We've put together a list of fun activities to get you and the kids outdoors, and the best news is, none of them will break the bank!
1. We're going on a bug hunt
There’s no better way for kids to learn about the world around them than by getting outside and up close. Let them explore their own gardens or the local park in an open-ended way that can lead to adventures and imaginative play.
Simply invest in a couple of magnifying glasses and see how many different types of bugs they can find. Take a notebook and pens to keep track of what you find where, and take some pictures on your phone so you can look up exactly what you found when you get home (a great activity for when the rain inevitably arrives!)
2. Outdoor art
When you get the art stuff out in the house there’s a bit of a tendency to worry about the mess, but when the weather gets warmer you can really go wild outdoors. Buy a roll of lining paper from a DIY shop and hit one of the pound shops for your paint, and you’re off and running. If the weather is warm enough you can pop the kids in their swimming gear, so there are no concerns about getting paint on their clothes (just remember to apply lots of sunscreen). They’ll also love being hosed down at the end of the day!
3. Make a water bottle bird feeder
Recycle an old squash bottle and create a hanging bird feeder - teaching the kids both to look after nature and also about the benefits of recycling. You’ll need an empty squash bottle, a couple of wooden spoons a screw in hook, garden twine and some bird seed.
Poke 4 small holes in the water bottle where the spoons will go through from one side to the other, and then create a slightly bigger hole just above the bowl of the spoon so that the grain will trickle onto the spoon and the birds can perch on it to eat. Fill the bottle with a mixture of seed using a plastic funnel (great fun for little ones) and screw a hook into the bottle lid. Attach some garden twine to the hook and hang the feeder up somewhere where the kids can see it from the house.
A great wet weather activity is to spot what birds come to your feeder? The more mixed your seed, the greater the mix of birds.
4. Have a peg hunt
Get your peg bag and while the kids aren’t looking hide a bunch of pegs all over the garden. You can attach them to leaves on plants, washing on the line, chair legs etc. Make sure that you know how many you’ve hidden, so you know when the game is over. The first few pegs should be easy to find but gradually the game should get a little harder – try putting them above your child’s eye level so you are encouraging them to look up and around.
Every time they find a peg they need to bring it to you, so that you can exchange it for a treat. Strawberries and grapes if you’re going down the healthy route, perhaps with a sweet when they present you with the final peg.
This activity works brilliantly if there is more than one child playing – just use different coloured pegs and turn it into a race!
5. Make a den
Children love playing house, and what better way to fill a morning than creating your very own den. It is also an activity that works just as well indoors if the weather hijacks your plans.
Over a few days, assemble some bits and bobs that could be used to create a den. We’re not talking anything fancy here… a broom over two chair backs with a sheet draped over it can make a perfectly good den. Add a few choice accessories – cardboard boxes, cushions some old plastic bowls and wooden spoons, and before you know it they’ve created their own little world.
They may need a little help to get started, but try not to over-direct their play, as you’ll be amazed by how inventive they can be.