Summer is the perfect time to get out in the fresh air and have healthy fun with your toddler. In this article will be sharing some ideas to help you burn of that seemingly endless supply of energy as well as to create opportunities for physical development.
Before we begin, take a moment to follow these simple rules whilst out in the summer sunshine. Always wear a sunhat, some sunscreen (we recommend factor 50, especially for your under twos) and plenty of drinks nearby.
If you are fortunate enough to have access to a garden, there are some great and inexpensive toys that your toddler will love. Try swings, slides, push bikes, tents, see-saws and space hoppers. A sandpit, small paddling pool or water table are also favourites amongst children of this age. (Remember to always closely supervise children whilst playing with water)If you don't have your own garden, try to find a nearby park and build it into your weekly routine. When you go to the park, take a picnic along and eat outdoors too.
Did I hear a groan? By sports I don't mean anything more complicated than providing access to a variety of different balls for throwing and kicking, and as a further challenge provide a target for your toddler to aim at. Try kids golf/tennis/cricket sets or play a simple game of football. Look out for free sport activities in your community. You can often find access to tennis courts, so take a racquet and a few balls and practice hitting and throwing.
Remember making mud pies as a child? Well now is your little ones chance. Use a sandpit or a patch of ground and wet the sand with a watering can-make sure your child has her own one too so she can wet the ground, dig and play in the mud. provide simple spades, rakes and plastic tubs for mixing and messing.
Get hold of a large cardboard box and cut out some windows and a door. Have him help you to decorate the box to make it look more house-like. If you are able, invest in a small plastic playhouse and set it up in the garden with a few small pieces of furniture.
Get moving by playing follow the leader. Pretend to be different animals and have you toddler copy you. Adding the sounds they make, is hilarious too! Don't limit yourself to animals though, try aeroplanes, cars, trains-pretty much anything you can think of!
It's after me!
Play with your shadow…when outside play shadow tag . Have your toddler try to jump onto your shadow as you try to run away. Or make shadow shapes on the ground, see how many different shapes you can make. Using chalk, have your toddler stand on a piece of tarmac or concrete. Draw around their shadow. You can repeat this over the course of a day by getting them to stand in the same spot each time Show them how their shadow changes position as the sun moves across the sky.
Make the most of a windy day.
Kites are the obvious activities for a windy day, but there are alternatives. Cut some lengths of ribbon and tie them to an old bangle. Toddlers love running with the ribbons blowing behind them.
Go on a Hunt.
Hunting for things in the garden should not only be for Easter. Try hiding plastic animals, treats, or have them look for things in nature (such as feathers, small sticks, leaves, seeds, pebbles ) that you can later investigate together or make into a collage. Pack up the whle family and go to a farm. Pick fruit, flowers or vegetables and take a look at the animals or play in the dedicated kids play areas.
In short, while the sun is shining and the days are long, make the most of it and get physical outdoors. Afterall, you'll be wishing for some garden fun as soon as those wintery days came back round again.
I am a preschool and primary school teacher and mum to 3 children. I have been involved in education since 1997 and have trained in a variety of educational specialist areas. It is with this expertise that I write articles to help parents and educators provide quality learning experiences for the children in their care.