It’s always an extra push to get the children outside playing at this time of the year. Here are some ideas to help make that easier, whether you’re a parent or working in play.
Make it an adventure not a chore, or make the chores an adventure! With a little bit of imagination the children can lead on creating a story to follow – sweeping up leaves to make paths for the dragons, homes for the hedgehogs, beds for baby squirrels. Quick get it ready before it gets dark! If it is chores that need to be done, don’t expect it to be perfect and praise the effort taken. Make sure everyone is warm enough, waterproof clothing if it’s raining, wellies and determination – the joy on children’s faces after a good play outside in the rain and mud is so worth it. Mud can be washed away, the memories of playing will stay!
- Fly a kite. Even better gather some sticks and make one, or build a rocket and get exploring!
- Play hide and seek, a classic game for outdoors, and if it’s dark – spotlight tag with torches is spookily good fun! Change the name for more variation – cops and robbers is a common one with my children and their friends, they love chasing each other then pretending to lock each other up.
- Climb a tree – how many can you find that you can climb? How many can you name? How old do you think they are?
- Discover new things and draw them in a nature journal or collect in a basket to take back inside and find out what they are.
- Walk barefoot on the grass, enjoy the feeling of the ground, the feeling of the grass tickling your toes.
- Cloud surf, lie down and watch the clouds drifting by, what patterns and creatures can you see?
- Make a time capsule and go and dig a hole to bury it in. Have fun finding things to put inside the time capsule then make a treasure map for others to find it.
- Go foraging! Make sure you explain that foraged goods should only be eaten if you know for sure what they are! What can you make with the ingredients you find? Write up some recipes and best places to find the food.
- Be detectives – discover prints and work out which animal left them and why!
- Build a den with a moat, especially good if it’s raining, digging in mud and splashing in puddles.
Remember mud can be washed away, but the memories of playing will stay!