On Air: Ideas for Outdoor Play

I was on my favourite local radio station this morning 96five talking about the importance of outdoor play. Click on this link or the image below to hear a podcast of the interview.

If you are looking for simple outdoor play ideas while the kids are on holidays, try some of these:

Ideas for Under 5s

  • Mud pies – set up a simple dirt kitchen and let the kids cook with mud. Give them some utensils and bowls and they’ll be happy. Mine love using patty pans too (though they get soggy pretty quickly).
  • Digging – kids love to play in sand, but don’t stress if you don’t have a sandpit.  Let the kids have a corner of the garden to dig up the soil.  There are all kinds of interesting things to be found underground.
  • Rainy play – everything to a toddler is magical in the rain. Colours are stronger, surface textures change, there are new smells and sounds and tastes in wet weather.  Gumboots are a necessity.  Raincoats recommended, but depends on the climate.

Ideas for Over 5s

  • Plant something – kids love participating in the whole process of growing things in the garden. It’s even better if you plant something that has an end product to enjoy (like flowers, veggies or herbs).
  • Climb trees – didn’t you climb trees as a child?  If you don’t have a suitable tree in your backyard, find a park that has some climbable trees.  If you are nervous about allowing your child this freedom, have a read of my recent popular post about tree climbing.
  • Creature Hunt – encourage kids to find the wildlife in their local area. Some kids will love bug hunting and enjoy using a magnifying glass, while others will be more focused on catching creatures!  If you have an avid tree climber, you could let them take binoculars up the tree to investigate birds too.

If you are interested in more information about outdoor play, check out the Children & Nature Network.

4 thoughts on “On Air: Ideas for Outdoor Play

  1. Hi Catherine

    The Children & Nature Network also have a Ning site that acts as a forum to share and exchange ideas on all sorts of outdoor and nature based play…http://childrenandnature.ning.com/

    Another wee reference (from Scotland but I think fairly applicable world wide is the advice on outdoor play and learning on the Centre for confidence and Wellbeing http://www.centreforconfidence.co.uk/flourishing-lives.php?p=cGlkPTE3MyZpZD02NjY

    Best wishes
    .-= Juliet´s last blog ..Reading Books Outdoors =-.

  2. I heard through the grapevine that you had been on the radio. Well done!

    I agree completely. Outside play rocks ! We have not bothered with a sandpit and instead the kids have a section of the dirt garden that they are allowed to dig in to their hearts content. My 4 year old often ‘plants’ twigs and leaves from nearby trees in there. Very cute :)

    Nearly everyone that visits our house seems to think this is odd, often making a point of telling us how cheap and easy it would be to just get a sandpit.

    For us however, the dirt garden is a winner and I certainly won’t be changing it anytime soon.

    Nice to hear I am not alone :)

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