Nature Play WA held its inaugural Cubby Town event in April 2017, at Yanchep National Park in partnership with the Department of Parks and Wildlife (now Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions) and the City of Wanneroo.
The event saw an estimated 5,000 attendees take part in a cubby building exercise. Other activities offered during the event were mud kitchens, nature crafts, rock climbing, high ropes course, and an app-based scavenger hunt.
At the time, the event was the biggest Nature Play WA had ever run.
There have been two Cubby Towns since (2018 and 2019), each event bigger and better than the first.
Cubby Town Activities
Cubby Town provides a wonderful opportunity for families to spend time together in nature. Building cubbies and forts, playing with mud kitchens, creating nature crafts and exploring Yanchep National Park.
Some of the wonderful activities offered:
- nature craft activities from Little Gumnuts,
- mud play with MacNeil Family Farm Mudpie Kitchens,
- seedling planting with Wanslea Early Learning and Development,
- flag making and Japanese flower printing (hape zome) with Educated by Nature,
- singalongs and storytime with City of Wanneroo Libraries,
- rock-climbing wall and high ropes course with Radrock Adventures,
- nature treasure collecting
- song and movement sessions
- playgroup activities
- St John Ambulance tours
- rock decorating
- our very own digital scavenger hunt, and
- cubby building, with branches provided by the diligent team at Yanchep National Park, who spent months collecting and storing supplies!
As the event grew each year, we added new aspects, including a new area incorporated into Cubby Town called Cubby Community. Staff encouraged families to work together to create a community within this zone, which worked really well with families who wanted to build a cubby quickly and move onto the other activities available.
Nature Play WA and Therapy Focus proudly launched the Cubby Town Social Story, which is used to explain social situations to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other disabilities, helping them understand socially appropriate behaviours and responses.
Our Cubby Town Social Story aims to help children of all abilities get the most out of the day by explaining what they can expect to see and do with the help of pictures and key word symbols. It’s also customisable with a section to include strategies you might use to help your child cope in noisy and crowded environments. This social story can be downloaded here.
Every year we are astounded at the amazing cubby creations we see on display, from multi-dome buildings draped in netting to form a gauzy ceiling, to structures with rope roof “beams” strung between trees and branches laid along the sides to form a triangular tunnel dwelling, to hanging shades hovering three feet off the ground, suspended from overhead branches, it was a wonder to behold.
From single-person snuggle spots, to cubbies large enough to hold the whole extended family, we witnessed the delightful interactions of parents with their children, grandparents with their grown-up kids and grandies, grand scale constructions (complete with on-site architects and engineers) and basic branch and string simplicity, with families working together to build not just a cubby but memories to be cherished long after the dwelling was gone, and Cubby Town a distant memory.