Join me on my quest to keep a toddler entertained in my garden and home, with nature as our inspiration, and with fun (and a bit of learning!) as our goal. My 2 and ½ year old will test out these simple and easy-to-do-at-home activities; we’ll let you know the results, and would love to hear how you get on, too. I’ll offer some Outdoor Learning Top Tips on how to adapt the activities for older children, and suggest what skills each activity helps you and your child explore. All the activities are simple, use mostly things you will find in and around your home, and will be free, and will hopefully help to keep you both entertained (and sane!) a they have done for me. Enjoy!
Get creative and make some noise (and music!) with some home made instruments using household items and things found in your garden or local green space.
What you’ll need:
- Household containers – e.g. syrup/treacle tins, coffee tubs, plastic punnets, bottles
- Anything to fill them with for shakers – small pebbles, sticks, dry rice/beans, sand, etc.
- Elastic bands to make a ‘string instrument’
- bottles if you want to make wind instruments (glass bottles work best for this if you can use them safely)
Have a go at making a variety of instruments to produce different sounds. The creativity in making them is great for your toddlers imagination, and using the finished instruments will get them moving and creating rhythms.
Top tips (and what we learnt along the way):
- Get the whole household involved and make a band!
- Once you’ve made an instrument or two, take it in turns to make some music with them while the other dances – this is really interactive, and helps bring the instruments to life.
- Have a go at different rhythms – can you make a slow rhythm and gradually speed up?
- If your child has a good understanding of the activity, make rhythms for them to copy or vice versa.
Oscar really enjoyed pouring the rice, pebbles and beans into the containers, and found it hilarious when I started dancing to the rhythms he was making – a great way to explore cause and effect in a fun and engaging way! The punnet with elastic bands were the biggest hit for Oscar.
For older ones –
- Rather than giving them things to make instruments with, can they come up with ideas themselves?
- Have a go at learning some musical terms and putting them into practice, for example Tempo, Pitch (varying levels of water in the glass bottles in brilliant for this), Crescendo and Solo are just a few ideas.
Thank you the National Lottery Heritage Fund for support with this content.