Playcentre Families Tackle Twenty Walks in Twenty Weeks

Playcentre Families Tackle Twenty Walks in Twenty Weeks

Two enthusiastic parents from Rangiora Playcentre, Kirsty White and Gemma Grinder, have been busier than most over the past 20 weeks, walking twenty well known Canterbury tracks. Inspired by Catch Fitness’ 20 Week Challenge, they’ve also chosen to blog about their experience.

Kirsty and Gemma originally met at Mums & Bubs Bootcamp. Their shared interests in fitness and parenting quickly saw their friendship grow. This year they entered the ‘Best Buddies’ category in Catch Fitness’ 20 Week Challenge, a health and wellbeing programme overseen by a network of personal trainers.

The two women chose to complete twenty family-friendly walks around Canterbury with their children, at the rate of one per week. They soon realised that the challenge was about much more than just fitness however. The walks have provided some rich learning experiences for their tamariki, allowed them to explore their environment and community, and seen them document their journey online for the benefit of other interested parents.

The challenge has taken them up the Bridle Path, through wetlands, over bridges, and all the way from Pegasus to Waikuku, on missions they liken to those in the book ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’. Some trips have been easier than others but they have all been rewarding in their own ways. “It was wonderful getting out and about over the winter months with our kids, teaching them to love the outdoors as much as we do,” Kirsty says.

As busy mothers, the project hasn’t been without its challenges. “Finding a time in the week that worked to go on a walk, and working out what walks were suited for all four of our kids” were the foremost among them. “We had to work around nap times, pre school pick ups, other morning activities our children attend and, of course, the weather.”

Keen to inspire others, Kirsty and Gemma also decided to document their experiences on a blog. “We thought this would be a great way to share our walks with the wider community and for people to access info about walks in the area.” What they’ve created is an excellent resource for local families keen to participate in the outdoors. With seven of the walks documented on the blog so far (and more to come), there were many that I had never heard as well as some I couldn’t wait to walk again.

Kirsty hopes that their blog can provide some inspiration for Playcentres as well as the wider public. “I think many of the walks we have been on would be wonderful excursions for any Playcentre in the area,” she says. “Many of the walks you could make a morning of by having a picnic at the end. They’re also a great way to teach the kids about nature.”

Kirsty is currently the co-president at Rangiora Playcentre, where she goes to sessions twice a week with her daughters, Tahlia and Kiahna. Gemma attends with her children, Emily and Rylan. They both “absolutely love” Playcentre. “We love being able to watch our kids learn through play and having the opportunity to be involved in it,” she says.

Kirsty believes that we should all get walking. “It’s free, it’s good exercise, and the kids love it,” she states. “Even if you’re unsure if your kids would be able to walk some of these walks, just give it a go. You may be surprised in your children’s capabilities.”

So, when the rain finally clears, where will you and your children be heading? The Groynes? Spencer Park? Ashley Gorge? Check out Kirsty and Gemma’s blog for a bit of inspiration at:  https://20walksin20weeks.wordpress.com/. If you’re keen to learn more about the local Playcentre in Rangiora, you’ll find their facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/Rangiora-Playcentre-292737237413039/

Posted: Monday 16 October 2017