In recent years, outdoor play and adventures has become a priority for many families! We have all learned why... Being in nature and the great outdoors is great for our health, wellbeing and for connecting with this beautiful planet we all call home. 

Here are 5 simple activities that you can do with your child in the great outdoors, perhaps your garden!

Give a Bug a Home

This is an age-old classic nature activity but there’s a good reason for it. Here are some interesting facts, that you can explore with your child:

  • many insects are super special and help humans, the environment and wildlife in many ways
  • insects pollinate many flowers, fruits and vegetables (we need this to happen to enjoy many foods and produce such as honey, silk and beeswax!)
  • insects help break down and dispose of waste and are also very important in the food web!
  • Bug hotels provide a shelter for insects, make use of garden waste and increase biodiversity.
  • Bugs are fun to observe under a magnifying glass too!

Mud Pies, Lemon Tea, What Will It Be?

Create an outdoor play kitchen area with pots, pans, a mud pie tea set and containers. Add water, mud, sand, leaves or other natural materials and the muddy menu becomes limitless! 

Outdoor play kitchens (aka mud kitchens) give children the opportunity to create, imagine, explore and experience sensory and messy play. They can connect with nature (mmm the smell of lemon balm tea is delightful…), develop communication (What can I get you sir?) and enjoy the present (unless there is a particularly grumpy customer who is in a rush to be served!) 

Construction

Building, woodwork and construction play is fantastic outdoors! Ask your child: What can you build? A boat, a plane, a tower, a den?! and How can you build it? Work together and see what you can create. It’s all about the process and not the product. 

Group Games

Playing classic group games can be really fun outdoors! You may wish to use a parachute, a ball or a tug of war rope to enhance your play. What games do you already know from your childhood? Ask your child to make up their own games? Some classics include ‘duck, duck, goose’, ‘floor is lava’, ‘1,2,3… where are you?’ and ‘Crocodile, Crocodile’. Outdoor games develop teamwork, communication, motivation, problem-solving, resilience and more through interactive experiences such as these. 

Explore
@homeplaylearn

A Big Tidy Up!

For this activity, you will need… some gardening gloves or old gloves, a bin bag and if you’re fancy… a litter picking tool! You can really help to take care of nature by collecting up litter in your streets, towns or local parks together with your child. It is good for the soul too! Don’t be disheartened if you see litter reappearing where you have already litter-picked. You are doing a fantastic job for the planet; every time you take away a piece of litter from a natural space. Small steps make big changes (and you never know… you may encourage others to join in too!) 

Do you love exploring and investigating? Maybe check out your local Forest School...

This blog post is inspired by activities carried out as part of Forest School programmes. Forest School has six principles that are followed and is led by a Level 3 Forest School practitioner to be actual Forest School!

Have you heard of Forest School? Maybe you have… maybe you haven’t. It has six principles that focus on enabling children the freedom to explore, play and learn in the natural world. It is about outdoor adventure, risk taking, nature connection and has so many benefits for children’s holistic development. You can find out if there is a Forest School near you to try out!

We hope that you have got lots of ideas to take away from this Explore and Investiagte post.

Don’t forget to share your activities with us on our social channels!

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With thanks to @homeplaylearn for this blog post

You can find more outdoor activities here.

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