It’s easy to travel with young children — just let them play at every opportunity! When a friend invited us up to the Sunshine Coast hinterland, we took the opportunity to explore some playgrounds that we’d never been to before.

Our first playground stop was the Settlers Rotary Park outside the Glass House Mountains Visitor and Interpretive Centre on Steve Irwin Way. (Yes, it’s on the way to Australia Zoo.)

Calista at Settlers Rotary Park, Sunshine Coast Hinterland, July 2012
The five iconic volcanic cores that comprise the Glasshouse Mountains are recreated in miniature in this playground.

Playing at Settlers Rotary Park, Sunshine Coast Hinterland, July 2012
Apart from the black rock-like hulks, the playground contains the standard equipment. I try to remember that even though I think it's boring, our children don't have to experience it that way!

Playing at Settlers Rotary Park, Sunshine Coast Hinterland, July 2012
Brioni likes to tackle challenges, and I asked if she could balance and walk all the way around on this wooden fence that circles a small fig tree. She can. When she's older, perhaps she'll try it with her eyes closed.

In Maleny, we met up with a small group of local homeschoolers. Some mothers had brought craft items (which I forgot, sorry!) and together they contributed to a number of interesting projects — face masks, hats, pictures, collages and felt shapes.

Brioni cutting some felt, August 2012
Brioni has greater designs in her head than her fingers can currently handle, and cutting felt isn't so easy. She didn't want to ask for help and so later abandoned this project in favour of something more simple.

Aisha makes a face, August 2012
Aisha turns a paper plate into a cheerful face.

Delaney on the slide, July 2012
Delaney is happy to play on the playground while her sisters are working on their crafts.

Aisha and Calista playing on a playground, August 2012
I'm always delighted to see our girls playing imaginatively together.

After these crafts were finished, I realised that I will need to have a safe place in the bus to store the girls’ precious handiworks. I managed to find a space in a drawer, but I’ll need to integrate a permanent art space in the bus’ revamp.

After the craft supplies were packed away, we took a walk alongside Obi Obi Creek to a good spot where the children could play. Our girls — although initially shy — finally made their way down to the creek bank to throw rocks in and test the water’s temperature.

Geckos on the path outside Maleny Library, August 2012
Metal geckos are embedded into the concrete path.

Playing at Obi Obi Creek, August 2012
If it was summertime, I'm sure all our girls would be in the water. Today, only Delaney was keen enough to get wet.

The little town of Maleny has a beautiful playground on the main street. It’s a great place to stop for a play after window-shopping up the hill and half-way back down again.

The simple design is probably one of the most tasteful that I’ve seen in southeast Queensland. On the edge of the playground, five colourful ceramic totem poles remind me of the Hundertwasser sculptures we’ve seen in New Zealand.

Playing at the Maleny playground, August 2012
Because there are five structures, the girls quickly assign identities to the totems to correspond with the five children in our family. Elijah gets the lonely little yellow dome on the ground, and even on this beautiful, sunny day, I find myself choking up over our loss.

Maleny playground, August 2012
The design of this play structure is friendly and blends nicely into the environment.

Playing at the Maleny playground, August 2012
Calista checks the letterbox: "There's bark in there!" she announces.

Playing at the Maleny playground, August 2012
The girls operate a shop under the platform. Their shops usually sell ice-creams and lollies. No one sells apples or carrots, at least not in our family.

Playing at the Maleny playground, August 2012
A tree trunk serves as the centre support for the structure, and tiles provide accents of colours on the external poles.

Where we were staying, two friendly dogs kept us company at the bus and in the yard. Brioni loves animals and found a fun game to play with the dogs.

Brioni blows bubbles for the dog, August 2012
The dog waits for Brioni's bubbles.

Brioni blows bubbles for the dog, August 2012
The dogs snap at the bubbles as they float past. It's pretty funny to watch!

Our girls had a great time at the Sunshine Coast, and we look forward to visiting again soon. There are so many great places to explore in southeast Queensland, and lots more to see and do while we adjust to living in the bus!