With the better weather coming this way (I am ever optimistic), outdoor activities for children are at the forefront of parents’ minds. With many of us staying at home for holidays, it is time to think about how to fill those long summer days.
Of course, it all depends on your child and your circumstances but when planning your activities (yes, there does need to be some sort of planning!) it is always great to get the children involved. Giving them a sense of ownership of their entertainment lets you know they’ll enjoy it and lets them know that they have a say (very important for young people to feel listened to). And it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg!
If you are lucky enough to have a garden, live near a park, be in the countryside or near a beach then you have a whole load of nature provided activities ready for you. And there really are things for all types of child whether they are really physical and love to let off steam, they are creative and find inspiration from nature, they are analytical and enjoy identifying and sorting, technical and like to build and engineer, or whether they are a mix of some or more – you know your child best!
For your physical child, get them exploring their surroundings with a scavenger hunt – at speed! I have a friend whose child just loved to run the moment they got into the park or the beach – he’d be off and she’d be after him, always worried he wouldn’t stop.
We devised an age-appropriate scavenger hunt so she would give him something to find (e.g. a brown leaf or a round pebble). He’d hare off, find it, run back and be given another thing to find. We introduced a time limit – he would have to get back to mum before the bell (a little shaky thing) whether he had found something or not.
Lots of learning to be had around boundaries, succeeding or not at a task, beginning to understand the environment – where certain things might be found etc (he knew never to pick something growing or living).
Your creative child will find such inspiration from nature and there are many activities which will allow them to create gorgeous works of art! Having a good supply of paints, glues, threads and other tangible resources is a great start.
I love rock painting and have many painted and varnished pebbles and rocks making my garden look brighter (some done by my now 21 year old – happy memories!).
Make sure the rocks are well cleaned first (it’s amazing how much fun children have washing rocks!) and dried before painting (acrylics are best). Once painted and dried, you can varnish them with bought spray, clear nail varnish or even PVA glue (lots of layers needed). Letters are a super way for children to practise spelling their names, animals are fun (googly eyes a must) or, if your child is really keen, mandalas look awesome on a rock!
I could write for hours on how fun the outdoors can be, however I don’t need to as this incredible book has loads of brilliant outdoor activity ideas.
There are fun activities to help kids get up close and personal with nature by making a wormery and a bug attractor, doing some investigative ant experiments and putting on their own gastropod race!
The book includes handy reference pics to help children identify plants, flowers and wildlife, so as well as enjoying the great outdoors, they can learn to understand and appreciate their surroundings too.
by Allie White, educational consultant to BrightMinds
As a parent and former-teacher, Allie has a hands-on approach to home learning, believing that the best learning is done together in a relaxed environment.
Our mission at BrightMinds is to foster “a brighter way to play” to inspire your child to be curious about the world around them & encourage creativity in a fun & relaxed way.
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