Bush learning for little ones

Young children engaging their senses by climbing, exploring, digging, playing in mud or puddles and creating nature-inspired art is prevalent for all to see at a new free program called The Bush Bus.

The program aims to create a relaxed environment where children, aged zero to six, can play and parents can connect with other parents in the community.

Georgina Dymock is the founder of ‘Kidding Around Australia’, a website about the places she has travelled with her husband Tim, daughter Alegría and son Isaac.

“We’ve been living this life forever, playing outside and doing crafts, and I wanted to share that with everyone else,” Ms Dymock said.

She said that every time she had posted about being out in nature, the comments she received proved that there was an audience for her mobile playgroup idea.

The Bush Bus concept was realised after a $200,000 grant through the State Government’s Pick My Project program last year, allowing families to participate for free.

“If you look around, the parents are actually interacting with their children,” Ms Dymock said.

“The benefits of being connected to our local community and natural environment have been well documented and acknowledged as a vital components of the physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of children and adults alike.”

Feedback from parents has been positive, with some parents saying there was ‘nothing like this’ and it was exactly what they needed.

“My kids have really enjoyed doing the different activities and all the things they can touch and experience,” mother Kat Stokes said.

Ms Dymock hopes to organise holiday programs in the coming weeks, as well as after-school programs for primary school aged kids.

“The Mitchell Shire is over represented in homelessness, children being removed from their families and domestic violence. So if this can be some sort of sunshine in that world, then how amazing is that?” she said.

During term one, The Bush Bus visits Broadford, Seymour, Wallan, Kilmore and Beveridge.

Bookings are not required.

To find out more about The Bush Bus, visit kiddingaroundaustralia.com/the-bush-bus or visit its Facebook page.