Swap Fortnite for a farm

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As parents, we’re often seen as the grumpy Grinch when we pry our kids away from Fortnite or YouTube, or whatever their current go-to game is. But we know minimising the amount of time our kids spend on devices and getting them outdoors is good for their development, gets them active and provides opportunities for family time and happy memories.

Current recommendations from the Ministry of Health is ideally no screen time at all for children under two years, and less than an hour a day for children between 2-5 years. However, research commissioned by the Ministry of Social Development suggests that children under two years spent a whopping average of 1.5 hours a day on screens, with this increasing to two hours a day for children aged 3¾ years. The study also showed young children who exceeded the recommended electronic screen time had poorer motor skills than those who spent less time on technology.

More reason to get our kids outdoors we reckon. For city families, spring is the perfect time to visit working-farm parks, when lambs and calves are at their cutest and kids love observing their funny antics. It’s often cost-effective as well, as most of these working farm parks are accessed for free, with some even in the heart of the city (keeping petrol costs minimal), such as Cornwall Park in Auckland.

Some farms such as Ambury Park Farm even provide opportunities for littlies to get up and personal with farm-friendly animals. Perfect for getting the cutest photos and videos.

For children aged 5-17 years the recreational screen time recommendation is are no more than 2 hours per day. So leave those iPads at home, get the kids in the car for a wee road trip and head out to some of our regional working farms. They’re awesome for a short hike through stunning coastal fields, with cattle munching away. Let kids learn how to follow the maps provided and the rural etiquette of always closing farm gates behind them.

Make the day outing really budget-friendly by packing a picnic. Whip up our appropriately name Cow and Gate Tart, create a simple salad, and grab a warm baguette from the bakery on your way out.  

Check out your local council’s website for farm parks close to you.