institute for outdoor learning

Institute for Outdoor Learning – Horizons – Summer Edition

Ten activities all Muddy Kids Should be doing over the Summer

This article can be found in the Horizon Magazine written for the Institue for Outdoor Learning

Here are some ideas to tick off and get you and your children off the technology and outside having the sort of childhood you had! Remember, activities that make us feel good are just as educational in terms of a child’s development as academic subjects do!

  1. Collect up lots of unused boxes and make something fantastic and significant such as a castle, pirate ship, submarine. Maybe research what you are going to make beforehand. Get the felt tips and paint out, dress it up and have lots of fun imagining and playing. Add fancy dress and find books that suit your theme to read and give inspiration. Doing it outside means you will have space and freedom to be messy!
  2. Make a mud potion. Remember the days when you used to make these? They’re simple, but even the oldest children love to mix, imagine and create. Theme it if you like and add competition, asking who will make the worlds best muddy shampoo? The easiest way to do this is to start with lots of containers then ask the children to add and sort lots of natural materials into them. One for mud, one for water, one for petals, one for leaves, one for stones. Add some food colouring into your water for some fun, then let the children create and play!
  3. Go for a walk in the rain! Rather than feeling disappointed about the rain, why not look forward to a rainy day. Have it on your list that the next rainy day that comes, you are all going to walk in it. If you do not have any suitable clothing, ask around for umbrellas and waterproof clothing you could borrow for this joyous event. Get yourselves all wrapped and off you go. To keep older children entertained, give them a task. Hand a water bottle out and see if they can fill it to the top by the end of the walk. When you return, talk about how you felt doing this. Was it all that bad?
  4. Look after the Bees and the butterflies. Take to the garden centre and go and buy some wildflower seeds. They’re super cheap and create beautiful colours. These types of seeds are perfect for feeding our lovely bees and butterflies. If you have no container to plant in, upcycle containers such as tyres, old wellingtons, plastic bottles. Be creative! Think about wall space as well. Look up upcycled wall planters and have a go utilising space!
  5. Cloud watch. It’s the simple things we used to do as children that get forgotten about but were so lovely to do and great for our mental health. On a nice day, find a lovely open field. Lay on your back and look at the clouds. You could research what types of clouds are what or go and use your imaginations the pictures in them. Can you see a cloud that looks like a dog?
  6. Roll down a hill! It does not feel quite as exciting as an adult as it does if you are a small child, but hill roll is a top hit for popping that big smile on any child. Go for a walk with a specific drive to find that juicy hill to roll down. Rate the hills and remember to take care, lots of distance between each other
  7. Creative cress. We have all made the good old crest head out of an eggshell but have you thought about having a creative cress competition? Cress is very versatile and can grow fast and vast. Take a napkin, draw a picture on it and then add the cress to the parts you want it to grow on, such as a face. Add seeds to the eyes and nose.
  8. Plant your pumpkins. The school holidays are the perfect time to plant your pumpkins so that they can be harvested near Halloween. Look to finding a local shop near you that you can support. Plant the seeds and watch them grow!
  9. Make the tallest yoghurt pot sculpture. Ask family and relatives to collect their yoghurt pots up and when you have lots and lots, try and make the tallest yoghurt pot tower without falling. How many yoghurt pots high do you think you can make without it falling? How many did you manage to do? You will have lots of fun with this!
  10. Make an obstacle course. Use anything and everything you can find outside to add challenges for you to overcome, make sure the children are involved in the process. They often have more fun building them than they do playing on them! For instance, use stones to hop over or as stepping stones, place leaves out in trails you have to follow, use sticks as balancing beams and petals for roundabouts!

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