Get the kids moving and encourage outdoor play in the Cape Winelands this weekend
It’s hard enough getting the little ones off the couch and outside. For my 11-year-old, if it means being away from his online gaming for more than a few hours, he goes through the motions of acting like it’s a massive inconvenience for him.
Sometimes I get it right and he willingly participates in family activities. Other times it’s a big misjudgement on my part with my expectations far outweighing reality.
But this past weekend I was pleasantly surprised when he at first begrudgingly accepted my invitation to attend a workshop in Stellenbosch.
What I forgot to mention is that it started at 9.30am on a Saturday morning. The pre-teen was not impressed and dragged himself out of bed, giving me the silent treatment all the way to Spier Wine Farm.
His cool demeanour seemed to thaw as we ran around the place like headless chickens in search of the elusive Elemental Play Garden.
Bear in mind that it’s been more than 10 years since my last visit; the place has changed drastically. I had lost my bearings and it showed.
Ten minutes late, but we finally found it.
The workshop forms part of a series of events the farm is hosting through summer. The Elemental Play Garden is just one of the places hosting workshops for children on Saturday mornings – it started in November and runs through December.
The kid had decided on the ‘Make a fire and cook with it’ workshop. In the garden’s Fire quadrant, the Farm Cafe’s chef Hennie hosted the interactive event, and kudos to him for being calm and collected throughout the workshop.
With little ones running around and asking questions at inopportune times, it’s not a time to lose your head but the seasoned chef took things in his stride and humoured curious little minds.
Chef started off by teaching the kids how to build a fire, something many of them seemed extra excited about. The look of glee in their eyes when handed the matches was a sign that many had been here before, even if it was under questionable circumstances.
Once the fire got started, then the hard work began as he expertly showed them how to braai their own stokbrood, sosaties and mouthwatering s’mores.
Because the workshops kick off in the morning, it gives you ample time to explore afterwards. And that’s exactly what we did. There’s so much for the little ones to do. You can even make a day of it and order a picnic lunch which can be enjoyed on the lawn. Be sure to check out the craft market, stocking locally-made curios.
The Elemental Play Garden is the newest addition to the farm and is worth the visit.
Conceptualised by landscape architects Ed Brooks and Danielle Croly, focusing on indigenous plants and using local artisans and materials, the garden is divided into quadrants representing the four elements: water, air, fire and earth.
While sitting in the shaded area, I marvelled at the kiddies splashing about in the Water quadrant – perfect for hot summer days. Just remember to pack an extra set of clothes.
My favourite part was the swing bridge which I’m guessing will be the backdrop to many Instagram photos.
As the world moves towards what will be the new normal, outdoor activities will take precedence over things we’d take for granted previously. Spier, like other establishments, is thinking about the future while taking social distancing into consideration. I’m guessing the Elemental Play Garden will be a winner with families this summer. Be sure to visit in the mid morning before it gets too busy. And don’t forget your hats and sunblock.
The Elemental Play Garden is hosting workshops for kids on Saturday mornings.
Each workshop costs R100, starts at 09.30am and will last roughly an hour.
Covid-19 precautions will be in place, and a maximum of 12 kids are permitted per workshop.
Bookings can be made on Dineplan or www.spier.co.za.