Now that the days are long and we’re (finally!) getting some warm weather, it’s great for the kids to get outside and play in the fresh air.
Here are a few activities for them to try…
Sand and water play
Lots of stores sell sand tables (from very simple to very elaborate designs) but you don’t need to invest in one for the kids to enjoy sand play. Just buy some play sand and grab a bucket (or two if you’re using water as well) along with some toys and your kids will do the rest. My little girl likes to use plastic bowls and spoons when she’s playing with sand and water – she pretends she’s mixing food and baking cakes.
This is great fun, and all you need is a pot and some spoons. Send the kids outside and challenge them to see what they can find. (Be warned, you will end up with a bucket full of wriggling things so this isn’t a great activity if you’re squeamish about them.) Once the children have found several mini-beasts, see if they know what they are, and if not, help them to find out by looking them up using your kids’ descriptions of them.
These can be as simple or as complex as you like. My two are still quite little, so a football passed between them (or chased around the garden) can provide hours of fun. You could also buy tennis balls to help children practice bouncing and catching. Older children could try golf, cricket, or boules.
On hot days, there’s a lot of fun to be had with water. Not only will it keep your children busy, but it will cool them down too. You don’t need big, bulky guns either. The tiny ones can be just as fun, and if you leave a bucket of water out with them, then they can refill the pistols themselves.
Grow fruit and veg
Planting fruit and veg is a great way to get children more involved with their food. Children love seeing where their food comes from, and they love seeing the things they’ve planted grow. Choose a few fruit and veg that your kids like to eat (and a few they don’t) and get sowing seeds. The children can also take on looking after the plants as they grow – making sure they have enough water etc. Easy things to grow include strawberries, peas, carrots and courgettes. Seeing the children pick and eat the food they’ve grown is amazing, and they really enjoy doing it too.
If you have a paved area then buy some chalks and let your kids get creative. Chalk will easily wash off with the rain so there’s no need to clean it off either (unless you want to). You can even get glow in the dark chalks, which light up as the sun goes down. It’s magical to see the drawings come to life like this - especially for the kids.
Have a teddy bear’s picnic
Eating outside is loads of fun for kids, and it means less cleaning up for you – an all-round winner. Make an exciting picnic lunch or tea for the kids to enjoy with their bear friends, if they like. The children could help to make the food too. Some good things for them to help with are sandwiches, fruit kebabs, or soft cheese on crackers.
Make a den
Children love to have a hideaway place, so help them to make their own. They could use a kids’ play tent, or they could make their own den using anything they can find (and you’re willing to let them use) like big boxes, sheets, and blankets etc.
If you don’t like the thought of messy play inside, summer gives you the opportunity to take it outside instead. You can do art and craft activities, painting, hand-printing, foam play – so many options.
Children love the freedom of playing outside. Let’s hope we have great summer weather for them to make the most of.
Jo Murricane is a freelance copywriter and blogger, based in Leeds. Read all about her food and lifestyle investigations on her blog, jo-blogs.co.uk.