Ten Outdoor Activities from HomePlayExplore
I don't know about you, but as soon as the sun comes out, our kids just CAN'T WAIT to get outside! They absolutely love playing out in the garden, or heading to a nearby woodland for an explore. This is why we are delighted to collaborate with Samantha - a local mum of two who has some AMAZING ideas for things to do with your kids outdoors. Have a read of Samantha's guide below - it's full of super fun and easy ways to get your little ones exploring and learning about nature whilst having fun.
Ten Outdoor Activities from HomePlayExplore
Hi! I’m Samantha and I’m a mummy of two little boys, aged 3 and 1. During the first lockdown, I decided to set up an Instagram page, @homeplayexplore to share everyday play ideas and activities for little ones. From then on, I have continued to share play ideas as well as children’s book reviews and product recommendations.
As a family, we are outdoor and nature enthusiasts! We believe that being in nature is good for the soul and can really help with children’s wellbeing. I’d love to share 10 fun outdoor activities that are easy for all to try out and enjoy this springtime!
1. Make Shapes in Nature
For this activity you will need to collect some sticks, leaves, fallen flower heads or stones! Gather up some natural materials from the ground and make some shapes. A great hands-on learning activity that is enjoyable and will help with shape recognition! Why not have a look around you and see what shapes you can spot?
2. Colour Hunt!
How many colours can you see around you? Find as many items from around the home, garden or outdoors as you can of various colours and make a picture with them. It’s amazing how many colourful things you can find around you if you look for long enough. Perhaps you will find some different coloured leaves, toys, foods, household items or even crayons. Can you make a colour wheel?
Colour Mixing and Potions Play
I don’t know about you but I love a good potion play! To play potions, all you need to do is create a concoction! Perhaps you can use natural materials such as water, mud, grass and leaves. Mix it all together and voila! You have a nature potion. Don’t fancy getting too messy? You could have a go at colour mixing or just have a lot of fun mixing, pouring and stirring coloured water. For this you will need some food colouring, containers and wooden spoons for stirring (or a stick will do!)
4. Build a Bug Hotel
A fantastic way to encourage minibeasts into an outdoor space or garden is to build a bug hotel. Start off by collecting some natural materials such as leaves, pinecones, bark and flower petals. Find a suitable sheltered area and stack up some old terracotta pots or clean tin cans (being careful not to cut yourself). Place your natural materials inside the pots to make a comfortable and inviting home to attract insects such as bees, worms, ladybirds and spiders. Wait for your first guests to arrive!
5. Make Your Own Stick Friend
This one is super simple! All you need is a stick and an imagination. You can dress up your stick friend with leaves, petals and twine to add a bit of character if you would like. Can you tell a story using your stick friend? Can you take your stick friend on an adventure?
6. Fun with Shadows
On a sunny day, go on a shadow hunt. Look around you and see the shadows that are cast by objects that are already there such as trees, cars, benches… and your own shadow! Create different shaped shadows by taking your toys out into the garden. You can make this even more fun by drawing around the shadows onto a patio using coloured chalks. Can you make a staircase or a shadow person? You could take some animal figures into the outdoors and trace their shadows too. Have fun experimenting!
7. Bee Drinking Station
With spring on its way, it is lovely to help prepare for the arrival of wildlife into gardens and outdoor spaces. Bees are very important for pollinating flowers. Here is one way you can help bees, as well as by growing bee-attracting flowers. Half-fill a shallow container with fresh water and place some clean stones or pebbles in it. Thirsty bees will land on the stones and take a drink. Make sure to refresh the water from time to time.
8. Nature Art
Do your children love arts and crafts? You can get creative and enjoy a different experience by taking this sort of activity outdoors. Have a go at making a ‘leafy lion’. For this you will need some cardboard or card, PVA glue and some natural materials such as petals, leaves, grass, sticks and bark. (You can use some flower petals from past-their-best flowers!) Simply glue your bits and pieces into the perfect picture. Other ideas include: a pinecone hedgehog, pink petal flamingo, dandelion lion and bark bug!
9. Paint a Plant Pot
If you would like to have a go at planting your own seeds this springtime, why not paint your own plant pot too? You can simply paint a terracotta pot using child-friendly paints and use PVA glue to add a layer of shine (adding a little bit of protection from the weather). You could decorate plant pots for friends and family too making a very pleasant gift.
Ok…. So this one is a bit messy. It is for those who like creepy crawlies, watching insects and love worms! You will need an old container (we chose an old plastic bottle because you can see through!), soil, leaves or foliage and sand. Make repeated layers of compost or soil, sand and foliage inside a container and add in some tasty greens. Find some worms and introduce them to their new home. Enjoy watching them tunnel down. Make sure that the materials are all slightly damp to encourage the worms to stay.
I hope this has given you some inspiration and ideas for getting outdoors with the little ones! For a lot more play ideas including outdoor and nature play ideas, please head to @homeplayexplore on Instagram!
Thank you Samantha for such a brilliant guide - we love these ideas and can't wait to get stuck in next time we're playing outside!
Follow Samantha at @homeplayexplore for heaps of ideas like this!
If you're looking to go out and about with your little ones, then head to www.coventryrocks.co.uk for some fantastic local outdoor spaces - from parks and walks, to nature reserves and family friendly walks! Find your fun at Coventry Rocks.