It’s time to come out of hibernation and feel the sun on our skin. This is also the best time of the year to encourage young children outdoors. The weather is great but not too hot and the garden is beginning to show signs of renewal. While snuggling up indoors in winter is nice, spring is the time to get those little bodies moving, breathing the fresh air again and soaking up some vitamin D.
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What better time to begin their education in the ways of Mother Nature? There are a number of activities we can do to encourage our children to spend time outdoors, and here are just a few:
- Let your child choose some flower seeds to purchase, take them home and plant them in their own flowerbed. Take photos as the plants grow and create a garden album.
- If there is no space for a sand-pit, fill a large basin with clean sand for them to play with.
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- Do the same for water-play. A basin or old baby bath is ideal. Give your child a few paint brushes and let them ‘paint’ with water.
- Make a bird feeder or put out bread or seeds to encourage the birds into your yard. Do some bird-watching.
- Invest in a bug-catcher and some books about different kinds of bugs (this one will need supervision).
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- Have a table and chair somewhere outdoors in a shady spot for your child to use. Encourage them to draw pictures of the birds, insects or plants. This will inspire them to study them more closely.
- Take a walk with them around the garden and collect twigs, leaves and seeds to create an art piece.
- Build a fairy garden. This is a great way to stir their imagination. You can use bits and pieces from the yard to fashion fairy furniture or use doll-house furniture.
- Paint rocks together and place them around the garden or in pot-plants.
- Try some different back-yard games like mini-golf, croquet, bowls or skittles. If you have concrete or bitumen, let them go crazy with chalk or better still, draw up a hop-scotch or target game.
- Have a picnic. A simple sandwich, drink and a piece of fruit tastes more special in the garden.
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- Blow bubbles. An easy and safe bubble mixture can be made using tear-free baby shampoo, corn syrup and water.
How much you can do with your children outdoors will depend largely on the size and layout of your outdoor area. If, like me, you live in the country you may need to watch for snakes in over-grown areas. Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to be sun smart, add a hat and insect repellent and your children can enjoy fresh air and physical exercise - while exercising their imaginations as well.
Spell out your child's name in the earth plant panassies or similar plants .This can encourage a child have a sense of responsibility while experiencing a personal connection with nature
This idea would be suitable possibly for 6 plus year olds .Lee