The weather is (sometimes) scorching and the summer holidays are finally here. I have been fairly proactive this year in organising things to do over the summer: visiting family etc. but there will always be days at home and I really don’t want my little ones sat in from of the telly when the sun is out. I really like to keep things simple and try to keep all of my activities doable with a few basic items. So, to keep your little ones busy this summer, here are my top 10 Summer activities …
1. Water play.
This seems simple, because it is. You don’t need space, a washing up bowl will do, a few cups and spoons and children will happily entertain themselves for ages.
If they need a little more stimulation try finding things in the garden and experimenting with sinking and floating, or try and make a raft out of twigs and see how much it will hold.
2. Go to the park
We are lucky to live a two minute walk from our local park and my five year old never seems to tire of going there. Although it can be a little stressful taking my one year old, it can be a great way to fill the odd half hour when they are feeling a bit bored and we have nothing else planned.
3. Making ice lollies and or ice smoothies
This one needs a bit of preparation to make sure you have the ingredients and obviously needs time to set. Saying that if you make them first thing in the morning, they should be ready for an afternoon snack. We do this a lot as my children think it is a really special treat and is a great way to avoid all the sugar and additives that go in shop bought ice lollies and ice creams. You can make them anyway you want really, we tend to buy a healthy fruit juice and add some chopped up fruit. If you don’t have time to set them you can blend fruit with yogurt and ice for a delicious iced smoothie.
Children love doing things for themselves and if you can give them a little bit of garden to theselves they will love it. It doesn’t even have to be garden, it can be a container. You can grow some plants yourself (see here) and give them some stones, sticks etc to arrange to make a magical world for their toys.
5. Picnic in the garden
In summer we tend to move outside and eat as many meals as we can, in the garden. This is extra fun when you can pick food that you have grown yourself. We have a lot of berries growing in the garden so it can be really fun for the children to pick their own pudding – there is nothing nicer, on a hot summers day, than fresh berries straight from the garden (maybe mixed with a little ice to make a cool drink!)
6. Build a bug hotel/ wildlife area
Creating a bug hotel can be a big project, including used pallets, bricks and logs; or as you see here it can be made from a broken plant pot and a few sticks and stones, depending on how permanent you want your structure to be. My daughter often disappears into a world of her own when making bug homes, using grass for bedding, leaves for a roof etc.
7. Making a den.
A few old sheets, some pegs and a few chairs is all you need for this one. On very hot days, den building is ideal as it makes shade that the children really want to stay in. They can have lunch in there and will be happy playing for a surprising amount of time.
- Cook with home grown produce.
Many children prefer to bake sweet things such as cakes and biscuits, so if you grow any fruit this can be a great activity to do. Generally though, children will happily get involved in any simple tasks such as chopping and mixing. you can keep it simple with a salad, which can be 100% home grown or maybe try making a vegetable pie and get them to help harvest, prepare and cook the ingredients.
9. Outdoor art
This can be as simple as having a bucket of chalk by the back door or you can string up some paper for them to do some painting in the garden (see here). Being outside means you don’t have to worry so much about mess as the rain can do the cleaning for you – just be careful to choose washable paint!
10. Garden Lotto
This encourages that all important inquisitive nature that all children have. Send them off searching for various things in the garden (make sure they are not too difficult or tears will surely follow!) If you put different things on the sheets then the children can swap when they have finished and will be able to help each other search. We like to play so that children draw what they find, however this is optional.
11. Bug hunt
Age old exploring fun! Check out our shop for all you need to search for, collect and observe any little critter you that might be hiding in your garden. This never seems to grow old with children and is a great exercise in gentleness and respect for other creatures. Read my article all about bug hunting here.
12. Build an obstacle course
This really doesn’t have to be complicated and can be done using anything at all. It can be really fun to take a household item and see how it can be used in an imaginative way in the obstacle course, for example – balancing a banana on your head for 10 steps.
13. Garden Spot it
This is similar to garden lotto, except the cards are already made (see here.) Children select 6 cards at random and the first to ‘Spot’ all 6 cards wins. When making the cards, you can use themes such as flowers, animals, colours to make it a bit more interesting.