Looking to make this summer extra special for your little one? In this article, Rachel Clinkard, from the family shoe retailer Charles Clinkard, shares some of the best outdoor sensory activities to keep kids entertained throughout the summer holidays.
There’s no better time for outdoor sensory activities than the summer holidays. The days are longer, the weather’s warmer, and there’s no mad dash back home for bedtime on a school night! Plus, doing sensory activities will keep your child’s mind engaged, meaning that they’re mentally prepared for the return to school in September. But the following activities aren’t just educational: they’re so fun that the whole family will want to join in!
Help your kids make the most of this summer by trying out the following activities.
Paint with nature
Painting using the natural products dotted around your garden allows your kids to explore their creative side whilst learning about the world around them. This activity is a particularly good way for kids to learn more about textures.
There are so many ways to use nature when it comes to painting: paint a picture of it, paint with it, or even paint over it! If you need some inspiration, here are just a few of the items you can use:
- Leaves: Encourage your child to cover different leaves in paint and press them onto the paper to make a beautiful print.
- Rocks: Using these as a canvas will give your child a keepsake to remember the day by.
- Flowers: The night before your activity, pick a handful of petals, cover them with hot water and leave them overnight. By the next morning, this can be used as a natural paint!
In case you hadn’t guessed already, this activity can get pretty messy. Put an old sheet over the patio to keep it clean, and dress your little one in old clothes and wellies to minimise the mess.
Explore the beach
You’ll be spoilt for choice by all the different types of sensory play you can do at the beach! Taking it back to basics, building a sandcastle is a great way to let your kid get stuck into different textures. As well as feeling the grains of sand, they also learn about how different textures work. For example, they’ll see that you can only build using wet sand, and that hard shells can stick to their castle too.
You can also take them paddling (or swimming if it’s warm enough) to let them experience the water. Explain the difference between the sea water and the water from the taps at home, and encourage them to take in that gorgeous seaside smell. While you’re in the water, keep an eye out sea creatures too. Make sure to dress them ready for the outdoors, in waterproof sandals to keep your little one free from cuts and bruises.
Do a scavenger hunt
Hosting an outdoor scavenger hunt is a great way to keep your kids both active and entertained during the summer months. Take the whole family out to your nearest nature spot for the day, and put a prize up for grabs for the person or team who finish ticking off their list first. To keep them engaged, try to find one fun or silly fact about each thing on your list. Here are just a few of the things to look out for:
- Animals you can find in the trees, such as squirrels and birds
- Insects, such as butterflies, ladybirds, and bees
- Animal tracks from the local wildlife
- Set the challenge of finding a four-leaf clover (this one may take a while!)
This activity will require a lot of walking, so make sure to dress your child in comfy walking boots to avoid complaints of sore feet and blisters!
Make a splash with a water project
Encourage your little one to get inquisitive by experimenting with water. Not only does water play introduce children to different textures, but it will help them learn more about science and maths. Plus, engaging with the water by pouring and stirring it will help them develop their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
There are plenty of projects to try that require few materials, so you shouldn’t have to make any last-minute dashes to the supermarket! One simple but fun project is the saltwater density experiment. All you need for this is two cups of water, salt, and an egg. Have one cup of water with three tablespoons of salt and one without, then put an egg in each. The egg in the saltwater cup will float as the water will be denser, while the egg in the other cup will sink straight away.
Explain this process to them and encourage them to investigate further with other things lying around the house or garden — just make sure they’re waterproof!
Looking for other ways to keep your little one’s mind active this summer? Check out the fun and educational games available at Logico!