Now that summer is here, outdoor play takes on a new lease of life. The warmer weather and the longer days (especially when school ends) means that there are more opportunities to let your hair down and escape the four walls of the indoors. Get out now, while you can, and have some fun! Here are our top ideas for exciting outdoor play!
Water play is a must during the summer. Water is such a versatile sensory material that helps to cool hot little hands and provides plenty of opportunities for imaginative play and, of course, essential learning. How you use the water is up to you, but the basic items that you need are:
- A bucket, bowl, or water table. Basically something to hold your water!
- A selection of bottles, cups, jugs and sieves for pouring, transferring and sprinkling
- Waterproof toys (bath toys are fabulous too).
Ideas for water play
Have a toy car wash
Take dolly’s bath outside
Have a water fight
Practise fine motor skills with a spot of fishing
Make water soakers from sponges
Make and sail boats
Pop some ice into the water to cool the kids down, and for an extra sensory experience
Freeze small toys and other ‘treasures’ and invite the kids to find ways to melt the ice and rescue the toys
Estimate and measure volume in different containers
If you’re a fan of messy play, you’ll know that the easier the clearing up, the better. And taking it all outside certainly ensures the mess is less of a concern! Take the shaving foam, or gloop, or water beads into the garden and let your little ones indulge themselves as much as they like. Most messes can be rinsed or cleared away easily and you can rest assured that the house will remain mess free.
We’ve already written on the wonders of sand play in this post, and this is another fabulous activity to take outside this summer.
Paints are always better outside! Take your little ones on a walk to collect interesting looking stones or leaves and bring them home for some nature painting. Roll paper out onto the path or grass and let them express themselves freely. Alternatively, you can set up the easel in the garden for painting, or set aside a piece of the path or a wall for a chalk mural.
Sometimes bubbles in the house can be more trouble than they’re worth, but outside kids are less likely to slip on the suds and there is something very special about watching bubbles float up into the clouds too. Make an outdoor bubbles station where the kids can fill their own bottles, and you can even have a go at making your own wands too.
Go on a treasure hunt
This can be as elaborate or as simple as you like. You can make clues,or you can simply hide toys/ treasures around the garden and challenge the children to find them. You can also hide number/ letter blocks and ask the kids to find them and order them too.
Make a mud pie
Long hot summers were made for mud kitchens, so this year why not indulge the kids with a few mud pies? Set up the play kitchen outside for the afternoon, or simply provide bowls, pans and spoons and let them create. You can use the Haba cake moulds for sand play to make a mud pie with a difference, or use play food to serve up a whole banquet. A good mud pie will harden and dry in the sun and can be decorated with leaves, petals and grass. Delicious!
However you decide to play this summer, make sure lots of it is outdoors. Who knows how long the nice weather will last?