If you’re a work at home or stay at home mother like myself, you’ll know there are only so many times you can host a doll tea party, make a crazy mess of the house with arts and craft and read the same book over again. And again. Sooner or later, you will need to find some other ways to entertain your offspring during the day – and that usually means getting outdoors or to venues other than the supermarket.
Living in Cockburn, I’ve discovered a wide range of family-friendly activities and destinations in this rapidly growing city, some of which won’t cost you a thing, which are great for people like me, earning less than peanuts. If you’re looking for ways to entertain kids of any age, or just want to get out of the house for a few hours, Cockburn has lots of free things to do and places to visit.
Check out the nature playground at Enright Reserve in Hamilton Hill.
If you want to meet new people and give your child the opportunity to interact with other children, Cockburn boasts Froggy’s on the Green, a free outdoor playgroup run on Mondays and Tuesdays. The venues change each term so check the Cockburn Library website for the location.
The playgroup caters for children aged up to five years and provides the opportunity to sculpt a masterpiece from play-dough, explore play equipment and get their hands on some age-appropriate toys.
Alternatively, the Beeliar Community Centre hosts a meeting place for parents and kids, but it will cost a gold coin donation, which includes tea and coffee, use of toys and access to parenting information.
Calleya Estate in Banjup boasts a brand new adventure playground.
A park is always a winner, and with more than 300 of them dotted throughout Cockburn, it feels like there’s one on just about every corner. Outdoor play areas with playgrounds are even better, and Cockburn is home to some seriously impressive outdoor play areas, including the brand new Calleya Estate adventure playground in Banjup.
With its giant twisting slide - which will appeal to adventure-seeking kids and is only accessible by a rope ladder - as well as a smaller slide, swings, two in-ground trampolines and a mini basketball court, this isn’t your average playground. There’s also a native area with log steps to balance along, a miniature see-saw and roundabout, and musical instruments – complete with bongo drums. Yes, bongo drums – because who doesn’t want their little one discovering the joy of drums?
If you want to check out another exciting outdoor play area, visit the nature playground at Enright Reserve in Hamilton Hill, where’ll you find huge tunnels, tyre and log steps, a giant multi-coloured, log climbing frame and an outdoor table-tennis area.
Cockburn Splash Pad is a great place to stay cool in summer or grab a coffee in winter.
Another impressive free public space is the Cockburn Splash Pad, an interactive water feature located in the heart of Cockburn Central, just next to the train station. In the warmer months, children can run amok among the randomly ordered water sprays, but the space is a great little spot to hang out or meet with friends at any time of year. Pack a picnic or enjoy a treat from the Mooba Café (ok, so not technically free, but delicious all the same!)
Cockburn is a great place to for walking tracks and trails, such as the Mount Brown trail, an easy 2km, picturesque walk set in the Beeliar Regional Park and offering stunning views of Cockburn. There is also a 6.8km walk for those seeking a bit more of a challenge. You can find the carpark to the trail on Cockburn Road, directly opposite the Naval Base Holiday Park.
Come along and sing at Pram Jam at the library.
While the library is an excellent resource for parents and children to share a story, it’s also a great place for free activities. There are three libraries in Cockburn, located in Success, Spearwood and Coolbellup, and each run the free sing-a-long session Pram Jams during various times of the month. The sessions are designed for children aged up to two and parents are encouraged to join in the rhymes.
For children aged two to five, Storytime sessions include reading, singing and craft that parents can join in on. Also held at various times during the month, there is no requirement to book, so come along and nurture your child’s creative side.
If your child is aged five or over and loves building giant Lego masterpieces (and playing with someone else’s Lego more than their own), check out the Lego Club, which meets once a month at each library for some seriously colourful construction fun.
Lego fans will thrive at Lego Club
So explore what Cockburn has to offer – get out and about with the kids and make your own free adventure.