5 Fun Outdoor Activities for the Summer Holidays
The sunshine’s out and it’s the summer holidays again! Now’s the time to get our children outside with some exciting warm weather activities.
Encouraging children to play outside in the garden is a great way for them to get their daily dose of vitamin D which boosts mood, energy levels, memory and overall health. Hands-on activities, creative play time and colourful games are ideal ways to create opportunities for outdoor play. Here are five fun activities to try out this summer:
Grow Your Own Herbs
Basil, rosemary, parsley, sage - ahhh delicious, fresh herbs that can be cultivated in your own back garden. Growing herbs in the garden can help children to understand basic science based concepts about growth and where our food comes from. Growing a basil plant is a simple place to start, children will love picking basil leaves to throw into pasta sauces and other meals. If you don’t have a garden, herbs can be grown in plant pots outside on the balcony and smaller plants can be kept on the kitchen window sill.
Play in a Mud Kitchen
Naturally our children want to get a little bit messy while exploring and experimenting in the garden. Mud kitchens are a great way to channel that desire into an activity that promotes both creative and scientific thinking. You can set up your own mud kitchen by heading outside with some old wooden spoons, pans and plastic bowls from the kitchen. Set up a space where children can dig and let them experiment with their muddy creations by collecting extra ingredients from around the garden and adding water to change the consistency. If you live in an area with natural clay (like London) then you could encourage your children to make pots etc and dry these off in the Sun.
Are you taking a trip to the beach or going walking in the woods this summer? When you’re out and about get your children to collect smooth pebbles in preparation for this at home art project. All you need are some good sized stones and coloured paints. Set children up outside on the grass so that you don’t need to worry about paint getting everywhere, and decide on some patterns, animals or even fruits to paint onto your stones. Ladybirds and bumblebees are excellent animals to get started with. For younger children you could add numbers to these to aid in the understanding of numeracy.
Make Ice Eggs
No summer time is complete without some water-based activities! Ice eggs are a perfect for helping children to understand how water freezes and melts in a fun and hands on-way. To make ice eggs, fill a balloon with water and pop a small toy in the middle. Tie the end of the balloon and put it in the freezer overnight. When you take them out the next day, take them out on the grass. The balloons will come right off to reveal a frozen ball with treasure inside. Children can roll them around and enjoy sensory play with water as they melt in the sunshine.
Lots of children love to draw and taking drawing outside is easy! With washable chalk, children can draw on the patio in the back garden. This activity is lots of fun for friends to do together. You can start off by designing a simple hopscotch or creating a colourful rainbow. For the more creative families amongst us, chalk drawings can be fun photo opportunities too. Drawing fairy wings, an umbrella or balloons for children to pretend to hold can be really exciting for little ones. At the end of the day, just wash away with some warm water.
About the Author: Sam Flatman is an Educational Consultant for Pentagon Sport. Pentagon have worked with over 5,000 settings to create innovative playgrounds and learning environments for young students. He has been designing playgrounds for the past 10 years and has a passion for outdoor education. Sam believes that outdoor learning is an essential part of child development, which can be integrated into the new school curriculum. He is currently based in Bristol with his two sons.