really amazing feeling and so good for your body and your child’s growing body.

With any luck a warm bath and a nap awaits;)


Den Building

Den building is an important part of children’s imaginative and creative play.
Dens, cubbies & forts provide a private and personal play space, allow problem solving and co-operation- plus they’re great fun!

We love hosting Den Building days – they are a simple and easy session to run, and the children know exactly what to do!



At our weekly Little Foxes Play groups and also at our Family Nature Club we have a focus on Loose Parts Play.

Loose parts play is where a collection of objects are collected, laid out or found for children to play with.  They allow for open ended, non competitive play.

Our Den building days fits right in to this focus.

We provide a collection of loose parts – branches, blankets, palings and other bits and pieces for making cubbies, hiding holes and play spaces.

We also offer sign making & bunting making equipment and some natural materials for children (& grownups!) to make their own face paint from (little wildlings!)

The den making day is a multi-age event – probably best suited to 5 – 12 year olds, but we provide a some mud kitchen play and a story mat for younger children who might come along.

It’s a great family day out and we always encourage you to bring along snacks and lunch, drinks and a picnic mat.

You can check for upcoming Den Building days at


Waiting for Later

Waiting for Later, a children’s story by New Zealand Author Tina Matthews is a simple and delicately woven tale. It’s a beautifully illustrated and crafted story that contains wisdom for children and adults.

In the story Nancy is seeking someone to play with or entertain her, she is asking for simple things – a story, to be rocked, to play a game. Nancy’s family are all engaged in their own makings and doings and say, “Not Now, Later.”

This story reminds us that waiting is okay – and that what happens for children while they wait is important and significant.

I’m sure I’m not alone in seeing a large amount of articles and memes reminding us that it’s okay, good, and even preferable for our children to become bored.  (This is a nice one!)

Not only that – it’s a developmental achievement. Go you!

Apparently being bored will make our children become creative geniuses, or at the very least independently motivated (yes please!).

Possibly I’m just speaking for myself when I say that the ‘I’m bored’ litany is most often delivered in a tone that can flick a crazy switch in your (ah.. my) brain. And here’s where we could fill up their ‘love tank’. Or if you’re like me, you can offer them many household jobs to do.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s both vital and wonderful to read to, play and spend time with your children. It’s a part of daily life for most families. And there are also times when family members are occupied with their own tasks of daily living, creating, working (or napping) and here we are offered the idea that it’s alright to stay with those tasks.

This book beautifully illustrates what children can get up to when they are told, “not now” or “later.” They move on from asking for entertainment to begin to actively think about what they can do.

In the story when Nancy is thwarted she goes to climb a tree instead. Here is where I love the story even more. It demonstrates the range of sensory and creative feedback something as simple as climbing a tree can provide for children.

The tree rocks Nancy, she spys tiny creatures, the tree swings her, the leaves tickle her, the moon tells it’s story.

If we want tuck in a little deeper to what Nancy is seeking out in the story, we could say she was looking for activities, – rocking, swinging etc to help her activate her proprioceptive and vestibular senses.

In the story (and in real life) time in nature – particularly tree climbing can help with that. Gripping, balancing, supporting oneself, pulling, bending, using our coordination, listening, using our eyes and swinging are all activities children seek out to help regulate and manage their bodies. As you follow the illustrations through it’s lovely to see Nancy gradually losing her shoes and socks so that she is barefoot and making the most of the pressors on the soles of her feet.  These provide information used to calculate weight and posture to the vestibular areas of the brain which, amongst other things, helps with balance.

Nancy’s time in the tree provided her with not only sensory feedback but also time. Time to herself, time to enact ideas, time for inner quiet, space to try out new things, time for creativity, opportunities to discover and observe what she might not normally see.

It’s no surprise that Nancy comes away from her time in the tree with a new sense of herself. “I know I’m small, but tonight I feel big.”


And it’s no wonder that Waiting for Later was shortlisted for the QLD Premier’s Literary Awards, The NZ Post Children’s Book Awards and  LIANZA’s Russell Clark Award for illustration.

It’s a carefully written and stunningly illustrated book and a good one for the bookshelf as well as the parenting toolbox. The gentle offering of allowing “not now, later” to be a positive contributor to child development is a lovely gift from this author to us.



March Family Nature Club

Christina Renowden started ‘Leap into Nature‘ to increase children’s ecological literacy and develop meaningful learning experiences in outdoor settings.  Christina is a full time mum and ecologist/zoologist who has a passion for connecting children with nature.

We’re lucky enough to have Christina come and share her knowledge of frogs and waterbugs at our March Family Nature Club.

Details and bookings below.

Frogs poster.png

Christina will give us a chance to view live frogs as we find out about their habitat requirements and the role they play in the ecosystem.

Christina will lead us in a range of hands on activities & games to learn about frog life cycles, external features of frogs and adaptations.

There will also be the chance for free play, chatting and eating a snack/lunch.

The Details…

Date: Saturday March 18th, 2017
Time: 10:30am onwards
Venue: Gray’s Garden, Inverleigh.
You will find this by parking at the corner of Cambridge and Newman Street, Inverleigh. (Right behind the Primary School and the Presbyterian & Anglican Churches.) Follow the wide bitumen track for about 2 minutes and you will see Gray’s Gardens.
Pram & Wheelchair Friendly.
Cost: $24 per family.
Food: Please BYO snacks/and or lunch, weather appropriate clothing.
(Possibly a change of clothes for the ride home!)

visit to book

Autumn Picnic

We are so looking forward to celebrating Nature Play Week in 2017 with an Autumn Picnic.

It will be lovely to have Annie Bryant sharing her Stories and Songs in her beautiful Bell Tent.

Link to booking below.poster.jpg


Part of the day will include craft, a nature treasure hunt & free play.

The Details!
Date: Saturday 22nd April, 2017
Time: 10:00am – 12:30pm + onwards
Annie’s Storytent will start at 10:30am
Venue: Frank Mann Reserve, 5 Heal Street, Ceres.
Food: BYO Snacks, Water & Picnic Lunch + Picnic blanket.

This is an all weather outdoor event.

Please bring appropriate weather gear & footwear for both your children & yourself!
Look forward to seeing you on the day.

Tickets are limited and are on sale for $24 per family.

visit to book





Mulberry Magazine is a beautiful publication for homeschooling families. Filled to the brim with goodness.

Here’s a little piece I wrote that is in the latest issue.


We recently spent 5 weeks camping in Tasmania with our four children. Tasmania is the place our hearts love – every part of it holds a stunning new landscape to discover and opportunities for connecting with nature.

For us, our time together there as a family was both amazing, and occasionally hard work.

We were so lucky to have this time to spend together, something we had planned towards and dreamt about for months beforehand. Beautiful mountains and forests, beaches, caves and oceans all provided days of enjoyment. As did Tasmania’s museums, art galleries and op shops.


And let’s be honest – at times it was also a bit exhausting. All the setting up and packing up, the six of us living in close quarters, wanting to do different things, having short tempers, getting eaten by mosquitos, getting rained out, deciding at a moment’s notice to move on ahead of severe weather, changing plans and all those sorts of things that go with being a family on holiday.

It’s funny how quickly the grumpy part of that time washes away and what’s left are the things we enjoyed, saw and experienced.

One of my strong memories that I’m left with is of our time together on Bruny Island.

We camped on The Neck, somewhere my family often camped when I was a child.

We had a great few days there – the campground to ourselves and kilometres of stunning beach on which we barely saw anyone.

It was lovely to layer these memories on top of my own childhood memories and imagine my children taking their families to Bruny in the future.

We built sand castles, moats, mermaids, raced in and out of the water, we played on the sand dunes and collected sea shells.

My eight year old daughter and I walked the length of the beach in both directions.

I admired her stamina and loved seeing her race on ahead or trail hundreds of metres behind.

The beach holds that marvelous open space where you can both see your children and allow them to have that freedom to explore by themselves.

I loved seeing her standing still staring out to sea and it was easy for me to see how she would be the one out of my four children to be captured by the moods and movements of the ocean.  Even at age eight her emotions are incredibly strong and solitary.

It was easy to feel like this beautiful and wild place gave her the space that she often needs but doesn’t always get.

The beach is an amazing place that invites mindfulness. The constant movement and noise of the sea, the placing of one foot in front of the other, or trying to place your foot in someone else’s footprints and scampering to avoid the incoming tide. These actions wipe thoughts away and all that is present is the people you are with and the environment you are in.

We’re so keen to encourage a love of nature in our children, which strongly influenced our decision to go to Tasmania and spend this time as a family in the captivating landscape that Tassie provides.

It still something that I had to remind myself of though, when I was ready to move on and continue to walk down the beach and my daughter was standing still staring out to sea. I remember that it’s important for me to stand silent alongside her.

It’s a little reward when she says of the sea, “It’s angry.”

Later my daughter offers me a ridged seashell that matches her own. We wonder together if the ridges measure years in the shell’s life or growing cycles and agree we’ll have to look into it.

These small moments are ones I’ll remember long after she has forgotten. Yet I hope that she always remembers that her childhood was filled with a great deal of time in wild and beautiful places and the feeling that being in Nature gave her. I hope that she knows that even while family holidays hold cranky moments that weren’t part of the plans and dreams, they hold love and respect, desire for connection, time for healing and space for growing.


Family Events

Unless we are willing to

encourage our children to

reconnect with and appreciate the natural world

we can’t expect them to help protect and care for it.”

David Suzuki


The natural world is so inviting, it makes it easy to get out there. It’s fun, it’s free and usually it’s not very far away.

The benefits for us are amazing (read this!) and wide reaching, –  from gut health, mental health, physical activity, immune function, healthier social behaviour, reduction in stress, connection to community and many more. And these benefits can be not only for us, but for the planet. We’re more likely to care for the world if we have a connection to the natural environment.

So… it’s with all that in mind that we like to provide opportunities to get together and get outside. The Fox Guild family nature events are a chance to connect with other families in our region who enjoy getting out in/and connecting with Nature.

We’ve been really enjoying planning towards 2017. In February we have a hike planned (check here) and in March we are pleased to be hosting Christina Renowden from ‘Leap into Nature’ for a day at the river learning about frogs and water bugs. (all details over here)

Christina will give us a chance to view live frogs as we find out about their habitat requirements and the role they play in the ecosystem.
Christina will lead us in a range of hands on activities & games to learn about frog life cycles, external features of frogs and adaptations.

At most of our events is the chance for free play, chatting and eating – all the important things!

There’s a few other events up on Family tab  – have a look there & fill in the form if you’d like to stay updated about what’s on each month.

Bec & Tom