There’s no denying the benefits of outdoor play, and with the summer in full swing, we’ve put together 7 fun, low cost activity ideas for early years.
Each idea will require different skills, with different areas of learning being explored. The idea behind these summer activities is to encourage the use of imagination, give children the room to be creative, and most importantly, get them outdoors having fun!
1. Make nature wands
Whether your child is a wizard or a fairy, nature wands are a great idea and so simple to make. You can help the children to collect some twigs, flowers and leaves, and attach them together using little elastic bands. If you wanted to get really creative, you could paint the twigs and even add some glitter, but it’s otherwise a completely free, simple activity idea.
2. Water painting
I’m sure plenty of you remember this one. A hot summers day, a bucket of water and a paint brush. Have them draw a photo, colour in an area of concrete or even dip their hands and feet into the water and make prints around the patio. Again, such a low-cost activity that will keep your child entertained for hours…and no cleaning up!
3. A giant tree painting
Wrap the tree in some large recycled paper or even bubble wrap, and let the children do the rest. They could use paint brushes or even their hands and cover the tree trunk in bright coloured paint. This makes a great art activity that combines sensory play and nature.
4. Dig in the dirt
Rather self-explanatory. Digging in the dirt may not seem very beneficial, but it helps to develop fine motor skills, an understanding of weight and pressure, and improves physical development. The children can work in teams or by themselves, and you may want to make it more interesting by burying some items in the soil for them to discover.
5. Bake mud pies
Baking anyone? Whilst you’re outdoors digging, you might as well ask the children to bake you some (mud) cakes. Add some water and use some kitchen utensils (and hands) to shape the mud, then add some flowers for decoration. A great role play, sensory activity for the outdoors.
6. Den building
Children love to make dens. It builds their confidence, team working skills and imagination. Allow them to test their creativity by trying out different size sticks/twigs and getting them to balance. You may want to get some den building resources to help the children get started and decorate with leaves and all things nature.
7. Nature scavenger hunt
You can either print photos or draw them yourself, of items you may find in the great outdoors. Give the photos to your children and ask them to go and find the item, ticking it off as they go along. A great activity for improving problem solving skills and awareness.