Whether it’s cloudy and drizzly or warm and sunny, it’s the perfect time to get outside and have some active fun with your kids. Outdoor play is natural, healthy, exciting and free – and what’s more you don’t have to go far from home to enjoy it. Here are some fun outdoor activities to try with your child today.
Sensory ideas for babies
Even if your little one isn’t quite ready to tear about in the playground, there are plenty of opportunities to stimulate a baby’s senses in the great outdoors. Try:
- Sensory fun at the beach. Let your little one feel the sensation of the sand between their fingers and toes. Add a little water to change the texture. (Make sure they don’t try to eat it!)
- Nature peekaboo. Collect together some natural objects like pebbles, pine cones, flowers and sticks. Let your baby explore the way they feel. Hide them under a cloth before revealing them with a flourish, for guaranteed giggles.
Discovering nature for toddlers
Exploring the outdoor world is a natural impulse for toddlers. Fascinated by bugs and mud, sticks and stones, flora and fauna, stepping outside the front door is the start of a big adventure. Here are some outdoor activities they will enjoy:
- Paddling and puddle jumping. Making a splash is just about the most satisfying sensation a toddler can experience. On sunny days, take your tot for a paddle in a stream or by the sea. If it rains, stick on your wellies and head off for a puddle walk.
- Foraging on a nature walk. With nature’s bounty all around us, wild plants are an exciting prize waiting to be picked. Dandelions are edible and everywhere – check out some delicious recipes online (or just put them in a vase if you prefer.) Yummy blackberries grow in all sorts of accessible places, from late summer onwards.
- Digging in the mud. Given a corner of the garden and a plastic spade, a toddler will be happily occupied for hours. Making mud pies, uncovering worms and driving toy cars through the dirt are all fun activities to keep your mucky pup entertained.
- Armed with a fishing net or even just a piece of string and some bait, your toddler will be fascinated by the underwater world of the rock pool.
Outdoor play ideas for pre-schoolers
With a rich imagination and bags of energy to burn, pre-schoolers will delight in outdoor pursuits that stimulate mind and body. Fun outdoor activities for 3-5 year olds include:
- Treasure hunt. You can have real fun with this. Scavenger hunts held within a park or forest can send your kids off on large-scale adventure, giving them a taste of independence and freedom. Let them work together or individually to solve your clues and return triumphant.
- Mini-Olympics in the park. This is a great one for getting your kids really active – and perfect if they have been inspired by seeing the real Olympics on TV. From simple running races to complicated obstacle courses, you can set up your course any way you like and hand out medals for all.
- Map making. Encourage your child to get to know their local neighbourhood by walking together in the streets around your home. Then use stickers, pens or 3D objects to create a “map” of the places they have been.
Fun outdoor activities will help make happy memories for you and your child – but there will always be days when you have to stay at home. If the weather’s bad or you can’t make it out, there’s still plenty of active fun to be had indoors. Try our fun ideas to help get physical at home.