GOOD OLD-FASHIONED OUTDOOR PLAY TO KEEP THE KIDS OCCUPIED OVER THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS
Written by Alice Zsembery | Author “Real Kids, Real Play“
Summer holidays…. Yay!!!
Sunshine, beaches, overindulgence and bbq’s are all knocking on our door… and so too are endless days with the kids at home…
If you are anything like me, you will try to keep them outside as much as possible, preserving the half-cleanliness within the home and saving the havoc for the outdoors.
So, to help you out these summer holidays, I have compiled some great activity ideas to keep them engaged outside on holidays without requiring a toy.
(This activity is best done in the morning or later afternoon).
It’s as easy as it sounds; grab a piece of white paper and some objects (such as figurines, or cups) and sketch around the shadow that it makes. The kids can also explore what happens to the shadow when you move the object on its side, when you move it farther from the paper, or when the sun is lower in the sky.
Drawing with light helps demonstrate to children that light travels in a straight path and when interrupted (by a toy), it will be blocked.
Water balloon bash
Umm, yes, it is what the name suggests.
A winner with my son…let’s call it a summer piñata! Simply tie a balloon semi-full with water from a tree and let them lose with a blindfold and a (soft) bat.
This is a wonderful activity for kids, although admittedly it does take a little more setup time than other games (not too much!).
Find some plastic recyclables from around the home and cut different shapes from them. If you have some plastic hosing, this is also a wonderful addition! Then arrange them on a wall with a strong tape and let the kids experiment.
Grub a tub of soapy water and some scrubbing brushes or old toothbrushes, and start washing those animals!
Of course, no cleaning station would be complete without a tub of mud to make sure that they are completely dirty first!
Painting with Cars
Honestly, this one doesn’t need much direction for kids. All you need is a large piece of paper, some toy cars and some paint.
Be sure to tape down the paper and then put some drops of paint on it and let the kids drive their cars all over it. Sometimes, it really is the simplest things…
Ice Block Discovery
Warning, this activity requires a little foresight…basically, gather up those farmyard animals and dinos and freeze them in water.
Provide your children with a variety of tools to ‘free the animals’ and see which one works. For example, you can bash it with the back of a spoon, but how about experimenting with squirting cold water on it? Or hot water? Or what happens if you sprinkle with a bit of salt first?
Tin can stilts
We all remember this one… Find 2 (clean) empty tin cans, get an adult to punch 2 holes in the sides with a nail and thread a rope through them. Then it’s all up to the kids to practice their coordination and balance to walk around the yard.
Let’s not avoid it… water fights in summer will always win out. But if you are looking to avoid the mess of broken water balloons everywhere (and, let’s face it, the assistance that children require to fill them up), then sponge balls made of cut up kitchen sponge works equally as well. Make a heap of them once, and they will last you all summer.
Find a smooth surface and angle it (we used our trestle table propped up on one set of legs, but any smooth surface works well).
Find some soap, pop a toothpick flag in it and away you go!
Hint: let the children experiment with dry soap and dry surfaces and then introduce water to observe the difference in speed. You can also experiment with altering the slope of the surface and see what difference that makes to the speed.
Bean Bag Ladder Toss
I love a simple game of skill, as does my 5-year-old. Use an A-frame ladder and allocate a score to each rung. Find some small bean bags (or rolled up socks will work equally well) and the competition is on.
(Photo courtesy of www.landeeseelandeedo.com )
Need some entertainment for a family gathering? Why not have an all-inclusive race?…
Every adult has to pull their partner (preferably a child!) along the ground on a blanket to the finish line. If the child falls off, it’s back to the start line.
Fun with Chalk
We all love a good old chalk drawing on the footpath. But there are so many other classic games that you can do with chalk as well; hopscotch, four square, tracing body outline, creating a car/city map and noughts and crosses.
Note: Please remember that children require supervision at appropriate levels to their age, individual needs and abilities and water play should always be undertaken with supervision.
Want more ideas?
For my ideas, check out my book Real Kids, Real Play and, most importantly, happy playing!
Other posts written by Alice
8 (free) energetic activities to keep your kids occupied at home – view here
How to go on holidays with kids without having to pack a million toys – view here
About the Author
Alice is the founder of Jack and Lu’s: a company created with a simple dream of bringing back real childhood; where the toys were simpler, the items were fewer and the imaginations were greater. She is a busy working mum of 2 preschool aged children and has just released her new book Real Kids, Real Play – 150 activities to do around the home using household items. It aims to remind us of the copious educational and fun activities that our children can do around the home using everyday items – without you having to spend lots of money, time or effort. It is written by an exhausted Mum, for an exhausted Mum. And Dad. And Grandparent, And Carer. You can contact Alice at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Facebook or Instagram
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