Although summer is here and the weather is getting warmer by the minute, we’re still stuck at home. Yes, going out is technically allowed, but have you tried keeping a face mask on a toddler for more than ten minutes? Children love to play outside so, if you’ve been blessed with a backyard, go get that sunscreen and take a look at this list of 5 outdoor activities to do with your little ones.
Nature Scavenger Hunt
Does your kid also want to be a famous explorer when they grow up? Well, we have the perfect activity to jump-start their career! Grab a piece of paper and draw a few easy-to find items, like a flower, a stick, a leaf, a rock, and a bug. Now let your kids run around the backyard to bring you back every item on the list. If you have kids of different ages and desperately need activities that can involve your entire family, make it a timed activity and put the older siblings in charge of helping the youngest in this scavenger hunt. Reward them with some well-deserved ice cream when they find them all! Are you a busy mum with no artistic talent who would rather have the games ready to go? Click here for a free, printable version.
Painting the Fence
If your little one loves to play grown-up and help around the house, give them a paintbrush, a bucket of water, and let them “paint” the fence or the wall. This fun summer activity involves little to no planning and is completely mess-free (if you don’t mind the wet clothes)! Your kid will absolutely love feeling helpful and working their imagination to come up with amazing, gallery-worthy water art. Not only that, but using paintbrushes will also help getting those muscles ready for writing! Do you need another reason why this is the perfect summer game? Think of how clean your fence will be.
Plant a garden
Whether this was your first pregnancy or you’re a more seasoned mama, you’ve probably heard of Montessori and have probably thought about how to integrate some of those sensory activities everyone’s been talking about into your routine. Well, look no further for one of the easiest of them all: getting in touch with nature! Depending on how much time you have on hand and on your kid’s unique needs, you may go at it in different ways: 1. If your kid prefers highly rewarding games and/or you only have a few minutes to organise a fun activity, play “pick the vegetables”. For this sensory activity put some soil in a container and bury a few carrots or potatoes in it, then ask your little one to pick them and wash them in some water. Serve those yummy vegetables for dinner to get them to eat some greens. They will be so proud of their vital contribution to the meal!
2. If your kid loves to help around the house and you already have some plants to take care of, let them help. Give them a spray bottle filled with water to mist indoor plants and let them water your outdoor plants with a kid-friendly watering can. Another fun activity to get your toddler to engage with your garden is weeding. This, however, requires constant supervision checking there is no poison ivy or other harmful plants and making sure they don’t start “weeding” your plants as well. 3. If your child is patient, loves taking directions or is maybe a little bit older and you have a whole afternoon to spare, plant a garden from scratch. Let your kid help digging holes in the ground and burying the seeds in it and take them with you every time you water the plants until you will both be rewarded with seedlings and, a few weeks later, a fully-grow plant. Some great plants to engage with your child’s senses are strawberries and cherry tomatoes for taste, lavender and jasmine for smell, and herbs like basil and rosemary for both.
You’re not going anywhere but you still wish to bring some of that holiday magic inside your house? Well, if your child doesn’t go to the beach this year, let the beach come to your child! It will surprise absolutely no one that kids of all shapes and sizes love playing with water. Tomorrow morning wake your tiny humans up wearing sunglasses and a straw hat and tell them to get ready for a day at the beach. Make them choose their favourite swimsuit and run outside for some fun family time. If you have an inflatable pool and a sandpit you will be able to recreate a beach setting in no time, but even if the only sand you have on hand is in the cat’s litterbox, do not fret. Kids have the greatest imagination! A bubble machine, a kite, some lollies, and a water hose to run under will give you the best beach experience with no ocean involved. Want to tan and do some crosswords? Give your kiddo a watering can and a few bowls and buckets of different sizes and let them transfer the water from one container to the other.
Do you have a collection of plastic animal toys big enough to recreate an entire zoo? Does your kid have the wildest imagination and an impressive ability to make entertaining scenarios out of anything and everything? If the answer is yes, then this game is for you. All you need is a bin and some soil to fill it with. This is going to be the playground of your animal world. Now use your creativity. Add some weeds from the garden as “trees” and “plants”, some rocks for shade and even a little lake made out of a bowl buried under the soil. There you have it, a miniature animal world where your child has complete control and the lion is probably best friends with the zebra. Let your little one’s imagination run wild (literally!) and enjoy watching them bring their toys to life.
Need some time for yourself? What is better than some Netflix and chill ;) ?